Here’s the thing about privileged characters like Mitt Romney: they’ve never really been vetted, indeed rarely challenged. Say you’re a senior at a posh prep school in Michigan, for example, and you think it’d be fun to pick on the weakest person in your class. So you get a bunch of guys to hold the gay kid down while you cut off his offensively long hair.
What happens? Well, if your father’s the governor of Michigan, nothing happens. A scholarship student from Detroit might have been expelled, but not somebody whose daddy ran an auto company. Years later, you can’t even recall the event, although none of the others ever forgot. Meanwhile, the tax deductible endowment funds keep rolling in to the old alma mater.
It’s the way of the world.
This is not to deny that Mitt Romney’s a talented and enterprising fellow. Country club bars everywhere are decorated with well-born failures, cursing the IRS and muttering about the moral failings of the poor. Mitt could have been one of those. Instead, he’s a striver.
Nevertheless, for a man like Romney, the money functions like some sci-fi force field, protecting its owner, if not from the snares and vicissitudes of life, then definitely from everyday inconveniences.
People laugh at your jokes, funny or not. Nobody says what they really think. Subordinates kiss your posterior 24/7. Consequently, you never really know who you can trust. Are they deferring to you, or your money
It can be a significant weakness. Romney’s strained affect, his awkward attempts to be seen as a “regular guy,” signal a certain discomfort with life inside the force-field. His life strategy, however, has been to amass ever more money and power, by almost any means technically legal.
Being Mitt Romney means never having to explain.
Copyright 2012 The National Memo