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Published: Monday, 11/19/2012

EDITORIAL

Mr. Romney’s disdain

Clueless to the end and be­yond, de­feated Re­pub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Mitt Rom­ney as­serted last week that he lost the elec­tion be­cause of the “gifts” Pres­i­dent Obama gave vot­ers in var­i­ous de­mo­graphic groups: African-Amer­i­cans, His­pan­ics, young peo­ple, women. Mr. Rom­ney’s con­de­scend­ing view of the de­moc­racy he wanted to — and al­most did — lead is breath­tak­ing.

In re­marks rem­i­nis­cent of his ear­lier de­nun­ci­a­tion of “47 per­cent” of Amer­i­cans as free­load­ers ad­dicted to gov­ern­ment hand­outs, Mr. Rom­ney told cam­paign do­nors that the Obama cam­paign’s strat­egy was to “give a bunch of money to a group, and guess what, they’ll vote for you … Giv­ing away free stuff is a hard thing to com­pete with.”

Mr. Rom­ney at­trib­uted the Pres­i­dent’s sup­port among His­panic vot­ers to his back­ing of leg­is­la­tion that would cre­ate a path to cit­i­zen­ship for some young, un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants, which the GOP nom­i­nee op­posed. The fact that Mr. Rom­ney en­cap­su­lated his ap­proach to im­mi­gra­tion in the word “self-de­por­ta­tion” ev­i­dently had noth­ing to do with it.

Black and His­panic vot­ers sup­ported the Pres­i­dent, Mr. Rom­ney said, be­cause of Obam­ac­are. The no­tion that large num­bers of vot­ers of all de­mo­graphic groups think the ex­pan­sion of health cov­er­age to tens of mil­lions of now-un­in­sured Amer­i­cans is a good thing for the coun­try is ev­i­dently in­con­ceiv­able to the nom­i­nee who vowed to re­peal the law. There’s al­ways the emer­gency room, he re­minded vot­ers.

Mr. Rom­ney might want to dis­cuss the is­sue with the for­mer Mas­sa­chu­setts gov­er­nor who laid the foun­da­tion for Obam­ac­are in his state. Oh, wait…

Mr. Rom­ney’s own pro­posed “gifts” to the wealth­i­est and best-con­nected vot­ers in the form of tax cuts and gut­ted reg­u­la­tions were, of course, just good pub­lic pol­icy. No po­lit­i­cal pay­off there.

Mr. Rom­ney may ac­tu­ally be­lieve his elec­toral anal­y­sis, al­though it’s al­ways hard to tell what he re­ally thinks. But there ap­pears a sim­pler, less sin­is­ter ex­pla­na­tion: Mr. Obama was re-elected be­cause more vot­ers con­cluded that a sec­ond term for the Pres­i­dent would bet­ter serve not just their in­ter­ests, but also the na­tion’s. Even Re­pub­li­can of­fi­cials are dis­so­ci­at­ing them­selves from Mr. Rom­ney’s nar­row world view.

Pres­i­dent Obama’s cam­paign as­sem­bled a broad co­a­li­tion of vot­ers who agreed with his agenda and po­si­tions on key is­sues. Mr. Rom­ney lost be­cause he chose to base his cam­paign more on di­vi­sion and frag­men­ta­tion than on his pos­i­tive mes­sage of eco­nomic growth and op­por­tu­nity for all Amer­i­cans.

You might say, he didn’t build that.



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