…apparently, a lot.
This story is a little old, but still worth mentioning because of the sheer hypocrisy I’ve witnessed from liberals and the media. Mitt Romney was recently on the receiving end of a wave of criticism after publicly making a $10,000 wager with Rick Perry during a recent Republican presidential debate. Romney and Perry were arguing about details in a book Perry had authored. Instead of focusing their attention on the debate and its substance, attention has been unfairly and distractingly fixated on ‘the bet.’ Though Romney has been subjected to attacks from both sides of the aisle, Democrats have been far more exploitative in their assault. They have been all too eager to suggest that Romney’s wage is yet another indication of how “out of touch” he and his Republican brethren are, compared to most Americans.
In my eyes, this argument falls flat on its face.
First, how many of us have made “bets” with outrageous dollar amounts attached to them? I’ve frequently said things like “I betcha $1 million that Michigan will beat Ohio St. this year” (until last month, I would’ve been out of a cool $7 mil if I was beholden to that wager). The only difference, albeit a very significant difference and one fueling the liberal argument, is that Mitt has the capital to actually go through with a bet like that with relative ease. Whether he actually would (or has) made bets like this before is incidental. His ability to do so and audacity of publicly making the wage, I suppose, is what has him in trouble. But I think it’s disingenuous, misguided, and ambiguous to say that a candidate or elected official is “out of touch” with the American people simply because of their wealth. President George W. Bush, for instance, was vastly considered a “common man”, though he and his family are extremely wealth themselves. And what about well-to-do Democrats? I don’t recall Bill and Hillary’s wealth being brought into the discussion. Even President Obama is rich. Certainly not to the same extent as a Mitt Romney, but he’s no pauper. Remember when Michelle Obama wore those $500 kicks at a Food Bank?
Is that silence I hear from my liberal friends?
Here’s a novel idea: rather than using wealth as the measurement of a person’s electability or their ability to lead, why don’t we focus on substance? While I think it’s definitely true that a person’s wealth and affluence can have bearing on their personality (i.e. wealthy people have a tendency to view poorer people with more apathy and less sympathy), their personality can usually be ascertained without any knowledge of their wealth. Focusing on substance, actual substance, is much more compelling in evaluating a candidate than their bank statements. But considering how clouded the political and media worlds are these days, for us to expect anything other than sensationalized nonsense is foolish and delusional.