As a former Mitt Romney 2002 voter and someone who continues to be a fan of his eloquent defense of abortion rights, I’m heartened that in his announcement video former governor Romney continues to show some flashes of the intelligent moderate he once was:
Specifically, not only does Romney rightly frame the country’s most urgent problem as joblessness rather than deficits or spending, he asks the right question about it “how has this happened in the nation that leads the world in innovation and productivity?” His answer, which is also accurate, “is that President Obama’s policies have failed.”
But how have they failed? Romney points in the right direction by specifically noting that American workers have not become unproductive. Nor has the American economy ceased to innovate. And yet conventional conservative critiques of the Obama administration imply that one of these things has happened. They focus relentlessly on the alleged need to make the American economy more efficient, perhaps by clearing regulatory barriers or reducing the wastage of resources in the public sector. America’s workers are highly productive. Consequently, were there more demand for goods and services it would be easy to employ them profitably. But limited demand is limiting hiring, and though President Obama’s policies have been better than nothing they’ve been woefully inadequate. We need additional fiscal and monetary stimulus. And if you look at the total non-specificity of Romney’s criticisms of Obama, I have a dark lurking hope that he knows this is the problem and is just afraid to say so for fear it’ll discredit him with GOP primary voters.