The Post-Romney Era: Still No Gifts

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 17 2012 8:39 AM

The Post-Romney Era: Still No Gifts

Alec MacGillis has my favorite take on the Republican flight from Romney. It's been a bit of a pile-on, really. Republican governors happened to be in Las Vegas this week for their annual meet. Reporters had a fresh question -- what about Romney's "gifts" comment? And one by one the governors denounced him.

The problem was that Romney had failed to give that harsh assessment the sheen that conservatives have for years been burnishing it with to make it presentable in public: the sheen of aspiration. Yes, too much of the country is wallowing in the “hammock that ends up lulling able-bodied citizens into lives of complacency dependency,” as Ryan put it, but the Republican platform of safety net cuts and lower taxes would liberate these Americans from the indignity of their lassitude and force them to make something of themselves. It was a cardinal rule passed down from Saint Ronald: Demagoguing welfare queens had to be accompanied by talk of the city on the hill, which was Romney’s 47 percent remarks had failed to do.
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Harsh but true. Rick Scott isn't so angry at Romney that he'll stop drug-testing people who apply for welfare. Bobby Jindal isn't so angry that he'll reverse course and take federal Medicaid money. The erasing of the party's failed nominee is a grand and noble tradition, but there's nothing that yet suggests Romney's economic philosophy has been added to the scrap heap.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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