Home Featured A Real Hero – Redefining American Exceptionalism

A Real Hero – Redefining American Exceptionalism

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Mitt Romney doesn’t care about…

 

I’ve always been the kind of person who runs songs into the ground. If I find something I like, I play it, and play it and play it, over and over — till something else comes along to dominate my attention. Doesn’t really matter if the song is new, or old – when a song matches my mood perfectly, I tend to ride with it till my mood changes. Recently, I’ve been running College’s A Real Hero; many of you may remember the joint from the soundtrack to the film Drive. It’s the sort of melodic, synthy, eighties-ish joint you can listen to a million times without ever really hearing; and that’s precisely what I’d been doing – listening to it, but not hearing it. That all changed over this past week.

Back against the wall and odds. With the strength of a will and a cause. Your pursuits are called outstanding, you’re emotionally complex.

One of the themes of this year’s Presidential Election has been the concept of American Exceptionalism: The idea that there is a special something woven helically into our DNA that makes us different … Not only from the rest of the world, but also from the rest of our species’ history. Most folks trace this American Exceptionalism ideology back to Alexis De Tocquevile. In his mind, the equality, liberalism, freedom and laissez-faire economic system inherent in our constitution makes this country special. People like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan offer a more simplified understanding of American Exceptionalism. In their mind, Americans are exceptional because, deep within our sinew we all have this near supernatural ability to create wealth out of thin air. When discussing his own wealth, Mitt had this to say:

Both my dad and [wife] Ann’s dad did quite well in their lives. But when they came to the end of their lives and passed along the inheritance to Ann and me, we both decided to give it all away. So I have inherited nothing. Everything that Ann and I have, we earned the old-fashioned way.

Never mind that, like Poppa Doc, Mitt “went to Cranbrook and that’s a private school” – that his parents paid for. They also paid for college, grad school and “loaned” him the money for his first house. His father also gifted him stock – which he sold off to support himself and his wife while they were in college. After making a name for himself at Bain & Co, Mitt was offered the job of heading up the newly formed Bain Capital. Mitt likes to talk about how, leaving the former for the latter represented a huge career risk. In real life, Mitt worked out a deal with Bain founder Bill Bain, where, if Bain Capital failed, he could get his old job back including all of the raises and promotions he could have expected had he never left his original position. Basically… even if he failed at Bain Capital… it could still have been considered a success. SAY what you will about ole Williard, but the guy sure knows how to negotiate a sweetheart deal for himself. We have no idea who Romney would be, and what his “success” would look like, had he not had these various safety nets perpetually in place to prevent any real failure.

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In effect – Mitt Romney has never taken a risk in his life. Still, he favors extensive tax cuts for the rich, and major cuts to what he calls “entitlements” — handouts given to the lazy, shiftless folk who aren’t motivated enough to earn their wealth like he did. In truth – these entitlements are programs like Unemployment (which one pays into… by working) Social Security (which one pays into… by working) and Medicare (which one pays into… by working). These ‘entitlements’ represent a social safety net that our country has created to insure that the middle class stays strong and doesn’t slip into poverty during times of nation-wide economic hardship (like the recession of the past few years) and during times of unexpected sickness – when medical bills can wipe out an entire life’s savings. They represent the sort of safety net regular folk need when they aren’t born the children of former-ceo-governor-presidential candidates.

But none of this matters to Mitt. In Mitt’s mind, Mitt is an exceptional American, a self-made man. In Mitt’s mind, everyone is capable of having the same sort of success he’s had because we’re all exceptional Americans. The only thing that separates the hims from the us’s is motivation … or something. I say “or something” because, in truth, I don’t really know what Mitt Romney believes to be the difference between America’s rich and poor. What I do know is this: At this point in America’s history, wealth is neither created, nor destroyed… only transferred.

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Yesterday, Mother Jones ran a “secret” recording of Mitt giving a speech to a select few uber-rich, potential campaign donors. In it he said the following:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” All right — there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.

