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A Must-Read for Mitt

9:32 AM, Feb 9, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Mitt Romney will be in Washington, D.C., for a fundraiser at the JW Marriott tonight. (For interested readers with some cash on hand, it's $1,000 for a ticket to the general reception, $2,500 for a photo opportunity, and $10,000 to attend a “policy roundtable.”) In attendance will undoubtedly be many of the dreaded Washington “insiders” Romney has been attacking, including “those who have been compromised by the culture of Washington,” those whose “soul is corrupted by a Washington culture,” as Romney put it Tuesday night in Colorado. We trust Governor Romney will avoid being corrupted by this brief venture into our nation's capital.

Mitt Romney

And we imagine he’ll still emphasize to CPAC on Friday, as he said in Colorado, “I’m the only person in this race, Republican or Democrat, who has never served a day in Washington. In the world I come from, leadership is about starting a business, not trying to get a bill out of committee.” Which is fine. But of course as president Romney won't be starting any businesses. He will be trying to get bills out of committee. And one reason voters are balking at Romney is that he gives little indication that the bills he’ll be trying to get out of committee will be particularly bold or helpful to all the actual working people outside Washington. 

In that vein, here's a suggestion for Mitt. Read this column of friendly advice from James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute.

Here's how he begins: 

Mitt Romney wants to be the next president of a country in need of serious and sweeping economic reform. And here are the first two points in his 59-point economic plan:

“1. Maintain current tax rates on personal income

“2. Maintain current tax rates on interest, dividends, and capital gains”

Now imagine private-equity boss Romney back at Bain Capital sitting down to read his team’s 59-point turnaround plan for some troubled widget maker. And imagine if the first two action items started with the phrase “Maintain current ….”

Romney needs to give conservatives, and voters in general, a much clearer picture of the sort of conservative governance President Romney would strive for. Exactly how would Mr. Fix-it fix America?

Pethokoukis explains how Romney can do this, sketching out a bold agenda of entitlement reform, spending cuts, tax reform, and education reform. You should read the whole thing. More important, Mitt should read the whole thing.

And then—since he’s here in D.C. anyway, at a hotel less than a mile from AEI world headquarters—he should schedule a meeting with Pethokoukis. Jim’s a nice guy, and won't do anything to compromise or corrupt Mitt. I even suspect Jim won't charge for his private policy roundtable. And taking Jim’s advice to heart would do more for Mitt’s chances to be the GOP nominee than anything he else he could do over the next few days.

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