Michael Gerson, President Bush's speechwriter, believes
Mitt Romney is performing poorly among women because "women and independents want some reassurance that Republicans give a damn about someone other than Republican primary voters."
Fair enough. Of course, that's the nature of a primary . . . you need to be able to win a majority of "Republican primary voters" if you are going to, ahem, win the primaries. But with Santorum's withdrawal, now it's a whole new ballgame.
Of course, there's little to disagree with in Gerson's general admonition that "One of the best ways to appeal to women -- and to humans, for that matter -- is to show some humanity." The devil, of course, is in the details; what policies exactly show that one has "humanity"? It seems that, in Gerson's formulation, they must for the most part involve more active (and thus probably bigger) government.
]Gerson calls upon Romney to "pick a cause of justice and equity he cares about deeply," using as examples the high African American teenage unemployment rates or high black and Hispanic high school drop out rates. But when the government sets out on a mission to ensure "justice and equity" -- of anything but opportunity, that is -- it's rarely a pretty picture. And by buying into the "justice and equity" construct, he would effectively cede the field to President Obama and Occupy Wall Street ideological constructs. He becomes little more than a "me, too, but less" alternative.
Better for Romney to discuss and show the fact that he cares about all Americans -- and cares about restoring opportunity and prosperity for all of us -- rather than cherry-picking one cause and then "going all Big Government" on it to prove that he "cares" about some unspecified version of "justice and equity" for some particular group of people. We've had enough special-cause-pleading and singling out of specific "victims and villains" under the Obama administration to last us a lifetime.
I like President George W. Bush, and am grateful he was in office to undertake the beginning of the great war on terror. But ultimately, Gerson would be well-advised to remember that it was the Bush-era government expansion in size and spending, necessitated by the practice of Compassionate Conservatism, that birthed the Tea Party whose perceived ideological rigidity he now decries.