Mitt goes on to say that it is his job to get the 5 percent or so in the middle — the independents who believed in Obama, but now believe he’s “in over his head.” Make no mistake about what this video represents. For Mitt Romney, and by extension, the for the party that nominated him as their candidate for our nation’s highest office, this speech is a declaration of war. With this speech, Mitt Romney has declared war on the working class. The GOP’s spin doctors are already out in full force, presenting Romney’s comments as an example of the legitimate, honest ideological differences between their party and the incumbent party, but this video is much more than that.

Class has always been the undercurrent helping to drive much of the division in this country. The separation of the haves and have nots and the maintenance of that separation is what fueled our revolution, our civil war, the post slavery jim crow laws – and most recently the GOP’s strict adherence to supply-side economic policy despite the fact that we know it doesn’t work. This class war has always laid below the surface of our American political machine because to bring it to the forefront and declare it openly would be to challenge this idea of American Exceptionalism and in challenging American Exceptionalism, we’re challenging the American Dream. For the first time in recent political history, through a confluence of technology and social media – the battles lines of this class war have been outlined by a presidential nominee of one of our major political parties. The importance of this moment cannot be overstated.

Against the grain of dystopic claims. On the thoughts your actions entertained. And you have proved to be A real human being and a real hero Real human being and a real hero.

Still, the same way I can’t shake College’s A Real Hero from my ears, I can’t help but feel like there really is something to this American Exceptionalism stuff. Maybe it’s that I was raised by a grandmother who grew up in the segregated south, but still believed in America. Maybe it’s because my grandfather fought for a country that wouldn’t let him buy a house where he wanted when he came home. Maybe it’s because I can feel in my soul the reverberating cries of people who’ve believed in this country despite it never living up to the promises it’s offered us. I believe in American Exceptionalism. And though I can’t quite wrap my mind around  a definition of it that reconciles my understanding of the actual American Experience – I know it exists, and I know Mitt Romney isn’t an example of it.

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November 5th ain’t that far… till then… stay low and keep firing.

 

 

Twitter: @MrSpradley Email: [email protected]

Comment(61)

  1. What's especially dope about this article is my learning that my assumption that I was the only person jamming to the Drive Soundtrack is False. It's a great soundtrack and A Real Hero is one of the best songs on there. In fact, it's probably only 2nd to Kavinsky & Lovefoxxx's Nightcall. Which, in my opinion, takes the cake. But, I digress…. Lovely article. Romney's such a laughable opponent. What's funnier than SNL's recent parody is realizing that SNL's recent parody was unnecessary, quite frankly, because Romney is a walking joke to begin with. But you're right, November isn't far. So if we don't vote, then literally the jokes on us.

    Great Article. Thanks!
    My recent post 2012 Summer Reading List

  2. "In truth – these entitlements are programs like Unemployment (which one pays into… by working) Social Security (which one pays into… by working) and Medicare (which one pays into… by working)."

    Something I never understood, especially being that you can't opt out of paying. As Chris Rock said, when you get your check, your money is already gone. But receiving something you paid for is an entitlement.

    Granted, something drastic needs to be done with Medicare and Medicaid. But what needs to be done is checking the medical industry that is making healthcare unaffordable for individuals, businesses and government in the first place, not Paul Ryan's plan that balances the budget…in 2050. And of course, Mitt will defend the medical/pharmaceutical industry overcharging us, because they're corporations and they give us jobs!

