Washington has been so obsessed with austerity for so long that many politicians seem to have actually convinced themselves that the country is full of masochists looking for a daddy to inflict that pain which feels so good. Politicians seem to have forget that democracy should be about making people’s lives better.
Candidates should offer plans on how to improve the country. The electorate normally votes for the candidate they think has the best ideas to improve their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities.
It amazes me that we have gotten to the point where someone could run for president and not truly grasp this basic concept. Apparently Mitt Romney was surprised that people without health insurance voted for the only candidate with a plan to get them health insurance. From his interview with Chris Wallace:
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY: It’s a proven political strategy which is, you have a bunch of money from the government to a group and, guess what, they’ll vote for you.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WALLACE: To some people, it sounded like the remark you made in your campaign about 47 percent of Americans looking for handouts.
MITT ROMNEY: The president had the power of incumbency. ObamaCare was very attractive, particularly to those without health insurance. And they came out in large numbers to vote. So that was part of a successful campaign. [...]
WALLACE: Why do you think that was?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, I think the ObamaCare attractiveness and feature was something we underestimated in a — particularly among lower incomes. And we just didn’t do as — as good a job at connecting with that audience as we should have.
For all the problems with Obamacare the Obama team at least had something they could point to and say “this is our plan to help you with a serious problem you face.” The Romney campaign didn’t even pretend to have a plan to deal with the large number of uninsured people in the country. Their plan was to repeal the law and replace it with nothing. Given the choice between imperfect solution and no plan, people are going to gravitate towards the solution.
This was not just some clever campaign strategy. This is the foundation for why Democracy works.
Republicans used to at least talk about how they could address problems such as global warming or the uninsured with pro-market reforms. Lately, they have stopped even pretending these issue can/should be addressed.
Image by DonkeyHotey released under Creative Commons License