If this election has shown anything it is that both parties are campaigning hard to attract the middle class. Both sides acknowledge that the middle class has taken it in the teeth over the past several years. Of course, both sides have alternative views as to why that happened and what needs to be done about it. This so far is normal in terms of elective politics.
Let me say this, I believe Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are good people. They are both smart and capable people. They both love this country. I couldn't necessarily say that about the GOP candidates the last time around. Paul Ryan did a very good job in the debate of casting himself and Romney as caring and giving people. In truth, I think they both bested their counterparts in the first go around.
Winning debates is one thing, but often we are looking at style over substance. When asking yourself who is going to best serve the middle class let's begin with a simple definition of what it means to be middle class. When asked what middle class was in the first debate, Romney was asked if someone making 200,000 to 250,000 could be considered middle class. Romney said (and twice) that someone making that much money could comfortably be considered middle class.
It's funny that this point has been glossed over in the past couple of weeks since that debate. Everyone is focusing on Big Bird. Everyone is focusing on Romney's move to the center. The first one is more towards the absurd while the second one is a more interesting discussion, but not one I want to have right now. The simple question is this: can you trust someone to help the middle class when that person can't even tell you what it means to be middle class?
I have no doubt that Romney really is interested in helping the middle class. The problem is that his middle class makes more money already than the people that really are middle class. The people that really are middle class are those that fall into his 47 percent of people that don't take responsibility for their own lives. Interestingly enough, that is where most of you reading this column are.
So, forget about tax plans that are five trillion dollar cuts for the rich and then aren't. Forget about repealing the Affordable Care Act and then somehow allowing those with preexisting conditions to continue to be covered. Let's forget about how you can cut five trillion dollars in tax revenue, increase defense spending, and still somehow cut the deficit. Even if you accept his answers on all of those concerns you still have to wonder how he can help a group that he simply can't define.
In terms of elective politics, I'm worried that Romney and Ryan's move to the center will make it a lot harder for Obama to win. As an American, I'm happy those two showed up. I think if those two are the real McCoy then the American people have a genuine choice for the first time in a long time. Yet, being smart and caring is not enough. You have to show that you have an actual grasp of the problem. When you think someone that makes 250,000 dollars is middle class then you don't have a grasp on the problem.