Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?: Brendan Nyhan Muses on Why So Many Reporters Just Don't Do Their Jobs
inequality: Living in the Second Gilded Age

**Sigh.** Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?: Atlantic Monthly Edition

In the immortal words of the unforgettable Dan Quayle: How sad it is to lose your brain--or not to have a brain at all! How true this is!

Adam Hanft's piece isn't as bad as their publishing Glassman and Hassett's "Dow 36000" and Easterbrook's bizarre claim that the U.S. experiences a catastrophic mega-meteorite impact every 1000 years.

But this is bad:

Adam Hanft: Bain Brain: How Managing Like a CEO Has Led Romney Astray: [T]here's a less obvious way Romney's Bain Capital experience is impacting this election… his oft-disputed management consultant triumphs have provided him with a structured template for thinking and analysis. It's a way of approaching the world that has tripped him up…. Candidate Romney has spent decades constructing and reviewing PowerPoint presentations about possible private equity investments in an orderly and emotionless fashion. Can this company be turned around? Is it stuck because it's targeting the wrong market? Is it wasting its resources on futile R&D? Would a smaller and more focused business ultimately succeed in the marketplace and be more profitable?

That was precisely the species of unflinching analysis on display in his now famous remarks about the 47 percent…. That was the Bain Brain at work…. Romney could just as well have been saying:

We're not going to make a success out of Acme Widgets by going after the 47 percent of the market that's been buying Consolidated Widget's products for years. Their customers are happy. Consolidated gives them big discounts which yields fat margins. And Consolidated sends their consultants to work at client organizations, so their clients have become lazy and dependent on them. So we need to target those who aren't reliant on Consolidated for all their widget needs.

But the problem was that he was talking about human beings. The clear-eyed way he was speaking of his own candidacy showed a steely ability to abstract, making him look devastatingly aloof…

Adam Hanft really does not get it.

Nobody--absolutely nobody except Adam Hanft--thinks that Romney's problem is that he said that the Democratic base would not vote for him under any circumstances so he needs to craft a message that would appeal to the undecideds in the middle.

Everybody thinks that Romney's problem is that he said:

There are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they're entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it. It's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…. These are people who pay no income tax. 47% of Americans pay no income taxes. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about "tax cuts for the rich". That's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

It is the identification of the Democratic base with the moochers, the identification of the moochers with all people who aren't paying net income tax--including families making $50K/year in Salt Lake City with 3 children and tithing, including retirees, including students--the declaration that he does not care about "those people", and that the 47% of "those people" will never "take personal responsibility and care for their lives"--that is what got Romney in big trouble.

It's not thinking quantitatively, analytically, and coherently that got Romney into trouble.

It's getting caught on videotape launching a class war against 47% of America.