Mitt Romney writes his own obituary

“What I said is not what I believe.”

To Chris Wallace, about “47%.”

What I said is not what I believe.

Just for double irony: it’s clear that the 47% line was the one thing Romney really did and does believe: he said it again, in different words, in the Wallace interview, and made it clear that he was thinking mostly in racial terms. (Note that Romney did just as badly among Asian-Americans, who tend to be higher-than-average on the income scale, as he did among Latinos.)

ObamaCare was very attractive, particularly to those without health insurance. And they came out in large numbers to vote. So that was part of a successful campaign. [snip]

The weakness that our campaign had and that I had is we weren’t effective in taking my message primarily to minority voters, to Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans, other minorities. That was a real weakness.

We did very well with the majority population, but not with minority populations. And that was a — that was a failing. That was a real mistake.

WALLACE: Why do you think that was?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, I think the ObamaCare attractiveness and feature was something we underestimated in a — particularly among lower incomes. And we just didn’t do as — as good a job at connecting with that audience as we should have.

In other words, if only rich white folks were allowed to vote, Romney would have won. No wonder the Republican caucus on the Supreme Court is so enthusiastic about allowing Republicans in the state capitals to ensure white minority rule with a combination of gerrymandering and voter suppression.

If I were looking for empirical evidence of the existence of a benevolent Deity, the fact that this moral midget – who has yet to either congratulate his successful opponent or offer him help in governing the country Romney claims to love – never made it to the White House would have to rank fairly high on the list.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

22 thoughts on “Mitt Romney writes his own obituary”

  1. Comments now open. Not sure how they got closed in the first place. Fire away.

  2. He is a consultant. He tailors his message to his audience. Now he recognizes he misread his audience.

    He is not blathering on about the great American public or making moral claims. He is dissecting his miscalculation. His lack of principle (beyond getting himself elected) is remarkable. A close shave indeed.

  3. It’s not so much that he misread his audience, as that his audience read him, I think.

  4. Why is the Romney thought process about ‘messaging’ rather than ‘policy’?

    Did he stop to think that the GOP problem is their policy is not appealing to those said groups, and no amount of messaging can fix it?

    1. I’m not sure that Romney is wrong. Most of the presidents elected in my lifetime have been Republicans and, without exception, every one of the was elected in spite of terrible policies by using appeals to the basest, most vile parts of the human psyche. I think Romney simply thought that his was the victim of a random, but rare, misfire by a tested and true route to the White House.

  5. Really? I suppose everything is a matter of perspective but while I might have taken a contest between Teddy Roosevelt and FDR as some proof of the existence of a benevolent deity, a contest between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama suggests something altogether different about existence of such a deity.

    Also, should be presume that said deity was on vacation when George W. Bush took power in a bloodless coup organized by Republican on the Supreme Court? And, of course, there’s the matter of pretty much the entire Twentieth Century. I think when you sort it all out, if such a benevolent deity does exists he’s not a very capable god at all.

    1. The winner of the election seeks death sentences for those who expose government wrongdoing, immunized torturers from justice, detains people for “pre-crime”, secretly bombs kids and whole neighborhoods into oblivion, and orders people executed without charges or trial.

      I thought the benevolent deity idea was pretty weird too.

  6. Anyway, I don’t know what the complaint is. The Democratic party is the party of giving people other people’s stuff. There might be more diplomatic ways of putting it, “The party of income redistribution, the party of social welfare…” but that sums it up: Your chief electoral appeal is that you take stuff from one group of people, ideally a minority of the population, and hand it out to other people, ideally a majority of the population. You’ve got secondary games going, like being the party of racial spoils, excuse me, ‘affirmative action’, but that’s the biggest thing you’ve got going. And it’s a powerful appeal which is hard to beat, Romney is perfectly right about that. It’s difficult to run against Santa Claus.

    It was particularly difficult for Romney, because he has a record that’s not particularly appealing to conservatives. And so he had to shade the truth more than a little to run as their champion, and it didn’t work, the enthusiasm just wasn’t there for electing a guy who’d have made a credible Democratic candidate given his track record.

    But that he was running against Santa Claus? He wasn’t shading the truth a bit about that.

    1. But Romney was perfectly happy to negotiate with the F.D.I.C. so that the federal government, Romney’s personal Santa, could forgive the debt Bain Capital had to them, and it could be booked as a loss to the F.D.I.C. and even better Romney as CEO of Bain and Comapny could charge a fee of four million to arrange this favourable deal to Bain Capital…that’s rich entitlement.

    2. You say Santa Claus, I say reduce the income inequality.

      What was the Romney policy that would replace the ACA? Nothing. Can you blame folks who want healthcare to vote for somebody who actually has a policy?

      1. How could Romney propose a replacement for the ACA? It was modeled after his own program. If you’d gone out of your way to pick a guy who could not credibly attack the ACA, you’d have picked Romney.

        “You say Santa Claus, I say reduce the income inequality.”

