Republicans have long denounced the liberal fixation with victimhood while embracing all its tropes, arguing, as Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich have, that it's those in the Christian majority who are really being persecuted in America. Mitt Romney bested his opponents by going one step further, saying he would stand up for the fabulously wealthy. At CPAC Friday, and to a standing ovation, he declared, "I started new businesses and turned around broken ones -- and I am not ashamed to say that I was very successful at it." Mitt Romney: out and proud as a retired private equity executive.
Romney's speech a CPAC, an annual gathering of conservatives, was seen as an important moment for him to try to win skeptics over. (The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins predicted he would be "received cordially," but nothing more, The New York Times reported.) Romney's other standing ovation was a response to his promise to "eliminate Obamacare," the health law based on the one he created in Massachusetts. But he sounded a little more like a culture warrior than usual too. "On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage," he said. "I will reverse every single Obama regulation that attacks our religious liberty and threatens innocent life."
Still, Romney sounds most confortable when talking about money. "I know it seems like government doesn't like you. I love you," he told 900 business leaders Friday morning. It almost sounds like a promise a Romney-run nanny state will coddle. The steadfast resistance to anti-business bigotry is especially amusing at CPAC, as this is the same conference at which Joe the Plumber made a central part of his congressional campaign platform being against black people calling themselves African Americans, because hyphens are bad. "First and foremost, we are all Americans. We're not Indian Americans or African Americans or what have you," he told Gawker's Emma Carmichael. But didn't he make his entire career off a nickname meant to highlight his class? His supporter explained: "It is kind of funny. But his name was just Joe. The media added ‘The Plumber.' And I might call you Sara The Plumber, but that has nothing to do with your ancestry, creed, beliefs, and class status."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.