This is America—the land of opportunity, a place where you’re given the chance to find success through hard work and perseverance. Given this core value, as well as the fact that America is the wealthiest nation in the world, one would think that how much money a person owns wouldn’t necessarily be an issue in something like a US presidential campaign. However, in the 2012 presidential race, money has become a particular issue for candidate Mitt Romney. From Romney’s large personal earnings to his casual remarks about “betting $10,000” on the spot, the presidential candidate has garnered criticism for being too far removed from the average American.
However, is this criticism really fair? In an article from Time magazine, “Is Romney the Wrong Kind of Rich?”, David Futrelle explores the apparent contradiction of some Americans embracing the idea of opportunity while others criticize the supposed “rich who get richer.” Futrelle finally settles on the conclusion, “Americans by and large don’t resent success, or the successful. This is the country, after all, that invented the notion of the ‘self-made man’…We just prefer our million- and billionaires to have a little dirt under their fingernails, because true rags-to-riches stories remind us that upward mobility is still possible (and maybe even for us, too).” In the end, Futrelle believes that although the American electorate embraces success, it can also embrace the skill to relate, something that’s important for a candidate to know while campaigning.
In our AP US Government class, we’ve recently had to create what we feel would be an effective electoral system for the United States. Among the issues we had to address within our system, a chief issue was money. We were introduced to a quote from Mark Hanna, which stated, “There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can’t remember what the second is.” Indeed, with questions about job growth as well as the issue of Romney’s personal finances, money is a discussion topic that is here to stay for the 2012 elections. In the meantime, Romney has tried to put his best defense forward. In a Diane Sawyer interview on April 16, Romney said, “We don’t divide America based upon success and wealth and other dimensions of that nature. We’re one nation under God. We come together. This is a time when people of different backgrounds and different experiences need to come together.”