"I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there."
Mitt Romney, CNN Interview, 1 February 2012
As Mark Levin asked on his show the other day, does Romney have a clue about capitalism? I would add, does he have a clue about the failure of the welfare state, the plight of those caught in generational poverty, or for that matter, the role of Democrats in insuring that nothing is done about it?
My gravest concern about Romney's electability is that the left is going to be able to successfully portray him as a combination Dr. Evil / Gordon Gecko / Robber barron in what is going to be a take no prisoners bout of class warfare. And if they do, Obama may well win. After all, if nothing else, Romney's campaign has taught us how saturation negative ads can indeed work to destroy one's opponent, irrespective of fairness or accuracy.
What Romney said in the quote above is beyond tin ear. It not only plays right into the left's class warfare meme, it just shows almost a complete failure to grasp the plight of America. The left will make a huge deal out of this. The right should also, as we are getting very close to making this man our nominee for President.
What a conservative candidate should have said:
President Obama's economy has driven millions of people into poverty and threatens to drive many more there unless we turn things around. History tells us with 100% certainty that the way to do that is through capitalism and wealth creation.
And yet, President Obama answer to all of this is to punish wealth creation out of "fairness." That language is also found in the history books. It is the language of class warfare, of socialism, and of economic ruin. Obama's appeal to "fairness" falsely appeals to our sense of justice. Inevitably, it will cripple our nation and make life that much harder for our declining middle class.
President Obama thinks he can tax and regulate us to prosperity. He thinks that he can do better than capitalism by pouring billions into creating new markets out of whole cloth with huge government mandates. President Obama's idea of capitalism is crony capitalism, where he, not the marketplace, picks the winners and losers. It is great if you are a crony of the President - but it hurts every other person in this country. No nation on earth has ever succeeded with the economic policies this President embraces.
But even beyond that, the welfare and entitlement society are driving our nation into bankruptcy. As to the welfare state, it has utterly failed the many poor in our society who are caught in generational cycles of poverty. It is a tragedy and a travesty that fifty years on from the start of the welfare state, 25% of the black population is still living below the poverty line. But we know how to stop that cycle. Education is the key. To paraphrase Juan Williams, the most important thing we can do for the perennial poor is to allow their children to receive precisely the same level of quality education that President Obama's children receive.
Sasha and Malia are receiving the very finest education available in a private school in Washinton D.C. Yet one of the first acts of President Obama was to end a program that gave the poor children of Washington, D.C. the opportunity to get that same education as his children. Instead, President Obama consigned the DC's poor to the worst public educational system in America. He did that because the Teacher's Unions - the economic foundation of the Democrat Party and the single biggest impediment to improving education in America - complained.
Unfortunately, if you vote for President Obama, if you are poor or, for that matter, for many in the middle class, your children will never get that opportunity that Sasha and Malia Obama have. There is no excuse for any child born of this country to be forced into a substandard education. Unfortunately, that cycle will never end under President Obama and the Democrats, because they value the dollars they get from the Teachers' unions more than they care about the generational poor in this country.
We really are at an absolutely critical point in our nation's history. Progressivism has built up in our machinery of state to levels that have worked fundamental change to our nation and that threaten to drag us down into bankruptcy and societal failure. Wholesale fundamental changes need to occur to clean out the machinery before it becomes irrevocably broken. Our educational system desperately needs to be overhauled. The out of control regulatory bureaucracies need to be systemically altered to restore democratic control. The EPA should never be able to regulate carbon without an affirmative vote of Congress. HHS should never be able to force Christians to fund acts that directly violate their religion's core beleifs without an affirmative vote of Congress. The FCC should never be able to unilaterally exercise control over the internet without an affirmative vote of Congress. The methods by which the left funnels hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to left wing organizations needs to end. Unions need to be brought to heel. No person in America should be forced to pay dues to a union simply so that they can get a job in a particular industry. The greens' keys to the courthouse, where decisions are made that should only be made by Congress, needs to end. The left's war on our military needs to end before we become so weakened that other nation's are willing to become adventurous. And then there are the entitlement programs that have us on the knife's edge of ruin.
I look at all of the above and ask myself, will Romney make any of those changes? Does he have a vision for America that addresses any of these fundamental issues? I don't think so. At best, I think that he will tinker around the margins for most of them. Villagers With Torches has a very good post up answering the question similarly. But each primary voter really needs to look at it and answer that question for themselves. Romney would be better for America than Obama, true, but is he, at this critical moment, the best choice that Republicans can make?