If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are to win the White House, they have to succeed in getting the votes of the still-undecided swing voters. With the Democrats in an all-out war based on painting the Republican nominees as the devil incarnate who hope to destroy the well-being of the poor, the dispossessed, women, and all minority groups, the effort to destroy the Democratic and left-wing narrative should be front and center for the Republican Party and its supporters.
Hence, the speech that should have been seen by most TV viewers of the RNC 2012 convention — but which most of the viewers at home did not see — was the little-noticed yet important testimony of Jane Edmonds, Mitt Romney’s secretary of Workforce when he was governor of Massachusetts. Coming before the speeches of Clint Eastwood, Marco Rubio, and Romney himself, it is not surprising that it was missed. But if you flipped channels, most networks — regrettably, even including Fox News — decided instead to give viewers the wisdom of their panel of pundits.
Edmonds, viewers at home would have found, is an African-American woman who proudly called herself a “liberal Democrat.” In a strong and firm voice, Edmonds told the delegates and those who did watch her speech that the Romney she got to know well when he was governor was a supporter of women, appointing them to high positions in his administration. Moreover, she noted that Romney was a bold, strong administrator who worked hard on behalf of the people he represented.
“The late Stephen Covey,” Edmonds said, “writes about 2 kinds of people: one type is all about themselves and their success. The other type works as hard as they can — and certainly succeeds, but their success is motivated by doing good for others. That’s how I see Governor Romney. He is authentic.”
Her very presence indicated that even a self-proclaimed liberal who is also an African-American and a woman can unashamedly and publicly give her support to Romney’s campaign. This undercuts the Democratic narrative in one fell swoop. It is not surprising that a network like MSNBC would choose not to broadcast her short moment in the program, but that most including Fox News did the same is inexcusable.
Destroying the left-wing narrative is particularly important in our current time, when, as Joel Kotkin points out in a very important analysis, there is an “unseen class war” raging in our land, of a type that most commentators have ignored. Kotkin notes that Democrats will base their campaign on trying to convince most Americans that “rich business folks” are responsible for the economic troubles facing the middle class, who feel worse off than they ever have in decades.
Actually, as Kotkin argues, the “patrician left” composed of wealthy investors, Silicon Valley billionaires, and green energy moguls are pouring money into support of the president, since they know their well-being is based on profits made from “government debt and expansive public largesse.” But the biggest support for the president comes from those Kotkin calls “the clerisy,” which is made up of “an ever-expanding class of minders — lawyers, teachers, university professors, the media and, most particularly, the relatively well paid legions of public sector workers — who inhabit Washington, academia, large non-profits and government centers across the country.” Kotkin explains:
Like teachers, much of academia and the legal bar like expanding government since the tax spigot flows in the right direction: that is, into their mouths. Like the old clerical classes, who relied on tithes and the collection bowl, many in today’s clerisy lives somewhat high on the hog; nearly one in five federal workers earn over $100,000. Essentially, the clerisy has become a new, mass privileged class who live a safer, more secure life compared to those trapped in the harsher, less cosseted private economy.
The public sector workers, represented by their unions which have a high stake in maintaining the shell game, largely earn more and have better benefits and salaries than private sector workers doing equivalent work. These people, of course, back the Democrats. In the meantime, Kotkin argues that the Republicans draw their support from the “yeomanry,” people who are “primarily small property owners who lack the girth and connections of the clerisy but resist joining the government-dependent poor. Particularly critical are small business owners, who Gallup identifies as ‘the least approving’ of Obama among all the major occupation groups. Barely one in three likes the present administration.”
The real class struggle, Kotkin warns, is that between the clerisy and the yeomanry, and he convincingly makes the case that their fight will determine who wins the 2012 election. Thus Kotkin sends out the alarm:
The patricians and the unions will finance this battle on both sides, spreading a predictable thread of half-truths and outright lies. The Democrats enjoy a tactical advantage. All President Obama needs is to gain a rough split among the vast group making around or above the national median income. He can count on overwhelming backing by the largely government dependent poor as well as most ethnic minorities, even the most entrepreneurial and successful.
Kotkin argues that Republicans must take this very real division into account, and fight battles that take account of the new reality, rather than ignore it and hope that it will easily disappear. The 2012 RNC was a step in the right direction. One can see by looking at the furious and desperate attacks on the Republicans by the opposition that fear has been put into their ranks.
To put this fear to use, Republicans and conservatives must do all that they can to prevent the president and his team from successfully using their current tactical advantage. They must also prove to the small margin that might give Obama the victory he seeks that, as Kotkin writes, their “prospects for a better life” are being denied by the Democrats and their own program of dependency on big government as the path to a better future.
That a liberal African-American woman can endorse Mitt Romney, thereby courageously breaking with her brethren and her colleagues, is proof that this task can be accomplished.