Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has developed an unshakable reputation as an out-of-touch, super-wealthy guy, one that he richly deserves. Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked prospective First Lady Ann Romney about the charge on Monday’s Your World, and Mrs. Romney didn’t help much, telling Cavuto “We can be poor in spirit,” adding “I don’t even consider myself wealthy,”and that “I measure riches is by the friends I have and the loved ones I have and the people I care about in my life.”
While the “poor in spirit” line is undeniably the “money quote” here (how, exactly, do you lose your house in spirit, or have your electricity cut off in a philosophical sense?), it really only plays into a superficial narrative that has little to do with her husband’s qualifications to be president. We’ve had lots of rich presidents (maybe not this rich), and with few exceptions, none of them could claim an authentic connection to the common man. Ann Romney, by all accounts (and even in this interview) is a very likable, good-hearted person who usually lends a humanizing touch to her husband’s campaign, and she’s obviously doing her best with what she’s been given.
The true relevance of this disconnect is embedded in what Mrs. Romney said next. Discussing her own health struggles with Cavuto, she said “So for me, having gone through a difficult period in my life, both with MS and with breast cancer, it has done something to my heart, and it softened my heart, and made me realize there are many people suffering in this country, and they are suffering from things that are not financial. And some people are suffering from things that are financial, as well, but those that are suffering, I have a larger capacity for love, and for understanding.”
You can’t help watching Ann Romney speak, and believe every word. I’m prepared to believe that Ann and Mitt Romney love and care for every sick, suffering person they meet, and do whatever they can to help them. Perhaps it is to their credit that they resist exploiting their generosity and compassion (despite Cavuto’s comical encouragement to do so throughout the interview).
The problem is that Mrs. Romney doesn’t see suffering from an illness like MS as a financial problem, and she doesn’t seem to realize that she and her husband only meet up with, and help, a very small portion of the public. Consequently, she doesn’t seem to realize that most people who can’t disconnect their physical suffering from their financial suffering will be hurt by her husband’s promise to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, that insurance companies will, once again, be able to deny them coverage for preexisting conditions, or throw their college-age children off of their insurance, or any number of other consequences. She doesn’t realize that her husband’s party not only can’t cover everyone, it doesn’t even pretend to try.
Here’s the clip, from Fox News:
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