FOR yesterday's David Brooks, "Let Mitt Romney Be David Brooks", see The One and Only, in case you haven't already.
Going into Wednesday’s debate, there’s one poll number that Mitt Romney should be most worried about. It’s not the tracking polls, or the RealClearPolitics polling average, or any of the usual measurements. It’s the percentage of Americans who believe that his policies will favor the rich over the poor and the middle class.
Okay, Ross, so the "real" title of this thing is "What Mitt Should Tell the 47 Percent", and already you got him worrying about sixty percent. Not that I expect anything Republicans have to say to add up.
This assumption — that the wealthy Republican candidate is inevitably a candidate for the wealthy as well — is a big part of what’s been killing Romney’s campaign. Because of the president’s advantages with minority voters and younger voters, Romney has always needed to perform well with economically-anxious whites — and above all with non-college-educated white voters across the Midwest.
First of all, Ross, the fractured assumption here, if there is one, is the long-standing Republican one that the great swath of White Protestantism from the Alleghenies to the Rockies was, is, and always will be objectively pro-feudalism. And too, um, unsophisticated to ever figure it out. It is neither; we are about to get yet another chance to see if you "smart" Republicans are able to figure that out. My money, again, is on No.
A smarter Republican campaign would have recognized early that this would be Romney’s biggest problem, and showed a more populist side from the beginning. As I’ve argued before, Romney could have embraced the assistance for underwater homeowners sketched out by his own economic adviser, Glenn Hubbard, or the break-up-the-big-banks reform championed by the American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis, or the family-friendly tax reform promoted by National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru.
Cripes, how many sides of his face do you think the man has available for talking out of? He was Mitt the Panderer in 2008; that's the tag your people stuck on him. This time he decided to be Mitt the Very Most Conservative You Can Be And Still Not Say Anything. Leave us remember, when this thing is over, that you, Brooks, and, well, the rest of your fucking party advised the man to be wholly malleable and 100% phony in order to win.
Here are some examples of what Romney might say tonight, if reassuring working class voters were actually his most important goal.
On taxes, for instance, his argument should go something like this:
My goal is lower rates across the board, so that all Americans can keep more of their paycheck every month. But let me make this promise now: Whatever shape tax reform ultimately takes, under my administration, no middle or working class American will pay a penny more in taxes than they do today. Not a penny more. And to prove that I’m serious about protecting working families, tonight I’m calling for a four-year extension of the payroll tax cut, so that Americans don’t have to worry about seeing their tax bills go up an average of $1000 when the cut expires next year. President Obama hasn’t taken a position on this issue, because he doesn’t mind if your taxes go up so long as he gets to spend the money. But if I’m president, I’ll protect your paychecks, and stop this tax increase in its tracks.
Is he gonna promise to cut discretionary spending across the board the 90% or whatever it takes to make these ridiculous "No Taxes. And No Deficit. And No Fences and No Rabbits" pledges actually work?
Yeah, I thought not. S'okay, maybe the President will just stand mute after that "he just wants to spend your money" jab.
tonight I want to speak to Americans who don’t have health insurance, or struggle to pay for it, and make this pledge: Under my administration, you will not be forgotten. I promise to create a tax credit, worth thousands of dollars, to help people who don’t get insurance through their employers. I promise to expand high-risk pools where people with pre-existing conditions could get coverage more cheaply than they do today. When I was governor of Massachusetts, we cut the number of uninsured by more than half.
Oh, Mitt, why did you hide your light under a bushel for so long?
Thousands of dollars in tax credits to the moochers who don't pay any taxes in the first place! Where do we sign?
(Ross, is this, really, the sort of shit they spend all day at AEI dreaming up strictly for use as talking points ?)
The reality is that Medicare is going broke, putting our promise to our parents and grandparents at risk,
Or all of them who're presently under the age of eighteen, anyway, assuming we do absolutely nothing with the healthcare system in this country ("We're number 37!") in the intervening forty-seven years.
and the Obama White House hasn’t done anything about it.
Snubbing, in the process, the Republican Plan.
But if you want the program saved, I promise to do exactly that. Not by cutting benefits for existing seniors, the way this president has done. Not by putting a team of bureaucrats in charge of figuring out who gets treatment and who doesn’t, as he wants to do.
Dear Lord, this man writes for what was once the New York Times.
But first, by asking wealthy Americans – the Warren Buffetts and Bill Gateses and others like them — to put a little more money toward their medical care, so that everyone else’s costs don’t have to rise.
And second, by getting insurers to bid against one another to drive the cost of Medicare down, so that you can get the same benefits at a lower price.
Southwest, Your No-Frills Surgical Provider! ™
Let me be clear:
Well, so long as you're trying everything...
If my plan doesn’t work, the government will be on the hook, not seniors.
Bail Out General Hospital!
By the way, Mitt, I mean Ross, I do b'lieve the rest of the country has seen exactly who gets stuck with the bill when Republicans put the government "on the hook" for something.
Nobody, I repeat nobody, will be left without coverage. But I believe that it will work – and doing nothing, as the president prefers, is simply not an option.
Y'know, Ross, maybe this would work, except for the possibility of flimflam…
Is there some flimflam in these promises? Of course – but not any more than presidential candidates often offer. Do they clash with some of the statements Romney has already made? Here and there, but not in impossibly dramatic ways.
Leave us remember, Reader, October 2, 2012, the date that Ross Douthat announced he was so desperate to get Mitt Fucking Romney elected that he declared Fuck It, Nothing Means Anything anyway.
How far th' fuck gone do you have to be?