Perhaps, the Republican frontrunner’s gaffe earlier this week that he is not concerned about the “very poor” will serve as a teaching moment for him. He has to do a better job of articulating how conservatives think about poverty. As Bruce’s junior Senator put it:
Because I know [Mitt Romney] does care about the poor. But I think he was trying to make a case that they’re taken care of. But, in fact, I would say I’m worried about the poor because many are trapped in dependency, they need a good job; they don’t need to be on social welfare programs. I think he needs to turn that around because — the middle class is key, and we have to focus on that. And, really, the problem with the middle class is not successful people, it’s politicians — but the key to making our country successful it to get everyone on that economic ladder.
In short, he needs to talk about free-market capitalism as creating opportunities for all. Conservatives, as Charles Krauthammer acknowledged, don’t see things in term of class:
Conservatives are not the ones who engage in the war of the classes or in a division of America into classes. Obama and the Democrats will win that kind of argument every day. The moral case for conservative economics is that our policy is going to help everybody, including the poor.
Let us hope Romney learns from his recent gaffe and starts talking like a conservative. Should he do that, he might not only appeal to independent voters, but also help rally the Republican base.