The Romneys And The Regular People

by Bob Schwartz

Wild speculation continues to spin about what the Romneys don’t want to reveal in their tax returns. Low tax rates? Offshore investments? Questionable tax shelters?

Following Occam’s razor, the simplest explanation is that they simply don’t want to bolster what we already know: the Romneys are not regular people. We have seen glimpses of that in the little bits of disclosure, but year after year of low-tax ultra-income would just make the point more overwhelming and concrete.

Ann Romney seems to be a good person who has been a good wife and mother. She has suffered from health problems, maybe more than her fair share. Compassion demands that we regard that suffering without criticism and with open-hearted empathy.

But her speech to the Republican National Convention was ridiculous in the literal sense. She talked about the plight of regular people as if she had long-time close relationships with lots of them and had deep, first-hand understanding of their struggles. Anything is possible, but that is far-fetched. There is nothing wrong with the Romneys’ life. People are entitled to their lives and experiences; sometimes it’s not even a matter of choice when those rarefied lives are foist on them by circumstances.

Over the years that Mitt Romney has clumsily been running for President, pundits of both parties have offered a simple solution to him and, presumably, to his wife: just be yourself, whoever that is. America hates phonies. The Republicans ought to know this, given how often they charge President Obama with that crime.

Mitt Romney is not a regular person, and has never been. Neither is Ann. Maybe you can win the Presidency as an openly stratospherically rich and out of touch person, maybe you can’t. But watching someone try so hard to hide that is not only poor politics, it is downright depressing.