Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Brad DeLong — The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Has Shot Itself In The Head

The most fascinating thing about Romney is that he has fallen for a fake statistic created by the Wall Street Journal editorial page as what they call "boob bait for the bubbas"--something that they hope low-information voters will hear, get outraged about, and vote Republican. As Ezra Klein writes: "Among the Americans who paid no federal income taxes… 61 percent paid payroll taxes… 15.3 percent of their income.… Another 22 percent were elderly. So 83 percent… are either working… or they’re elderly…"
 Yet Romney clearly thinks that the following are identical:
  • The 47% of the population who are the Democratic base.
  • The 47% of the population who pay no income taxes.
  • The 47% of the population who are "dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it… [the people whom we] will never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives…"
But Romney was not supposed to fall for this fake statistic, and make policy based on it--he was supposed to have economic advisors who would brief him, and rapidly deprogram him of fake right-wing talking points that lodged in his brain as things that really were true.
I wonder why they did not do so…
Grasping Reality with Both Invisible Hands
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Has Shot Itself In The Head
Bred DeLong |
(h/t Mark Thoma)

Brad, the reason that Romney's advisors did not do so, and they are very smart people, is that GOP strategists consider this is a "base" election in which the winner will be whichever party turns out its base. So the push is voter suppression to reduce Democratic base turnout, and red meat to the the GOP base. So this is a "base" election in more ways than one.

As an overall strategy the GOP has decided to harness the Tea Party energy to the Establishment goal of reversing the New Deal declaring class war against "the moochers." We are now going to see how that plays out.

Donations to the GOP coffers are skyrocketing as a result, and there is a lot more to this than meets the eye. It may be a base strategy in more ways than one, but that is the nature of the contemporary GOP. They have decided to go for the moon and claim a mandate if they win, which they expect to be able to do though superior fundraising, tight targeting of the swing counties, and base management aka the ground game.

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