I have to admit, I got a little excited during Mitt Romney’s speech at CPAC. It began so well, in a sense. I wrote yesterday that I heard (and saw) very little about jobs and job creation at CPAC. Then, Mitt Romney took to the stage and changed that. But, it turned out, only for a moment.
I was only half-listening to Romney until I heard the “J-Word” — the equivalent of a four-letter word at CPAC, it turns out, because it’s only mentioned in the context of criticizing the president and the Democratic congress for “failing” to create jobs. The problem is, there’s no follow through at CPAC.
In fact, Romney’s speech was the most sympathetic I’d heard from a Republican about the plight of the jobless. Before the midterm elections, according to conservatives the jobless were to blame for their own plight.
(Perhaps Romney is a among the first conservative to realize that among the jobless are many of their own. Yesterday, as I stood in the media registration line, a guy in front of me — who’d worked as a volunteer for a GOP candidate in the last cycle, complained about the lack of a job after the candidate’s victory. When he mentioned how much he hates having to collect unemployment, I didn’t have the heart to ask him how much of his 99 weeks he had left.)
Fifteen million Americans are out of work. And millions and millions more can't find the good paying jobs they long for and deserve. You've seen the heartbreaking photos and videos of the jobs fairs around the country, where thousands show up to stand in line all day just to have a chance to compete for a few job openings that probably aren't as good as the job they held two years ago. These job fairs and unemployment lines are President Obama's Hoovervilles.
Make no mistake. This is a moral tragedy--a moral tragedy of epic proportion.
Finally, a conservative recognizes the “moral tragedy” millions of Americans have been living with for the last couple of years. It’s just too bad that Romney couldn’t own up to his own party’s part in the making of that tragedy.
It’s unfortunate that Romney stopped short of spelling out a conservative plan to actively create jobs. But it’s not surprising. From all I can gather, the cut-taxes-and-hope-for-the-best approach still rules the day, and that it’s still an article of faith that once tax cuts and deregulation are locked in, job creation will “just happen.”
It’s unfortunate, yes, but not surprising.