Monday, December 12, 2011

I'll Bet You $10,000....

That Romney's "bet" line during the debate was carefully scripted and calculated, intended to catch the attention of the media and to shut down a "zombie lie" that had been repeatedly used against him. I will (rhetorically) bet you $10,000 that Romney and his team weighed what dollar amount to use... they didn't want anything too small because it might sound silly or suggest Romney thought he might lose, but they didn't want anything too big because it might sound like something a child might say while also magnifying Romney's wealth. Heck, if we increase by orders of magnitude, you would probably have to make it, "I'll bet you $100,000,000", before you reached the point where Romney's long-term budget would be affected by the loss, $1 billion before it would actually be more than he could cover.

It's no surprise that Rick Perry is trying to build a comeback on the bet,
Perry on Fox News Sunday called the bet "a little out of touch with the normal Iowa citizen." The Perry campaign also produced a web video focusing on Romney's position on the health insurance mandate and the debate moment. While ominous music plays and images of Romney flicker, words on the screen read, "One bet you can count on... the truth isn't for sale."
What's missing from that? Any concession that Romney was right and Perry was wrong. Amazing, Romney tried to kill a lie and it's his tactic that gets all the attention. The truth? Who cares, right? (At the same time, Romney has suggested that a mandate would be a good approach for many, perhaps most, states, so Perry's mistake was in focusing on an imagined contradiction between versions of the book as opposed to focusing on Romney's past statements about mandates. Although, given Perry's new tack of "I'll win this by bashing gays," perhaps the real problem is that he doesn't understand that a "mandate" doesn't involve being compelled to date men.)
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman -- who is trying to gain momentum in New Hampshire, where Romney currently leads -- went so far as to create an entire website slamming Romney for the debate moment:
Yes, featuring headlines like "Romney's $10,000 bet highlights personal wealth". Thanks, Jon, for letting us know that rich people shouldn't run for President and... that you'll be dropping out of the race? Seriously. Perhaps you should be taking notes from Newt Gingrich, yet another out-of-touch rich man, that you shouldn't be saying and doing things that suggest that you, also, are out of touch. I'll grant, Gingrich has a number of money-related issues that Huntsman has avoided, but I doubt that Huntsman really wants the eyes of the nation focused on his wealth and lifestyle.

Romney's comments over the years have confirmed that, as a phenomenally rich man, he is out-of-touch with the financial situation of an average person. Which, in terms of national politicians positioned to gain a presidential nomination, is par for the course. The shock these days is when somebody whose net worth is probably only in the seven digits manages to prevail. If "Romney's rich and out of touch" is a real story, worthy of potentially taking down his bid for the nomination, why only now? To me, it seems like the media is following, and thereby magnifying, the buzz rather than covering the story.

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