    1. Busy day, so I’m just gonna piggy back on Hugh’s comment. I agree with this comment and the post in general but we can’t ignore that Social Security and Medicare are messed up. They are inherently both pyramid schemes, although they always have been, whereby people pay in less than the system pays out. This is coupled with the fact that both are underfunded because of aforementioned issue and the poor and general mismanagement of both programs by the government. They are definitely going to go bankrupt much sooner than they should have because the same government, mostly Republcans but not exclusively, who are against the program are the same ones who mismanaged the program – which includes both parties in the latter case. Unemployment is a little different because you usually don’t draw what you put in, plus (and fortunately) aside from the Great Depresssion, the majority of the workforce is employed so only a minority is ever drawing from it. It’s also usually capped, unlike the other two systems – meaning you can’t draw unemployment til death – and Americans are living longer than ever. All that said, I’m fairly open minded and I still found Romney’s quotes fairly troubling in the way they were framed even if he was only pandering to his base, or more specifically, those in the room. As someone pointed out, I have no idea how Romney would govern but considering I don’t make $200 – $250k, yet, it appears he would not have mine, or many of the people i know personally, best interests at heart as president.

  3. From a strictly tactical standpoint, Mittens is right about not focusing on the "47%" which will likely vote Democrat and whose opinion he will not sway. For him to win, he needs to focus on garnering the support of the swing voters who aren't sold on Obama and don't necessarily disagree with his views and policies. Let's remember, this guy is not far behind at all in the polls.

    He was pandering to an audience of wealthy individuals, so of course his message would reflect their likely views. Obama does the same when he hosts dinners in NYC at 40K/plate. It's all politics.

    To be President, you don't need 100% of the vote. Just 270 electoral votes, and you can do that without being the more popular candidate.

    1. I don't think it's the ideology of pandering to a select part of the population that's the major troubling piece. What's most damning, for Romney, is the characterization of that 47% as people who aren't adding value to our country – and instead – only taking handouts and living off the people who do work.

      It reinforces an what everyone always thought about Romney.
      My recent post A Real Hero – Redefining American Exceptionalism

      1. Most I agree with you. I wasn't defending this man at all, since I think he's a flip-flop. He is just saying what he needs to a selected audience to keep his coffers full. Remember that this was supposed to be a closed-door event, so he felt comfortable with his pandering. No different than Obama being caught on tape with his slight remarks towards Israel's Prime Minister or his remarks about Republicans.

        You are incorrect in that doesn't reinforce what EVERYONE thought about Romney, because clearly the election is still close and this man has entire US States supporting him and his policies. It will only strengthen those who were against him to begin with and maybe a few swing voters. In all honesty, this won't affects his standings.

    2. True but what happens if he wins, is he going to give two damns about that same 47%, they wasn’t with him shooting in the gym. That’s a dangerous road a President who has drawn a clear line in the sand between the upper and middle class.

      1. He will give a damn, just as he does give a damn now, just not in the way I prefer. He has to do whatever it takes to get into the seat. Once he's there, who knows what he will actually do, just like every other President who preach lofty promises. Very few Presidents are looking to be one-term and the only to win twice is to appeal to a group larger than your base following (Unless your GW Bush)

        Like the prophet Jay Hova once said "Moral Victories is for Minor League Coaches".

      2. Tristan: "That's a dangerous road a President who has drawn a clear line in the sand between the upper and middle class."

        And keep in mind, to Mitt, middle class is $200,000-250,000/year. Just completely clueless.

  4. I read that same article last night, smh. LOL @ folks calling yo, Mittens!!!!!!!! Too funny!

    Though I agree with DeKeLa to a point (politicians gonna politic no matter the candidate), I think Mitt went a bit too hard. Really? 47% of Americans…all the ones voting for Obama…are moochers? Really? Is that his final answer? Seriously? What part of this statement, "In truth – these entitlements are programs like Unemployment (which one pays into… by working) Social Security (which one pays into… by working) and Medicare (which one pays into… by working)" does he NOT understand??? He is so out of touch its not even funny. Its actually quite sad.

    I wish you could deliver your post to him personally…and its really good to see a post from you!

        1. Ahhh now it makes sense now, thanks for clearing that up. Respect, cuz most people wont point out things they're unsure about.

