Romney’s riches, &c.

Mitt Romney on a campaign charter flight, May 23, 2012


Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey likes to say, “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a little overweight.” In case you haven’t noticed, Mitt Romney is rich. President Obama and his campaign are very keen for you to know this. They are practicing what politicians, and other people, have practiced from the beginning of time: the politics of envy.

The truth is, both Romney and Obama are rich, by the standards of ordinary people: Romney is a millionaire; Obama is a millionaire. Romney has many more millions, but they both have more money than most people will ever see, or possibly dream of.

In my view, Romney should be utterly unapologetic: “Sure, I’m rich, and he’s rich too. We’ve both been successful. The difference is, I want to help create the conditions in which you can be as successful as possible too. He’s holding you back, and the whole country back.

“No matter who wins — President Obama or me — he and I will live very well. We have plenty of money. But the country at large — that’s another story.”

Now, when you’re unapologetic, you don’t have to be obnoxious. Romney is good at that: being unapologetic without being obnoxious. May he continue, through to November.

If Romney is able to keep the focus on Obama’s record — whether he has been a good president or not — he should be all right. That is, he should win. And that is what an election contest involving an incumbent president should be about: Do you want to rehire the guy for another four years or fire him?

I believe the country will ultimately decide to fire Obama — especially when they see that they can place the presidency in safe, capable hands.

But if Obama is able to make the election about Mormonism, Bain Capital, and race — he has a chance, damn it.

Again, I’m for a Romney who is absolutely unapologetic — about his religion, his business career, his views. Unapologetic while being unobnoxious. That is a beautiful condition.

Years ago, I was sitting in the Senate gallery, for a reason I can’t remember now. Arlen Specter was speaking. George Mitchell wheeled on him, snapping, “You already said that!” Specter replied, cool as a cucumber, “Sometimes we indulge in a little repetition in this body.”

Well, sometimes I indulge in a little repetition in this column. Last week, I talked about the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and his revelations to Edward Klein, the former editor of The New York Times Magazine who has authored a book on President Obama.

Wright says that a close friend of Obama’s, Eric Whitaker, offered him what amounted to a bribe: $150,000 if he would keep his mouth shut until after the 2008 election.

I ask you again: What if a minister in a Republican president’s past had said this? Wouldn’t the mainstream media be devoting full time to this story? Wouldn’t every cover of Time and Newsweek be about it? Every hour of 60 Minutes, every Sunday until as long as it took? Planes would stop flying, birds would stop chirping, the earth would stop spinning around the sun until the story were nailed down.

But the interest of the mainstream media in Obama and Wright is zilch. From these media outlets, silence.

Conservatives are often accused of making too much of media bias. Maybe we do, sometimes. But maybe, sometimes, we make too little of it. Complaints about media bias are supposed to be uncouth. But media bias itself — that is worse.

I’ll make the world a deal: Reduce the bias, and I’ll complain less. Until then, I will point out that there is indeed a gross imbalance.

Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a jihad about wind power — wind turbines and the like. I am sick of their blighting the land. I am sick of the claims made about the energy they produce. I am sick of the sanctification of wind power by people whose religion is environmentalism and whose devil is oil.

I have come to see, as never before, that wind is a crock.

Okay, I’m going somewhere with this, besides letting off crankiness. When I was growing up, there was pretty much nothing in the natural world more sacred than the bald eagle. Our national symbol was threatened with extinction, we were told, and we needed a national crusade to save it. If you disturbed an eagle’s nest, the penalty was something like death.

In fact, I heard pro-life people talk about the penalties for destroying an eagle’s egg. This was part of their argument about unborn life: “In some areas, we recognize that unborn life is life, or life-to-be, you know?”

The other day, I read these words from the Heritage Foundation:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a division of the Interior Department, is considering loosening regulations on the killing of bald eagles, the national bird of the United States, to accommodate the development of wind energy sources.

You’ve. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me. Are you trying to deprive me of sleep for the next several months?



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