Okay, so most of us have heard Romney’s comment about how he “not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation.”
I want to focus on one problem with that statement. It doesn’t just make Romney look like an inept politician. It makes Romney look like an inept unprincipled politician. You can almost see the thought balloon over Romney’s head as he tries to manipulate his listeners. I think the Romney thought balloon would look a little something like this:
Well, the vast majority of Americans describe themselves as middle-class and those who describe themselves as “very poor” (I need to remember to work the “very” in there) probably have low voting rates. So I should position myself as the defender of the middle-class rather than the very poor. I should also throw in something about not representing the very rich.
There is just something so oily about how Romney goes about some of his panders. I think the single biggest part of his blunder isn’t that it creates a sense that he doesn’t “care” about the poor. I’m not sure a lot of persuadables are ready to believe that Romney wants the poor to suffer. This is a guy who tithes. The biggest part of the blunder is that he comes across like he is trying to hustle people who consider themselves middle-class. A more effective response by Romney would have been something like:
Those punished most by the wrong turns of the last three years are those unemployed or underemployed tonight and those so discouraged they’ve abandoned the search for work altogether. And no one’s been more tragically harmed than the young people of this country, the first generation in memory to face a future less promising than their parents did.
As Republicans, our first concern is for those waiting tonight to begin or resume the climb up life’s ladder. We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have-nots. We must always be a nation of haves and soon-to-haves.
That is from Mitch Daniels’ response to Obama’s State of the Union. Daniels and Romney are both smart guys, but Daniels has a big advantage when it comes to talking. Daniels really believes in a set of limited government, pro-effective government, pro-upward mobility, pro-growth policies, and Daniels is focused on explaining his beliefs to open-minded listeners. Romney is stuck pretending to believe whatever he imagines the average voter wants to hear.
Run Mitch Run