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Michael Gerson's column on the 47 percent.
WASHINGTON--The velocity and compression of the news cycle--along with the manic, serial certainty of those who inhabit it--have become discrediting. It took just hours for a general assessment that Mitt Romney's Boca Raton video was fatal to his candidacy to become a broad suspicion that the initial assessment was overblown. When every event in a campaign
In fact, the video confirmed an existing stereotype of Romney and Republicans as wealthy white businessmen, clinking wine glasses while bemoaning the irresponsibility of the help. This probably does not change the fundamental dynamic of the race, because few imagined Romney to be a closet populist. The problem for Romney is that the fundamental dynamic
It is possible that America--fed up with economic stagnation and worried about international disorder--will turn, in the end, to a solid, competent Republican stereotype. But that raises another issue concerning the video--a matter of governing, not politics.
While the Romney video was making news, I was reading some recent research by Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam. He recounts an interview with a woman given the fictional name of Mary Sue, who lives in a declining industrial town in Ohio. Mary Sue's parents divorced when she was young. Her mother became a stripper and left for days at a time. Her stepmother beat her and confined her to a single room. Mary Sue told the interviewer that, for a time, her only friend had been a yellow mouse who shared the apartment.
Mary Sue went in and out of juvenile detention. One boyfriend burned her arms with cigarettes. Her current partner has two children by two other women.