Political Animal


November 16, 2011 3:00 PM Romney thinks Americans ‘avoid the hard work’

By Steve Benen

President Obama spoke to American business leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, and said policymakers haven’t been aggressive enough in attracting businesses to American soil.

“We’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades,” Obama said about business outreach. “We’ve kind of taken for granted, well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new businesses into America.”

If you’re thinking, even the most unhinged, right-wing Republican would support the president’s willingness to be more aggressive in bringing businesses to the United States, you’re wrong.

Mitt Romney, either because he’s not terribly bright or because he’s hoping voters aren’t terribly bright, launched a new attack based on Obama’s comments. As the Republican presidential candidate sees it, the president “said that Americans are lazy.” That’s not true, but Romney isn’t exactly fact-oriented. The former governor added that Obama says “disparaging things about Americans.”

As it turns out, there is a presidential candidate who’s argued that Americans “avoid the hard work” that’s needed for the country to get ahead. The candidate is Mitt Romney, who put the argument in his book:

“We have been accustomed to being the world’s leading nation for so long, enjoying the freedom, security, and prosperity that comes with that leadership, that we have tended to avoid the hard work that overcoming challenges requires.”

So, as Romney sees it, Americans have grown so complacent, we’ve become slothful.

The former governor said yesterday the president doesn’t “understand” Americans. It seems like Romney has this backwards.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • Robert on November 16, 2011 3:14 PM:

    My Republican friends (I have a couple) tell me that the reason unemployment is so high is because lazy people (they mean "Democrats") are not willing to work! On the one hand the 'recession is the fault of Obama and Democratic policies holding back business and on the other hand its the fault of lazy union members unwilling to work hard. One thing of which they are certain, it's not the fault of the Republicans.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on November 16, 2011 3:38 PM:

    And with all the Republican lying, Democrats still can't figure out how to win the messaging war. I'm still in amazement at that. I'd start by labeling them liars every time they do it. And proving it. Silly me.

  • Michael on November 16, 2011 3:48 PM:

    "The former governor said yesterday the president doesn’t “understand” Americans. It seems like Romney has this backwards.

    Correct. Romney doesn't understand the president OR Americans. Or foreign policy. Or basic economics. Or business ethics. Or the importance of sustainable energy, or...

  • Objective Dem on November 16, 2011 3:49 PM:

    I heard Thomas Friedman make a very similar comment recently during a speech. He basically said other countries are surpassing the US because we don't work hard enough.

    I understand that other countries have longer school days and I'm not opposed to that (as long as there is also less homework). But the average person I know works pretty hard. I feel lucky when I have both a Saturday and Sunday off work. And its not uncommon to work 7 days a week.

  • Gov't Mule on November 16, 2011 3:56 PM:

    Pug-faced Charles Krauthammer went off on BHO for falsely saying he thinks Americans are lazy. No doubt he will ignore this as yet another case of IOKIYAR.

  • Trollop on November 16, 2011 3:59 PM:

    Americans are slothfully ignorant, but that is beside the point. Who gives a flying fuck about Mitt Romney? He is high if he thinks he's going to be POTUS. It would be a very cold day in hell were that to occur. I have no idea why any of them bother, none of them are going to win.

  • T2 on November 16, 2011 4:00 PM:

    I seem to remember George W. Bush complaining about the presidency being "hard work". And I can understand George saying that, considering he'd never actually held a real job. I can't see Mitt getting his hands too dirty at work either. Rick Perry has been on the public payroll in largely symbolic jobs his entire life.

  • June on November 16, 2011 4:02 PM:

    Actually, Benen, it seems to me Romney is a goddamned liar. Damn, I wish "statesmanship" didn't have to get in the way of some prominent Democrat saying that.

  • cld on November 16, 2011 4:06 PM:

    Clearly we don't deserve to breathe the same lofty air as the supermen.

  • c u n d gulag on November 16, 2011 4:12 PM:

    Well, if the 'hard work' is eliminating other, even more hard-working people's jobs so that he can make hundreds of millions, then I guess "Fill-in the _____" Romney knows wtf he's talking about.

    What a useless, thoughtless Galtian cretin.

  • Rick Massimo on November 16, 2011 4:14 PM:

    Funny, Herman Cain said if you aren't rich and you don't have a job it's your own damn fault.