    1. Many people not residing in the U.S. sees our American Exceptionalism as being a Democratic-Republic Empire, and in the way some of these Neocons and Evanglical Wingnuts are speaking, we kinda Are. I love being American, but knowing I'm a potential Ransom Victim, Terroist Target waiting to be killed, or an Unvolunteering Walking Spokesperson for America when I go overseas is BS

  5. American Exceptionalism is definitely a reality. Look at the USA, we are fundamentally different from so many other nations and cultures. We like change, we love to work, we love money and status and we always look ahead. Americans have an entrepreneurial spirit and drive that is unmatched, we love to change the system and we love building things. We are great because we believe we are great. How can you be great if you do not believe you are great?

    Mitt Romney was talking about how 47% of the country doesn't pay an income tax( but they pay just about every other tax)

    "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."

    John Steinbeck

    This mentality keeps the USA awesome. We need people to work as hard as they can to reach the top. Instead of complaining about the top 1%, be the top 1%.

  6. great post man.

    romney's spokespeople and advisors are trying hard to spin this away from him and towards obama. i get that's what they're paid to do but there is no way you can spin this in a positive light. i forget exactly who it was this morning on cnn tried to spin by trying to steer the conversation towards "anti-american sentiments in the middle east." lady, that's not what the topic is on right now.

    "In Mitt’s mind, Mitt is an exceptional American, a self-made man."

    he falls in line with a lot of past leaders of our country past and present who think they did everything on their own. see: "we built it". i guess that native americans and blacks did nothing to help build this country as well. cheap asian labor didn't help build transcontinental railroads either. it was always men like mitt romney who made this country great. -_-
    My recent post Raindrops against my window pane

  7. I haven't had a chance to hear the clip, but this idea of American Exceptionalism is one that I haven't spent much time thinking about. I don't think that's a good or bad thing, but worth noting.

    This post, in a roundabout way, reminds me something I saw on Twitter about privilege. Somebody was talking about how so many successful business owners failed repeatedly before they made it. The obvious lesson was that it takes the willingly to fail to be successful. The less discussed observation made was on how a lot of these successful business owners come from money, privilege, etc. and can afford to fail because the impact to their standard of living/quality of life wouldn't be impacted the same as if the average Joe took a chance. In a way, I think this supports what Sprads is saying about Mitt's "come up."

    That's all I got. Great read.
    My recent post The Next Chapter: My New Site, This One, and Writing.

    1. What's unsaid about failure leading to succes is the necessity of opportunity to fail. I mean guys can try over and over again without success and keep trying cause they know they're sitting on a boatload of money. Its not like Melissa Harris Perry said about the risk of being poor – where you know that you getting sick is a risk because if you miss work that one day, you may not have a job when you've gotten better. Not much time there for the trial and failures of "success"
      My recent post Visualizing Huffman Coding Trees

  8. American Exceptionalism is definitely a reality. Look at the USA, we are fundamentally different from so many other nations and cultures.

    1. We love change and are good at adapting, older cultures and even younger cultures that aren't American(Brazil, Mexico) hate change. They like being slow and conservative, America is always trying to adapt, survive and prosper.

    2. We have an entrepreneurial spirit, so many other nations lack this. They try to fit in the system, they never try to build around the system. Americans always try to build around the system, we always try something new, something different.

    3. Americans( despite what many Europeans like to tell us) are a hard-working and productive people. We work some of the longest hours on the planet and we are one of the few nations with no government mandated vacation days. I love our Puritan work ethic, it makes simply some of the best workers on the planet.

    4. We love money and success. There are many negative tropes associated to the love of money and success but it makes us optimistic, opportunists who aren't afraid to try something new. A love of money and success can be a great motivator for productivity.

    Now, I am a Republican and I am proud to be American. Mitt Romney is talking about the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax( but they pay just about every other tax). Now, while I won't be voting for Mitt Romney, I can see where he is coming from.

