I didn’t get to see most of Mitt Romney’s speech because the hurricane knocked our power out for a second time shortly after he began, but I trust Noah Millman’s take on it, especially this part:
The mismatch between the scale of the challenge and the proposed solution is almost laughable.
Mitt Romney is a very smart guy, and a successful businessman. He knows the mismatch is laughable. So why doesn’t he close the rhetorical gap? Don’t just tell us that President Obama doesn’t know how to end the economic crisis – explain to us how you think we wound up in this mess (in 2008, before Obama took office) and what President Obama should have done and could still do to get us out of it.
But, quite plainly, Mitt Romney has no intention of saying anything that his audience doesn’t want to hear, and what he thinks his audience wants to hear is that America is great, and the only reason everything isn’t hunky dory is that we are led by a man who doesn’t understand that America is great. So believe in Mitt Romney, who believes in America, and trust that he will do the right things to steer America toward brighter shores.
That’s the whole speech, and it’s the whole campaign. It’s really that infantilizing.
Well, yes, but doesn’t Romney’s audience want to hear that? Barack Obama is going to flatter his audience in a similar way, because that’s what succeeds in America today.
From the conservative side, the thing I can’t grasp — seriously, I struggle with this — is how we have arrived at 2012, and the Republican Party hasn’t dealt with the failure of its theories on foreign policy and the economy, as evidenced by the performance of the Bush administration. If it hasn’t come by now, it’s not going to come, and none of their constituency will much expect them to, I suppose.
Americans don’t care that the country is going broke and in decline; we just want a politician who can make us feel good, who can convince us that if we only connect with the right emotions, we can be born again. No repentance, no sacrifice, no relearning: just cheap and easy deliverance. You know who we’re like? These two:
“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made”