In attempting to bolster the credentials of Mitt Romney as a candidate for all of the people the Conservative Ross Douthat uses his New York Times perch to explain in vivid detail exactly why Mitt Romney would be a good President. In doing so he explains in vivid detail why Mr. Romney would be a terrible President for everyone except the very wealthy.
The theme of Mr. Douthat’s article is that Mr. Romney is following in a long line of men (sorry no women) who are privileged and wealthy and who devote their lives to public service. Franklin Roosevelt is of course the most famous and effective of these (not mentioned by Mr. Douthat for obvious reasons) but Ross cites other examples (Republicans of course, the Kennedy’s, the Harriman’s and other Democrats need not apply). He uses the Ann Romney speech as his vehicle
But her speech was actually most effective when it was confirming the impression that Romney is less a relatable 21st century kind of guy than an unusual sort of throwback – the last of the WASP aristocrats, the latter-day heir of the Cabots and Saltonstalls and pre-Texas Bushes, offering himself up to serve a country where his species long ago ceased to rule.
Indeed the very title of the piece, The Case for Noblesse Oblige betrays the theme. Mr. Romney’s policies do not support working class Americans, they do not make low income and middle income Americans better off. They are instead aimed at the Romney class of Americans, very wealthy individuals who want even more money than they already have.
Look at Mr. Romney’s tax proposals. His income tax cuts would benefit the very rich. Mr. Romney himself would benefit by tens of millions. And by eliminating the Estate Tax Mitt Romney would save well over $100 million in taxes. The Romney Medicaid plan would doom tens of thousands of low income, elderly and handicapped individuals to less health care. His government spending cuts in the areas of education would eliminate the one way in which low and middle income people can advance, by bettering themselves through education.
Mr. Romney has only one major accomplishment in public life, his health care reform. And now he has abandoned that in order to pursue his unquenchable quest for the Presidency. So yes, Mr. Romney is a man of the people, the people of Wall Street, the people who use off shore tax dodges, the people of
people who have many homes and many Cadillacs.
The tragedy is that at one time Mr. Romney may have been the man his wife described, he may have been a person steeped in the tradition that people like himself have an obligation to help those who were not born into a wealthy family, not given the best education in the world and not provided benefits from a tax system that favors wealth creation rather than rewarding hard work. But that persona has vanished in the drive for the Presidency, in which the one thing that is clear is that Mr. Romney will say anything, do anything and be anything in order to be President.
The idea that he is a wealthy, upper class person giving back to the nation by public service, pure fantasy.