Predictably, the National Review says "Sure, Mitt might have phrased things more elegantly.... But now he has a choice--to back away from the implication of his off-the-cuff remarks ... or to embrace the stark dichotomy he laid out and go with it."
What's especially peculiar about the NR's impressive manliness is that the metaphor it employs is Gen. Lee at Gettysburg--"not a battle he sought, but once started it was a battle he had to win. And he lost." That Lee had lost before the war even started--given the immutable facts of the South's deficient manpower, staggering industrial underdevelopment, appalling socioeconomic stratification, pervasive cultural stupidity and ignorance and, just to top things off, a marketed war of "principles" built on extravagant lies--never seems to occur to these strangely metaphorical, counterfactual historians.
But, whatever. Back to NR's own, contemporary ignorance, as so beautifully articulated in this passage:
What [Romney] ought to do is step up and embrace the basic division in our nation, including the fact that nearly half the country pays no income taxes. Acknowledge it — and then explain why, morally, this is not a good thing. Why having no skin in the game while at the same time demanding a say in the proceedings at the federal level is fundamentally undemocratic.
As Ezra Klein explains to the children--again--this morning, it was Republican tax cuts that diminished the percentage of income-tax-paying Americans, yet now, in one of their ruder turns, it is Republicans "arguing that these Americans they have helped free from income taxes have become a dependent and destabilizing 'taker' class":
The antidote, as you can see in both Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney’s policy platforms, is to further cut taxes on "job creators" while cutting the social services that these takers depend on.
Or, as Gen. Lee might have put it: These damn uneducated black "takers," whose education, incidentally, we have banned, simply refuse to expend good honest labor--the fruits of which we also deny them--hence rich, slaveholding whites' superior position in Southern society becomes more superior and more necessary every day. Yet, we continue to "give."
Or, and this is how I'd put it: In NR's "democracy," every American's proper place is one based entirely on one's financial success; thus the franchise is converted into a sliding bank-account scale on which the rich are most favorably weighted.
And conservatives call lefties the "materialists." That's the real philosophical hell of it.