I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.
Part V: Americans as Lucky:
Having (falsely) established that he is as much of a pull-himself-up-by-his-own-bootstraps I-was-raised-with-good-values everything-I-have-I-earned-the-old-fashioned-way-by-hard-work kind of guy, Romney then does something that makes me like him. He pivots to making the very true point that all Americans should be very grateful for the opportunities that this great country offers us all.
But then, having gone there, he feels that he has to deny that America will stay great. He has to once again invoke the "wrong track" trope--and, remember, that carries with it Republican apocalyptic overtones of permanent loss by America of its purity of essence. And he has to express "concern" about the future.
I have not read enough in Republican rhetoric of the past to have any sense that I understand where this apocalyptic fear comes from. I suspect it was introduced by William F. Buckley's desire to pose as "standing athwart history"--one of his many intellectual crimes.
Romney: I say that because there's the percent that's, "Oh, you were born with a silver spoon," you know, "You never had to earn anything," and so forth.
And, and frankly, I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you could have, which is to get born in America. I'll tell ya, there is—95 percent of life is set up for you if you're born in this country. And I remember going to—sorry just to bore you with stories—but I was, when I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there, employed about 20,000 people, and they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married, and they worked in these huge factories, they made various small appliances, and as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with little bathrooms at the end with maybe ten rooms. And the rooms, they had 12 girls per room, three bunk beds on top of each other. You've seen them.
Audience Member: Oh, yeah.
Romney: And around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire, and guard towers. And we said, "Gosh, I can't believe that you, you know, you keep these girls in." They said, "No, no, no—this is to keep other people from coming in. Because people want so badly to come work in this factory that we have to keep them out, or they'll just come in here and start working and try and get compensated. So, we—this is to keep people out."
And they said, "Actually, Chinese New Year, is the girls go home, sometimes they decide they've saved enough money and they don't come back to the factory." And he said, "And so on the weekend after Chinese New Year, there'll be a line of people hundreds long outside the factory, hoping that some girls haven't come back and they can come to the factory. And so, as we were experiencing this for the first time, for me to see a factory like this in China some years ago, the Bain partner I was with turned to me and said, "You know, 95 percent of life is settled if you're born in America."
This is an amazing land. And what we have is unique, and fortunately it is so special we're sharing it with the world. I'm concerned about the future, but also optimistic as I said, and I look forward to getting America back on track, and having people plan on bringing their ideas and their dreams to this country.
We get big dreamers, by the way...