By Carole on Jan 9, 2012
Americans do not require that their presidents have humble origins. In fact, many of the men who have occupied the Oval Office have been sons of privilege who added to their family fortune before taking on the presidency. But in this time when so many are struggling economically, our president and our presidential candidates should at least be able to sincerely empathize with the plight of the unemployed, the underemployed and all those who are truly fearful over their financial future.
We currently have a president who has amused himself over our collective plight. President Barack Obama had a good laugh literally at our expense to the tune of $800 billion when he joked that "Shovel ready wasn't as shovel ready as we expected." And now we have a multimillionaire (and son of a multimillionaire) Mitt Romney claiming, “I know what it’s like to worry whether you’re going to get fired. There were a couple of times I wondered if I was going to get a pink slip."
Perhaps Mr. Romney did have moments during his very profitable business career when losing a particular job was a possibility (though his own campaign was unable to provide one). But to use the words "I know what it's like to worry" in that context when he obviously has no idea what it's like to worry the way most Americans do is at best, politically motivated pretense and, at worst, cruel.
Governor Romney, who consistently refuses to release his tax returns, seems to think he can trick voters into believing he can relate to average Americans and hide the fact that he has never had to worry about keeping a job or paying the bills in his life. And his cavalier choice of words proves that while he intellectually understands the precarious financial situation of many Americans, he is not above taking advantage of it in an attempt to falsely pad his own personal resume.
Another case in point is Mr. Romney's recent comment in a speech to the Nashua Chamber of Commerce. "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," he said. Taken in context, the comment is not as out-of-touch and mean-spirited as it sounds alone (he was speaking in favor of people being able to choose their own insurance providers in a competitive market). But tossing the word "fire" around when "choose" would have been so much more on point and so much less potentially offensive is more than just one of those gaffes from a politician. It is an indication of how lightly Governor Romney takes the very real worries he pretends to have had.
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