A common theme in any election, whether local or national, is a candidate’s effort to create a perception of relationship with the electorate. Just as critical is creating a perception of the opponent’s lack of relationship.
Every candidate wants the voters to see him as normal, that he understands the plight of the average folks, that he best represents the views of the masses because, at least in perception, he is no different from those masses.
Thus the efforts of both the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns to paint the other as out of touch and distant, removed from the average Joe in a way that is detrimental to his ability to govern appropriately. So far, the Obama campaign (and its army of media surrogates) has taken up far more ruthless means toward this end. Obama’s lackeys are amplifying Romney’s extensive wealth, lavish vacations, and luxurious mansion in an attempt to generate a void between the “working class people” and Barack Obama’s opponent.
The truth is this: neither Obama nor Romney are in much of a position to relate to “normal” people. The vast majority of Americans aren’t able to comprehend a life of garage elevators or private jets or having someone else drive your car while you sit in the back, drink champagne, and talk about vacation houses and Swiss bank accounts . Be that as it may, only one side is hypocritically capitalizing on this perceived disconnect.
The charge, while exaggerated, is that Mitt Romney is far too disengaged from average Americans to be their President. The myth here is that Barack Obama isn’t just as culpable.
This is the President who had millionaire film director Tim Burton decorate the White House for a Halloween Party, who hob-knobs with George Clooney and invites Bon Jovi for a flight on Air Force One, and who has fundraisers costing upwards of $40,000 a plate with millionaire fashion designers in New York City.
This is the President who visited a town hall at the University of Maryland and opened his speech by complaining about how difficult were the hours spent in Washington performing his duties. Sarcastically, he announced “There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending hour after hour debating the fine points of the federal budget with members of Congress.” The crowd reacted with uneasy chuckles, as if to say, “Isn’t that your job?”
This is the President who has played over 90 rounds of golf in the three and a half years he’s been in office, and has held more fundraisers than the five presidents before him…combined.
This President’s media eviscerated the Romneys for their extreme out of touch-ness, as Ann Romney made a TV appearance in a $900 shirt, when just the week before Michelle Obama took an evening out whilst vacationing in Hawaii in a $4,000 skirt.
This is the President who never had a real job before running for state senate in Illinois, but who now has the gall to say, as Americans are struggling in his economy, “You know, I think we’ve been a little bit lazy.” He also thinks we’ve become “soft” and lost our “competitive edge.”
This is the President who enjoyed the single largest influx of Wall Street donations in presidential history for his 2008 campaign, and now watches as his team and media brigade attack Mitt Romney’s wealthy connections.
This President has held fundraisers with Robert Downey Jr,. Sarah Jessica Parker, Cher, Jessica Alba, Sophia Bush, Jared Leto, Billy Crystal, Salma Hayek, Matthew Broderick, Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Barrymore, Vanessa Williams, Lady Gaga, Will Smith, Whoopi Goldberg, Jamie Foxx, Eva Longoria, Spike Lee, Al Green, Mariah Carey, Will Ferrell, Jim Belushi, Robert Di Nero, Don Cheadle, J.J. Abrams, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, Danny Devito, and billionaire Warren Buffett..
And all of these took place in the last calendar year alone.
This President enlisted Tom Hanks to narrate his campaign video “The Road We’ve Traveled”, and recently held a fundraiser at the house of Glee creator Ryan Murphy that cost $25,000 per famous Hollywood couple.
While this President is attending fundraiser after lavish fundraiser yukking it up with the richy rich for their money, he managed to take a brief break for a press conference, at which he claimed “The private sector is really doing just fine.”
It’s not hard to imagine the private sector is doing just fine when you’re only looking at it across the table from millionaire actors, actresses, singers, producers, designers, and whatever Whoopi Goldberg is.
Is Mitt Romney out of touch with average people? Who knows. Maybe. Or maybe he’s just an average guy who put his business skill and intellect to good use and has reaped the blessing of success. (Isn’t that what capitalism is all about? Allowing and enabling individuals, families, and companies to achieve based on ingenuity and hard work? Isn’t that a primary reason others flock to our country…for that same opportunity?) Either way, the idea that somehow Romney is a wealthy elitist while Barack Obama is a man of the folk is as absurd as two mansion man Michael Moore posing as an Occupy Wall Street 99% -er .
There’s nothing inherently wrong about fundraising with rich people; after all, they have the most resources from which to draw. Also, and contrary to current liberal talking points, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being so wealthy you have to shovel piles of cash to see out of your driveway. This is America. Success and opportunity are good. In fact, that’s the point.
Let us not be fooled into thinking Romney is incapable of understanding the plight of the regulars, while Obama is himself just a regular who happens to be President of the United States.
The narrative is a false one, as are all narratives pushed by the liberal media, and dishonest to boot. As they pontificate about Romney’s snobby wealth, while claiming Obama’s focused concern for middle and lower class Americans, remind them that over the last decade Mitt and Ann have given an average of 15% of their income to those in need, while Barack and Michelle gave just 1% over that same time period (consistent with the fact that conservatives give higher percentages of their incomes to charitable needs than do liberals). And, just for fun, mention that George W. Bush and his wife Laura donated a higher percentage of their earnings to charity than the Obamas as well.
The Obama team and media are attempting to paint Mitt Romney as Gordon Gekko. True or not, Barack Obama is an un-altruistic Danny Ocean.
You can follow the author on Twitter: @brady_cremeens