Romney in the Bubble

March 05, 2013

Mitt and Ann Romney gave an interview to Fox News this weekend, and it showed how much the would-be first couple remains in a bubble of their own making.  

Since the election, the Romney campaign has been critiqued for having made decisions based on inaccurate information provided by the conservative media. They famously embraced poll numbers that were at odds with the vast majority of public polls, and they seems to think issues like Benghazi were resonating with the public because they were hot topics on Fox News.

Now, after a period of understandable private recovery, Mitt Romney is re-emerging. But it’s interesting to see where he’s chosen to resurface. He gave the interview to Fox News, and he will be speaking at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington. In other words, he is staying within comfortable Republican confines. He did not give the interview to Parade or Good Morning America or some other outlet that reaches across partisan and ideological lines.

Similarly, his comments in the Fox interview suggest he hasn’t left the information bubble that must have been created around him during the campaign. He seems to think that if he were President, the current gridlock would be resolved – as if the Senate Democratic majority or the simple math of our budget problems would dissolve before his tax cut plan. 

Romney also sharply criticized President Obama. That’s his right, of course, and there’s nothing inappropriate about it. But you get the impression he thinks much of the country would agree with his assessment, which suggests he’s still getting his information from partisan sources. (I also don’t think that sort of criticism reflects well on Romney’s image, though maybe he doesn't care at this point. Whatever you think of former president George W. Bush, his refusal to criticize his successor was a dignified choice.)

But I think one part of Romney’s analysis of the election was accurate, though perhaps not in the way he intended it.  Among the reasons for his loss, he said, was that non-whites voted for the President partially because “Obamacare was very attractive, particularly to those without health insurance, and they came out in large numbers to vote.” I suspect he meant that in the same way he talked about 47% of the public supporting Obama because of reliance on government services and entitlements – that they were bought off.  

What he misses is that those voters made an intelligent and rational decision to support a government policy, and a candidate, who delivered real results in their lives. I'm sure the Romneys have high-quality health insurance, and they certainly have the personal wealth to prevent any health emergency from sending them into bankruptcy. If they didn’t, and someone was able to enact a law that made health insurance affordable for their family, I think they would have voted for him or her, too.  

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