Saturday, October 22, 2016

Private Romney and Public Trump

Ezra Klein discussing the real Mitt Romney after the election in 2012 --

When Romney thinks he's behind closed doors and he's just telling other people like him how politics really works, the picture he paints is so ugly as to be bordering on dystopic. It's not just about class, but about worth, and legitimacy. His voters are worth something to the economy -- they're producers -- and they respond to legitimate appeals about how to best manage the country. The Democrats' voters are drags on the economy -- moochers -- and they respond to crass pay-offs. Romney doesn't voice these opinions in public. He knows better. But so did the voters. That's what you see in the overwhelming rejection Romney suffered among African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and young voters. They sensed that Romney fundamentally didn't respect them and their role in the economy, and they were right.

So even if Klein says the focus on private statements didn't matter because the voters knew it anyway, his logic then falls apart because he can only say in retrospect what the voters knew because of the revelation of the private statements. The underlying issue here is the New Pundit Lacuna in having a theory of how the public filters information and which statements they choose to believe. Hence in Vox land, Romney's private statements were the real Romney, but the public Clinton statements are the real Clinton.

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