When Mitt Romney was caught on video saying that he couldn’t reach the 47 percent, I was one of the conservatives who were unhappy with him. But that doesn’t mean his recent comments about how Obama bought this election were wrong. Jindal needs to not let his ambitions for the Presidency box in the GOP so that its brand is even more damaged.
Originally, Romney was caught making comments that implied that he could never reach people who were dependent on government or (worse) who paid no income taxes. I thought was a really bad attitude. I knew people who had never qualified for income tax and who were even recipients of government transfers who never considered voting for anyone but Romney. Being poor and dependent doesn’t always make you stupid, or comfortable with slavery.
But now the election is over, and Romney analyzed Obama’s advantage:
“’The Obama campaign was following the old playbook of giving a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped they could get to vote for them and be motivated to go out to the polls, specifically the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people,’ Romney told hundreds of donors during a telephone town hall Wednesday. ‘In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups.’”
And then almost immediately, we hear from Governor Bobby Jindal, that Romney’s comments were “absolutely wrong.”
They absolutely were nothing of the kind. All you have to do is go look at how the media said that Obama was doing better than Romney. They said repeatedly that Romney had nothing to offer Black, Hispanic, and young voters. At the second debate, Obama went after Romney on not offering free contraceptives and abortions. He insisted that Obamacare was a handout that would help especially women in their “pocketbooks.”
Slate Magazine, reported on this already, without noticing that it was some kind of controversial view of how Obama won. It reported that Romney’s advisors,
“envy [Obama’s] ability to leverage the presidency for his campaign. Young voters were told about new provisions for student loans and Obama’s support for same-sex marriage, an issue that appeals to young voters. Hispanic voters were wooed by the president’s plan to waive the deportation of children of illegal immigrants. One Romney aide also included the much-debated changes to welfare requirements as a policy aimed to win over African-American voters. ‘It was like they had a calendar,’ said one Romney aide. With each month, the Obama administration rolled out a new policy for a different segment of their coalition they hoped to attract. [emphasis added].”
And we all saw the video about how “your first time” should care if you have contraception.
Jindal has a lot of good things to say about the Republican Party and how it should address the future. And there were a lot of reasons that Romney lost other than what he said in that conference call. Besides, Team Romney/Ryan didn’t have clean hands on the “winning with gifts” strategy either.
But the fact remains that Obama ran by offering free stuff, and he thinks you should love him for it. He doesn’t hide it. He basks in it and boasts in it. He has been known to laugh at the idea that the Republicans will fight Obamacare because the people will be used to getting other peoples’ money. He says he believes in wealth redistribution and in spreading the wealth.
We absolutely need to have a confident message, as Jindal says, to all voters. But we need to not grandstand on someone else for the truth they told. Obama offers free money. That isn’t just what he does; it is how he identifies himself.
We can’t flatter voters and pretend otherwise.