Josh Marshall writes about Mitt Romney's latest diatribe on the subject of those awful, shiftless, gift-craving Democrats, which is causing a pained reaction among other Republicans:
It's not too much to say that Romney is now uniting the country across party lines that he's someone who should leave as soon as possible and not say anything publicly again. Actually scratch that. Democrats are starting to think that having Romney around and continuing to dump on a broad range of Americans might be pretty awesome.But Romney doesn't just sound like an angry right-wing blogger -- he sounds like most of the other people who wanted the nomination he won, or who were talked about as contenders for that nomination. If Republican leaders are embarrassed by Romney now, who do they think would have been more diplomatic?
More seriously, it goes without saying that Romney was never more than a tolerated transplant among professional conservatives. His bonafides were doubted. We know all this. So it's ironic that Republicans are uniting in calls to get off the national stage once and for all precisely because he's continuing to make the kind of makers-and-takers type statements you might hear on a particularly feral and untethered rightwing blog.
Among the people who mounted serious challenges to Romney, would Newt Gingrich have been better -- the guy who regularly called Barack Obama a "food stamp president" and who wanted poor kids to work as school janitors because it would give them what, in his view, they otherwise lack, a work ethic? Would Rick Santorum have been better? Even if you don't think he was referring to black people when he said, "I don't want to make blah people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money," there was also this in his Republican convention speech (which, as I recall, no GOP leader complained about):
Under President Obama, the dream of freedom and opportunity has become a nightmare of dependency with almost half of America receiving some government benefit....So maybe someone who didn't run would have had a more effective message. But who? Haley Barbour, who said about Medicaid, "We have people pull up at the pharmacy window in a BMW and say they can't afford their co-payment"? Mitch Daniels, who wrote this in his book, Keeping the Republic?
President Obama spent four years and borrowed five trillion dollars, trying to convince you that he could make things better for you ---- to put your trust in him and the government to take care of every problem....
The fact is that marriage is disappearing in places where government dependency is highest....
Requiring work as a condition for receiving welfare succeeded....
[But] this summer [President Obama] showed us once again he believes in government handouts and dependency by waiving the work requirement for welfare.
A growing near-majority of citizens is now dependent on government for a substantial percentage of their livelihood. Increasingly, the burdens of a growing public sector are paid for by a dwindling percentage of the population. It is now reaching the point where society's ability to generate new wealth is being threatened and the non-payers have nothing to lose by demanding still more from their richer neighbors.Even Bobby Jindal, who's loudly denounced Romney, uses the same sort of language. His anti-Obamacare post at RedState last July 3 began,
As we celebrate our nation's birthday this week, it is important to remember and teach our children the Founding Fathers were declaring our independence, not creating a culture of dependence.And in his book Leadership and Crisis, Jindal wrote:
... many in Washington still fell the Land of the Free should become the Land of the Free Lunch.Romney was blunter, perhaps, but he said what the rest of them believe -- what pretty much all of them believe. Give any one of them a two-year presidential campaign and they'd all have been talking like him sooner or later.
Don't get me wrong. I believe in some safety nets. But safety nets can, and often do, create "moral hazards" when they encourage irresponsible behavior. It took the federal government decades to figure out that if welfare subsidizes out-of-wedlock births, you get more out-of-wedlock births!