Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why I'm okay with Mitt Romney being rich

The  Tea Party is trying to make Romney a bad guy because he's rich. They're trying to say he is out of touch with the struggles of regular people because he's rich. They're trying to say that having money makes you unfit to become President of the United States.

And they're wrong.

For one thing, both major candidates are rich. Obama was independently wealthy before he became president, too. So it's kind of a moot point.

But even more than that, Romney's wealth makes him well-suited to being president.

For one thing, he earned his money. He knows how to work. He knows how business works. He knows how to get things done with the bottom line in mind. This is a good thing--especially when the President's job right now is to get the country financially stable again. Of course you want someone to do that who is particularly talented at it, not someone who has never handled large amounts of money and all the details that go with managing money.

Also, he's not a money-grubber. It's well-documented that he has a lot of money but doesn't love money. He has taken many prominent jobs without taking the pay that was offered for them, like fixing the Olympics in Salt Lake City. He's also quietly but willingly generous with what he has. I know members of my family who have benefited from his willingness to give his wealth away.

Finally, there is a culture that goes along with being rich. People who are rich and interact with other rich people do things, talk about things, dress, carry themselves, act in a certain way that is socially acceptable in their circles (just like everyone does). And the reality is that the President of the United States spends most of his time interacting with people who walk in those wealthy circles, both at home and internationally. Regardless of whether you think that's right or not, facing that as a reality and finding someone who is comfortable with very wealthy, very influential people is important. It's a skill the President must have in order to be gracefully effective at his job, at home and abroad.  If you put any old school janitor in the Oval office, he'd be so far out of his comfort zone that it would be embarrassing and he would be hampered in doing his job culturally, not by nature of his natural ability. Nobody in the world would take him seriously. You think Obama's been mocked for being awkward abroad? Sheesh.   No, you want someone in office who is comfortable living in the world they have to live in, someone who understands the nuances of behavior, someone who is not out of place and who doesn't feel inferior or insecure in any way, someone who is not impressed (or, therefore, influenced) by someone else who wears that fancy suit or sports that diamond-studded wristwatch.

No, Romney's wealth is one of the reasons he is well-suited for the office. It is one of the reasons he will be able to be honest and get things done (instead of being overwhelmed, embarrassing, money-grubbing, etc).

Too bad the tea party can't see that.

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