Romney May Be the End of the Line for the Republican Establishment
A Commentary By Scott Rasmussen
Mitt Romney's comments about 47 percent of Americans being dependent on government and locked in to vote for President Obama highlight a fundamental reality in American politics today: The gap between the American people and the political class is bigger than the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C.
Romney's remarks are the GOP equivalent of Obama's notorious comments about small-town Pennsylvania voters bitterly clinging to their guns and religion.
Both Romney and Obama highlighted the condescending attitude that political elites hold of the people they want to rule over. A National Journal survey found that 59 percent of political insiders don't think voters know enough to have meaningful opinions on the important issues of the day. That's a handy rationalization for those who want to ignore the voters and impose their own agenda.
In the nation's capital, this gap creates bigger problems for Republicans than Democrats. Democratic voters tend to think that their representatives in Congress do a decent job representing them. That's because Democrats are a bit more comfortable with the idea of government playing a leading role in American society. However, 63 percent of Republican voters believe their representatives in Washington are out of touch with the party base.
Establishment Republicans in Washington broadly share the Democrats' view that the government should manage the economy. They may favor a somewhat more pro-business set of policies than their Democratic colleagues, but they still act as if government policy is the starting point for all economic activity.
Republican voters reject this view. They are more interested in promoting free market competition rather than handing out favors to big business. They detest corporate welfare and government bailouts, even though their party leaders support them.
The GOP base sees government as a burden that weighs the private sector down rather than a tool that can generate growth if used properly. Ninety-six percent of Republican voters believe that the best thing the government can do to help the economy is to cut spending and free up more money for the private sector.
The Republican base is looking for someone like a 21st century Ronald Reagan, who will display his faith in the American people. The Washington Republicans are more comfortable with politicians like George W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Though the establishment has dominated the party since Reagan left the White House, the 2012 election could well be the end of the line.
If Romney loses in November, the Republican base will no longer buy the electability argument for an establishment candidate. From the view of the base, the elites will have given away an eminently winnable election. Someone new, from outside of Washington, will be the party's nominee in 2016.
If Romney wins and does nothing to change the status quo, the economy will falter. He will end up as the second straight one-term president, and the nation will desperately be searching for an authentic outsider in 2016.
If he wins the White House, the only way for Romney to succeed will be to side with the nation's voters and throw out the club in Washington. That will be great news for the country but bad news for political insiders on both sides of the partisan aisle.
COPYRIGHT 2012 SCOTT RASMUSSEN
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
See Other Political Commentaries.
See Other Commentaries by Scott Rasmussen.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.