Romney should revel in his riches

Romney Should Revel In His Riches
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 — Mark O’Brien

Pity Mitty.

Here’s Mitt Romney, a really rich guy and he can’t enjoy his money.

Politics and conventional public relations require Romney, a Republican no less, to downplay his wealth and try to pass himself off as one of us working folks. He talks about worrying that he, the son of a governor and the possessor of Harvard degrees, might get “a pink slip” and he calls himself unemployed.

Then he exposes his charade by saying he made a mere $364,000 in speaking fees last year and paid about 15 percent of his total income for taxes, largely because he gets so much of his money from investments. And then he whines about “class warfare” and all the mean things some people say about the rich.

Man up, Mitt.

Get real and flaunt those millions, the three houses and all the other goodies you’ve got.

We’re Americans; most of us don’t begrudge a man his wealth. We realize that life is shaped by our number in the birth lottery, when our parents’ wealth, education and status decide our starting point.

But we can smell phony baloney a mile away, one more reason Romney may get little love in Florida’s presidential primary election Jan. 31.

Romney should take a lesson from another rich businessman with weird hair — Donald Trump. Both inherited big sums from their fathers and made much bigger sums on their own, showing they’re not just idle rich boys.

Fortunately, we won’t have to worry about Romney being as narcissistic and phony as Trump.

Romney has that WASPy, Harvard air about him, as though wealth has conferred a painful burden on him. Maybe he was in Massachusetts so long that he was stricken with a streak of Puritanism.

He sure got a lot of other streaks during his years in Massachusetts, when he ran against Ted Kennedy for the U.S. Senate and claimed that he was a pro-choice, pro-gay rights kind of guy. He lost that race, but then he was elected governor and promptly enacted Romneycare, a government health care plan which is Obamacare with a Boston accent.
Now, however, he’s Mr. Conservative, against all that government liberalism and trying to portray himself as one of us.

Puh-leeze, we don’t want Romney to feel our pain. We want him to fix our pain.

So Romney should ditch the jeans and the down-home look. Better to put on his Ivy League necktie and his Brooks Brother blue blazer and focus on fixing the problems.

Besides, if he learned one thing from running against Ted Kennedy, it should have been this: Most of us don’t hold a man’s good luck against him. It’s what he does with good luck that counts.

Flash back to the early 1960s, when Ted Kennedy was running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by his big brother Jack, who’d just been elected president of the United States.

At the first debate, Kennedy’s opponent, Edward Moore, got Teddy to admit that he had never held a job in his life.

Teddy looked a bit ashamed; after all, he was 30 years old.

But the next day, so the story goes, a burly longshoreman walked up to Kennedy and asked him if it was true.

Teddy acknowledged that he had never had a job.

The longshoreman just shrugged. “You haven’t missed anything.”

Mark O’Brien, a longtime newspaper columnist, is the author of two books, “Pensacola on My Mind” and “Sand in My Shoes.”

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