By now, I'm sure that Romney's statements at a fundraiser need little further comment. However, I happened to be reading an anthropology/history book from 1982 and was struck by how the Marxist framework's use of producers and takers sounded remarkably similar. Of course, in the Marxist framework the roles are reversed, with Romney's makers being the takers of a Marxist perspective.
This made me reflect on something I've mentioned before, how much the modern right resembles a kind of mirror image Marxism. Make Marx's villains heroes, add a sprinkling of nationalism and religiosity for flavor, and you can pretty much predict what the far right appears to believe, even down to the withering away of the state. It's something I find interesting that I still believe is under-explored, but not having lived through the shifts I'm probably not the best to remark on it in detail. It's something that also frightens me, Marxist thought, while valuable for researching certain topics, really wasn't able to grapple well with material reality. There's no reason to believe its mirror image would either. However, both Marxism and its mirror image seem well able to provide emotional fulfillment for their target audience. Probably something about their shared teleology and the certainty this provides, which must provide comfort even as it makes it harder to grapple with empirical reality (I don't understand why someone would adopt a teleological viewpoint like Marxism or modern conservatism so I won't bother pretending to).
What is also interesting is that the right's ranting makes a lot more sense if you assume they're shouting at an empty chair inhabited by the ghost of a left-wing liberal circa 1980. They really did sound like that once. But somewhere along the line the left managed to learn a few things and move on past that chair on to new, better arguments. Even the left fringe sounds different today, like in the last chapter of David Graeber's otherwise excellent Debt:The First 5000 Years.
The entirety of the Presidential race is just beginning to seem like two sides talking past each other, one modern, the other stuck in a timewarp to 1980. Heck, Romney even seems to think he's running against Jimmy Carter. What worries me is that the current ideology of the right wing has a hold similarly strong to that Bolshevism held in the Soviet Union. It bears so many similar characteristics, particularly with its power to justify and explain the world on a theoretical level (and, unfortunately, with similar accuracy).
Its kinda scary to consider arguing with an empty chair might win.