Sep. 18th, 2012
Romney has been reshaped by this campaign. The dread to which Romney gives voice in his Boca Raton speech - that "makers" are about to be electorally overwhelmed by "takers" - is a dread expressed again and again by conservative media and conservative thought-leaders.
The background to so much of the politics of the past four years is the mood of apocalyptic terror that has gripped so much of the American upper class.
Hucksters of all kinds have battened on this terror. They tell them that free enterprise is under attack; that Obama is a socialist, a Marxist, a fascist, an anti-colonialist. Only by donating to my think tank, buying my book, watching my network, going to my movie, can you - can we - stop him before he seizes everything to give to his base of "bums," as Charles Murray memorably called them.
And what makes it all both so heart-rending and so outrageous is that all this is occurring at a time when economically disadvantaged Americans have never been so demoralized and passive, never exerted less political clout.
From the greatest crisis of capitalism since the 1930s, the rights and perquisites of wealth have emerged undiminished - and the central issue in this election is whether those rights and perquisites shall be enhanced still more, or whether they should be allowed to slip back to the level that prevailed during the dot.com boom.