An excerpt from Mitt Romney's speech at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University today:
"Culture matters," Romney said.
The power of these values is evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Senator Rick Santorum brought to my attention. For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2 percent. But, if those things are absent, 76 percent will be poor.
I detest the sanctimoniousness of both Santorum and Romney. Are these statistics accurate? Probably. Are people who are at risk of either remaining in poverty or falling into poverty simply going to be able to will themselves to follow these rules? No, the vast majority of them aren't. Oh, sure, maybe some will respond well if you throw this set of stats at them and urge them to stay on the straight and narrow. And maybe some parents would push their kids to follow the guidelines as well.
But just wagging a finger this way at the poor is not going to save most kids from poverty. Kids drop out because their home lives are a miss, because their schools are awful, and because they think there are going to be only very limited opportunities for them once they're adults -- a belief that's probably accurate. They don't take pains to avoid pregnancy for the same reason -- what wonderful life do they expect they'll have if they delay parenting? And they don't pursue work because the see so few jobs available -- certainly very few good jobs -- and they can't imagine a life in which they ascend into the middle class because doing that is such a struggle for everyone around them.
And getting a lecture like this from a born-on-third-base-and-thinks-he-hit-a-triple guy like Romney only compounds the obnoxiousness.