Econ 1: Spring 2012: UC Berkeley: Solutions to Problem Set 3
Eschaton: Take The Car Keys Away From Plouffe

The Incoherence of Mitt Romney:

Mike Tomasky:

How Mitt’s Emotion Deficit is Doing Him In Among Republicans - The Daily Beast: I was watching Mitt Romney’s speech to the CPAC….He tries to appeal to conservatives with reason, not emotion. And he just doesn’t hate liberals enough. (The consequence? According to Nate Silver, Santorum, and not Romney, has a 77 percent chance of winning the Michigan primary. Meanwhile, the two men are tied in Arizona.)….

[S]uccessful appeals by politicians recognize the fact that people don’t approach politics rationally, and they make appeals that aim more for the gut than the brain. As a rule, Republicans are better at this than Democrats. The latter often still base their appeals on reason. Not because they’re superior human beings, but because there is something about the liberal brain that wants to believe that if there is a problem in the country, the experts will study it and offer a solution and the politicians will implement it….

[C]onservative appeals by their very nature are more tightly constructed around denunciations of the liberal status quo—which is to say, around emotion. This means, to put it more simply, hating on liberals: feminazis, socialists, freedom haters, French apologists, and so on. A big part of the definition of a true and fully engaged conservative today is that that person really, really hates liberals.

But Romney just doesn’t hate liberals…. Then he tries to act like he does…. [L]iberal hatred is simply not woven into his DNA. Back to the speech. The specific moment all this hit me came when he said he’d repeal Obamacare. Huge applause, his biggest applause line of the day. But then, he just moved on. So that was it. One sentence. And I thought, you know, if he really wants to connect with these people on the most visceral level, he’d spend 10 minutes on Obamacare—how evil it is, how it’s exactly the kind of totalitarian garbage those liberals cook up all the time, how these liberals want to take away your freedom step by step, et cetera. Everyone made a big deal out of the fact that he used “conservative,” or a variant thereof, two dozen times in the speech. But more telling is that he used “liberal” only three times, and two of those were sort of neutral….

I don’t blame hard-core conservatives for not really trusting Romney. They’re right not to. He isn’t one of them at all.

I am not saying, however, that he is “really” a moderate. This is an important point…. He took on the positions he did in Massachusetts because it was Massachusetts and he had to. But ponder this: if he’d stayed in Utah after the 2002 Olympics and run there, does anyone think for a second that he’d have been pro-choice or pro-gay? Of course not. He’d have been what the situation demanded….

While at Bain & Company, they write, and as governor, he was a big believer in studying the evidence and going wherever that took him. This is a death warrant in today’s GOP. Any real conservative knows that evidence has a liberal bias, because only fussbudgets like Al Gore use prissy words like evidence. So Romney is like the Republican Al Gore. That comes across too. They may yet nominate him. But they’ll never trust him. And liberals would be in grave error to think that because conservatives don’t trust him, it reflects well on him…