BREAKING: Bob Beauprez’s 47% Moment

“There’s that smell again.”

THURSDAY UPDATE: The Washington Post's Paul Waldman writes this morning, as this story catches on nationally with a swiftness that can only be explained by the prophetic similarity to Mitt Romney's subsequent and ill-fated 47% speech:

The Beauprez video was taken in 2010, in an appearance before a Rotary Club, and it’s familiar by now — the 47 percent figure, the assurance that those in the room are not part of the moocher class, and the conspiratorial theory that Democrats have created this situation for political ends…

If you want a refresher on the 47 percent claim, The Post’s Fact Checker did one in 2012, but the short version is that while approximately that many people don’t pay federal income tax (credit to Beauprez for being specific about that), many of them are elderly people no longer working, and most of the rest pay substantial payroll taxes, not to mention all the other kinds of taxes we all do, such as gas taxes and sales taxes and property taxes.

But what’s revealing about this factoid is that when it is offered, you almost never hear it followed by a particular policy argument about taxes. Neither Beauprez nor Mitt Romney raised the 47 percent claim and then said that in response we ought to raise rates on the working poor or cut the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is what brings the federal income tax bill for so many of them down to zero (and, by the way, was once something Republicans championed). That’s because the 47 percent argument isn’t really about tax policy. It’s about aiming resentment downward, dividing Americans into the virtuous and the contemptible.

MSNBC's Steve Benen:

​Beauprez continues to believe exactly what he said in 2010. Indeed, the Denver Post report added, “Reached while traveling, Beauprez’s campaign stood by the remarks.”
 
And that’s the problem.
 
Ed Kilgore noted in response, “Lord knows how many of these ‘47 percent’ videos are floating around, or will yet be made. Truth is, this line of ‘argument’ is like a bottomless crack pipe for Republicans, flattering their ‘base’ as the people actually doing all the work in our society and blasting those people as not only lazy and worthless but as dupes of a shady vote-buying elite.”
 
I’d just add that Beauprez’s perspective appears to be based, at least in part, on some basic confusion about tax policy. The Republican is concerned about the “47 percent of all Americans [who] pay no federal income tax,” but this is an incomplete look at a larger picture.
 
As we’ve discussed before, millions of Americans may be exempt from income taxes because they simply don’t make enough money, but they still pay sales taxes, state taxes, local taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare/Medicaid taxes, and in many instances, property taxes. It’s not as if these folks are getting away with something – the existing tax structure leaves them out of the income tax system because they don’t make enough money to qualify. Indeed, many are retirees who can’t earn an income because they’re no longer in the workforce.

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UPDATE: As it turns out, the video below isn't the only time Bob Beauprez invoked the so-called "47%" to erroneously disparage millions of working class Americans like Mitt Romney did in 2012. Check out this April 2010 blog post, recovered from Beauprez's now-moribund A Line of Sight blog:

The Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute determined that nearly half of tax filers in America, 47%, in 2009 will pay no income tax. The rest get the whole bill. In fact, many of those that pay no income tax will actually receive checks from the government who got it from the other half of the American taxpayers – consistent with Obama’s “spread the wealth” ideology.

Don't try to reconcile this with Beauprez's civil war "worries," because the two put together sound most unpleasant.

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UPDATE #2: FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

“It’s shocking that a candidate for Governor would basically accuse half of the population of being freeloaders,” said Colorado Democratic Chairman Rick Palacio. “Not only is Beauprez out of touch, but his elitist remarks show that he has no respect for Colorado’s seniors, our veterans or hard working families that are struggling to get by.”

Beauprez’s campaign is standing by the remarks.

“In full context, it’s clear [Bob’s] saying that it’s sad more people are not doing well enough to pay federal income tax,” said Dustin Olson, Beauprez’s campaign manager. “Bob’s focused on strengthening our economy so more people have jobs and can prosper. Like Bob has been saying we should be focused on lifting people up and creating more opportunity…"

9NEWS' Kyle Clark:

"It's ironic that Congressman Beauprez is accusing half of Coloradans of being "takers", including veterans and seniors, but now he is on a Unity Tour across the state," said Rick Palacio, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party.

"After Coloradans have worked together to recover from fires and floods, the last thing we need is the divisive type of extreme rhetoric that Bob Beauprez has spent his career peddling," Palacio said.

