It's often hard to predict how political revelations will affect the public discourse, or in many cases, won't. Sure, I'm inclined to think it's a big deal that Mitt Romney sees nearly half the country as lazy parasites, but will others perceive it the same way?
It's why David Brooks' latest New York Times column is especially interesting.
[Romney's perspective at that recorded fundraiser] suggests that he really doesn't know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?
It suggests that Romney doesn't know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.
Brooks goes further, contrasting Romney's vision with the political culture, the social compact, and Americans' "ambition and motivation." Romney's remarks, the column concludes "is a country-club fantasy. It's what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney."
I'm not suggesting voters everywhere will recoil because of David Brooks' column, but Brooks will help shape the media's understanding of the controversy, and to put it mildly, he paints an unflattering portrait of the Republican candidate.