Feb. 8, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Mitt Romney Accomplished Some of His Goals, But Not All

The centerpiece of his case against Obama was to link himself to President Ronald Reagan and Obama to President Jimmy Carter with the familiar question, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

In the AP poll, only 28 percent of respondents said that they were, and Romney cited another survey showing that more than half of Americans think their children will not live a better life than theirs.

Insofar as jobs and the economy are the No. 1 issue in this election, the Republicans dwelled heavily on Romney's experience as a business leader - and Obama's lack of it.

Romney observed that Obama "took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government."

It was a good thrust. And Romney made sure not just to defend his own record of business success at Bain Capital from the attacks its taken from Obama, but to charge that Obama, in attacking business success, doesn't understand the whole free enterprise system.

The Republicans understandably also spent extensive energy countering Obama's charges that Ryan and Romney will "destroy Medicare as we know it," the Democrats' effort to cut the GOP lead with seniors.

The GOP seems to have had success - and deservedly - since Ryan has proposed (with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon) giving future seniors a choice of coverage under traditional government-run Medicare (which is going broke) or a private insurance plan.

The GOP convention certainly appears to have solidified the party behind Romney - especially because the choice of Ryan was pleasing to conservatives.

And Romney even summoned what might be called a vision, which many said he lacked: "A united America" that "can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity and that will restore every father and mother's confidence that their children's future is brighter even than the past."

The problem is the here-to-there. Romney enunciated a five-point plan: full exploitation of U.S. fossil fuel resources, school choice as a vehicle for skills-development, a combination of free and fair trade, deficit reduction and a small business agenda consisting of lower taxes, fewer regulations and repealing and replacing Obama's health reform plan.

No one expects an acceptance speech to go into detail like a State of the Union address, but Republicans need to explain how conservative economic policy leads to general prosperity.

In the Washington Post poll, 56 percent of respondents said they favor smaller government that provides fewer services. Just 38 percent want a larger government. And they resoundingly (73 percent) identify Obama as a large-government man.

But the poll also showed that, by 52 percent to 33 percent, voters prefer government spending on infrastructure to create jobs, as opposed to cutting taxes.

By 56 percent to 34 percent, they think that unfairness in the economic system favoring the rich is a bigger problem than over-regulation. And 60 percent think Romney favors the rich and Obama, the middle class.

Clearly, there was a need for Republicans to show that their policies don't just amount to "trickle down economics" and will reverse the decades-long trend that the rich are getting richer and everyone else is stagnating.

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