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Why is Romney Talking About Poor People?

Updated at 7:30 am on Feb. 7

Mitt Romney made a Big Boo Boo the other day when he said he wasn’t concerned about poor people.

I don’t really think the statement was taken out of context, as some insist. I realize he was trying to say he truly loves the middle class. But there are certain people who just are physically unable of uttering such things about the poor, regardless of what sentences follow it.

I’m sure Mitt Romney cares about poor people. But maybe not as much as he should.

Mitt can’t change Mitt. But if he wants to win the election, what he has to do is ask himself a profound, searching and crucial question:

“Why am I talking about poor people in the first place?”

Obama has set a trap for Romney, and Romney has cluelessly walked directly into it. He’s even taken up happy residence there, wallowing in the political cage Obama has ensnared him in. It’s the prison of class warfare.

Obama can’t really run on his record, so he’s campaigning on notions of “fairness” and the travails inflicted on lower income people by rich bastards – like Romney, for instance.

If the election is about poor or even middle class people losing out, about the oppression of the Proletariat, then everyone knows the community organizer wins it.

A Republican who wants to beat Obama needs to run a campaign without reference to class. He must pit Obama’s divided society against a message of unity. Fairness must be cast not as equality of result, but equality of opportunity.

Conservatism, which Romney pretends to understand, is about raising everyone’s standard of living. It’s not about targeting this group or that for goodies or punishments.

Obama tirelessly intones that the rich must “do their fair share.” This, of course, is a euphemism for redistributionism. Romney should be saying he likes rich people so much, he wants everyone to be one.

He could present himself as above Obama’s class warfare tactics. But instilled with guilt, as liberal Republicans are wont to be, he feels he must answer and explain, to suggest he’ll make welfare programs stronger, and so forth.

It’s much harder not to talk about the wonder of safety nets, because people might think that just because you’re not signed up for a vast welfare state, that you don’t care. You have to really believe in conservative principles to take the heat.

And that’s exactly why conservatives have been so unsure about Mitt. He’ll fight the Democrats, but playing their game.

As long as Romney is talking class, he’s playing Obama’s game. It’s not a sport Romney knows how to play, and it’s not one he needs to play.

And not one he’ll win.

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58 Responses to Why is Romney Talking About Poor People?

  1. Romney, who is more and more looking to be the likely GOP nominee, needs to remind people that a “rising tide lifts all boats.” You’re right, if he tries to go head to head with the Obama team (which includes the MSM), he will look like an idiot. Obama has the class warfare agenda locked, and the GOP, be it Romney or whoever, need to remind people that the “O” team has had nearly four years to raise the tide of economic prosperity, and instead they are trying to drain the ocean.

    • He WANTS to be rich like the people he and Mooch aspire to hang with. But he isn’t really rich by those standards. Like Elizabeth Taylor said, a million isn’t what it used to be. The O’s only have a few of them. She had like 500+ of them when she died. Now THAT is rich.

  2. I think many if not most Americans just want to not be scared, broke or worried about being broke–they don’t really care that someone else has some money. Good for them! It’s not a zero-sum game…a rich guy did not take money from me. But an INCOMPETENT president did screw up what remained of a system in which I could scrounge some money–and did it BIG TIME!

    As for that rising tide thing, Sho–I have heard it reworded as a rising tide lifts all yachts, which always amuses me. In a sick way.

  3. Excellent article Keith. Mitt Romney is not a conservative so it is difficult for him to articulate conservative ideals. Unfortunately the establishment GOP has hitched their wagon to his star so they are doing everything within their power to make sure he is the nominee come hell or high water. After his faux pas of last week, his handlers have taken to putting his TV appearances under wraps so we won’t see him for what he really is – a Northeastern progressive.

    We need to replace Obama before he totally bankrupts this country, but it is going to be a hard sell with Romney at the helm. How do I convince my liberal friends to come to the dark side and vote Republican when our nominee is the only other elected official in the history of America to implement his own version of socialized medicine?

