The news that Mitt Romney’s California vacation palace will have elevators for the family cars probably won’t affect his already low approval ratings. About as many people who aren’t ever going to like the guy already don’t like the guy. It’s just more confirmation of what everybody already knows.
Mitt Romney isn’t just rich. He’s really rich.
His problem has never been, despite what he thinks, that people envy him for his dough. People don’t care he’s rich. They just don’t like his attitude. Being rich has made him arrogant and heartless and left him clueless. The question is not his money but what he thinks about people who don’t have money and what the government should do to help people who don’t have money?
His answers are Not much and Nothing. Or next to nothing.
So this exchange with Jay Leno last night should be more damaging than the news his cars don’t have to take the stairs to get to their second floor garage suites. But, you know what? I don’t think it will be.
On the face of it, here’s Romney showing his arrogance, his heartlessness, and his cluelessness all at once. But…he’s using the familiar and reassuring language of SUCCESS!
You can argue he’s saying that poor people without health insurance are shit out of luck if they get sick. But what a lot of Americans are going to hear is him congratulating them on how smart they are.
We are the luckiest people on the face of the planet, but on the whole Americans don’t like to think of themselves as lucky, mainly, I think, because we don’t want to think there might come a day when our luck runs out.
Mitt is especially galling on the subject because as much as he likes to invoke his father’s memory he is in total denial about what it means to have been born George Romney’s son. He didn’t just come into the world having money stuffed into the pockets of his rompers. He inherited connections, insider knowledge, and a whole lot of good will as well. Money opens doors but what blows them off their hinges is knowing which doors need to be opened and who’s in the office on the other side. He was lucky as lucky can be, yet he seems to think he was a born a poor orphan and worked his way up out of a slum.
Now of course rich conservatives hate to admit they’ve been lucky. That would imply they didn’t earn and possibly didn’t deserve all their money, and if they didn’t earn it or deserve it, it’s harder for them to make the case that they should get to keep all of it.
But it’s not just the rich.
We all would like to think that we’ve earned and deserved all our good fortune by working hard, being responsible, being prudent, and by being smart. Many of us are able to convince ourselves that it’s so. Luck, we’ll boast, had nothing to do with it.
And there are plenty of us who believe something more was involved.
From this arises the temptation to think that those who haven’t been lucky have been undeserving. God didn’t favor them because they didn’t earn his favor. They didn’t work hard. They weren’t responsible or prudent. They weren’t smart.
You can watch Mitt talk to Jay and hear him being arrogant, heartless, and clueless. But what a lot of people are going to hear is him praising them for not making the mistakes the uninsured made and for playing the game right. For being smart enough to be lucky.
Updated for the yuks: Mitt tells a funny. The Lighter Side of Destroying Jobs.
Also, Mr Pierce thinks Mitt did himself no good on Leno.
That embarrassing scene with Leno last night, wherein Romney essentially threw people with pre-existing heart conditions onto an ice flow and waved bye-bye from the shore, coupled with the apparently immortal image of Romney as an Etch-A-Sketch candidate, has reinforced the widely held notion that, not only is Romney an unprincipled opportunist, but also that he does indeed believe that there are only two kinds of people in the world — himself, and The Help.