The Corner

Re: What is Wrong with This Guy?

Jonah, I agree with you on the general tin-ear of Romney. He’s extremely un-nimble on the stump, which means that Republicans will be gambling that he can be sufficiently insulated and managed across the finish line without offering up any campaign-detonating hostage to fortune.

But, beyond that, I’m less sanguine about the underlying worldview that “I’m not concerned about the very poor” betrays. Romney:

We will hear from the Democrat party, “the plight of the poor,” and there’s no question, it’s not good being poor. . . . We have a very ample safety net and we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it, but we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor.

The Pundette responds:

I know Romney gives generously to charity but what a cold fish he is… A conservative candidate would talk about increasing opportunity for the very poor, about lessening the need for food stamps and housing vouchers by reducing government and invigorating the economy, rather than touting the awesomeness of our massive, dependency-inducing welfare state and suggesting it might need some beefing up.

Romney’s is a benevolent patrician’s view of society: The poor are incorrigible, but let’s add a couple more groats to their food stamps and housing vouchers, and they’ll stay quiet. Aside from the fact that that kind of thinking has led the western world to near terminal insolvency, for a candidate whose platitudinous balderdash of a stump speech purports to believe in the most Americanly American America that any American has ever Americanized over, it’s as dismal a vision of permanent trans-generational poverty as any Marxist community organizer with a cozy sinecure on the Acorn board would come up with.

After half-a-century of evidence, what sort of “conservative” offers the poor the Even Greater Society? I don’t know how “electable” Mitt is, but, even if he is, the greater danger, given the emptiness of his campaign to date, is that he’ll be elected with no real mandate for the course correction the Brokest Nation in History urgently needs. In last Monday’s debate, Newt said he wasn’t interested in going to Washington to “manage the decline”. Mitt’s just told us that he’s happy to “manage the decline” for the poor – but who knows who else?

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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