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“Are You That Stupid?”: Vote For Romney, He Loves America

On Tuesday, Mitt Romney gave a speech billed as his big general-election pitch. It was a perfectly serviceable piece of work: competently written and competently delivered. But it didn’t contain an ounce of actual policy. If this speech was all you knew of Mitt Romney — if it was your one guide to his presidential campaign — you’d sum his message up as, “vote for me: I think America is great.”

Don’t believe me? The full speech is here. The first nine paragraphs are biography. The next eight are attack lines on President Obama (“It’s still about the economy …and we’re not stupid”). Then we get into Romney’s vision.

“I have a very different vision for America, and of our future,” Romney said. “It is an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. Because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hard-working, educated and skilled employees is intense, and so wages and salaries rise.”

Sign me up! So how is Romney going to make sure so many enterprises are succeeding that competition for workers drives wages and salaries skyward? Well, here’s the very next paragraph: “I see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living. I see children even more successful than their parents – some successful even beyond their wildest dreams – and others congratulating them for their achievement, not attacking them for it.”

And then: “In the America I see, character and choices matter. And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded. And poverty will be defeated, not with a government check, but with respect and achievement that is taught by parents, learned in school, and practiced in the workplace.”

So on, and so forth. Romney never makes the turn to how he would achieve this America. Believing in it is apparently enough. The end result isn’t so much a preview of how Romney would govern the country as a game of “I Spy: America the Beautiful” edition.

I’m not a pollster. I don’t know if the American people want to hear about policy. Perhaps they prefer gauzy generalities. Perhaps they’re more interested in what candidates think of America than what they want to do for America. But if this is what the general election is going to be like, then it’s not going to be a clash of visions. It’s going to be a clash of adjectives. And in that case, it really will be the economy, stupid, as the American people will have nothing in particular to vote for.

 

By: Ezra Klein, The Washington Post Wonkblog, April 24, 2012

April 26, 2012 - Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , ,

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