    "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."-John Steinbeck

    This attitude is what keeps our country and our people awesome.

  9. Mitt Romney really is the embodiment of what the majority of the GOP has been moving toward since Reagan. It’s fair to say that most of them give no damns about those who can least afford to be cast aside by society, and no I don’t mean the poor. The fact that he explicitly stated these views to would be kingmakers is a problem not only now, but going forward, no matter who wins the election. It probably won’t, but the Republican Party needs to take a hard look at those whp have hijacked its ideology. Romney spitting such socially devisive comments is going to lead a caste system, much like the one that still surreptitiously rules India. That is if one isn’t already in place in America.

  10. Great post as per usual.

    This is only tangentially related to what you wrote about, but I really find it hard to understand how someone can be undecided in this upcoming election. I'm not saying you should automatically root for the left <s> although I don't see why not </s> but the ideological difference is so vast at this point that I just can't fathom how you could be on the fence.

    Mitt Romney's so out of touch with the reality of America today that it's almost hilarious. I would laugh more if I was more confident that he wouldn't win, but honestly, I think some Americans hate Obama so much that it's going to be close. You know, it's not his fault that he grew up in fortunate circumstances , but it is his fault that he refuses to acknowledge it, or acknowledge that he's the exception, not the rule of American "success stories."

    Personally, I believe in the American Dream, but not so much exceptionalism. Admittedly I have a bias being raised by foreign parents, but the notion that America is outright better than anyone else kind of falls flat to me. We try to promote ideals that we have issues upholding ourselves, and more often than not our attempts to spread our wisdom to others tends to leave a lot of ruin in its wake…but i think a lot of that is because there's an offshoot of American exceptionalism that gets diluted into "the American was is the ONLY way", which I absolutely do not cosign. One thing is clear to me, however – for all the posturing that Romney has done about protecting the American Dream, his actions and his party don't seem to back that up.

  11. The only benefit here is maybe Mitt lit a fire under people who probably wouldn’t have took their behinds to the polls, this might be one of the widest spectrums between candidates at least in my history

  12. One part i don't like is how criticize Romney for going to a private school and doing well for himself. Lets not bash the man because he took advantage of his opportunities. Nobody really makes it alone…

    1. Nobody's bashing him for going to private school and getting a top-notch education. In fact, I applaud him for it. The problem lies when he refuses to acknowledge that he was privileged to have those resources available to him – and that they're not a feasible reality for a large part of our country. He can't identify with the average American because he isn't an average American. Not his fault, but it's insulting for him to act like he "pulled himself up from his bootstraps and we should too" when that's not the case.

      1. Most of the black people who comment on this blog went to college and have been deemed as "privileged" by other black folks who don't have the same education. Rick Ross is "self made" but Romney is a trust fund baby lol. I just don't think its that black and white, but I digress…

        I agree that we do need assistance programs to protect people from hitting rock bottom but I understand where some republicans are coming from. Its like the whole idea of stopping the bleeding is great but a lot of times it doesn't really initiate a healing process. They're questioning how much help it does in the long run.

        I agree that most of that stuff is meant for the short term and that we should focus more on education and reinvesting in our communities to make things better for the long run. But then things get messy because there are some policies that republicans propose that i feel take away from that.

        I don't think we should OD on the assistance programs, because our money can be better invested in the community for things that will help us in the long run, like our schools. A part of me feels like we could be fiscally better as a country but another part of me says that the guys who preach that have ulterior motives. So i think the answer lies somewhere in the middle of both the democrats and the republicans.

        I really dislike politics because of this, i agree with certain ideas from both parties. Sometimes I feel liberals are too unrealistic about their view of the world wanting some people at the top to be responsible every single person at the bottom. And then I've learned to distrust conservatives because they tend to easily forget about how interdependent we are on one another. There has to be some middle ground, but i don't see it happening.

