Was Romney Wrong?
By: Ben Sailors
DALLAS – Mitt Romney, the 2012 presidential candidate, recently has come under fire for sharing his opinion with donors that he believes President Obama won the election by offering “gifts” to certain voting blocs such as women, minorities, and younger voters. He attributed specific things to each group, such as free contraception to college aged women, loan forgiveness for college students, and subsidized healthcare for blacks and Hispanic voters.
Governor Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, of Louisiana, has asserted the he believes Romney’s claims are “absolutely wrong.” He asserted “Two points on that: One, we have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote.”
Jindal then pivots to saying “And, secondly, we need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education…So, I absolutely reject that notion, that description. I think that’s absolutely wrong.”
In a remarkably astute observation, Jindal concludes that, “Governor Romney’s an honorable person that needs to be thanked for his many years of public service, but his campaign was largely about his biography and his experience. And it’s a very impressive biography and set of experiences. But time and time again, biography and experience is not enough to win an election. You have to have a vision. You have to connect your policies to the aspirations of the American people. I don’t think the campaign did that, and as a result this became a contest between personalities.”
It is difficult to argue that President Obama would not win a contest of personalities between himself and Mitt Romney. While Mitt Romney is an extraordinary man, extraordinary does not connect well with ordinary. Interestingly, Mitt Romney’s assertion that voters connected with the President’s message better than his own, resonates exactly with what Governor Jindal is suggesting as a solution. The President’s policies did connect with the aspirations of the American people, which is why they voted for him. Is Mitt Romney wrong in pointing out that connection?
The real question isn’t whether or not Mitt Romney’s campaign won or lost for the reasons Romney cited, but rather, if Jindal’s description of the American Dream still accurate. Has the American Dream morphed into the American Demand, where entitlement society reigns supreme? Is the real issue that Romney’s policies didn’t connect with aspirations? Or have the American people lowered their aspirations and thus meet more consistently with the President’s policies?
The most important questions may still be: Can anyone inspire a nation to work, that doesn’t need to? Does the Republican message of self sufficiency and work still matter to a nation who increasingly is out of work and subsisting on government welfare?