You could say, let them eat cake! That's what Romney is saying when, as quoted by Paul Krugman this morning, he says that kids who want to go to college but can't afford to should just choose a college with "a little lower price."
Or, go "start a business."
Let’s start with some advice Mitt Romney gave to college students during an appearance last week. After denouncing President Obama’s “divisiveness,” the candidate told his audience, “Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.”
The first thing you notice here is, of course, the Romney touch — the distinctive lack of empathy for those who weren’t born into affluent families, who can’t rely on the Bank of Mom and Dad to finance their ambitions. But the rest of the remark is just as bad in its own way.
I mean, “get the education”? And pay for it how? Tuition at public colleges and universities has soared, in part thanks to sharp reductions in state aid. Mr. Romney isn’t proposing anything that would fix that; he is, however, a strong supporter of the Ryan budget plan, which would drastically cut federal student aid, causing roughly a million students to lose their Pell grants.
So how, exactly, are young people from cash-strapped families supposed to “get the education”? Back in March Mr. Romney had the answer: Find the college “that has a little lower price where you can get a good education.” Good luck with that. But I guess it’s divisive to point out that Mr. Romney’s prescriptions are useless for Americans who weren’t born with his advantages. ...Paul Krugman
Part of Romney's (and the Republican party's) blindness leads them to deprioritize education. They have their reasons. For some it's simply about blindness; for others it's more about actually wanting a divided society in which a few are the users and the rest are the used. This is very different from our earliest history as Americans, years in which the first thing settlers built in their new community was the school, years in which some our best and most enduring universities were created.
There is, however, a larger issue: even if students do manage, somehow, to “get the education,” which they do all too often by incurring a lot of debt, they’ll be graduating into an economy that doesn’t seem to want them. ...Krugman
The radical proposition that we shouldn't bother our heads about education or about jobs for graduates is, aside from anything else, about as stupid and unproductive -- anti-productive! -- as anything Romney and his party have put on the table.
More from Krugman this morning at WBUR.
Mitt Romney may also be stupid in the way he handles campaign money, opening himself up not just for criticism but for an unpleasant comparison with Obama. Romney uses "bundlers" and secrecy. Obama is more open. The Romney campaign may be wrong, again, in its attitude towards money.
Every presidential nominee going back to 2000 has revealed the names of influential supporters known as "bundlers" because of the way they persuade others to give money to a candidate. Every nominee, that is, until Mitt Romney.
The Romney campaign says it complies with the law, period. And there's no law requiring disclosure of bundlers. It's just been the voluntary standard since presidential candidate George W. Bush started doing it in 1999.
Among those adhering to the voluntary standard — Mitt Romney in 2008. But not this time.
"The one danger is, that if Romney has a questionable bundler, you know, somebody with a troubled legal history," says Bill Allison, editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation, which advocates for transparency in government and politics.
Bundlers who carry political baggage have shown up along the campaign trail before — someone like Norman Hsu, a Ponzi scheme artist and onetime bundler for Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign, or Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who pleaded guilty to corruption charges after bundling for Bush in 2004.
"If that kind of story comes up, the question becomes about Romney is, 'Who are his other bundlers, and what is he hiding?'" says Allison.
And here's another reason to disclose. The public recognition can actually make the bundlers more enthusiastic and competitive.
The 2000 Bush campaign bragged about its "Pioneers" who each brought in $100,000 or more. And in 2008, candidate Barack Obama's organization promoted online bundling among small donors.
The Obama campaign this year has more than 500 "volunteer fundraisers," as it calls them. Some bring in a $500,000 or more. The campaign identifies them on its website. ...NPR
Not everyone likes the idea of openness -- most notably, according to NPR, libertarians. But it seems to work better politically. And openness can give a candidate that competitive edge...
Gotta be careful with empathy. Americans are supposed to be wary of empathy. Republicans are normal people while Democrats tend to be empathetic*.
The more interested in politics a conservative is, the lower his (or her) level of empathy. Liberals move in the opposite direction: the more interested in politics they are, the more empathetic. Empathy, in case you’re wondering, is measured by responses to 28 statements in the “Davis Interpersonal Reactivity Index,” including “I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me,” “I sometimes find it difficult to see things from the ‘other guy’s’ point of view,” and “Sometimes I don’t feel very sorry for other people when they are having problems.” ...NYT
Romney is trying to seem more empathetic while not stirring up the fiends. Obama is trying to be as empathetic as any normal, decent citizen while not, well, stirring up the same fiends, according to Thomas Edsall in the Times.
Romney has dropped his attacks on Obama’s alleged “entitlement society” and on administration policies that supposedly push the country toward “European socialism,” but he cannot win without addressing and engaging the convictions of a substantial conservative plurality in the electorate.
Obama, too, is walking a fine line as he seeks to firmly establish core support on the “empathetic” left while stressing the theme of “hard work and responsibility” so that everyone else can hear him. Obama must try to avoid painting himself into the “bleeding heart” corner even as he struggles to deliver relief to the poor and the truly disadvantaged, who made up just under a quarter of all his voters in 2008. ...NYT
The word is really "empathic." The new usage, "empathetic," is fatter, and fancier. Many believe a bigger, fancier word is a more important, educated word. So we do that to words, a lot -- we force-feed them in order to make ourselves feel more important.
On the other hand, maybe the insecure gun-toter doesn't like to be thought of as "pathetic" even with that "em." Maybe it's the misuse of the word that makes the insecure rightwinger wary of empathy, not the act of feeling empathy.
Gee! Maybe we could wake Republicans up to reality if we'd just stop calling them "psychopaths, " a word they just brush off. Let's switch to "psychopathetics." Worth a try. Drew Westen, are you listening?