Beauprez's campaign countered that the 2010 speech was intended to highlight the dismal state of the American economy, not cast aspersions on low income Americans…

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beauprezdemsfear

The Denver Post's Joey Bunch and Kurtis Lee, out this evening with a devastating newly unearthed video from GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez's past (video above, good stuff starts about about 5:30 in. Remember when Mitt Romney endorsed Beauprez? That connection is about to make Beauprez very uncomfortable:

On a day when the Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez toured the state to "build unity," a video surfaced that Democrats say shows his divisiveness.

The video shows Beauprez in a speech to the Denver Rotary Club in 2010 making comments that are similar to those that hurt Mitt Romney's challenge to President Barack Obama two years later.

"I see something that frankly doesn't surprise me, having been on Ways and Means Committee: 47 percent of all Americans pay no federal income tax," the former congressman said. "I'm guessing that most of you in this room are not in that 47 percent — God bless you — but what that tells me is that we've got almost half the population perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill and most of that half is you all."

The story is already spreading nationally, Talking Points Memo:

It's not precisely the same as the original Mitt version. But it's close. And in some ways goes in still new directions. The video appears to be from 2010. He generally describes the fat and happy poors among us who are "perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill and most of that half is you all." "I submit to you that there is a political strategy to get slightly over half and have a permanent ruling majority by keeping over half of the population dependent on the largess of government that somebody else is paying for."

As we've recounted in this space, there are a wealth of very nasty, in a number of cases even race-ending gaffes and extreme statements waiting for Bob Beauprez to explain now that he's the GOP's nominee. Beauprez is already taking heat over his Obama/civil war comments. Nobody has revisited his rant about Shariah law is 'sneaking in' to Colorado, how climate change is a hoax, or his "birther" dalliances since he won the primary. And there is a lot more out there that we haven't even blogged about, much less seen exposure in the press.

That said, there's something special about these remarks, and how closely they parallel Romney's infamous "47%" speech. For that reason alone, this could be the event that precipitates Beauprez's next electoral disaster.

41 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Oh no he did not.

  2. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    See them now for who they are, Colorado. Remember when you realized Romney was a silver spoon douchebag who would never care abiout you and your family? Relive that feeling again now.

  3. Republican 36 says:

    Here we go again!

    When my Republican friends told me in March they were so excited Mr. Beauprez was running for governor, I thought to myself: They have to be kidding. Coloraodpols pointed out the day it leaked Beauprez was going to run for governor that he was politically radioactive and just as much a right-wing extremist as Messrs.Tancredo, Gessler and Kopp with as much or more baggage than any of them. And here we are, just over a week since Mr. Beauprez won the primary, and he is almost daily doing damage to himself. 

    If I was Congressman Gardner, I'd be very worried this evening.

    • Republican 36 says:

      Commissioner Repella Don't Waste Your Time

      I should have added that his campaign's explanation for his 2010 speech is utter nonsense. Its amazing, either Mr. Beauprez or his campaign staff has to recharacterize everything he has said in the past. For example, his comments about believeing in an armed revolution because Obama is president. When a candidate has to recharacterize all of their previous positions he/she is in trouble.

      If I was Commissioner Repella, I wouldn't waste my time.

  4. DavieDavie says:

    As he apparently is incapable of coming up with his own insights and policies, Beauprez illustrates the dangers of simply parroting the GOTP talking points du jour.

    He clearly demonstrated that he has the intellect of, well, a parrot.

    • dustpuppydustpuppy says:

      American Society of Parrots on line 3….. 

       

      …something about insulting the parrots intelligence level and wants to make an suggestion about being as smart as a dog turd.

       

  5. skeptical citizen says:

    Will BWB try to explain his way out of this mega-gaffe? Pass the popcorn.

  6. MichaelMichael says:

    Well… that was over quickly.

  7. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    He may not be quite done yet, but flip him over before he burns on that side. 

  8. dwyer says:

    I would only say that four years ago was four years ago.  Is Beauprez making mistakes, now?  Do voters who were not in Colorado in 2010 have any idea of what BWBs is all about?

    • Ralphie says:

      It falls to the Hickenlooper campaign (or more properly, outside PACs) to make them aware.  That's politics.

