I’m going to write one more post about the election and then knock it off and go back to writing about the culture and about politics from a broader perspective.
One of my personal rules in life is this: whenever I start feeling a satisfying swell of righteous certainty, I begin to suspect that I might be wrong. You may not always be in error when you begin a sentence with, “Well, sir, if you would just read your Constitution…” or “the Word of God clearly says…” but the odds in favor of your making a pompous ass of yourself are, trust me, astronomical.
So I should have known we had a serious problem when I felt that righteous surge at Mitt Romney’s now infamous 47% remarks:
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 upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.
I did not agree with this — but I did agree with what I thought he meant: there are too many takers and not enough makers nowadays. And even as the Democrats beat the words like a drum, I defended Romney’s comments to my friend E.J. McMahon at the Manhattan Institute’s Empire Center. E.J., one of the savviest political observers I know and one of the best predictors of political outcomes, told me almost the moment these words were made public — not that they would cost Romney the election, but that they represented the sentiment and approach that would, in fact, cost him the election.
He was right. I was wrong. I owe him dinner.