Wednesday, September 19, 2012


In a post explaining why he doesn't believe Mitt Romney was pandering to his audience in that videotaped May fund-raiser, Jonathan Chait writes:
Was Romney just trying to suck up to his donors? That would be plausible if they were itching to see him slap around the poor and sick. But the question to which he responded, per the full video released today, was actually quite different:
For the past three years, all that everybody has been told is "don't worry, we'll take care of you." How we gonna to do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you've got to take care of yourself?
The donor wasn't asking Romney to dismiss the looters and moochers. He was asking Romney how he could sell them on self-reliance. And Romney's answer, incredibly, was this: I can't! It's hopeless!
I think Chait is making a false dichotomy here. I agree that Romney was being asked how he could get people to be more self-reliant -- but that doesn't mean his questioner was hoping Romney would offer a sunny, optimistic, inclusive, embracing answer. Remember, these are right-wingers we're talking about. They really believe you catch more flies with vinegar than with honey. They hate the fact that Romney has, at times, conceded Barack Obama's likability, demanding that he stop calling Obama a "nice guy." For a while they rooted for Newt Gingrich to win the nomination precisely because they believed Gingrich would pummel Obama in debates -- and they were imagining precisely the sort of verbal bomb-throwing Gingrich is known for, not a sunny, inclusive sense of outreach that would make wary voters say, "Gosh, that Newt guy has a point!" Right-wingers think you win precisely by "slapping around" your ideological opponents -- you beat them into submission. That's why they swoon over Palin and Christie and Allen West.

So I think John McOormack of Thwe Weekly Standard misses the point when he writes this about Romney's "47 percent" remarks:
These appear to be the words of somebody who doesn't understand American conservatism and its relationship to the American idea. Conservatives don't believe in economic determinism. Conservatives know--and explain why--their economic policies will help the poor, as well as senior citizens, working families, and our troops who pay no income taxes.

...[Romney] has trouble defending conservative ideas. And when he sells himself to conservatives, he sometimes comes across as a right-wing caricature.
Except that a hell of a lot more right-wingers respond to "right-wing caricatures" than to, say, the writings of John McCormack. They respond to the politicians and commentators on the right who divide America into good people and Antichrists. They may want their arguments to win the day, but they don't want to do it if it means giving up rhetorical red meat. And if they can't win, they'll settle for just the red meat -- better that than outreach to people they despise.


And this explains why Mitt Romney was able to win this nomination in the first place. No, he's not a natural conservative -- but he does seem to be sincerely empathy-challenged. He really seems to despise people who stand in his way.

I think base voters responded to that in the primaries -- he may not hate exactly the people the base hates, but at least he hates. That's what the base wants,.

1 comment:

Victor said...

Since the entire reason for the existance of today's Conservatives is, "We hate ALL of the Liberals, and stand for everything they're against, and are against everything they're for" (to be adjusted daily), Mitt, while hardly their best friend, falls into the category of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend..."

And that's why a lot of Conservatives LOOOOVED them some Mitt beatin' on the poor folk in that video.

He again demonstratied his capacity for hatred, and hatred is their vert lifes-blood.