Mitt Romney told his donors today that President Obama won last week because of the “big gifts” that he gave to “the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.” According to the New York Times, here’s what he said:
With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift. Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.
….You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge. Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.
I’m inclined to cut Romney some slack on this. Sure, it’s a little crude and a little defensive, but it’s basically right. The HHS decision on contraceptives became a cornerstone of Obama’s pitch to women (though it wouldn’t have had much effect if Republicans hadn’t gone nuts over it). The mini-DREAM Act was explicitly part of his outreach to Hispanics. And Obamacare was certainly an effort to provide big healthcare subsidies to millions of people who aren’t currently insured. This is all garden-variety politics.
What’s missing, of course, is that Romney played the same game. He appealed to rich people (and the middle class) with his promises of big tax cuts. He appealed to conservative Christians and Roman Catholics with his promise to reverse the contraceptive decision. He appealed to the elderly with promises to restore the $716 billion he claimed Obama had taken away from Medicare. Etc. Again, this is garden-variety politics. I can’t really get too worked up about it.