It’s instructive watching the difference in reactions to Romney’s remarks on dependence between what I’ll call elite Republicans and the rest of us. Among the elites, the remark is a huge and costly gaffe. Mark McKinnon, who wasn’t even a Republican before George W. Bush and who spends his time criticizing Republicans for the mainstream press now, thinks the comment is very costly. Jonah Goldberg finds it infuriating. Bill Kristol is in a panic, calling the remark “stupid.” David Brooks is also worrying his little fingers to the bone, comparing Romney to Thurston Howell III.
Talk about your dated analogies.
I won’t let the moment pass to note that Brooks is about as representative of the broader electorate and especially the GOP base as McKinnon is. Brooks is the fool who allowed that Barack Obama’s pants crease persuaded him that the then backbench senator would make a good president. Good laundry = good leadership! Brooks depends on the liberals who run the New York Times for his daily bread. Goldberg’s and Kristol’s criticisms should carry more weight with conservatives, but I think even they miss the opportunity here.
From out here more than a thousand miles outside the Beltway, Romney’s comment strikes me as perfectly defensible. I live in Texas, a state that intentionally keeps its welfare safety net small to reduce the burden on taxpayers and keep the state’s economy among the most productive in the country. Free enterprise leads to more jobs leads to a better life for everyone. Keep government predictable and as out of the way as possible. That’s how we see things out here.
The exposure of Romney’s comments provides an opportunity to air a few facts.