Oct. 2014 article
10/1/2014, "Romney can't lead a more populist GOP," Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner
"Mitt Romney is a great person and a decent politician, but he
also embodies the deepest problems in the Republican Party. He shouldn't
run for president.
Republicans, if they want to control Congress or win the White House, need to become a party of the people. Romney may be the worst possible
man to take the GOP in that direction.
Romney’s most telling moment in 2012 was when he told a crowd of rich
donors that the 47 percent of the country that “pay no income tax” are
unwinnable for Republicans, because they “are dependent upon
government,” and “I'll never convince them that they should take
personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Romney has downplayed the comment as some sort of clumsy way of
handling a rambling question. But he campaigned like he believed it. Romney focused on the upper-middle-class white suburbs that Bush had
generally won and McCain had generally lost. The fruit of this effort:
he improved about 1 percentage point on McCain’s performance in key
Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania suburbs, while losing out on much of
the blue-collar vote.
"The Missing White Voter" was how
political analyst Sean Trende described it. Many blue-collar voters who
used to be Democrats have since been turned off the party’s radical tack
left on social issues, embrace of Hollywood elites, and evident disdain
towards middle America (recall Obama’s candid remarks about folks
bitterly clinging to guns and religion).
These voters, in lower-income suburbs, in exurbs, and in rural
counties, aren’t ideologically committed to the GOP. They don’t care
about capital gains tax cuts, and most aren’t avid pro-lifers.
blue-collar voters driven away from the Democrats are loosely attached
to the GOP.
Romney, a millionaire who looks like one, was never the guy to win them
over. That he blasted many of them as freeloaders for the crime of
paying only payroll taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, state income
taxes, and sales taxes — but not federal income taxes — didn’t help.
The mainstream media often argues that the GOP is too ideologically
extreme to win broadly, and that it needs to become more moderate. This
analysis looks along the wrong axis. The real problem is that the GOP is too elite, and it needs to be more populist.
A more moderate GOP would forget about cutting taxes. ........
A more populist
GOP, on the other hand, would change its priorities on which taxes to
cut. Instead of fighting for lower top rates and lower capital gains
rates, a populist GOP would cut the payroll tax-- maybe creating a
personal exemption, so that a worker isn’t paying taxes on his first
Romney’s campaign was also weakened by his inability to attack
Obama’s corporatism. Obama’s least popular position was probably his
crucial support for the Wall Street bailout. Romney backed it, too....
Romney also couldn't attack Obama's individual insurance mandate or
the special deals Obama cut with drugmakers to pass Obamacare, because
Obamacare was largely modeled on Romneycare.
The 2016 GOP nominee can't be a bailout-backer deployed from Wall Street and surrounded by K Street.
He or she will need to be the scourge
of special interests who can present free enterprise as the great
leveler and show that government intervention tilts the playing field
toward the big guys."...