n the wake of Romney’s characterization of 47 percent of Americans as freeloaders, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks and other prominent conservative opinion writers have suggested that he change gears and find a new message to articulate his wonderful conservative political philosophy. Ha!
Romney IS being a toad — I’ll grant them that. But his political philosophy can’t redeem him. In fact, it the basis of his baseness.
In principle, progressives agree with Romney that Americans should take personal responsibility seriously. My entire life is a testament to that. I grew up in a working class household that never drew one cent of welfare and I turned my father’s meager income into a solid middle class life. I also believe that business and job growth are the keys to national prosperity. But there’s more to conservatism than that.
Listen to what Romney said yesterday in defense of his insulting remarks:
What troubles Mitt Romney about America — what appears to be his raison d’etre for running for President — is the massive wealth redistribution that he believes is going on here. Simply put, he’s running for President because — at all costs — he wants to protect the wealth of the wealthy.
It’s a myth that the poor and middle class don’t pay their fare share of taxes. As the Economist reported in July:
Yet Romney and the rest of his party persist in perpetuating the myth that government is Robin Hood. The myth is a key tenet of conservative political philosophy. And no matter how you package it, it is repugnant to a lot of hardworking people who’ve seen their salaries and earnings shrink, even as corporate profits rise. It is repugnant to people who bailed out Wall Street and the other banks that keep mega-corporations afloat and lost their homes.
David Brooks said of Romney:
Peggy Noonan said:
Noonan thinks a campaign rally in New York City might be the missing ingredient from Romney’s campaign.
Both of them are in denial about the bigger problem Romney faces — the moral bankruptcy of the political philosophy they share. Neither Noonan nor Brooks would be as dismissive of half the United States as Romney is. But Brooks concedes:
Romney, Brooks and other conservatives seem to believe that people who’ve worked hard and paid payroll, disability and unemployment taxes don’t deserve to take advantage of the social safety net when they need it. And for a lot of voters, that’s precisely the problem. It’s not just Romney’s tone and style that turns them off. It’s his values.