One of the current narratives that I see on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and all over a lot of blogs is that Mitt Romney is too rich to be voted into the office of the Presidency.
To which I call bullshit.
First off, we’re never going to have a poor President. At best, we’ll have someone who was poor at one point. But you don’t build a political base large enough to get into the presidency without having the skills to make enough money to live comfortably. The closest we got to poor might have been Harry Truman (a haberdasher) or Abraham Lincoln (who had a successful law practice). There are plenty of Presidents who weren’t rich, but all of them were at least comfortable before they became President.
The basis of this narrative is that a rich person cannot possibly be a force for the have-nots. That’s total crap. Franklin Roosevelt was very rich, but also enacted programs that are the basis for America’s modern welfare state. Not all kajillionaires are self-interested Koch brothers. Sure, many are, but the key thing isn’t that they are rich, but that they are self-interested assholes. And Mitt Romney has plenty of that in spades. I’d much rather that his lying, asshole nature be the focus.
Why does all this bother me? Remember when the media bought into John Kerry as a rich elitist out of touch with America because he wind-surfed? Instead, we got a second term of George Bush. He was folksy, but he was no less rich than John Kerry. But also, and this is the important part, he designed his policies unrepentantly to benefit rich people. But the media rarely talked about that.
Additionally, Mitt Romney, as bad as he will be for America if he’s elected, is a far cry better than some of the poorer Republican possibilities. Remember, Sarah Palin is only 6 years removed from being the mayor of a small podunk city in Alaska.
rich as an epithet might work at the moment, but it can also be used to tag
our candidates unfairly. I’d much rather that the idiots be tarnished with brushes that can’t be used against us. Like his willingness to lie. Or the fact that he will cause the United States to descend into a fiery pit of hell. You know, things that matter.
crossposted from King Rat.