        You don’t reduce income inequality by taking money from one group of people, and giving it to another. You just increase dependency. The Democratic party is all about making as many people as possible dependent on income transfers, and thus reliable Democratic voters.

        That’s the only reason Santa Claus can be beaten, if the Republicans manage a credible candidate: Because a lot of people prefer to actually have their own stuff, rather than to be dependent on the government giving them other people’s stuff. And they understand that a government that buys support by taking from one group of people, and giving to another, needs that second group to be needy.

        It is not in the interest of the Democratic party to actually do anything to reduce income inequality. You need a minority wealthy enough to take from, and a majority poor enough to need to be given to, for your political model to work.

        Seriously, what are you doing to make people less dependent on government? Nothing that I see.

        1. Why is ‘making people less dependent on government’ supposed to be part of the Democratic platform? I know it’s your choice, but not everybody’s.

          Myself, I would expand govt hiring, rather than direct money transfers, to fix any number of problems we have as a nation. But I’m a WPA, CCC kind of guy.

        2. Mr. Bellmore works in a mechanical manufacturing industry, which would not exist in the great USofA but for the NBS (now NIST). Although huge and capable, US industry was so far behind Germany in basic manufacturing (& measurement) research by 1900 that without the tireless efforts of Samuel Stratton to persuade Congress to “take other people’s money” and spend it on the new department we might all be working for German subsidiaries. That effort continues to this day, but now that Mr. Bellmore is well-situated he wants to pull the ladder up.

    3. To the extent that ACA, to take one example, “gives people other people’s stuff,” it does not give to a majority. The oft-cited figures – 40 million or so uninsured – are not a majority.

      And I could describe the GOP as the party that wants to protect wealthy people from having to contribute any of their stuff, regardless of how they acquired it, from any reasonable requirement to contribute to public welfare. It is fact, not cartoonish simplification, that the Ryan plan would largely exempt the wealthy from any tax liability at all.

      I could also describe them, non-cartoonishly, as the party that for all their rhetoric about the burden of the deficit on the future, is willing to impose the much larger burden of climate change catastrophe on the future, as long as the stockof oil companies keeps rising.


      1. Nothing says that the party of giving people other people’s stuff has to hit a majority with each particular give-away. But maybe you’ve identified why the ACA is still widely unpopular.

        “And I could describe the GOP as the party that wants to protect wealthy people from having to contribute any of their stuff, regardless of how they acquired it, from any reasonable requirement to contribute to public welfare.”

        Yes, you could so describe it. Democrats are hardly going to go around saying, “We rob people to give you stuff!” No, you’ll claim it’s stuff they somehow owed you.

        1. Does your employer provide good health care coverage for you and your family? What would you do if you lost your job? We are the only important industrialized country in the world that doesn’t provide health care to people under the age of 65 (soon to be 69 and eventually maybe nobody at any age). As a country, we pay vast sums for our health care not because it is the market cost but because a corrupt, nonfunctional political systems demands that participants in the insurance and health care industries be permitted to charge hugely inflated prices. We can’t afford to keep going on like this, yet the power of these corrupt lobbies is so strong that we can’t even use market forces to reduce our costs as so many other countries have done. It’s neither robbing nor giving people “stuff”. It is a reasonable, normal way to organize a civilized society. It’s also a large part of why Somalia is the way it is and Sweden is the way it is.

          We need some change in this country.

          1. “What would you do if you lost your job?”

            Yes, what WILL all those people who lose their jobs, or at least full time work, (No insurance mandate for part-timers.) due to the ACA, do? They’ll go from having insurance you don’t think is good enough, to not having insurance you DO think is good enough, and will that really be an improvement from THEIR perspective?

            The very nice insurance I had last year is now illegal thanks to the ACA, and come January I had the choice of slightly worse insurance that was so expensive I’m not sure I’d have been able to feed my family, and much worse insurance that was a little cheaper. We went with the much worse insurance, so we could eat, and are just hoping I don’t get cancer for a third time. Oh, but at least it covers the birth control that we don’t need because I’m sterile from the cancer surgery, that’s some consolation.

            This kind of magical thinking, that any program you guys come up with will do what you intend, and ONLY what you intend, is a kind of disease among liberals.

          2. Again I will suggest that a front-pager invite Mr. Bellmore to submit a detailed account of how the ACA “made his existing employer-sponsored plan illegal”, and post it on the front page for discussion. Unless the previous plan was grossly discriminatory, or his employer was pulling the scam of declaring laboring workers ‘part-time’ or ‘contractors’ a land denying them participation, I’m not aware of any reason his plan should have been affected by ACA at all. Would be interested to learn more.


            Mr. Bellmore’s employer could also be lying to him I suppose.

    4. “The Democratic party is the party of giving people other people’s stuff.”

      Let me fix that for you:

      The Democratic party is the party of giving people other people’s stuff BACK………which they unfairly confiscated through the use of lobbying, bribery, and all the usual techniques the rich & powerful use in corrupting the system.

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