Zakaria’s tired argument is that Romney’s “bad week” — a diagnosis made by the media, but not supported by legitimate tracking polls — wasn’t caused by a sudden onset of “clumsiness.”
“In fact, the problem is not Romney but the new Republican Party,” he writes. “Given the direction in which it has moved and the pressures from its most extreme — yet most powerful — elements, any nominee would face the same challenge: Can you be a serious candidate for the general election while not outraging the Republican base?”
In the fact of the most obvious fact — that Romney, the most moderate candidate in the field of Republican contenders, handily won the nomination — Zakaria still claims that powerful, unnamed “extremists” are in control of the GOP.
“Why won’t Romney, an intelligent man, fluent in economics, explain his economic policy?” Zakaria asks. “Because any sensible answer would cause a firestorm in his party.”
But Romney has presented a clear economic policy — repeatedly. It’s this: lower individual tax rates at all levels, but allow fewer tax loopholes. He acknowledges that the end result will actually result in higher tax bills for the wealthy — they’re the ones who take advantage of most of those loopholes. Likewise, Romney wants to lower the corporate tax rate (which is currently the highest in the developed world), yet eliminate corporate welfare programs.
Zakaria is making a classic straw man argument. He’s inventing a fictitious Mitt Romney and a non-existent Republican Party, and arguing against those — instead of taking on the real Romney and Republican policies.
“The Republican Party has imposed a new kind of political correctness on its leaders,” he claims. “They cannot speak certain words (taxes) or speculate about certain ideas (immigration amnesty) because these are forbidden. Romney has tried to run a campaign while not running afoul of his party’s strictures. As a result, he has twisted himself into a pretzel, speaking vacuously, avoiding specifics…”
In fact, Romney has plans to increase legal immigration and fix the temporary worker program. And his web site clearly shows his support for a program like the DREAM Act (citizenship for young illegal immigrants who agree to serve in the military).
Likewise, his tax policies will clearly raises taxes on the wealthy, but by simplifying the tax code and making it work for everyone.
These are not extremist positions. No extremists in the party are marching on Romney headquarters, with pitchforks and torches in hand.
Zakaria has already been caught plagiarizing another writer’s work.
Now he’s passing off Democratic talking points as “thoughtful opinion.”