If you thought deceptive politics were the sole province of our friends on the right, think again. There has been an image circulating the net that appears to put Mitt Romney on blast for being out of touch:
Liberal group MoveOn.org immediately got their hands on this image and ran with it. It wasn’t long before it landed in my email box from one of my leftist friends. Mitt Romney getting his shoes shined by some lowly, exploited work while donning a huge, smug smile on his face. Meanwhile on the other side of the tracks, President Obama is connecting with a common blue collar worker. A telling story, right?
First off, the picture is real, but it actually depicts a much different reality. Romney is not getting his shoes shined. He’s actually being scanned by a TSA agent before boarding a charter jet. What’s worse is that even though the photo was revealed to be deceptive and not accurately portraying reality, liberals were still justifying their references to it. On their site for instance, MoveOn.org, despite acknowledging that the photo was not authentic, nevertheless stated “[w]e still feel it goes a long way in showing Mitt Romney’s special circumstances in comparison with the 99%.” It’s difficult to accept their acknowledgment of the truth – and I use the word “acknowledgement” loosely here – when libs have demonstrated such poor discernment. And THIS is why I have a hard connecting with them.
Let’s examine this from another angle: even if it was true that Romney was getting his shoes shined, does this REALLY prove anything about who he is? Is a shoe shine the barometer by which we measure people’s personalities? Wealth alone does not make a person sympathetic or unsympathetic to poor folks. On top of that, libs would’ve been on Romney if they found out he only paid $3 for the shoe shine or if he paid $300 for it. Yet, these are the same liberals who sat quietly while John “Two Americas” Edwards paid $1250 for a haircut or when Michelle Obama rocked $500 kicks at a soup kitchen. The hypocrisy smacks in the face. I’ve even heard people citing Romney’s use of a charter plane as an indicator of his out-of-touchness. I call B.S. on that. Many political candidates, President Obama included, use private planes during campaign trips. So there’s that.
What annoys me about liberals is how they hypocritically fail to express the same reaction to wealth to other liberals as they do toward conservatives. Let’s be real: there are many folks liberals hold with high esteem who are extremely wealthy. Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons, and Chris Dodd immediately come to mind, but there a quite literally thousands of them. Even the Obamas reported have assets totaling somewhere around the $10 million mark. If we were to compare Romney to great presidents of the past, many of them (after adjusting for inflation) were wealthier than Romney.
What liberals also seem to forget in the conversation about prosperity at the expense of the poor are the countless ways many of us – irrespective of our wealth – benefit from the work of poor laborers, laborers much poorer than the phantom shoe-shiner in the Romney picture. Maybe we all don’t have immigrant maids taking care our homes, lawns, and children. But most of us have stayed in a hotel once in a while, cleaned by people earning disreputably low wages. Servers and cooks at restaurants earn next to nothing for their work. Hell, if you’re reading this from your iPad or your iPhone, you’re using a device that was assembled in China by extremely poor workers (including children) who work grueling hours in the worst of conditions. If using the services of a phantom shoe-shiner is an indication of indifference toward lower-class workers, we are ALL guilty. Every single one of us.
This is by no means a pro-Romney post. It can still be said that he’s missed the boat on some things. But let’s make this less about constructing deceptive narrative and more about policy. If Mitt Romney or any other candidates express antipathy for the poor, call them out on it based on their record; not on some lie…and certainly not on something entirely unrelated to policy.
We saw the exact same thing unfold as then-Senator Obama was running for President but a few years ago. Instead of focusing on his policies, conservatives were going after him for everything from Jeremiah Wright to Bill Ayers to his love for arugula. Are liberals really going to mimic that behavior? If so, they really aren’t any better than the conservatives about whom they endlessly complain.