I get it. Mitt Romney’s riff on the “dependent 47 percent” was a description of what he intended to do with the contributions he hoped to get from his audience. He was telling them that he didn’t intend to waste their donations courting Obama’s staunch supporters. Nor was he going to spend them on his own staunch supporters. He was going to use their contributions to attract the 5 to 10 percent of voters who were on the fence and who could put him over the top. Since many in his audience were probably savvy investors who wanted their money used profitably, Romney hit the right note for that particular meeting. Obama probably uses a similar approach to court his wealthy benefactors behind closed doors. Raising money is an unpleasant but necessary part of politics.
We are now less than 60 days from the election. It is time for Mitt Romney to move from election tactics designed to get votes, to a discussion of the policies he will pursue. He could start by telling us what he intends to do to, or for, or about, the 47 percent. I find it maddening that he and his vice presidential candidate refer so often to the “Romney Plan” for this or that, without ever providing specifics.
In business, trade secrets are often crucial to commercial success. Think of the chaos that would ensue if the Coca-Cola formula got out of the safe or the 11 herbs and spices were published on the Internet.
Public policy is different. Voters are entitled to details on how a candidate intends to govern. This is doubly true of Romney, since he has moved 180 degrees from many of the positions he espoused as governor. His greatest business deals probably relied on absolute secrecy until the last moment, but, he is not in business anymore. In order to “close the deal” on the presidency of the United States, secrecy is the least desirable approach. I hope that the debates will spur him to provide some specifics, but I won’t hold my breath.
Francis J. Lynch