    • Republican 36 says:

      Mr. Beauprez has been acting out this way for the past eight years. As Davie points out above, Beauprez is incapable of saying anything past the right-wing talking points. He is very uninformed and doesn't even try to understand underlying facts in a given situation and how they interact and from there what to do about it. In Mr. Beauprez's world, the sky is green because ironclad ideology says so. For him, objective observation that indicates its blue is irrelevant. This is a guy who has been saying for eight years he will cut state taxes if elected without even the slightest reference to what that will mean for higher education (extreme tuition increases above and beyond those recent annual hikes); closing down any road construction or major maintenance projects and the loss to rural counties much of their tax base (he wants to terminate the personal property tax). By the sway, all of which would be a significant drag on economic development. He never connects the dots between one policy and how it will affect other programs in state government. He doesn't even try to do it. In his world, ironclad ideology dictates that cutting taxes is good, under all circumstances, for all time and the consequences of that are simply irrelevant because if cutting tacxes is good, then of course all the consequences flowing from that have to be good. Frankly, this is the kind of mindless perspective that is killing the Colorado Republican Party.

  9. HarleyHarley says:

    BUT both ways Bob is correct–after all that famous "person" named General Electric Corporation hasn't paid any taxes for a bunch of years now.

  10. Wong21fr says:

    Beauprez once again shows his amazing ability to stick his foot in his mouth while speaking out of his ass.

    I will be interested to see just how much of the business community breaks for Bob, especially the O&G industry.  On one hand he might be slightly more pro-business than Hickenlooper.  But, on the other hand, he'll be so blatanly pro-O&G that his mere presence in office will set off a shit-storm of local intiatives against the O&G industry.

    One guy has a long and successful track record of working with businesses and establishing solid relationships amongst competing interests, the other guy founded a bank that later failed.  Who do I trust as a businessperson?

  11. Urban Snowshoer says:

    While I think this will hurt Beauprez to a certain degree, I don’t think the damage will be commensurate with what happened to Mitt Romney. To a certain extent, the farther in the past, something like this occurred, the lesser the damage.

    Romney made his remarks during his campaign, whereas Beauprez’s spiel, however, tone-deaf and and condescending occurred in the past.    

    • DavieDavie says:

      Perhaps, but as long as more of these comments, on YouTube or the web, keep coming out, the campaign will be forced to "stand by" them, and attempt to airbrush away the worst of the implications.  So the Both Ways Bob meme will continue.

      And it likely won't help his fundraising efforts, so this could continue to be a very expensive vanity campaign on his part.

      Putting lipstick on this pig will be a full time job for the Beauprez campaign

      • Urban Snowshoer says:

        @Davie

        Just remember the context of Romney's downfall; the video with his 47% remarks was taken at a fundraiser, the asssumption being that the fundraisers believed that nearly half the country is lazy and doesn't want to work.

        Although the context of the Beauprez video may be somewhat different than Romney, towing the line about "makers versus takers" could very much work to Beauprez's advantage, in terms of fundraising, because it what a significant part of the Republican Party seems to believe. For this reasonI don't see how this hurts Beauprez's fundraising.

        • DavieDavie says:

          Other than the thought of wasting money on a candidate that needs a cleanup squad to follow him everywhere he goes?

          GOP insiders knew of Beauprez's history of faux pas, but thought they would be manageable.  Once they start seeing that might not hold true, I doubt they'll be turning up the flow of money.  Nor does BWB have a natural constituency of regular contributors — witness his feeble primary fundraising results.

          Smart money knows when and where to place strategic investments, and when to cut losses.  With a continuing stream of bad publicity, BWB's campaign is likely to suffer the same death of a thousand cuts that Romney's did.

    • Republican 36 says:

      You're correct that no one can predict the political damage his comments from 2010 will do to Mr. Beauprez's 2014 campaign but according to the Denver Post story, he is standing by his 2010 comments. In other words, he still believes those individuals on social security, military retirement, military disability, and medicare are all moochers trying to live off the other half. How dare he attempt to call veterans who put their lives on the line for their country or people who have paid into social security and medicare for decades moochers. He is mocking almost every working person in the United States of America. His 2010 comments and, even worse, his standing by them today, is disrespectfull of every working American and disgraceful. He should resign the Republican nomination today.

  12. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Note to Cory: Be careful for what you wish.

  13. dwyer says:

    Here is a very good analysis from the Brookings Institution of what that 47% means.  It does NOT mean that 47% are receiving government payments.

    It does mean that many working Americans, who don't make enough to pay federal income tax, do pay social security and medicare tax.  Here is the link:

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2012/09/21-five-myths-gale-marron

    The question that Beauprez should be asked every time he shows up anyplace where he will take questions:  "Are you receiving Medicare?
    Who is paying for that?

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