Mr. Romney must be either deluded or dishonest about the economy. The so-called "liberal policies of the past", as he well knows, worked well (WPA, social security, etc.). It is the "conservative" policies of the past (lawless/deregulated business practices, top-end tax breaks, etc.) that have patently failed. The liberal pragmatism this President proposes, and that Republicans blindly obstruct, is incremental, balanced/fair and forward-looking. "Unleashing" our entrepreneurial spirit is not the same as giving free rein to lawless excess (JP Morgan should not gamble with deposits, feckless speculators should not drive up commodity prices, etc.). Corruption and negligence are nothing new, and familiar remedies for old maladies are as effective as ever. A return to "unhealthy" practices is no cure. The super-rich are as 'overweight' economically as the electorate is physically, but refuse any "dietary" advice (as they insist that the elderly should carry their own health-care weight, the young need not eat, and government should be starved of the workers necessary to provide essential services).
The GOP argue that 13th century (Inquisitional) initiatives simultaneously proposed in many statehouses are either "good" (such as unnecessary ultrasounds, de-funding Planned Parenthood, etc.), or nationally "inconsequential". The idea that we cannot have a conversation about something other than GDP is condescending. The electorate is capable of attend to more than one issue at a time.
Mr. Romney's character (other than his "business acumen") is important to reckon when deciding his fitness to lead (regardless of right-wing pundit's dismissals). 'Better lives' includes much more than a penny gain in one's yearly mutual fund statement, whether or not Mr. Romney can speak to those "betters". The discordant one-note of the Republican party rings hollow.