Mitt Romney’s Two Cadillacs Fallacy – The Washington Post by EJ Dionne, Jr.
So here’s a counterintuitive argument: These primaries have damaged the Republican candidates’ images in the short run. But in the long run, they may yet help Romney — if he prevails — because by comparison with Santorum and Newt Gingrich, he seems “moderate,” and his supporters are more “moderate” than the voters backing the other guys. And Romney has been on so many sides of so many issues that pundits can arbitrarily imagine their own Romney.
My friend and colleague Matt Miller wrote recently that “everyone knows Romney is basically a pragmatic centrist.” No, “everyone” does not know this. The evidence from his tax plan, in fact, is that he’s an extremist for the privileged.
We’re witnessing what should be called the Two Cadillacs Fallacy: Romney’s rather authentic moments suggesting he doesn’t understand the lives of average people (such as his comment on his wife’s two Cadillacs) are dismissed as “gaffes,” while Santorum’s views on social issues are denounced as “extreme.” But Romney’s gaffes are more than gaffes: They reflect deeply held and radical views about how wealth and power ought to be distributed in the United States. These should worry us a lot more than Santorum’s dopey “snob” comment or his tasteless denunciation of JFK. …
Romney’s most faithful constituency in primaries [is] Republicans earning more than $200,000 a year. In Michigan, they backed him over Santorum by 2 to 1.
They’re Romney’s base for good reason. That “across-the-board” tax cut sounds fair and balanced. But a Tax Policy Center study in November of the impact of a 20 percent across-the-board rate cut showed that the wealthiest 0.1 percent would get an average tax reduction of $264,000. The poorest 20 percent would get $78, and those smack in the middle would get $791.