Why Poorer States Aren't Buying What Romney's Selling

By Thomas Ferguson and Walter Dean Burnham

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one andlove the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” -- Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

As Rick Santorum exits and Newt Gingrich fades out, who would have imagined that the Gospel of St. Matthew would provide the best handle on the GOP primaries this year?

Even in 2009, it was obvious that the Republican Establishment and many of America’s richest citizens were busy laying the groundwork for a very special effort to take back the White House in 2012. After the 2010 congressional elections produced the second largest swing in the two party vote against the Democrats since 1826, the focus on 2012 became ferocious. The road, though, was bumpy. But by late last year, as one candidate after another flamed out, the hopes of most Obama opponents were settling, sometimes ruefully, on Mitt Romney.

The logic behind their choice was simple and compelling: With the American economy stuck in the mud of the Great Recession, the time was ripe for a campaign centered on economics. With his glittering track record in private equity on Wall Street at Bain Capital before he entered politics, Romney stood out from the rest of the Republican field. He was someone who could convincingly lead a campaign targeted on the economy and jobs. The rush to his standard accelerated after he dramatically embraced many neo-conservative foreign policy positions and advisers. 

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