Much attention has been paid to President Obama’s recent “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that” line. That’s despite the fact that it was taken out of context and the fact that, even if it is what Obama really believes, it’s not something he would deliberately say in public. Obviously, it is either just inelegant phrasing or some secret Freudian slip that reveals the real evil underneath. Conservative pundits have gone with option No. 2.
But little attention has been paid to this remark by Mitt Romney at a recent high-dollar fund-raiser: “The waiters and waitresses that come in and out of this room and offer us refreshments, they’re not having a good year.”
Set aside the obvious rudeness of making remarks about people who, by the nature of their position, have no power to respond. Romney is clearly using these people as stand-ins for the middle class. But there is no evidence that he knows anything about them or that he attempted to learn anything.
No doubt, many waiters and waitresses are struggling, and many people regard those jobs as low status and undesirable. But it isn’t clear that either of those things applies to the people who were working Mitt Romney’s room. They may love their jobs. They may all have gotten raises this week. They may resent being singled out publicly as examples of the struggling middle class.
If so, Romney probably will never hear about it. He doesn’t see them, doesn’t hear them, doesn’t know or care about their concerns. They aren’t real people, just grist for the political mill.
On the other hand, somebody at Democratic Underground pointed out that if the waiters and waitresses were getting 20 percent of each $50,000 plate, they had a pretty good night.