Posted by: mulrickillion | February 27, 2012

The High Price of Being Filthy Rich

Posted by SoWellRead, Feb 26, 2012 —

Mitt Romney’s biggest problem is not that he has made gaffes but that he keeps making them. From “I’m not worried about the very poor” to “I like to fire people,” Romney’s foot-in-mouth moments just keep coming. He delivered the latest humdinger during a visit to the Daytona 500, a campaign stop obviously intended to show off his regular-guy credentials. Instead, the candidate added another notch to the bedpost of cluelessness. When asked how closely he follows car racing, he responded, “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

President Obama is labeled a “snob” for merely encouraging kids to go to college. Imagine the ridicule if, when asked about his love of basketball, the president raved about sitting courtside at a Lakers game or mused about buying an NBA team.

It’s tempting to conclude that Romney is just a rich guy living in a bubble, but nearly all politicians are rich these days. You don’t have to spend Sundays on the couch with a six-pack to have the presence of mind to avoid talking about how many Cadillacs you own, or about how $374,000 is “not a lot of money.” No one is asking Romney to pretend he isn’t rich, but is it too much to hope that he’ll stop advertising it in neon letters?

Romney’s history of gaffes is so dangerous not because of the dumb remarks themselves — eight years of George W. Bush proved that Americans are infinitely forgiving of faux pas — but because it cuts against the narrative of Romney as a quick-learning, detail-oriented businessman. Despite four years at Yale and an impeccable political pedigree, Bush never made himself out to be the sharpest guy in the room. Romney, on the other hand, sells himself as a savvy manager, pointing to his career at Bain Capital and his overhaul of the 2002 Olympics as proof of his skills. But successful CEOs are not known for alienating customers or talking down to their workers. And no one survives long in business by failing to learn from mistakes. Whether or not Romney’s ill-advised comments are true gaffes — put in context, “I like to fire people” is not even particularly offensive — is beyond the point. A good manager would recognize the danger in making easily misinterpreted remarks and stop making them. But Romney seems incapable of devising a course correction. . . .

You have to wonder: Would a President Romney be similarly clueless? What would happen if he welcomed India’s Prime Minister to the White House with a beef tartare dinner? How would voters feel if he asked children on food stamps whether they were excited about the new Xbox?. . . . 

Mitt Romney, whose otherwise innocent assertion about liking to fire people resonates because his career actually led to people getting fired, may find that Americans in 2012 are less forgiving.

The High Price of Being Filthy Rich « . . . So Well Read. . .


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