Monday, July 16, 2012

Romney's Problem with the White Working-Class


I think David Frum hits the nail on the head with this essay:

Romney's core problem is this: He heads a party that must win two-thirds of the white working-class vote in presidential elections to compensate for its weakness in almost every demographic category. The white working class is the most pessimistic and alienated group in the electorate, and it especially fears and dislikes the kind of financial methods that gained Romney his fortune.

Yep, that's about the size of it. The ordinary middle-to-lower-class Tea Partiers actually have nothing in common with the posh existence of a Romney, and many have lost their jobs to venture capital firms downsizing or sending jobs overseas. So the epic irony is that a group like the Tea Party whose mantra is "no new taxes" will never admire a rich guy who avoids paying any taxes completely, because he uses high-paid accountants and loopholes for the wealthy. Total disconnect.


And Romney's campaign isn't helping by trying to shut right-wing stars like Sarah Palin out of the process. It seems she hasn't received an invitation to speak at the Republican convention in Tampa. So in return Ms. Palin hasn't endorsed Romney yet.

from Newsweek via Daily Beast
Even after Romney clinched the race in late spring, Palin remained pointedly hesitant about the presumed Republican nominee. She has not yet extended to Romney her full endorsement, and, while she speaks animatedly of the urgency of defeating President Obama in November, her support for Romney derives from the fact that Romney meets Palin’s threshold qualification—as “anybody but Obama.”

. . . What galls the Tea Party activists is the sense that Romney represents a lost opportunity for their agenda of less government, flatter taxes, and constitutional restraint. Facing a vulnerable president saddled with a bad economy and a crisis in the public sector, they feel stuck with a guy served up by Republican elites who speaks conservatism with an establishment accent. Worse, in this view, Romney seems incapable, or unwilling, to even defend himself, as the Obama campaign machine highlights his offshore bank accounts and his career at Bain Capital.

“Romney’s just not a fighter,” says Jenny Beth Martin, head of the Tea Party Patriots, the largest of the activist groups. “That’s why it would be good for him to have someone like Palin speaking at the convention. He needs to do something to rile up his base, to make them enthusiastic. And I don’t mean just the Tea Party. I mean die-hard Republicans. I live in the second-most-Republican county in the state of Georgia, and the folks around here are not enthusiastic about him.”

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