It is no accident that Mitt Romney struggled with the Midwest White Working Class. His chief economic adviser, Glenn Hubbard, is so out of touch.
Writing in Tuesday’s Financial Times and suggesting how we can avoid the fiscal cliff, Hubbard begins, “I have fond memories of summer trips to Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine -- for lobster but also for the scenery along Marginal way, a narrow path along a cliff by the beach.”
I am sure that if Hubbard had lived through the Depression, he would have written that his maid was poor, his butler was poor and they were running low on the Grey Poupon. This man is also the dean of Columbia Business School and might have been our Treasury Secretary or Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Which brings me back to Mitt and his loss. Romney brought in the top 4 percent of the electorate. He won the $200K+ crowd going away, a demographic that went for Obama in 2008. Outside of the Northeast, it was a blowout. In tony Westchester County, New York, Romney even managed to cut into Obama’s ‘08 margin.
But, where it counted, Romney suffered an epic failure.
In 2008, Obama lost white Midwest non-college graduates by about 10 points. This time out it was by an average of 5 percent. In the auto states of Ohio and Michigan, it was by 4 points. Criticizing the auto rescue, while giving the thumbs-up to TARP comes with a price tag on Election Day.
Behind the curtain the Romney campaign was a disaster. Per published reports, it was both inept and greedy. The field operation was lousy. The computer system crashed and the consultants pillaged the campaign coffers on ineffective ads, systems that did not work and polls that were detached from reality.
Item. Team Romney trashed Reuters for getting early voting trends right.
Item. Team Romney sat on its hands as it got pummeled by the Obama campaign during the summer.
As Romney was making the hedge fund gods tingle over the 47 percent, the Obama campaign was installing and tweaking hi-end hi-tech reality based metric systems that were giving real time reports on where the electorate was heading.
Which brings me back to Dean Hubbard. Lest anyone forget, Hubbard is the same bespectacled scold who got ticked-off on-camera for being asked about his too cozy relationship with Wall Street. He reminds me of Elizabeth Warren all over again.
Lesson to the GOP. It is one thing to be rich. It is another thing to act it -- especially when you’re sticking it to workers and fawning over the Street.
Lloyd Green was staff secretary to the George H.W. Bush campaign’s Middle East Policy Group in 1988 and served in the Department of Justice between 1990 and 1992.