Columnist Jonathan Chait does a magnificent job of pulling Romney out of hot water and then throwing him into boiling oil.
It's a complicated story, but it turns out Romney "did not say that a salary between $200,000 and $250,000 a year counts as “middle income.”
I suppose you could say he asserted that if you used the truth standards of the Romney campaign — which allow you to clip phrases to change their meanings or even to present a person quoting something he disagrees with as his own position — but those aren’t truth standards I’d care to live by. What Romney actually said, in his interview with George Stephanopolous, was that he would not raise taxes on people earning below that level. ...Jonathan Chait, Daily Intel
And then it gets more tangled. I prefer to elbow my way past all that and go to the part with the boiling oil -- or the part where Romney "is retreating into incoherence," as Chait puts it.
Now Romney is saying he won’t raise taxes on any families earning less than a quarter million. But that just means his plan is completely mathematically impossible. He’s probably safer being attacked for making a series of promises that cannot be mathematically reconciled than being attacked for a specific ramification like raising taxes on the middle class. (Alternatively, Romney could just say he doesn’t care how much revenue he’d lose.)
The basic problem for Republicans is that their highest policy priority is to cut the effective tax rate paid by the richest 1 percent of Americans, but the vast majority of the voters don’t share that goal. Handling that problem is the single biggest challenge the Republican party faces. Normally, when a party has an extremely unpopular position, it just jettisons it. But Republicans care so much about this goal that they won’t give it up, which makes sense — you compromise on your secondary goals, not on your primary goal. Still, this ultimately places them in the position Romney finds himself and Paul Ryan and George W. Bush have found as well — the only way they can get elected is to obscure the real trade-offs and make up a bunch of fake numbers. ...Jonathan Chait, Daily Intel