Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Conservative Says It Best

I was half-way through a post about The Rominee's unscripted remarks where he called half the country dependent lazy people who'll never take responsibility for themselves, when I read this column by David Brooks. He wins. His is more succinct than mine was going to be, and has the force of coming from someone who, at one point at least, wanted Romney to win. Possibly still does.

More often than not I find David Brooks sort of pompous and a little too pleased with himself, and wrongish. This time, other than his conclusion that he thinks Romney is a nice guy who's trying to be someone he's not to please teabaggers (he's not a nice person, and he's being exactly who he is), he's right on. Here's part of what he wrote:

... But these are not the sensible arguments that Mitt Romney made at a fund-raiser earlier this year. Romney, who criticizes President Obama for dividing the nation, divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers. ...

This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. ...

It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. ...

The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.

Romney’s comments also reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact. In 1987, during Ronald Reagan’s second term, 62 percent of Republicans believed that the government has a responsibility to help those who can’t help themselves. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, only 40 percent of Republicans believe that...

And this may be the truest part of the piece:

The final thing the comment suggests is that Romney knows nothing about ambition and motivation. The formula he sketches is this: People who are forced to make it on their own have drive. People who receive benefits have dependency.

But, of course, no middle-class parent acts as if this is true. Middle-class parents don’t deprive their children of benefits so they can learn to struggle on their own. They shower benefits on their children to give them more opportunities — so they can play travel sports, go on foreign trips and develop more skills.

People are motivated when they feel competent. They are motivated when they have more opportunities. Ambition is fired by possibility, not by deprivation, as a tour through the world’s poorest regions makes clear.

Turns out, I have nothing to add.

[Well, except this. A good article from a very hard-core conservative, senior editor of the very conservative National Review, that debunks the 47% myth, concluding thus:
There are many things to worry about in this world. The number of people paying income tax isn’t one of them.


  1. In the end it will be Willard Milton Romney's own words that that will bring down his seven year run for the presidency. I thank you Romney for speaking your real mind, sure its ugly but it just confirms my feeling that you act more like a Corporation than a person with compassion who realizes that a majority of my country is suffering. Hey the empty chair was a great hit, thanks for the laughs.

  2. Divid Brooks is not a conserattive.

  3. Not sure who "Divid" is, nor what "conserattive" means. But I'd be interested in your definition of conservatism.

    If you choose to answer, please note my request for some sort of identifying moniker. You needn't register: just end with an initial or something, so I can tell one anonymous from another.


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