The Mittster has a reputation as sort of a closet moderate, but as John Schmitt argues persuasively at The New Republic. he’s really espousing quite radical stuff these days in his talk about the poor:
“In taking up this new conservative line, Romney and others are trashing an important part of Reagan’s legacy and a significant bipartisan innovation over the past few decades. The idea of supporting and rewarding work and responsibility met up with the recognition that people need supports—health care, child care, income security—in order to take full advantage of opportunities after they leave the ranks of the ‘very poor’….
Romney deserves mockery for his clumsy language. He deserves to be called out for the fact that he wouldn’t actually “repair” the safety net. But we should also recognize that there is an underlying vision to his mangled words, and that that vision marks a dramatic break from the conservative tradition. It’s also far out of step with what people need in order to participate in the modern American economy.”