The Corner

Re Podhoretz on Romney: It’s the Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

I rarely disagree substantially with John Podhoretz. But I think he is mistaken in his claim that Romney didn’t understand the distinction between workers and job creators and the need for both in society. To the contrary, that was the central focus of Romney’s entire campaign. In fact, it was Obama who doesn’t get it, or more precisely, probably understands but doesn’t like that method of producing general prosperity.

As I point out elsewhere today in a somewhat less political context, the voters to whom Romney referred didn’t choose based on economics, but rather, on something far more existential. Obama’s themes, differently stated, were liberté, égalité, fraternité.  In other words, he ran a French Revolution campaign versus Romney’s more American Revolution-themed argument. Collectivism is always a potent message for those who feel a sense of oppression and/or economic strain. Thus, it was the very economic difficulties experienced by Obama’s demographic cohorts that made the president’s message of inclusion and “fairness” (victimhood) so potent.

Is that “cheating?”  No. But it was a new version of Huey Long’s “Every Man a King.” I think that was the point Romney may have been (badly) trying to articulate.


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