Tuesday, September 18, 2012


“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. . . . These are people who pay no income tax. . . . My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
—Mitt Romney at a Republican fundraiser, Spring 2012
Mitt Romney

My mom, Elsie Weathers, was one of the "47 percent" Governor Romney claims to describe. She voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and would have voted for him this year, too. Warning: Don't let the meek smile fool you, Mr. Romney.

In her final years, my late mother, a tiny woman who died at the age of 93, paid no income taxes on her small social security income, and she relied on Medicare to pay her medical bills. She had never worked a regular job outside the home, so she had never paid any income taxes. Instead, she had raised five kids, scrubbed the floor of our kitchen twice a week, washed all our clothes, vacuumed the house, and handled all the finances in our family, buying the groceries and doling out each mortgage, utilities, and tuition check with extraordinary Finnish parsimony. Of course, Mom did pay sales taxes on every piece of clothing she bought for us kids (she bought little for herself), and she signed the check that paid the property taxes each year on the small house she and my dad had skrimped and saved in order to buy in 1956.

If, at the end of her life, Mitt Romney or anyone else had ever walked up to my mother and claimed that she was a moocher who took no "personal responsibility" for her life and had failed to pay her own way, my stubborn, proud little Finnish mother, who, it's true, never paid any income taxes of her own, would have kicked him emphatically in the . . . keister.


  1. Ditto. (Are you that guy who used to teach at VT, and who wrote an op-ed in the newspaper recently? The one who filled students' heads with garbage? We miss you!)

  2. That's me, Suzanne. Not just "garbage," but "mindless garbage" issued from my "frighteningly ignorant" head when I taught, according to one of my critics. I miss you guys, too!