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Moreover, campaigning against regulation can often pay a bigger dividend than railing against abstract “earmarks.” Since many people have a particular government prohibition pet peeve, the candidate that has a general anti-regulatory platform can frequently capture these voters.
Regulatory reform was featured prominently in the “Contract With America.” When Republicans took the House, a slew of regulatory reform bills were introduced, and a few of them passed.
In recent years, the GOP has downgraded regulatory reform as a priority, even as the party got religion again on taxes and spending. You won’t hear a consistent message against overregulation in a Republican stump speech even from some of the most conservative politicians. They seem to fear the media painting them as too pro-business or anti-environment.
YET IN MICHIGAN, Romney channeled Reagan and the Contract With America to show how deregulation can still be a winning message. He “found his voice” by going from a simple “change” agent with business experience to a pointed critic of the way government frustrates the productive sectors of the economy.
In New Hampshire, his message had seemed to be the standard line of many former executives in politics to run government like a business. In Michigan, his message more often was to just get government out of the way of business. And at times, in his own wonky way, Romney could really pair anti-regulatory sentiment with a Reaganesque optimism about the ability of American workers.
“When we send…a Ford Mustang overseas, it’s not just loaded with accessories,” he explained to the audience at the Detroit Economic Club. “It’s loaded with our excessive healthcare costs, our excessive regulatory burdens, our excessive legal liability burden, and the taxes paid by every single automotive supplier to help put product into that car. You take off those burdens, and let’s show them how fast a Mustang will actually go!”
With this anti-regulation message, Romney won males, females, Protestants, Catholics, all levels of education from high-school dropouts to postgraduates, and all income groups above $30,000. And in an important sign for the anti-regulation message in a general election — no matter who the candidates end up being — Romney was only six points behind McCain among the independents who voted in the primary.
As long as there is an overweening regulatory state, smart bashing of government regulation will never go out of style.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?