Monday, February 27, 2012

Mitt Romney: Consistently out of touch

2012 Cadillac XTS
Mitt Romney appeared on Fox News Sunday over the weekend and, in an interview with Chris Wallace, was asked about his inability to connect with American voters.

You can find the clip at Real Clear Politics here, in which, in part, Romney had this to say:

You know, I can't be perfect. I just am who I am.

If people think there's something wrong with being successful in America, then they'd better vote for the other guy. Because I've been extraordinarily successful. And I want to use that success and that know-how to help the American people.

The only thing I would say about this is that anyone making a credible run at the presidency of the United States of America has been extraordinarily successful in life. There are many ways to be successful. Making yourself a lot of money is certainly one of those ways. So, I don't think that's the point.

But what worries a lot of voters about Romney is that as president his personal experiences would seem to have given him no sense of the kind of lives most people lead.

Now, I don't think one would have to have been poor or even middle class to relate to those who are. For some reason, some people are simply more empathetic. They understand what others may be going through even if it is not, and has never been, their own experience. No one would claim, for example, that FDR or JFK had experienced the kinds of economic struggles common to many, but they still seemed to know what was at stake and how to relate.

Every time Romney opens his mouth he proves he knows nothing, and cares nothing, about those born without his privileges.

When he made the bone-headed comment about his wife's two Cadillacs, I don't think most people cared that they could afford such a luxury. What troubles is that given all the bad press he has received about being out of touch, he wouldn't understand that making such a comment makes him sound like a fool, that he could so thoughtlessly throw gasoline on the fire without knowing it.

Roosevelt and Kennedy notwithstanding, I'd probably prefer that my president have some familiarity with struggling to pay the bills, or worrying about finding or keeping a job or maybe wondering how they might finance their kid's education. That may be unrealistic, but I'd prefer it.

To Mitt Romney I would say that there may be nothing wrong with being successful, but there is something wrong with being so completely unable to relate to the challenges most people live with every day.

That's your problem. You can't seem to wrap your head around it, and the clip with Chris Wallace proves the point once again.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann' Ghost.)

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