The Makers And The Takers

…and the forgotten men and women:

Now, before you say something in your comments you’ll regret — or should regret — this is not to endorse the freedom-killing and economy-destroying solutions of the left, which only create a nation of rulers and dependents. Barack Obama has been a disaster for the poor and the working class and, I believe, will continue to be so. But to pat a worker on the head with your cigar hand and say, basically, “Don’t worry, little man, an unfettered market lifts everyone,” is not going to win you his confidence or his vote. Reagan never did that. (Read the excellent WaPo piece by AEI’s Henry Olsen at the link.) Reagan always stood up and spoke up for the little guy. He identified with him and explained why his policies would help him. Many of today’s Republicans have lost that knack and given the game away in the process. That’s why the polls showed people shared Romney’s values but thought Obama cared about “people like me.”

It’s largely conservative policies that help the working guy and girl, but you have to let them know that and make sure they understand that government cares about them and will not abandon them if they fall off the bottom rung of the ladder. When one candidate is saying, “Tax the rich,” and the other is calling half the people moochers, both are wrong… but only one will win an election.

Yes, the September/October surprise worked. And Romney was no Reagan. But the good news is that a more ept candidate can make the case to the working class for free markets. But the Republicans have to start caring more about it themselves, and stop coddling big business.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Related thoughts from Paul Hsieh:

…in retrospect, the vote totals showed that Romney’s support may have been deeper than McCain’s in 2008, but not significantly broader.

So in that respect, those GOP rallies indicated something akin to the small-but-intense fan base for Apple computers in the mid-1990s. Of course, one of Steve Jobs’ key accomplishments in the 2000s was to turn that into an LARGE-and-intense fan base for Apple products.

I won’t rehash the “bigthink” arguments about the best next direction for the GOP. I just want to propose that *if* they can improve their message and inspire genuine enthusiasm for a positive pro-freedom agenda, then rallying (and growing) the base won’t be a problem. Although I have a mixed opinion of Ronald Reagan policies, he was an acknowledged master at communicating an inspiring, upbeat message to the voters. If the GOP finds a good message and a good messenger, then the turnout problem will take care of itself.

Yup.

19 thoughts on “The Makers And The Takers

    1. Jim

      You were given a bunch of choices: Huckabee, Thompson, Giuliani, Bachmann, Pawlenty, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, Santorum.

      Who were the “real choices”?

  1. Edward Wright

    Reagan always stood up and spoke up for the little guy.

    “I’ve never known Wall Street to be a source of common sense.” — guess which President said that?

    Who was the last President who regularly held breakfasts and lunches with space entrepreneurs (real little guys in those days, not billionaires like Elon Musk and Robert Bigelow).

    Reagan privatized NASA’s expendable launch vehicles and tried to privatize the weather and LANDSAT satellites. He stood up for the little guy *and* the innovator (who are often one of the same).

    30 years later, our weather satellites are failing and the government has mismanaged their replacements. Somewhere, Ronald Reagan is looking down, nodding, and saying “I told you so.”

    Meanwhile, people like Rep. Wolf who call themselves Republicans take it as a matter of faith that government is more competent than the private sector.

  2. Edward Wright

    But the good news is that a more ept candidate can make the case to the working class for free markets.

    That may or may not be good news. I still see little sign of such a candidate emerging.

    It’s a question of whether you view the glass as half full or half empty.

    Democrats view Obama’s reelection as a victory. Republicans view it as defeat. Texans view it as an argument for secession.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/peacefully-grant-state-texas-withdraw-united-states-america-and-create-its-own-new-government/BmdWCP8B

    1. Godzilla

      That is certainly interesting considering all the federal aid Texas is getting for their massive wind power expansion. I wonder who will end up paying the bill if they seceded. Nope, they won’t be seceding any time soon.

      1. Edward Wright

        The wind power people tell me they’ve maxed out. Texas has all the generating capacity it needs and the power grid doesn’t have the capacity to increase exports.

        And we can always charge the Yankees rent for Fort Hood and Johnson Space Center.

      1. wodun

        “Residents In More Than A Dozen States Petition White House To Secede From United States ”

        Most of the people who signed those petitions are from LA and NY. Some epic trolling.

  3. ken anthony

    Who is it that is saying the workers are not makers? This sounds suspiciously like more Marxist class warfare. Yes, they do focus too much on business owners.

    1. Godzilla

      Unfortunately in most industries the manufacturing has moved away from the West and the glut of capital is getting more and more divorced the general population. Foxconn alone employs tens of million of people in China manufacturing iGadgets. Eventually most design work will move away from the West as well. 3D printing and other low cost desktop manufacturing techniques may reserve this trend and we may see a return for small and medium enterprises but for now that isn’t happening. Check out how SME have been fairing this century. The popularity of the Internet fueled a large initial boom in highly profitable SMEs but as these got bigger and displaced incumbents with more efficient business processes a lot of jobs were lost. How many bookstores went belly up since Amazon was founded?

