(Emily Henry is the editor of Concord Patch.)
First, a disclaimer: I don't know if I could actually come up with 47 separate questions about Mitt Romney's "47 percent" speech — but it wouldn't be far off.
In the interest of brevity, I'll whittle it down to just 13. Here's what he said, and why I'm confused.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what."
Question 1: Are almost half of American voters apathetic to the political, economical and social changes affecting their own lives? Do they head to the polls just to tick the same box every four years out of habit? Does their chosen political party really have complete and unquestioned authority, no matter what?
Question 2: What if the president divorced Michelle and made Snooki the First Lady?
"There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it."
Question 3: If half of all Americans are victims, what does that make the other half? Culprits?
Question 4: Is the government not supposed to care about its citizens? Is that considered a conflict of interest?
Question 5: Doesn't the "health care" that the government provides to most of these "dependent" people start in the emergency room and end in a big, bankrupting check? Is that the "health care" we're talking about? Or is it programs like Medi-Cal, which provide limited access, subpar services and don't include dental care?
Question 6: Are the American people not entitled to food?
Question 7: Or does Romney mean they're not entitled to the $4 a day they get from food stamps?
Question 8: There 3.5 million Americans experiencing homelessness here in a given year. How is that possible if housing is so readily available from the government? Isn't there a chronic shortage of beds at homeless shelters? Isn't the average wait list for section 8 housing between five and eight years?
"My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Question 9: If you only worry about half of all Americans, wouldn't that make you only half a president?
Question 10: How do you explain "personal responsibility" to the millions of Americans working multiple jobs, longer hours, and earning lower wages than they did in their teens?
Question 11: How do you explain it to their kids, who have to raise themselves because their parents are never home? What about the teenagers who are forced to drop out of school so that they can get a job and contribute to the household income? What about the college graduates who are racking up tens of thousands of dollars in interest on their student loans because they can only afford to pay back the minimum amount, and so end up burdened by debt well into middle age?
Question 12: If half of Americans didn't care for their lives — wouldn't they be dead?
Question 13: Would that make things easier?
Do you have answers to these queries? Or questions of your own? Maybe you can bring the total to 47. Comment below.