Mitt Romney: Republicans Are “Nuts Not to Raise the Minimum Wage”

Okay, okay, maybe one apology...

Okay, okay, maybe one apology…

After two failed runs for the presidency and one impossibly stupid rant admitting that he’s not the candidate of poor people, Mitt Romney has finally seen the light. Eric Levenson at Boston.com reports Romney’s latest thoughts on the Republican Party:

“I think we’re nuts not to raise the minimum wage,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I think as a party, to say we’re trying to help the middle class of America and the poor and not raise the minimum wage sends exactly the wrong signal.”

Romney is correct, here, and it’s not the first time. He’s been calling for the minimum wage to be increased for a while—almost since he lost the election in 2012. Republicans are stuck in a dead end right now. They know they need to support the middle class in some way, but their rich supporters are against raising the minimum wage at all. They’re stuck, and only a retired politician like Romney can tell the truth about this awkward, tenuous situation.

Romney’s most extraordinary comment is in this next quote:

“As a party we speak a lot about deregulation and tax policy, and you know what? People have been hearing that for 25 years and they’re getting tired of that message,” he said.

This is an astonishing flourish of self-awareness from Romney, a man who almost never demonstrates a capability for reflection. He understands that Republicans haven’t issued anything new on the economy in a very long time, and the American people are finally recognizing the sound of a broken record. Tax cuts and slashing regulations is not going to do it anymore.

Too bad the party that Romney is trying to speak truth to has fled in entirely the other direction, embracing the hate and fear of Trump and Cruz. Romney’s acting as the mouthpiece for all the Republican leaders who have only been able to gawk, open-mouthed, as the Tea Party drove their values into a ditch, but Republican voters don’t seem ready to listen to reason just yet. Can they pull out of their trickle down death spiral before this year’s presidential election? Romney seems to be betting his reputation and his legacy as a Republican leader on it.

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Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.