Or to ask this in the reverse way…why would anyone want to elect a president who hadn’t been successful in his professional life to take on the job of running the country?
Running for President takes money. The current campaign finance system all but requires that the candidate be able to self-fund at some point. So if you have to be a millionaire to be President these days, why shouldn’t we pick a successful one?
President Obama made his money from writing several books, a laudable feat but hardly a qualification for the presidency on its own. John Kerry became wealthy through marriage. Again, not really a resume builder. Same with John McCain to some extent. And then there’s a whole litany of politicians who never really held jobs that weren’t elected office: Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Al Gore, Dan Quayle, etc.
Mitt Romney made his fortune through industry, and yet, we are deeply uncomfortable with that. Uncomfortable, despite the fact that he gives a greater percentage of his money to charity than any president in recent memory and has somehow raised five boys who don’t have a hint of privileged child syndrome.
It all seems to come down to the “he doesn’t understand me and my world” perspective. And I have a very simple answer to that: if you think that any politician shares a lot in common with your life, you are deluding yourself.
President Obama doesn’t go to the grocery store or the movie theater or get stuck in traffic commuting to work or deal with the hassle of airport security. He doesn’t fill his tank with gas and he doesn’t worry about making the mortgage this month. He is the President. Does this make him out of touch? Maybe. Does anyone seem to think that being President somehow disqualifies that person from a second term? Nope. Nor should they.
And for good reason. The President can’t be from all places and can’t have held all jobs and can’t experience what its like to be in the lower, middle and upper class at all times. We aren’t hiring someone to be us in demographic ways or socioeconomic ways. We are hiring someone to protect the country from enemies foreign and domestic, uphold the Constitution, and faithfully execute the laws. So we should elect someone who agrees with us on what those things mean and why they are important. Whether you ate at a Waffle House recently shouldn’t make a bit of difference.
Which brings us back to our point. If Mitt Romney represents the most successful, self-made candidate in the race–something we all hope our kids can be some day–why are we simultaneously upset that he is wealthy?
Maybe its the hair…