GOP is still Mitt Romney’s party: Why it can’t quit attacking the 47 percent

Another Republican attacks the 47 percent, claiming the so-called problem is even "bigger now." He's got company

Published September 24, 2014 2:00PM (EDT)

Mitt Romney                          (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
Mitt Romney (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

In its self-autopsy after Mitt Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama in 2012, the Republican National Committee made a not-so-thinly-veiled jab at Mr. 47 Percent.

"The perception, revealed in polling, that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party and its candidates on the federal level, especially in presidential years. It is a major deficiency that must be addressed," the Republican National Committee’s report stated. Sounding a populist tone, the report called on Republicans to “speak out when CEOs receive tens of millions of dollars in retirement packages but middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise in years."

The post-debacle autopsy – and Republican bigwigs’ efforts to distance themselves from Romney after his defeat – sent a not-so-subtle message: This isn’t Romney’s party anymore.

About that.

Not only are many of the financial titans who bankroll the GOP pining for a Romney redux in 2016, but GOP lawmakers and candidates just can’t help blasting those damned moochers who want their Obamaphones and socialized medicine.

The latest evidence comes in the person of one Cresent Hardy, a Nevada state assemblyman running for Congress against Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford. Two years after Romney assailed the “47 percent of the people” who “pay no income tax” and would never be convinced “to take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Hardy wants you to know that the man was right.

“Can I say that without getting in trouble like Gov. Romney?” Hardy asked in a video posted by the state Democratic Party. “The 47 percent is true. It’s bigger now.” (Or not.)

It’s tempting to write off Hardy’s remarks as just another insensitive, factually challenged rant from a long-shot congressional candidate, but his contempt for “the 47 percent” is shared throughout the party.

Take House Speaker John Boehner’s callous attack last week on the unemployed, who he said weren’t finding work because they’d “rather sit around.” Take the GOP’s success in cutting off unemployment insurance to the long-term unemployed. Take Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner – he of the $140,000 wine club – who wants to decrease his state’s minimum wage by $1. Take the right-wing media machine’s inability to discard its rhetoric of makers and takers. Or simply take the utter lack of any serious GOP policy proposals that would help the working Americans the authors of the RNC’s 2012 autopsy purported to care about.

Is it any wonder that the Beltway chattering class talks seriously of a third Romney run for the presidency? The erstwhile candidate has insisted his time has come and gone, but there was Ann Romney on Fox News yesterday, leaving the door ever-so-slightly ajar. But even if – as still seems likely – Romney sits 2016 out, he can rest assured that his party hasn’t discarded his warped worldview.

By Luke Brinker

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