Photo source: Mother Jones
By now, Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% comment has been parsed, sliced, diced, and julienned, and there’s little more to say about it. However, the comment was just one paragraph in an hour-long Q&A and it’s interesting to read what else Gov. Romney had to say. There’s some good stuff in there:
On the direction of the country:
|I'm very concerned about what the nation is gonna be like over the coming decade or two….I see these two very different scenarios. One is as America really powering the world economy, with an extraordinary economy here, with China working with us, wanting to see stability in the world, and a very vibrant America, with freedom and prosperity for the great bulk of the American people. On the other hand, I really do see something like Europe. And I think that's the path we're on right now.|
On becoming successful in America:
And Ann's dad, my wife's dad, was born in Wales. His dad was a coal miner. This coal miner got injured in a coal mining accident; realizing that there was no future there for him or his four children, he came to Detroit and worked in the auto factories until he could save enough money to bring his kids over, which he did. And then they got together as a family and said, you know, to be successful in America, you've got to get an education. And they couldn't afford an education. And the kids and the parents said you know, if we all work, and we all save, we could afford to send one of us to college. And they, they sent my wife's dad.|
Can you imagine working every day, taking a couple of jobs, saving your money so that your brother could go to—I mean, I would never do that for my brother—that he could go to co…so he went to college, and got a degree at the General Motors Institute of Technology, which is one of these programs where you work a semester, and then you go to school a semester and.…and then after it was over he started a little company, he became more successful, and he was able to hire his brothers and his brother-in-law, and provide for them in an extraordinary way. By the way, both my dad and Ann's dad did quite well in their life, but when they came to the end of their lives, and, and passed along inheritances to Ann and to me, we both decided to give it all away. So, I had inherited nothing. Everything that Ann and I have we earned the old-fashioned way, and that's by hard work….
In every stump speech I give, I speak about the fact that people who dream and achieve enormous success do not make us poorer—they make us better off.
On being born with a silver spoon:
|I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you could have, which is to get born in America.|
On entitlement reform:
|If we don't change Medicare or Social Security, the tax rate—you know what the payroll tax is now, it's 15.3 percent—if we don't change those programs, that tax rate will have to ultimately rise to 44 percent. The payroll tax. Then there's the income tax on top, which the president wants to take to 40 percent. Then there's state tax in most states. And sales tax. So you end up having to take 100 percent of people's income. And yet the president, three and a half years in, won't talk about reforming Social Security or Medicare. And when the Republicans do, it's "Oh, you're throwing granny off the cliff." It's like you're killing the kids. The biggest surprise that I have is that young people will vote for Democrats. They look at this and say, "Holy cow! The only guys who are worried about the future of our country and our future are Republicans." But the Democrats, they talk about social issues, draw in the young people, and they vote on that issue.|
The specific on Iran is that we should have put in place crippling sanctions at the beginning of the president's term. We did not. He will say, "Yes, but Russian wouldn't go along with us." Well, he gave Russia their No. 1 foreign objective: For a decade, all they've cared about is getting the missile defense sites out of Poland, and he gave them that and got nothing in return. He could have—I presume—gotten them to agree to crippling sanctions on Iran. He did not, which is in my opinion, one of the greatest foreign policy errors of the modern time....
No. 2, we should have been aggressively supporting the voices of dissent in Iran, and when there was an effort towards revolution there we should been aggressively supporting. And finally we should have made it clear, at least by now, that we have military plans to potentially remove their nuclear capabilities. That doesn't mean we actually pull the trigger, but it means we communicate to them that we're ready to do so. And that it is unacceptable to America to have a nuclear Iran. Instead what this administration has done is communicate to the Iranians that we're more worried about Israel attacking them than we are about them becoming nuclear. It's extraordinary. So those are some thoughts directly at Iran.
I'll step back on foreign policy: The president's foreign policy, in my opinion, is formed in part by a perception that he has that his magnetism and his charm and his persuasiveness is so compelling that he can sit down with people like Putin, Chávez, and Ahmadinejad. And that they'll find we're such wonderful people that they'll go on with us. And they'll stop doing bad things. And it's an extraordinarily naive perception, and it has led to huge errors in North Korea, in Iraq, obviously in Iran, in Egypt, around the world. My own view is that that the centerpiece of American foreign policy has to be strength….When you stand by your allies, you increase your strength. When you attack your allies, you become weaker. When you stand by your principles, you get stronger. When you have a big military—that's bigger than anyone else's—you're stronger....For me, everything is about strength and communicating to people what is and is not acceptable. It's speaking softly but carrying a very, very, very big stick. And this president instead speaks loudly and carries a tiny stick.
The full transcript of the Mitt Romney “secret video” is available on the Mother Jones website.
Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about what the nation is gonna be like in the coming decade or two. Check it out on Amazon.com.