I see that in a recent interview Mitt Romney acknowledged that any perception that his "47%" remark meant he didn't care about those folks was wrong. He essentially said he was sorry for any hurt feelings.
This apology demonstrates something I've thought for a long time: Mitt Romney is a much nicer man than I am. My read of the whole 47% thing is that everything Governor Romney said is precisely true, and that no apology was needed.
He said those folks believe they are victims. He said they believe they are entitled to government taking care of them. The 47% do believe these things. But the facts regarding these two beliefs are this: Your not. And your not.
Society has an interest in helping it's citizens who are in need and difficulty. Notice I said society, not government. Government is historically terrible at providing such help, usually making problems worse. Government's primary responsibility in this area is to arrange the laws of the country such that you have the maximum possible liberty, along with an equally maximized opportunity to pursue happiness for yourself. Government should also provide positive incentives to help those institutions in society who do a much better job than the state at caring for the ill and unable: private charities, hospitals, churches, research institutions, schools, civic organizations, etc.
At no point in his talk did Governor Romney say he didn't care about those people, or that if elected he wouldn't work as diligently on their behalf as he will for anyone else. On the contrary, Mitt Romney's overarching goal if elected will be to give all 100% of our citizens a greatly expanded playing field on which to pursue our dreams. Those who spin his comments any other way are guilty of putting words in the Governor's mouth.
The 47% comment was made in the context of a discussion about campaign strategy, not a philosophy of governing.
His point was that the 47%
have already decided to vote for the President, and so trying real hard to get their votes is a waste of time and resources. Furthermore, Romney talked about the 5% that the election would turn on, so really he described a campaign that doesn't ignore 47% of the country, it ignores 95% of it. I'm part of that 95% and I can tell you unequivocally that I am not offended at all.
A good friend forwarded this interesting editorial to me. Jeffery Tucker, writing at a website called the Daily Reckoning, talks about these issues, and how the 47% comments are being aggressively spun by the media to help President Obama. He also makes some provocative comments about political parties, saying that they all essentially exist to protect special interests. I have to grudgingly say I have found this to be the case. I'll just add to what he writes that I think right now liberty, and the Tea Party movement that is pressing for it, is one important special interest within the Republican party. I hope this means that a GOP victory in November will lead to a wide expansion of Tea Party influence going forward.