      It is all well to improve efficiency but a lot of these companies such as Apple need to start investing more instead of sitting on large piles of cash and doing precious little with it. At least Jeff Bezos tries to expand his product portfolio and is investing in space launch R&D. SMEs need to figure out new segments they can enter otherwise the jobs situation isn’t going to improve a lot. Given the current highly unstable environment the government should be giving corporate tax breaks for small and medium businesses. It would also be a good idea to revise and simplify the Sarbanes-Oxley Act so new corporations could get more ready access to the stock market.

      1. ken anthony

        I’ve got a book around here by Thomas Sowell that explains how manufacturing going overseas is a good thing for America because it allows American workers to get higher pay for the better, more capital intensive jobs. I don’t explain it as well as he does. Unfortunately, this is an area that is easy to demagogue.

  4. Thomas Matula

    Rand,

    Good post and I agree with lots of it. And I agree that Governor Romney failed to get his economic message out, but I suspect that the election hinged not so much about the different economic models, but because of the social baggage the Republicans are burden with.

    Here is a good article on it from Forbes.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardfinger/2012/11/09/why-romney-lost-and-republicans-keep-losing/

    11/09/2012 @ 9:24AM

    Why Romney Lost And Republicans Keep Losing

    After summarizing why Governor Romney should have won on the economic data he notes…

    [[[So something else must have been at work……something that made perhaps millions of voters flee. ]]]

    and

    [[[The GOP has the look and feel of a theocracy. The evangelical movement has co-opted the Republican Party and given it a veneer of intolerance. It is wonderful to have strong religious beliefs, just keep them to yourself. America is a secular nation and separation of church and state is enshrined in our Constitution. ]]]

    [[[Each speech, Republican candidates often competed for most religious, most “family values”, most pro-life. The definition of conservative has shifted from running a responsible government with a balanced budget to how many days a week you punched your attendance ticket at church. It borders on zealotry. ]]]

    and finally this key point.

    [[[Evangelicals must reduce their intransigence on abortion and gays. I know a couple of gays who actually cast their ballot for Romney. They held their noses and did it. Job creation and fiscal issues won out over some pretty rabidly anti-gay rhetoric…..neither had even one gay friend that voted Republican. Conversely, I listened to dinner table talk as women discuss abortion as if the election were a referendum for this single issue. Jobs or taxes were tertiary compared to the concept of losing control over basic rights over their own bodies. For so many women “choice” is the sine qua non in a government. How many hundreds of thousands or millions of women would change their vote over this one issue? ]]]

    So beating the economic argument is good, but looking at the numbers of women who deserted the party its clear that if the election was on economics alone Governor Romney would have won even with his poor delivery of the message. Improving the delivery is not going to get to the core issue – folks want the government out of the pocketbook yes, but they want the government out of their bedrooms and personal lives even more.

    Just look at how Rep. Paul Ryan was forced to throw Ayn Rand under the bus to advance in the Republican Party…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/opinion/ayn-rand-wouldnt-approve-of-paul-ryan.html?_r=0
    Op-Ed Contributor
    Atlas Spurned
    By JENNIFER BURNS
    Published: August 14, 2012

    [[[Yet when his embrace of Rand drew fire from Catholic leaders, Mr. Ryan reversed course with a speed that would make his running mate, Mitt Romney, proud. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he told National Review earlier this year. “Give me Thomas Aquinas.” ]]]

  5. Bilwick

    This explanation for “Il Dufe’s” re-election appeals to me, if only because Occam’s Razor suggests its validity:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-11-12/guest-post-why-president-obama-was-reelected

    Key passage:

    “There is a rational explanation for the President’s reelection which doesn’t invoke a deep or complex meaning. The only way to explain the outcome is in the simplest and direct prose: the moochers prevailed.

    “Obama’s winning tactic was to do what any respectable man does when he wishes to have something; he bought it. From cell phones and contraceptives to food stamps and unemployment benefits, the Obama administration kept the money flowing to ensure a steady turnout on Election Day. The coup de grâce was painting his opponent as a second coming of Dickens’ Scrooge that was ready to cut the voters from their trust funds.”

    1. Thomas Matula

      Bilwick,

      As long as Republicans like you continue to have that attitude, and keep insulting American voters with such remarks, they will keep losing. Really, your response in a nutshell sums up the blindness of the current leadership in the Republican Party.

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