The angry response of many Republicans to Mitt Romney’s “gift” statement reflects both the failure of the Romney camp to effectively structure its argument and a misstep by Mr. Romney’s critics (“Romney: Obama won with ‘gifts’ to certain voters,” Web, Nov. 15).
In a virtually unprecedented action that was totally at odds with our representative form of government, Congress in 2008 allocated hundreds of billions of dollars in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to be spent at the sole discretion of a single individual, the next president of the republic. Following his election, President Obama doled out a $25 billion gift of taxpayers’ money to the United Auto Workers Union’s pension fund. With that money in hand, it was difficult for auto workers and retirees in Ohio, Michigan and Florida to vote against his re-election bid. Mr. Obama also gave a gift of some $200 billion to fund the retention of teacher positions in the wake of the economic meltdown, making it hard for teachers union members, many of whom are single women, to vote against their benefactor.
Giving the president or any other individual such a huge pot of money that could be used as a political slush fund was a huge mistake that certainly had an unwarranted effect on this election, and it should never happen again. It may not have been the major reason Mr. Romney lost the election, but to airbrush it out of the picture so as not to offend voters who cast their ballots on the basis of personal economic benefit only serves to alienate a major segment of the Republican coalition.