By: Igor Bobic –
With the shake of an Etch-A-Sketch, Mitt Romney reintroduced himself to the Republican Party on Friday as a man interested in running for president because of his desire to address poverty and income inequality. One only wonders why the former governor of Massachusetts neglected to focus on the growing problems the last time he held the title of GOP standard bearer.
Addressing a gathering of Republican National Committee officials below deck of the decommissioned U.S.S. Midway aircraft carrier in San Diego, California, Romney ticked off three priorities crucial to what he called the “post-Obama era”: making the world safer with a more muscular foreign policy, providing opportunity to all Americans, and lifting people out of poverty.
“It’s a tragedy, a human tragedy, that the middle class in this country by and large doesn’t believe that the future will be better than the past,” he said. “We haven’t seen rising incomes over decades.”
“The rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty than ever before under this president,” he added.
Romney stressed his years as an LDS pastor, a topic he and his campaign rarely broached in 2012, and described working “with people who are very poor to help them get help.”
The governor isn’t the only potential Republican presidential candidate to embrace a more populist tone as wage growth continues to lag in an accelerating economic recovery. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush recently lamented that “while the last eight years have been pretty good ones for top-earners, they’ve been a lost decade for the rest of America.” Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has emphasized reconnecting with blue collar Americans. Even die-hard conservatives like Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) paid lip service to the matter at the Heritage Foundation policy summit, an annual gathering of conservatives in Washington.
While he may be sincere in his pursuit to eliminate poverty, the notion that Romney would be the best candidate to lead his party in doing so is puzzling at best. The former Massachusetts governor didn’t have just one misstep that allowed Democrats and Republican primary opponents to paint him as an obscenely wealthy, out-of-touch plutocrat in the 2012 election — he had a dozen. Here’s just a brief sampling:
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