    • By emphasizing other things or pointing out that that was a state function, not national…and that Romney has pulled the trigger on huge complex deals involving his own money even…He can multitask and plan big projects. He is clunky sometimes, not a dopey show pony, etc etc…

      • He can’t hide behind the Tenth amendment here. We’re talking about individual freedom and liberty. Not one conservative who will tell you today that the individual mandate doesn’t rob us of our individual freedom, yet Romney defends it even now. Romneycare has received billions of US taxpayer money in the way of Medicaid waivers so you and I get to pay for Taxachusetts’ health care too. No wonder that is where Uncle Omar and Auntie Zetunia are hanging out. I’m not going to bend myself into a pretzel trying to defend this guy for the flat out leftist stuff he did in his past. And if being a good businessman makes someone a good president, why doesn’t the establishment go for gold and nominate Warren Buffett.

        Mark Levin gave the most devestating point by point rebuttal of Ann Coulter’s “Three Cheers for Romneycare” column. It is worth the 30 minutes.
        http://www.therightscoop.com/mark-levins-rebuttal-of-ann-coulters-three-cheers-for-romneycare-article/

        • I wish Levin would get out of the bunker more and confront the left on their playing field. Even with the biases shown by the talking heads, I think he would obliterate them.

    • At his very base, MrRomney’s Mormonism would preclude any of the usual liberal attitudes and policies that MrO embraces. It is my observation from living in a state that is run by, endorsed by, and populated with politically active Mormons, that their conservatism in all things would make the Catholic community seem like communists.
      IMO, anyway.

    • I think there are a lot of really good points here. Susan & Robin, you’re certainly right about Harry & Nancy, but I think srdem also has a good point. Remember, Romney was not just a Mormon, but a senior officer of the church. So it might mitigate some liberal tendencies. On the other hand, there’s no escaping that he’s basically a Rockefeller Republican, as they used to say. And Star, I agree he will find good ways to contrast himself w Obama. But I never got the State vs. federal program thing. Romneycare is the forerunner of Obamacare. Some of the same staffers worked on both proposals.

      • He has said he will repeal Obamacare, that this should not be a federal function…he says he has learned better…Maybe as governor he was paternalistic–trying to help people in the state–a wrong turn, I guess, in retrospect. But if we keep trashing this man, we are doomed to keep the present occupant of 1600 Penn. I simply cannot stand the thought of dragging myself through a repeat of all this. At least let’s have a new person to critique–an excuse for businesses to sit up and regroup…I need work. Millions need work. I need, pardon the expression, hope. “Hope” is even my legal middle name and I don’t have any! We need someone who can govern, think, administer–and we better style Romney into that person!

      • May I take a moment to clarify one statement you made Keith: “Romney was not just a Mormon, but a senior officer of the church.” If my understanding is correct, the most “senior” position that Mr. Romney has ever held is that of a stake president in the Massachusetts area. A stake president is an unpaid, volunteer position for a few years, usually about 5-9 years. He administers a group of wards, usually consisting of about 6-8 units of perhaps 500-600 members. In total a stake president usually oversees about 4000-5000 members, limited to a specific geographical area. He had no general authority over the Church, and no authority in any other area of the Church.
        The last published statistics from the Church state there are about 28,600 congregations around the world. Mr. Romney oversaw perhaps 8, maybe even 10, for a short period of time and area. To describe him as a “senior officer of the church” is not accurate.

  4. He didn’t say that he didn’t ‘Care About Poor People’, he said that he wasn’t ‘Concerned About the very poor’, because they have safty nets, and if the nets have holes he would close them, and he wasn’t concerned about the very rich because they are doing well. He then said that he was most concerned about the ‘ Middle Class’ because 95% of the people are in the middle class.