        1. Graduating college with an a**load of debt and having parents be able to afford a full ride are two entirely different situations, and you know it. Privilege is always relative, but to pretend like Mitt Romney had more advantages than most of us is erroneous.

          And I used to feel you on the whole "some Republicans ideals are sound" thing…til I realized that what they say they stand for (capitalism, fiscal responsibility) is ultimately stifled by the policies they espouse. Trickle down economics, tax cuts , and austerity policy isn't going to do nothing but protect the top 10%. And I'm not gonna even bother touching social issues.

          People can claim that we're doing too much w/ the assistance programs, but the barriers to entry in this society are real.And just because you don't plan on ever using a service doesnt mean you shouldnt invest in it. You never plan on getting in a car accident, but you get car insurance anyways because the likelihood is high enough that it could happen. In this economy, the likelihood that you could lose your job, your apartment, your health coverage, is way too real to even consider that we trim back on those programs, in my opinion.

  13. I remember in 2000, when this happened…
    Popular vote :Bush, 50,456,002 Gore, 50,999,897

    We were convinced that Bush was crazy and out of touch with America… but I saw that and thought, who in the hell is the 47% of people in America who voted for Bush? That's pretty much the point in time my perspective about America changed. I sat there and took the time to really get in touch with America and what it looked like outside of Northeastern corridor and Black America. Then in 2004, after everyone had a great who G.W. Bush was and what he stood for, this happened:

    Popular vote: Bush, 62,040,610 Kerry, 59,028,444

    That's when I was convinced that something was up…

    Now that I look at these polls and it says that Romney is somewhere around 45-47% of the vote… as alarming as his commentary has been over the last few months and weeks… just think about how many people support him. That is your America, it may be worth taking a moment to think about that for a while.

    1. Good points above and below, J; a very pragmatic approach. Since around 2000, I’ve always found the popular vote interesting for a different reason. For one, I noticed there are approximately 330 million people in this country and yet the popular vote only adds up to a little over 100 million. So, like so many things in this country, 1/3 of the country essentially makes a decision that impacts the other 2/3 of the country whether they like it or not. In fact, if you only look at the winning candidates #’s, then that means 1/6 of the country makes a decision that impacts 5/6 of the county by picking “their president” who then becomes “our president.” But, as crazy as that may be, that’s the system we live in. Or as they say, democracy is the best worst system there is. While I think you know this and strategically avoided the discussion, it’s obvious who is primarily driving that split regardless of all the political rhetoric…

      In reality, because of the electoral college and current political landscape Obama and Romney are really running to be the president of Ohio.

      1. Its more like about 225 mil that are about legal voting age. So its more about 1 / 2 of the country. I wonder about things like the prison pipeline and how that affects it too. And then you have states like Mississippi or Maryland which are known republican or democratic states so some people say it doesn't matter if they vote or not too much.
        My recent post Visualizing Huffman Coding Trees

        1. Good point on the 225 million. In my opinion, unless you live in a swing state, you’re really just voting on principle and because you have the right but your vote really does not count. This hurts a lot of people’s feelings but it is what it is. Our electoral college renders most individual votes, except for in key states, pointless. This is why I don’t judge people who don’t vote, as long as they have a legitimate reason, such as altho they understand both candidates platform, they just don’t like either candidate. I’m not a “vote for the worst best” advocate. I actually think that’s pretty stupid. That said, I also can’t excuse blatant ignorance or laziness – when people don’t vote because they’re simply apathetic to what’s going on around them. But, I guess ignorance is bliss.

