Watching Mitt Romney struggle with keeping his spoiled, out-of-touch rich guy persona from rearing its perfectly-coiffed head during the campaign was like watching Romney's best Gollum impression. However, with the election over, Romney, as one pundit below notes, has decided to join the "sore losers club," and is removing all doubt about the sincerity of his everyman pitch along the way. On to the punditry:
The Register-Guard editorial board:
Romney’s suggestion that people voted for Obama because of what he promised to “give” them is a delusional, simplistic rationalization at best and a gross distortion at worst of what this year’s election was about, and provides further evidence that Romney never has been, and likely will never be, in touch with the needs and concerns of average Americans.Steve Kornacki at Salon:
He and running mate Paul Ryan were campaigning on a sharp turn to the right that would have threatened the country’s fragile economic recovery, not strengthened it. It would have worsened the plight of millions of poor, elderly and minority citizens while helping the country’s super-rich further fatten their financial portfolios. Clearly, the majority of American voters didn’t agree with them.
It’s sad, but Romney’s finger-pointing dovetails neatly with his ridiculous assertions in September. His belief that half the country is looking for a government handout, and that the right to run the country belongs to the rich, is patronizing, insulting and just plain wrong.
Romney and Ryan have an excuse, of course: It was only last week that they lost, so the wounds are still raw. The question is whether they’ll end up like John McCain, who is still clearly not over his loss to Obama four years ago. [...] For years, McCain was one of the most popular politicians in the country. His reputation took a hit in ’08, but he had an opportunity to restore it in defeat. Instead, he’s behaved like an embittered partisan warrior. And so far, it’s an example that Romney and Ryan are following.James Rainey at The Los Angeles Times:
The onetime private equity magnate would have an “optics” problem if he wanted to run for office ever again. But since he’s done with politics, his latest moment of unintended public candor goes down, instead, as testament to how little Romney understood politics and the American people.Alex Koppelman at The New Yorker:
Conservatives have constructed a myth that says certain groups—blacks, Hispanics, women, young people—vote Democratic because they’re stupid, because they’re lazy, and because they can be purchased with trinkets and baubles. It’d be one thing if they kept that myth a secret, but instead they shout it from the rooftops. Then, when it’s over, they wonder why those people voted Democratic again.Derek Thompson at The Atlantic:
Romney was never the worst offender on this score; he never delighted in it, as people like Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh do. But he certainly participated. Indeed, part of his problem throughout this campaign, and the one before it, is that he’s never been good at disguising his lack of respect for the American electorate. His changing positions, his evasions about them, his misrepresentations—they all, ultimately, came off as a challenge: I think you’re too stupid not to fall for this. And there are very few people who appreciate being told they’re dumb, or the person who said it.
They don't just need an immigration reform bill, or an Obamacare truce, or a shift away from policies that appear to preference the rich, although all might help. They need to develop a new framework to talk about social mobility for the fastest growing swath of American voters, which is more likely to be low-income and seeking opportunities to move up the ladder. As we've said here before, Hispanics and blacks and young single women really are more likely to want "stuff" from government because they're overwhelmingly more likely to have less money. Cut income taxes, cut income taxes, cut income taxes is a good, straightforward pitch to the top 10% of earners who pay 70% of income taxes. Not so much for the 50% of Americans who don't.James Kwak at The Los Angeles Times:
Mitt Romney is absolutely right. He lost the election because one party had a clearer plan for removing the risks of unfettered capitalism and investing in areas that could raise incomes and opportunities for the majority of the electorate. He lost because he sees the country divided between those who receive gifts from government and those who give to their country. It's not an attractive theory, nor is it remotely accurate. It is better to remain silent and let people think you're a plutocrat than open your mouth and eliminate all doubt.
The loophole for investment income is one of the biggest ones that exist, worth about $440 billion over the next five years (2013-2017).* If the goal is for rich people to pay more in taxes, this is the most important loophole to close. Lower rates on investment income overwhelmingly benefit not just the modestly affluent, but the super-rich. According to the Tax Policy Center, households that make more than $1 million make up just 0.3 percent of all households but reap 67 percent of the benefits of this one loophole. [...] Taxing income from investments the same as we tax income from labor would raise hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue almost exclusively from people who can afford it. So why isn't anyone considering it?Finally, The New York Times editorial board reiterates its argument against the electoral college:
Republicans don't want to because, well, they are the party of the super-rich. Low taxes on investment income are the untouchable central plank of the Republican platform.
What about Democrats? President Obama has proposed letting the maximum rate on capital gains rise to 20 percent, where it was set in 1997 by President Clinton and then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, on households earning more than $250,000. But that's it. And now Democrats seem to be warming to the idea of limiting itemized deductions, which purports to raise taxes on the rich but is relatively trivial to the super-rich
The problems with the Electoral College — born in appeasement to slave states — have been on display for two centuries; this page called it a “cumbrous and useless piece of old governmental machinery” in 1936, when Alf Landon won 36 percent of the popular vote against Franklin Roosevelt but received only 8 of the 538 electoral votes.
But 76 years later, the system continues to calcify American politics. As Adam Liptak of The Times recently wrote, this year’s candidates campaigned in only 10 states after the conventions, ignoring the Democratic states on the West Coast and Northeast and the Republican ones in the South and the Plains. The number of battleground states is shrinking, and turnout in the other states is lower. The undemocratic prospect of a president who loses the popular vote is always present (it’s happened three times), as is the potential horror show of a tie vote that is decided in Congress.