  5. A rising tide lifts all boats – but when you pull the drain plug, we all get sucked down.

    I think this is why Newt and Santorum are still holding on, we’re not happy with Mitt. If you took the ad money out of the game, they’d be doing better.

  6. A liberal democrat does not change his stripes because he changes parties.
    Romney will have many more gaffes that put a choke hold on his candidacy. As a recent article in the Baltimore Examiner noted, Romney is the wrong candidate at the wrong time.

      • You are absolutely correct. Mitt Romney is the candidate of the right wing media and the republican hierarchy, not the people. Obama has an excellent chance to beat him in the fall, much to my chagrin.

        • On Levin I heard an excellent anecdote from a caller Mark agreed with. It was about how the Republican party started by disbanding from the Whigs way back when. Caller pointed out if the the Republican establishment continues to propel these moderates, a conservative party could be born from the Republican party.
          But, I am and will be a very staunch supporter of the Republican nominee, and work my buns off for his election.

          • This Levin guy is so revered–Hannity calls him the great one–but with some of this stuff, he is going to get Obama re-elected–I am not an admirer of anyone who would cut of their nose to spite their face like that…If someone is thinking, oh, well, there’s always 2016, you are sticking America with that h/c abomination, a phone-it-in box-checking so-called “leader,” more vacays, more insidious regulations and controls, more unemployment, more debt, and maybe a nuclear exchange or detonation. By the time you find someone who meets your every little standard, it will be TOO LATE. The Whigs? Really? Whigs? Come on! If Romney is nominated and (please) wins–then we can turn around on all these sites and “hold him accountable” in every syllable like we do now–but we need to get rid of Obama!

          • Star, If you believe that is what Mark Levin is doing then you don’t listen to his show. He is a patriot who loves this country and the freedom and liberty our founders provided to us.That is your choice if you don’t want to listen to him. It is not your choice to tell me to sit down and be quiet about Romney’s record. That is exactly how we got into the trouble we are in now. We are in the process of vetting our candidates and I want to know everything there is to know about all of them. This is the most important election in our lifetime and I want to make the right choice. Take it from a long time Republican, the establishment is more interested in nominating someone who tows the party line rather than a statesman. I want a statesman for this critical time in history.

          • Romney’s lack of vision for America comes through in every speech. His history is one of constraints, mandates and very bad decisions as a politician. In the private sector many suffered for him to accumulate the wealth now sitting off shore. Many very smart bloggers on this site have seen the fallacies of his candidacy, I add my voice to that group. Mark Davis author of Demons of Democracy.

  7. Another thought, the presidential elections get all the attention. We need to be focused on the congressional elections, too. They are as, if not more, important than the president.

    • Robin – Amen and as if you didn’t know how important, here’s a reminder.

      I’d suggest reading the fine print…except for the fact there isn’t any. Washington, DC – Best Little Whorehouse in Town. This exemplifies. for all the hootin’ and hollerin’ from them – the whores get paid up front or they take it from you once you fall asleep.

      Found the link at Drudge today.
      ‘Hidden fee’ on mortgages used to pay for Obama’s payroll tax cut…
      -snip-
      For every $200,000, it amounts to an extra $15 dollars a month.
      It’s bad news for Patty Anderson, who’s buying a home in Virginia.
      Anderson will save a couple hundred dollars from having her payroll tax cut extended but her mortgage broker told her the new fee would cost her almost $9,500.

      CBS News went to Capitol Hill ask what Congress was thinking when they passed the mortgage fee hike. Boehner pointed the finger at the Senate.
      “As you’re well aware, this bill came over from the Senate. I don’t know how they justified it. We would rather have offset that two-month extension with reductions in spending,” he said.
      But the Senate blamed the House. And Democrats and Republicans blamed each other.

  8. Class warfare meme’s is what gave us John McCain NOT knowing how many houses he owned. I fear Romney may have a chateau or three he has forgotten.

