WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2012
That fact is politically dangerous: For what it’s worth, that fact about the 47 percent is politically dangerous. But first:
In July 1987, we learned a valuable lesson from watching Oliver North.
North testified on network TV about the Iran-contra matter. He had never been seen in public before.
We thought he was an absolute clown. Late that day, we chuckled as we went to the pool to swim some laps.
A few days later, the polling came in. The American public was in love with the wonderful Oliver North!
Within a few years, the public’s view of North had changed. In 1994, he lost a Virginia Senate race to Chuck Robb, in a Republican year.
We never really understood why the public changed its mind. But back in 1987, we learned a valuable lesson from those polls. We learned that the way we view an event may not align with the way the public views it.
We’ve been thinking about Oliver North in the past few days. Mitt Romney made some unfortunate remarks about the 47 percent of adults who don’t pay federal income tax.
Politically, that is a dangerous fact if it isn’t explained with great skill and great care. Many liberals don’t seem to see that. They may be reacting to that fact the way we reacted to North.
Forty-seven percent of adults don’t pay federal income tax! If it isn’t explained with great care, that fact can be very dangerous. Never mind how Romney’s statements sound to you. Absent skillful explanation, Romney’s statements may sound quite different to many voters.
Forty-seven percent of adults don’t pay federal income tax! There are dangerous ways to explain that fact.
We’ve heard quite a few this week. More on this topic tomorrow.