    Is that OK because Herman Cain said it, or because he was only insulting the Americans it's OK to insult? I can never keep it straight ...

  • stormskies on November 16, 2011 4:17 PM:

    Maybe David "I am not a used corporate condom" can have a special on this next Sunday that focuses on WHY THE REPIGLICANS NEED TO LIE ABOUT EVERYTHING, INCLUDING THE USED CONDOM HIMSELF ....

  • cld on November 16, 2011 4:18 PM:

    Only Republicans are real Americans.

    Only Republicans work.

    Because Republicans know this we know it is true.

  • T2 on November 16, 2011 4:18 PM:

    Rick, Cain was joking.

  • JEA on November 16, 2011 4:22 PM:

    Extolling "American exceptionalism" while denigrating Americans as lazy good-for-nothing slobs

    What could be more patriotic than THAT?

  • RollaMO on November 16, 2011 4:25 PM:

    "...and that is why I hire undocumented workers to do my lawn....."

  • Keith Roberts on November 16, 2011 4:32 PM:

    Romney's lie about what Obama said will become the "truth" when Republican ad money gets behind it.

  • slappy magoo on November 16, 2011 5:12 PM:

    I sadly had a few facebook friends make comments about how angry they were that Obama called Americans lazy. I had not been watching the news at all, but I did a simple google search and found plenty of outrage. 30 seconds later, I found the quote, even in an attempt take it out of context, it was obvious Obama was not calling Americans lazy (for added measure, since Obama was in Hawaii, it was kosher to say that he called Americans "lazy" while "overseas," to boot).

    never doubt that the right wing anti-American scumbags leading this charge know that they're lying. They know they're lying. They don't even care if you believe them. What they want is that little niggling of doubt in Obama, and Democrats in general. Just enough doubt that maybe you won't go out and vote.

    That's how they win.

  • emjayay on November 16, 2011 5:35 PM:

    Union workers are lazy. Please ignore the fact that much more unionized Canada is doing fine. And I'm sure everyone is aware (because it's on the news all the time lately) that Germany is the star economy in Europe. Highly unionized Germany.

    As far as Americans being complacent...I thought that ended with Sputnik and then again when Japan started to do so well in the 70's.

    As far as American exceptionalism...sure we started the modern democracy/individual rights thing. And we eventually saved the good guys of the world's ass in WWII. Good for us. But I'm thinking that the segment of our population that thinks that way, while waving a flag and wearing a 3XL flag pattern shirt from Walmart, is the most undereducated segment. Which ultimately is what is and will hold us back in the modern world. Not some president being a bit objective.

  • Robert Rosenthal on November 16, 2011 9:15 PM:

    Was going to comment, but RollaMO beat me to it.

  • Nameless Faceless Liberal on November 16, 2011 9:48 PM:

    I am a main street liberal and I wish someone would speak up for me. Mittens has insulted me completely.

    I've worked since I was 17. Every time I turn around, some big corporation is raising my insurance, my property taxes, my food prices, my gas prices. Every time I get more education to increase my skill sets, the tuition gets raised between the time I start and the time I finish. My utilities have never gone down. My various car loans are more each time, as are the tags and registration fees. I see less green spaces every year. My movie gallery is gone. My library hasn't bought a decent book in two years, but they have a whole row of new computers. Vet bills are through the roof, sometimes so much so I go without some staple to get my animals treated.

    I am a liberal, once a Christian liberal before Dobson and his ilk drove me away from their religion. My bills are not overdue. My yard is mowed. I love my flag, my country, and have served both in the military. And I refuse to kneel to the rich and corporate America, since supposedly both I and they already have a god.

    I wish someone would speak for me. For the hundreds like me in this town. For the thousands like me in this state. For the millions like me across this nation. But no lie about liberals is contested, and now one half of this nation is pitted against the other half because of that lack. I wish someone would speak up for me.

  • worcestergirl on November 17, 2011 8:45 AM:

    So poor Mittens takes to the fainting couch because Obama is saying disparaging things about 'Murikins.

    I wish I had the links, because Mitt said plenty of disparaging things about awful it was for him to deal with the citizens of Massachusetts, after he left office.

    But I suppose in Republican-speak, we aren't real Americans.

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