The Romney Gaffe

When AnotherDem and I were first married, and both in the military, we bought our first house on the east side of Dayton. We paid $27,000 for it. It was in a neighborhood barely hanging on from the deindustrialization of the Miami Valley.  The day we moved in, the charming old lady in the house on one side brought us a pie she had baked herself, along with some baby clothes for our newborn. About two years later, she sold her house to a guy who sold drugs and who we nicknamed "vroom vroom" for his habit of revving his motorcycle every morning at 5AM before he disappeared for parts unknown. Neighborhoods change.

We had more consistent luck with neighbor on the other side.  They had two kids, one about the same age as ours.  We became friends due to proximity and similarity of family situation, as any new parent can understand.  We watched each others kids. We didn't have money to go out to dinner or movies.  We spent our time playing board games late into weekend nights on my grandfathers's old kitchen table we kept on our front porch.[1] We kept baby monitors on the table, along with a six pack or bottle of wine.  A cheap double date with Trivial Pursuit.

She was a German immigrant who worked part-time at the video store up the street.  He was an Army veteran who was now a journeyman machinist.  He worked of the many small machine shops that sprang up around the area after NCR laid off most of their machinists in the conversion from mechanical cash registers.

He and I did not see eye-to-eye politically.  He was rabidly anti-union, defending his boss's right to shut down his dozen-person shop should he be targeted for unionization.  My neighbor worked for minimum wage at skilled job, with no benefits. (He talked about this with pride.) I'm pretty certain he received the Earned-Income Tax Credit, based on that. [2]

My neighbor, even though he probably never paid Federal income tax, would never have thought Romney was talking about him.  He would have thought that Romney was talking about someone else, someone who didn't work for a living.  Probably someone with a different skin tone than his.  My neighbor would probably have thought his EIC was his "refund", rather than a benefit. (I never understood how a machinist could not be good at arithmetic, but I had to help him out with numbers constantly.)

My neighbor said he was independent, but I'm pretty sure he never voted anything but Republican.

That's why this Romney tape doesn't mean much to that "independent" base, or even the Republican base.  The low-income, problem-with-Kansas voter will not get angry about it because they don't think Romney is talking about them. 

It's more important for the Democratic base.  We know who Romney was talking about.  He was talking about anyone who's ever had to rely on the government to get us out of a tight spot, for no matter how small a time.   Anyone who's ever been helped by a government program.

He and Ryan want to take that away.  Forever.

[1] It was a big porch. We still miss that porch.

[2] Minimum wage was $3.15.  Assuming, generously, that he worked 40 hours a week and 20 hours overtime, for 50 weeks a year, his income would've been $11, 575, smack dab in the middle of the EIC range in the late 80's, the time period I'm referring to in this post.

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