        2. Well, true and false.

          I mean, in the presidential election you're right but in state issues its not as clear. Take for instance, the senate or the governor or the downballot issues. Those are important, arguably moreso because those are the people who will be running for president in 4-8 years. Plus those are the people who make the local decisions that affect your locality. Like MD is a blue state, but we had a republican governor in 2002. We also had Steele run for governor in 2006, and I considered voting for him, but just didn't know enough about him and what he stood for. Now we're talking about voting for things like casinos and gambling in MD. Its not as juicy a topic as the president, but its an important issue. And lets not forget that gay marriage is on the ballot in MD this year.
          My recent post Visualizing Huffman Coding Trees

  14. Also, I really hate defending this guy because to be honest, I don't think he's the man for the job. I get sucked into defending him because I hate when people sound delusional. I've been staring at the quote that Romney made about the 47% for a long time trying to gauge what he was trying to say. My apologies, after 8 years of Bush, we've learned that sometimes you have to figure out even what he himself was trying to say. I think Romney meant that there are 47% of people who are going to vote for Obama, no matter what. I don't think his comment was about Black people, poor people or middle class Americans, like it wasn't about any particular group of people. It was just the 47% who plan to vote for Obama.

    "All right — there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."

    There's rich people, poor people, middle class people, white people, Black people, Hispanic people, all types of Americans who believe that the government should serve them in a way like Romney spoke about. I'm inclined to think that we're actually the ones trying to spin this into a message that we want it to be. He very well could have just meant the differences in ideologies. You have to be careful when you do that. People create situations and issues sometimes and then when someone rebuts their accusation they call them spin doctors, not realizing… maybe the spin doctor was the person who made the false claim in the beginning.

    I don't think that Romney is the right person for the job. I think that he makes some valid points, and others not so much. I won't let my hate for him consume me… simply put, I just won't vote for him. At this point, there's very few people who haven't already decided who they will vote for in this election. I believe that a lot of folks are beginning to sound like iPhone users arguing with Droid and Blackberry users. If you don't like Romney, just vote for Obama and move on. Romney is a non-motherf*cking factor if we as voters go out and do what we're supposed to do. And if he is to become a factor by winning this election, then you know where your country really stands.

    But peep the popular vote in November, it will really tell you the America you live in.

      1. I think he's trying to say that the "average American" isn't really as out of touch with Romney as we all think. And that there are many other people that feel that way who are going to be voting. So I think it does make some sense.

      2. "There's rich people, poor people, middle class people, white people, Black people, Hispanic people, all types of Americans who believe that the government should serve them in a way like Romney spoke about."

        That's why I worded that sentence the way I did. There's those who work who support Romney and those who work who support Obama.

        His statement was correct, http://www.forextv.com/forex-news-story/mitt-romn

        I just don't know why we care so much…

        1. That article puts an interesting spin on the statement he made. I think its essential for us to hear things from both sides like that, otherwise we're not doing ourselves any favors.

        2. Actually, it was not accurate.
          http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2012/pf/taxes/1203

          28.3% of that 47% pay payroll taxes (social security & medicare…and unemployment, I believe). 10.3% are elderly…and 6.9% make less than $20K a year….which, considering that picture makes his general 47% comment seem very deceptive. Thats the problem with generalizing and shooting off information without details.

        3. He said, 47% don't pay income taxes. That's true. The picture you just showed me, also stated that 46.4% don't pay income taxes. All that other stuff you said is true, so it may be deceptive, but it's true, homie.

        4. LOL…hold up… *reads my comment to be certain I didn't say it was wrong*

          I said it was not accurate, which it wasn't, lol. It was true yet inaccurate. To say that they don't pay income taxes but not mention that most of that 47% pay payroll tax which covers the majority of gov't help for working/retired Americans is VERY misleading. So misleading that I'm gonna judge anyone who's cool with the way he said it (which you explained you weren't cool with…so we cool, lol).

        5. No one ever said Romney statement was wrong. It's interesting though that you wonder why we don't care so much. There are a number of reasons why one should care.

          The first is – he's not a fringe guy. It's one thing when some guy who's on the fringe of our American political system says wild stuff like this – but Romney is not. He's the nominee for president for one of our two major parties.

