David Frum

11.15.12

Mitt Still Doesn't Get It

All voters want "stuff," Republicans as well as Democrats. If anything, Republican voters have been more successful at obtaining "stuff" than Democrats: Medicare is more generous than Medicaid, farm programs deliver better returns than means-tested programs.

The Romney-Ryan ticket did not stint on the stuff-offering itself: it promised Republican voters that all the cost of deficit reduction would be dumped on Democratic voters - voters under 55 - with Republicans gaining the additional benefit of a 20% cut in tax rates.

But Mitt Romney was very wrong to see 2012 as a referendum on "stuff." It was a referendum on the question, which candidate would do a better job promoting prosperity and creating jobs. That was the referendum that Romney and the Republican party lost. We lost both because voters did not believe in the job-creating magic of upper-income tax cuts - and because voters were unpersuaded that the GOP even cared that much about job creation, as opposed to wealth preservation.

That's the lesson defeated Republicans should be drawing. Governor Bobby Jindal gets it. Who else?