Instant karma‘s gonna get you baby…
Mitt Romney’s failure to thank a waiter unleashed the 47 per cent killer video: Mallick
- by Heather Mallick
- March 15, 2013
Mitt Romney doesn’t drink. So it sounds odd to say that his presidential campaign was destroyed by a bartender, but it’s true. The irony of the story is so thick I can scarcely battle through it.
For the man who secretly filmed the famous “47 per cent” video of Romney mocking Obama supporters in May 2012 was, as it turns out, the guy behind the bar.
I and many other journalists who relentlessly studied that video of a private fundraiser at which Romney spoke in Boca Raton, Fla., missed the obvious bit. We were so busy checking out the guests’ hair and outfits. Was it the annoyed liberal girlfriend of a rich Republican donor? A Democrat spy? A fan who just wanted to celebrate the greatness of The Mitt?
At the time I described everything within sight of the camera and missed one clue, the fact that a tower of napkins was stacked on the left-hand corner of the shiny marble slab — duh, a bar — where the camera sat. As random bartenders said later when interviewed, yeah, that’s how we plant the napkins.
Here’s what Romney said on the night, infuriating a significant number of voters, rich and non-rich alike. “There are 47 per cent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what . . . who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims . . . These are people who pay no income tax . . . and so my job is not to worry about those people.”
It was filmed by a man called Scott Prouty, who finally outed himself this week, the Deep Throat of the American hospitality industry.
Prouty, on duty that night, brought his Canon camera in case Romney decided to do what affable Bill Clinton had done at another event Prouty had worked at. Clinton, who does drink, among other hobbies, had gone back to the kitchen and worked the room with obvious enjoyment, thanking everyone from chefs to busboys. Prouty was hoping to film Romney doing the same thing.
Instead Romney arrived and told the staff to “move things along,” as the Washington Post reported. He was just being Mitt the Stiff, but it rankled. It made Prouty remember a previous occasion when he had served Romney a Diet Coke with lemon, placed nicely on a napkin.
This was a man used to obedient servants.
Prouty wanted to release the video — he eventually did to James Carter and Mother Jones magazine — to give ordinary people a chance to discover what Romney really thought about them. But he was terrified of losing his job or facing a lawsuit for illegal filming. As the Washington Post2 reported, Prouty, 38, had no car, no health insurance and no prospects. He and his girlfriend had a precarious life.
Scott Prouty had nothing to gain and everything to lose, but he released the video anyway because he thought it was the right thing to do. It clearly was. It’s perfectly fair to tape the speeches of any candidate from any party.
Oh, but the irony. If Romney didn’t start drinking liquor for the first time on Wednesday — I’m pretty sure his wife Ann did — I would be surprised and impressed.
What I can’t get over is the missing “thank you.” I’ve had people hand me dirty diapers and I thanked them. Of course they were related to me, but still.
I have thanked salespeople for failing to stock the item I requested. I have thanked waiters for inedible food and terrible service, and tipped them 20 per cent.
And I have done this because the one time I tipped 0 per cent still keeps me awake at night. I suspect a lot of insomniac Canadians spend the wee hours rehearsing not just the things they should have said, but regretting the things they didn’t do. That $5 is burning a hole in their pocket. They’ll go to their grave wishing they’d tossed it on the table as they left.
It’s not even the idea of karma, which strikes me as perfect nonsense. It’s that any one of us could become poor. Things can happen. That box the fridge came in could be your home one day. In fact, the day might come when you’re grateful for a box that big.
Tip hugely. Send your compliments to the chef. Don’t be a Mitt.
Hat-tip to Sam