Mitt Romney’s off-hand revelations about his low tax rate and high speaker fees, combined with his growing list of Clueless Things Only a One-Percenter Could Say, raise a fundamental question: Is it possible for an elitist Republican to win a presidential election? Starting in the early 1970s, when Richard Nixon adapted George Wallace’s right-wing populism to Republican purposes, the GOP has won national elections by appealing to blue-collar and middle-class whites as the rhetorical champions of anti-elitism. From Nixon’s dog whistles about “crime” and “forced busing” to Ronald Reagan’s welfare queens to George W. Bush’s fake ranch and regular-guy patter, the party of the rich has won the White House by posing as exactly the opposite—the natural home of good ol’ boys and gals. Only one Republican nominee has conveyed a sniffy air of privilege--George Bush I, who beat a hapless Democratic technocrat in 1988 only to be crushed by the one-two punch of plain-speaking Ross Perot and “Putting People First” Bill Clinton the next time around. No wonder Romney’s campaign is giving Maureen Dowd, along with many a worried Republican, “acid flashbacks to Poppy Bush.”READ MORE: “Romney Parks Millions in Offshore Investments” (Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire); “Confirmed: More on Romney and His Offshoring,” by Greg Sargeant (The Washington Post).
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Not Exactly a “Man of the People”
From The American Prospect: