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The Winning Answer

Oct 15, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 05 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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• Romney, amused by Obama’s embrace of “Obama-care,” replied briskly: “Good. So I’ll get rid of that.” But not just that. Romney emphasized he was willing to put even the beloved Big Bird on the chopping block. The Obama campaign and all the liberal elite’s horses and men and women leapt to Big Bird’s defense. They know Americans like Big Bird, and they assume Americans are so stupid as to think everything they like deserves a government subsidy. With a manly and candid conservatism, Romney said no. He did so not in the spirit of Oscar the Grouch (though The Weekly Standard is rather fond of Oscar the Grouch), but in the good-natured spirit of, say, Chris Christie, explaining government can no longer afford things just because we like them, if they aren’t essential. 

So: The Burkean case against trillion-dollar deficits. The Reaganite case for broad-based economic growth. The Tea Party-infused case against Obama-care. The Chris Christie-like case against unnecessary government spending.

Most of the rest of the debate consisted of Romney elaborating on these themes. They did the job Wednesday night. Properly developed and elaborated over the next month, they can do the job on Election Day.


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