Why does Mitt Romney have so much trouble connecting with Tea Party Republicans?
The Weekly Standard follows Romney to a Tea Party group meeting in Michigan and finds that he just doesn't inhabit the same universe politically as those who support the movement.
If Romney sought to identify with these conservatives by speaking to their values, he did not pander on policy. He stayed after his speech and took several questions. His host promised they “wouldn’t be too bad,” and they weren’t. The most aggressive was this one: “There’s no greater immediate threat facing our country than the rapidly increasing federal debt. We now have an antiquated tax code that needs to be scrapped. Just tinkering around the edges of this monster will not save our country. How will you rewrite the tax code to a flatter, fairer tax that encourages production and keeps capital in this country?” Romney proceeded to politely describe his tax plan—which most certainly does not scrap the tax code and, while far preferable to anything coming from the White House, might accurately be described as tinkering.
That, at least, was the impression of Linda Williams, who owns the Heavenly Acres pet cemetery and crematorium. “It was weak,” she said. “He’s got to stop talking like a politician. He’s got to be stronger.” She left a supporter of Rick Santorum.
And that could be part of the problem: Policies that many in the Tea Party regard as too cautious, the Romney campaign sees as bold. Last week, the campaign used that word—“bold”—to describe its tax plan in at least 22 separate press releases to reporters.