Bob Schwartz

Tag: Ann Romney

The Romneys And The Regular People


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.

Us And Them: Presidential Pink Floyd

In response to ABC’s Robin Roberts’ questions about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, Ann Romney stood firm:

“We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life.”

The benefit of the doubt might indicate that “you people” meant “the media” rather than the huddled masses yearning for information and transparency. But it does seem to fit the storyline that the Romneys believe, appropriately, that the rich are different.

In either case, Pink Floyd’s Us and Them from Dark Side of the Moon came to mind. Us and Them is hauntingly beautiful and multivalently obscure. Hundreds of interpretations have been generated (war? money? Kent State? Syd Barrett?). Who knows? This is art and Pink Floyd, for God’s sake, and like the rest of Dark Side it both washes over you and seeps into you.

Us and them
And after all we’re only ordinary men.
Me and you.
God only knows it’s not what we would choose to do.

Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who.
Up and down.
But in the end it’s only round and round.

Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words
The poster bearer cried.
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There’s room for you inside.

Down and out
It can’t be helped but there’s a lot of it about.
With, without.
And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about?

Us and Them is clearly the theme of this Presidential campaign. So much so that we should adapt the Dark Side of the Rainbow approach, in which Dark Side of the Moon is mind-blowingly synchronized as the soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz. In this case, Dark Side can be synchronized to your choice of campaign videos. This is not as crazy as it sounds, especially given that both Obama and Romney have exhibited their musical chops. It is doubtful that either one has ever tried singing anything from Pink Floyd, or in Romney’s case even heard the band, but it would be fun and enlightening. The bright promise of politics in Eclipse, maybe?:

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy,
beg, borrow or steal.
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say.
All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight.
All that is now
All that is gone
All that’s to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.