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The Times
  • Editorial: Still mystified Mitt

  • You hate to beat a dead horse, but a Mitt Romney who obviously cannot get over the fact that he lost makes it all but irresistible.

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  • You hate to beat a dead horse, but a Mitt Romney who obviously cannot get over the fact that he lost makes it all but irresistible.
    In a post-election conference call with his biggest donors last week, the Republican Party nominee said he failed to prevail because President Barack Obama effectively bought the nearly 64 million votes that put him over the top. "What the president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote," Romney said.
    "With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift," he said. "Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, 'Obamacare' also made a difference for them," as it did for other Americans struggling to make ends meet. "You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you're now going to get free health care, particularly if you don't have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity - I mean, this is huge." As for Hispanics, "the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called DREAM Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group."
    Essentially Romney doubled down on the "47 percent" comment that brought him such grief in the campaign, in reference to those Americans he seemed to be writing off as freeloaders and "victims" who would never vote for him. Romney spent the rest of the race trying to backpedal from those statements but never quite recovered. Now it's clear that he meant them.
    One could dissect the latest set of sour grapes, could point out the inaccuracies and omissions - many an American and Romney supporter who is on welfare of some sort doesn't think of it that way, from farmers to oil companies to defense contractors who get significant subsidies, aka "gifts" - but that's unnecessary, with Romney's fellow Republicans doing a fine job of that on their own. Among the most direct was Newt Gingrich, who called Romney's analysis "nuts," which comes close to ironic but nonetheless is an apt description of someone who thinks it's a winning strategy to express disdain for the people from whom he's trying to court votes.
    This page endorsed Romney for the White House, in large part because his team seemed serious, in a way the other side did not, about confronting arguably the most formidable long-term threats to the health of the nation - the spending and borrowing, a tepid economy, entitlement reform. But it was not without misgivings, specifically a level of cluelessness - especially about people "making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year," whose lives Romney really can't "imagine" - that fortunately is quite rare among those who get their party's nomination for president.
    Page 2 of 2 - In any case, apparently Republicans with any hope of a political future, who learned something from this election that a no-longer-relevant Romney did not, plan to run away from him even faster than they have from George W. Bush. The party must reinvent itself around others of a more welcoming mindset, or else it won't win.
    Journal Star of Peoria, Ill.
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