An old friend just moved to an amorphous suburb of Philly, way out there in Whiteland, and was dismayed but not surprised to see Romney-for-president signs on the lawns of many of his new neighbors. “Who do these guys think they’re voting for?” he wondered.
Two key paragraphs from a recent piece by Matt Taibbi that indirectly addresses this question:
…Hurricane Sandy is a perfect, microcosmic example of America’s attitude toward government. We have millions of people who, most of the year, are ready to bash anyone who accepts government aid as a parasitic welfare queen, but the instant the water level rises a few feet too high in their own neighborhoods, those same folks transform into little Roosevelts, full of plaudits for the benefits of a strong state…
…It’s this weird national paranoia about being seen as needy, or labeled a parasite who needs government aid, that leads to lunacies like the idea that having a strong disaster-relief agency qualifies as a “big government” concept, when in fact it’s just sensible. If everyone could just admit that government is a fact of life, we could probably do a much better job of fixing it and managing its costs. Instead, we have to play this silly game where millions of us pretend we’re above it all, that we don’t walk on regularly-cleaned streets or fly in protected skies. It shouldn’t take a once-in-a-generation hurricane for Americans to admit they need the government occasionally, but that’s apparently where we are.
Romney is the candidate for voters who think federal help for disaster-stricken states is “immoral” (that’s the word he used). It really does take a hurricane to change the minds of such people.