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“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 . . .

“Our message of low taxes doesn’t connect . . . so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful . . . .”

Someone might say it’s unfair this got out, just like it was unfair for the Duchess of Cambridge to have been photographed topless from a half mile away.

Was Romney playing to the rich guys by saying that almost half of Americans lack personal responsibility and so forth? Was he letting them that think they’re the victims here, because they pay lots of taxes and so many Americans pay nothing at all?

But lots of personally struggling guys (in, for example, my failed southern milltown of Lindale, GA) pay no taxes but are still voting for Mitt for a variety of reasons, most of them good.

I have to admit I don’t see that much evidence that America has become a providential soft despotism for almost half of our people. Lots of people who pay no income tax are knocking themselves out to be personally responsible. Life for the merely middle-class guy, many studies show, is tougher in some ways and more “contingent” than ever. Safety nets are imploding. Etc., etc.

Not only that, I’m all for middle-class Americans with lots of kids paying no income tax. They’re making their increasingly countercultural contribution.

This is, at least, the Romney equivalent of the Obama comment about the same folks desperately clinging to their God and guns.

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