    Callista’s Tiffany affection kinda balances with “Fashionista” FLOTUS. Santorum, income wise, isnt in those grandiose income levels (my guess, with all those kids, Mrs. Santorum probably really shops at Target).

    All in all, none of them probably know how much a gallon of gas (or milk) costs.

  9. So you want someone with a fire in their belly – and whom might that be and don’t tell me Gingrich – he’s a joke and becoming more and more so by the day. Bottom line – our choices are what they are. I believe that the sooner the nominee is determined the sooner the infighting will stop and the candidate can focus on the things that Keith discusses and then some. I’m sick and tired of people saying they will stay home if the nominee is Romney. I don’t need a charismatic leader – I want a leader who can make decisions that benefit the middle class without demonizing the rich. Mr. Romney is right – there are safe nets for the poor – his words were not carefully selected. I understand that stupid things will be said – happens on both sides and the Obama machine will be in full force but so will the Republican force. Yes you need money to run for President – I don’t like the fact that it has to be millions and millions of dollars but that’s where we are. I also agree it is just as important to focus on Congress and who gets elected. I still believe that a more conservative Congress will force a Republican President to steer in the right direction. Average Americans know that there is pandering going on – the new unemployment information and new jobs in January is not that difficult to dispel but as long as there is infighting it takes away valuable time to respond effectively. I read the other day that 77% of adults know someone who is out of work – we are not stupid – the economy turnaround is so slow that at the current rate, none of us will see any improvement in our financial house for years.

    Also a quick end to the selection gives the nominee the opportunity to get quality people on board to be ambassadors for their particular strengths and then the American people can hear from them – right now that just doesn’t happen. I am very confident that Romney will recruit quality people.

    • I’m guessing you are responding to my fire in the belly remark. By fire in the belly, I mean someone who lives their conservative ideals, not someone who has to hire a debate coach to communicate his new-found principles. Romney probably would have made an fine placeholder for the establishment if this country were not in such dire circumstances. We don’t need a placeholder, we need someone who will shake up the Washington, D.C. power structure. Gingrich and Santorum are the only conservatives in this race and they both have let their principles slip in the past. I would vote for either one of them in a heart beat.

      I remember when the establishment GOP and the left called Reagan a joke too.

          • They all use coaches, Susan. When I was on the Hill, we held murder boards–we threw hard questions at whoever was going to speak. We drilled the person–they all do this. I think this is smart, not stupid or a sign of weakness. You think the other candidates don’t have communications consultants–of course, they do.

          • I’m sure they all use coaches Star. That is not the point. Mitt Romney needed to be coached on conservative principles because he has never practiced them before running for the office of president. Now he can talk the talk, but can he walk the walk? I think not.

    • I ask myself why is Romney running–why has he spent 4 years running when he could be making money or taking another big do-good job? Not to sell books, not to impose some weird template of behavior and thought on this country–could it be instead that he loves his country and wants to be a public servant? Remember that term? He has done everything else–raised a nice family, had a long and seemingly affectionate marriage, served in various capacities, thrown the dice on a risky business requiring lots of hands-on smarts, and now he wants to serve. I believe he loves this country. That alone is a difference. Just a possibility, that’s all.

    • Reading this thread–I see frustrated people who are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good–this will get Obama elected. I honestly think I will not survive four more yrs of this stress and anger. It’s almost a death warrant for so many. And I might be one of them. I think someone new–anyone–will reenergize business. You can’t have Reagan–he’s dead–you can’t have whoever else you think is so wonderful and rigid in orthodoxy. Politics is the art of the possible.

  10. I beg to differ on why we are discussing who is the best to help the “middle class”. The middle class has got it good. I say who in the hell is going to protect us from the evils that exist overseas and in our backyard? Child molesters, murderer’s, rapists, gang bangers, drug cartel, home grown terrorists and the AGOTUS, Eric “Snake in the Grass” Holder.
    In case you haven’t noticed, China and Russia don’t care who wins, they still want to see the USA fail.

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