National Review editor Rich Lowry, while trying to dismiss the potency of economic populism among middle-class Republican voters, offered this analysis of Mitt Romney’s victory in Michigan and the limited appeal of Mike Huckabee:
It turns out that anxious middle class voters don’t cotton to a candidate whose economic policy consists almost entirely of attacking the other guy for looking like a businessman or a candidate who wants to throw enormous new regulatory burdens on the state’s industry, while desperately promising that new “green” jobs will miraculously appear to alleviate the pain.
Green jobs. Government involvement. Whatta political loser in Michigan! It’s not like Mitt Romney made public investment in energy technology his signature proposal for the Michigan race.
If we’re going to be the world’s greatest economic power, we also have to invest in the future. It’s time for us to be bold. I will make a five-fold increase – from $4 billion to $20 billion – in our national investment in energy research, fuel technology, materials science, and automotive technology. Let’s invest in our future.
“As you know, research spins out new ideas for new products, from both small businesses and large businesses … if we can invest in healthcare, and defense, and space, why not also invest in energy and fuel technology right here in Michigan?
In fact, it was after embracing such public investment in energy technology that Romney won with middle-class voters for the first time in the presidential race.
(Though it’s certainly questionable whether Romney can solidify and broaden his middle-class appeal once he’s pressed to square that proposal with his other conservative positions.)
It must be hard for conservatives like Lowry to watch everything they’ve presumed about politics and the economy be completely debunked over and over again.
But self-delusion won’t do very much. Except make me laugh.