There was something startling about the Romney performance last night.
It was less a victory speech on a primary night, more a Restoration. In presenting himself and his family, the former Republican governor or Massachusetts seemed to be confronting the American people with a fait accompli, saying " take a good look at us. We're here to take the country back."
What they're doing, Romney and his advisors, is fairly clear. They're offering the American people a comfortable picture. You want it all back - the economy of the 1990s, the profits, the new house, the high net worth, the new gadgets of the communications age, the brilliant outlook for your kids, the security your older parents felt? “You want that gleaming positive feeling back we knew before hell hit, I'm here to show it to you. See this well-off family of mine? See how attractive and successful we look? See the self-confidence and gleaming good-life that shines forth from us? That's what I'm bringing back to America. That's what I am to you, the promise of the same good life for you and yours.”
Pretty stunning, isn't it? And all it protected in this armor that says "Don't get caught up in this politics of envy." Don't be thinking that what's been good for us isn't going to be good for you down the road. Don't vote for someone who says "those wealthy Republicans have built up their wealth by unfair tax policies." Don't resent us because we're rich and well-off and worry-free; elect us because we're successful at business because you'll get the benefit of the same thing.
What we see here is really what the Republican campaign will be all about. It will be people being asked to believe what has been good for the Romneys will be good for you: vote the way they ask you and you will be as well off as them - or something like it.
It's brilliant. The question is whether there's a bit of truth to it. Could it be far truer to say all boats haven’t risen with the tide, that some have fallen even as others have risen, that unfairness is hurting America and needed to be fixed and that elections are a good time to get that job done, for everyone's good.