          As far as the content – again – the issue isn't the fact of his statement – it's what his statement implies. 47% of Americans do not pay income tax. This is true. But it does not mean that they don't pay taxes. The vast majority of that 49% is represented by people who don't make enough to warrant being taxed on their income. Those people still pay tax in the form of Medicare, Social Security and Unemployment Insurance which are all automatically deducted from their pay checks. So…. When Mitt says "47% of people pay no income tax," that part of his statement is true, but when he says: "I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives," that part of the speech is highly problematic. That's the part of the speech where he's categorizing millions of working class americans who get up everyday and contribute to our society, as moochers. Again – for a fringe candidate to do that – it's one thing. For the Republican Nominee to say that – in 2012… it's a big deal.

          Also… going back to the facts. As far as the 49% of people who receive some sort of government entitlement. This is also true, but a great many of those people are elderly folks, another huge portion of those people are disabled folks. Some of these folks are veterans who are going to VA hospitals where they don't have to pay. We're talking about grandmothers and grandfathers, we're talking about people born with disabilities. Romney is painting this picture that there are all these people who are just lazy, sitting around waiting for a handout – when that's not the case. That he believes this enough to have it dictate his policy – is a major issue. This isn't left-leaning spin doctors spinning this. It's as serious as it appears.
          My recent post A Real Hero – Redefining American Exceptionalism

        6. THis was a great compliment to Doc post. I don't have the brainpower nor the desire to break this fiasco all down.

    1. see, the problem I have with this is that its kinda like a football team saying, "you know what, our defense sucks. So we're just gonna let them score, but we're going to outscore them." Its kinda like a NY rapper saying, "you know what, over in Cali they don't like our stuff so eff them. We'll just sell to the east coast cause that's where our real fans are".

      Its one thing to be engaged in politics, but this is not the US of R or the US of D, so when they get elected, I'd like to think that I matter too. I'd like to think that the president will do as much as possible to protect me who voted democrat as the guy who voted republican as the woman who voted libertarian, or the transgender who voted independent, or the person who just didn't vote. Hearing something like this, especially when he pretty much calls us lazy bums with no self respect.

      I realize that this comment was referring to campaigning for their votes vs caring about them as people, but really does that matter? Romney has been saying (particularly at the RNC) that he wanted to get the Obama voters who aren't satisfied with what Obama's done in his first term. He's been trying to play this new compassionate conservative role, but nobody was believing it and this video is exactly why. He's a politician and he's supposed to be trying to get votes not just votes from the taxpaying wealthy Americans who pay his bills, but from everybody.

      I'd get pissed if I went into a conveniance store and was told that they didn't want my money, Its the same thing to me. Politicians want votes but he told that crowd of millionaires that the non-taxpayers votes are less important to him (even though he was incorrect about who these people are as a majority of them are from the south (if you believe the stats)).
      My recent post Visualizing Huffman Coding Trees

  15. American Exceptionalism is definitely a reality. Look at the USA, we are fundamentally different from so many other nations and cultures. We like change, we love to work, we love money and status and we always look ahead. Americans have an entrepreneurial spirit and drive that is unmatched, we love to change the system and we love building things. We are great because we believe we are great. How can you be great if you do not believe you are great?

  16. Great post Mr. Spradley! I am not sure what American Exceptionalism means to me. It sounds kinda elitist if you ask me.

    Romney's way of thinking is very telling. The mere fact that he has a huge following also shows that a lot of people agree with him. Some still don't want to believe the obvious writing on the wall – that the more things change the more they stay the same. These last few years have only unmasked what was already there.

    While I want to believe that everyone can be on easy street if they try hard enough….something tells me that is not entirely true. I have also seen many a effort crushed behind irrational thinking. There are many 'exceptional' people that have been left in the dark on purpose. For those of us that are go getters, we find it hard to fathom why a person isn't striving to do more. Everyone isn't wired this way. Some people actually need assistance in finding their way.

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