Thursday, June 07, 2012

Mitt Romney chose to make his own wealth a campaign issue

By Richard K. Barry

I know we are supposed to be impressed that MSNBC, the "liberal network," has a morning show hosted by a former Republican congressman, Joe Scarborough, who doesn't always agree with the more insane ramblings of his party. How nice.

Time was that someone like Scarborough would have been seen for what he is, a rigidly partisan conservative. Now that the Republican Party has moved so far to the crazy right, we are supposed to see Morning Joe as reasonable. Not for me, thank you.

Today's rant from Scarborough was all about how The New York Times is doing a full-court press reporting Mitt Romney's wealth in a way that they did not, for example, criticize John Kerry's wealth during the 2004 campaign.

Joe went on and on about this. The other panelists tip-toed around Joe, who must have hiring and firing discretion on the show, and everyone missed the point.

Romney is the one making his business success an issue. He is the one saying his excessive wealth makes him the best choice to lead the country. He's the one who is saying his career choices and experience make him better able to understand the economy and what people need to succeed. He's the one peddling the old discredited theory of trickle down economics, suggesting that we only need to make the rich richer and everyone will benefit. He's the one saying, in other words, that excessive wealth is a wonderful thing, implying that we should look at him for proof.

Romney has made his own wealth, his own success, the centerpiece of his resume. The press have every right to ask what manner of man he is and how well he would, in fact, relate to the middle class or even less well-off citizens.

Scarborough's problem seems to be that he doesn't want the press reporting the facts.

Who Romney is, what manner of man he is, is important because it tells us what kinds of decisions he might make in office. This is equally true of Obama to the extent that his experience and attributes relate to how he might govern.

If John Kerry had suggested that his personal wealth and success were an important reasons to vote for him, the press would have, I suspect, made more of it.

When Romney makes his own success in business an essential issue, too bad that he can't control how everyone in the press reports it. Not everyone is Fox News or Joe Scarborough.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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