In his most recent column, The New York Times’ Paul Krugman asks, “Just how stupid does Mitt Romney think we are.”
At a recent campaign stop, Romney spoke at a shuttered factory in Ohio to imply that Obama’s economic policy had something to do with its closure. As reporters on hand pointed out, the factory in question actually closed while George W. Bush was president. But inconvenient truths such as that surely won’t stop the Romney machine.
Does the Romney campaign expect Americans to blame President Obama for his predecessor’s policy failure?
Yes, it does. Mr. Romney constantly talks about job losses under Mr. Obama. Yet all of the net job loss took place in the first few months of 2009, that is, before any of the new administration’s policies had time to take effect. So the Ohio speech was a perfect illustration of the way the Romney campaign is banking on amnesia, on the hope that voters don’t remember that Mr. Obama inherited an economy that was already in free fall.
So the answer to the first question: yes, Romney thinks Americans are that stupid, either too stupid or too lazy to hold him accountable to his claims or to do some independent fact-checking. He’s counting on that, and he’s right. That probably does describe the large majority of Americans. The proof is in the pudding: Bush got re-elected in 2004 after leading us into a war on false pretenses, and in 2008, we came inches away from having the incompetent and anti-intellectual Sarah Palin as vice president thanks to that alarmist Tea Party nonsense. So, no, Romney doesn’t hold the intellect of many Americans in high regard. It’s insulting, but then again, we get the politicians that we deserve.