Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mitt Romney’s rich dare to Americans

Four years ago, Barack Obama stood before hundreds of black and liberal audiences and gambled that they would see that he could sell himself to white America. For months, Mitt Romney has been daring Republicans to try to elect a very rich investment banker as president of the United States.
They’ve decided to take up the challenge, and Romney now offers the same righteous choice to all Americans:
"If people think there's something wrong with being successful in America, then they'd better vote for the other guy, because I've been extraordinarily successful, and I want to use that success and that know-how to help the American people."
"I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success."
In interviews with journalists he often volunteers that he's made a lot of money. He’d like to talk about his money and his handles definitely would like Obama to whine about his wealth.
Sorry, but this is two-bit drama compared to electing the first black president.
For one thing, it’s as likely that Romney scrambled to make his millions to succeed in Republican politics as was drafted into politics to restore the luster of money.
Second, Romney’s wasting his breath trying to tease Barack Obama into “resenting” success. Manhattan and the One Percenters are gorging under his grip and, anyway, it’s impossible to slap a pout on Obama’s face until Romney beats him at something.
Let’s grant, however, that there's something genuine about Romney’s invitation to Americans and liberal intellectuals—in particular, to say nice things about his money.
His problems are not as easy to appreciate as the problems of black men documented in Ralph Ellison’s novel, The Invisible Man, about living as a black man in American's northern cities. However, very rich men can have problems connecting with people.

Everyone thinks they can find something to say to a social worker, but Romney the rich man is difficult. He’s not just a “millionaire” and he’s not a “billionaire,” and his business activities are in blind trusts. In the 90s, Bain Capital investments earned approximately a 400% rate of return on his watch. Yet it’s just not socially acceptable to ask Romney how he did it or to leave the impression that any of it was dumb luck.
Nevertheless, Romney’s challenge to Americans needs to be answered: he wants respect and Republicans will be hectoring America to demonstrate that they don’t resent his wealth. There is no reason to make envy the ballot issue. There are ways to help affluent Republicans feel comfortable in America without a Romney presidency.
Here’s a small one: Lanky joggers could wear T-shirts proclaiming: “I’m impressed with Romney’s wealth!” Others could go further and add on the back side: “And I’m voting for Obama.”

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