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Thursday, February 2, 2012

What Mitt Romney Meant to Say . . . .

People (e.g. Gail Collins today) are jumping all over Mitt Romney for yesterday morning's post-Florida-victory assertion that he doesn't care about the very rich or the very poor because the rich are fine and the poor have a safety net.  And it was a stupid thing to say.

But for me, it goes more to how completely inarticulate and tone-deaf he is, as opposed to what he really thinks about the "very poor."  All he was trying to say was that he's not going to be investing a lot of money in social programs for the very poor, since they've already got plenty of social programs to help them.  That's a fine Republican sentiment.  The point is that there will always be "very poor" people in this country; you can't run on a platform that somehow suggests we will eliminate poverty.  That's been tried and it hasn't worked.  So he was just trying to assure the middle class -- the biggest voting block -- that he would be focusing on their needs, and not fretting about solving problems that are unsolvable.  In other words, he can't even articulate a simple plank of the Republican platform without hosing it up and getting himself into trouble.

That tone-deafness will prove fatal for his campaign.  There hasn't been anyone that inarticulate on the campaign trail since George W. Bush.  But the difference is that Bush managed to win because his handlers were fully aware of his weakness and kept him under wraps to the fullest extent possible.  Because people think Romney is smart (and he has the grades and the money, if nothing else, to prove he is), they don't recognize how truly "stupid" he is.  If he hasn't already lost the race, he certainly will for that reason.  Just watch him try to connect with people and you'll see what I mean.


  1. Michael Gerson said essentially the same thing in his Washington Post column today --

    Gerson did remind me of one thing though -- somehow, George W. Bush managed to win in 2004, despite the amount of damage he had done with he Iraq war. That suggests that there is a large block out there that won't for a Democrat under any circumstances.

  2. And now Charles Blow is saying it in the New York Times. Whereas I used the term "tone-deaf" both Blow and Gerson use the term "tin ear." Same thing.