Friday, January 13, 2012

Envy Redux

I said it the other night and I'm saying it again ... this counterargument from Romney about "envy" is a big, big mistake and his speech on New Hampshire Primary Night was a big mistake. Andrew Sullivan agrees.

And his response to the people in this documentary - white working class heartland Americans, the GOP base - is that they are merely envious of his achievements. ... I simply cannot imagine a worse narrative for a candidate in this climate; or a politician whose skills are singularly incapable of responding to the story in any persuasive way.

The problem is that the mood out there is not "an attack on capitalism" as Romney puts it. It is a revulsion about a certain type of economic parasite - the Wall Street money manipulators. The folks who got us into this mess were and are an abhorrent lot to those on Main Street because they produce nothing, at least that is the perception. They simply suck money out of the system.

And when Romney says that people who find what Bain Capital did to be distasteful are "envious," he is offering the worst kind of response. "Aw, you're just jealous." He is rubbing salt in the wound. Nate Silver points out the attack on Romney cuts to the core of his brand. I think Romney's response is making it worse.


Jonathan Keller said...

Wow, it was *way worse* than you say here, Larry:

Matt Lauer: Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?

Willard: You know, I think it's fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like..."

Larry Becker said...

Yes, I didn't mention it in my post but that whole argument Romney offers about income inequality being an inappropriate discussion for the campaign and something that should only be discussed "quietly" is just horrible and frankly disturbing. This is a guy who not only endorses an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, he proposes doubling down on them by extending the tax cuts for the wealth in his own plan (I posted something on this earlier this month). So he's redistributing wealth (towards the upper end of the income scale) and has the chutzpah to tell people that any discussion of re-distributing wealth to help people outside his elite income class is something we should talk about in a "quiet" way as if it might upset the children. Unreal.