Richard Stevenson of The New York Times writes about class as a factor in the presidential race. You know the drill, of course: Obama is trying to portray Romney as "an out-of-touch and rapacious capitalist," while the Romney campaign insists that such attacks will fail.
But please note how the Romney campaign responds when asked about this:
"I don't think what they're talking about is relevant to people's lives," said Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist for Mr. Romney's campaign. "This race is about the economy and Barack Obama's responsibility for the economy."The Romney campaign is struggling, and -- as I say all the time -- there's the reason: the campaign's response to everything is "Obama sucks." When an incumbent is on the presidential ballot, the race is not just about the incumbent's record -- Americans want uplift. They want the challenger to give them hope. They want the vision thing. They want poetry. And Romney doggedly continues to campaign in snarly prose.
The Times article goes on to say:
In an era of populist backlashes against the 1 percent and increased concern about the economic and social ramifications of income inequality, will the long-held assumption that the United States is an aspirational society that admires rather than resents success hold true?Well, it might -- Americans have very little class consciousness -- if Mitt Romney could give the voters a bit of aspirational poetry. But this is the best he can seem to do:
Mr. Romney even invoked the aspiration defense when asked about his vacation on Friday. "I hope that more Americans are able to take vacations," he told reporters after criticizing Mr. Obama's record on job creation. "And if I'm president of the United States, I'm going to work very hard to make sure we have good jobs for all Americans who want good jobs -- and, as part of a good job, the capacity to take a vacation every now and then with their loved ones."Brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it? Romney heading up to his country estate -- where he was seen "roaring across Lake Winnipesaukee on a powerboat large enough to hold two dozen members of his family" -- and saying, "Yeah, I hope the proles get jobs with some benefits, too"?
Moat politicians at least think they care about the people. Most of them aspire to be acclaimed as the people's beneficiaries, although they don't really want to do anything that would upset their real constituents, namely the people who give them money.
Romney really doesn't seem to care about the people. He aspires to run America in a way that will be taught as a sterling example at Harvard Business School, or something like that -- he doesn't care if ordinary citizens benefit. He doesn't seem to want to be remembered as a great president -- he seems to wan to be remembered as a great CEO. So he can't do the vision thing. Poetry is not in his nature.