Romney’s Self-Made Vision


I am not unsympathetic to Mitt Romney.

But I do have some disagreements with even his beginning statements in the secretly-taped video from his May fundraiser in Florida (statements made before he gets down to percentages.)

Romney talks of his wealth as entirely self-made.  This is based on the fact that he and his wife donated the funds they inherited from their fathers. He also characterizes his only silver spoon as his birth in the U.S.

I applaud Romney for his charitable donations of his inheritance.  (I’m sorry, but I do have to note that this happened well after he was already very wealthy.  Still, he did do it.)

And I too feel very lucky to have been born in the U.S.

But I am troubled that Romney does not seem to appreciate the tremendous leg-up he was born with; that he does not seem to understand the self-confidence that membership in an important and wealthy family imparts; the risk-taking and ease that arise from having something to fall back upon.

We cannot help the gifts we are given at birth.

And, of course, it is tempting (even if one is not running for office) to tout one’s own part in one’s development.

But grace, empathy, wisdom and even a certain quality of leadership seem (to me at least) to go hand in hand with a modesty that over-emphasizes, rather than undercuts, what we’ve been given by others and that understands the difficulties faced by those without similar good fortune.

Romney might very well acknowledge the specifics of his good fortune in a quiet room with just a couple of people around.  But in the quiet room of the video, attitudes of gratitude and empathy don’t seem to make it into the camera’s viewfinder.  And, regardless of what you think of Romney’s proposed policies or whether his work at Bain qualifies as “old-fashioned” and “hard work,” or his own taxpaying record, this is troubling.

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5 Comments on “Romney’s Self-Made Vision”

  1. Troubling, mystifying and scary to be so out of touch that he could write off 47% of the electorate who he claims (wrongly) don’t pay taxes and lack responsibility.

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    I am enormously disquieted by these remarks, for some of the obvious reasons, and the not so obvious you’ve pointed out above, but also for two other things: the first is their shallow, pessimistic and cynical tone–nothing can be done about this, that and the other–MidEast peace, the 47% whom he can’t change, etc –the avoidance of the very responsibility he touts as absent from the ‘victims;’ and two–the fact that Romney seems able to say whatever people want to hear at any given time. He seems like someone who has contractually sold himself as an employee to the ideologues of the party he represents, and is trying to be successful by saying what his boss, the audience, wants to hear, no matter how illogical or disdainful it may be. Who is going to tell him how to govern if he gets elected? I don’t think he realizes that the buck stops at the president’s desk, and he can’t just pick up a script and recite talking points.

  3. brian miller Says:

    ugh…saw a pretty interesting poll yesterday that 3 of 4 americans can find nothing in common with mitt…no surprise there ohter than 1 in 4 could….i just dont know…or maybe i do and it just scares me too much…

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