The Good, the Rich, and the Romney

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.”




  1. The title of your post caught my eye. Yes, we hear of the US Elections in Australia and have heard of Mitt Romney. Being wealthy does not, in itself, make a person far removed from the average person. Perhaps a quote from Socrates…

    If a rich man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.
    Socrates (470?-399 B.C.)

    Philanthropy, being a patron of the arts or being a strong supporter of a charity is made so much easier when we have the wealth. In my case, I’m a ‘would be’ patron of the arts and supporter of charity. The ‘would be’ comes in because I would be if I had the money to support them.

    In the case of Romney offhandedly saying he bet $10,000 on the spot would be hard to hear for a person struggling with a mortgage or not having a home. Such public comments are a little insensitive yet we are all prone to saying things we might later regret.

    The U.S. is known as the land of opportunity where any U.S. born citizen can rise to become President. This may be true but the journey is much smoother when you have money behind you. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing an interesting post.

    Teacher, NSW, Australia


  2. Hi Mklstudent,

    I found your blog very interesting, but I most ask the question, what is your opinion on the wealth of a politician. I must say that being an American I am proud that we as a nation can rise to the challenge and that we can got from rags to riches. Although people may say that Romney was borne rich, there is nothing wrong with that, and that if he was rich someone else in his family had to get rich before him. The interesting thought which many Americans seem to have is that it is wrong to be rich and be a CEO with big income, but without these people many Americans wouldn’t have jobs because it is the rich which drive economic growth and are economy.

    Another thing that I noticed in your blog was that you had to design an electoral system, and address the concept of money; what was your solution? I see nothing wrong with corporations donating to campaigns, they are just supporting there interests, and I would find it very political for Unions, through individuals would be allowed to donate and further there own liberal interesting and corporations would be held to a different standard and banned from political campaigning, I think that the Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Board only forces government to consider all of the U.S. when making there decisions not just one part of our great nation. I think the way Obama treats this concept is wrong when he says it just helps special interests and there lobbyists especially when he goes ahead and takes big Union donations which is the exact opposite than what he said. That just shows how he only cares about getting reelected and not what he stands for.




  3. Dear mklstudent,

    When I saw your photograph of Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate that will likely go head-to-head against President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, I was immediately captivated and continued to read your blog. In the U.S., it seems like the only thing on the news pertains to the Republican caucuses and the topic of your blog post, Mitt Romney.

    You did a superb job organizing and presenting the entire report on Mitt Romney and the implications of his wealth. The media tends to blow up stories that will enrapture the public’s eye, but in Romney’s case, the claims all seem to be true. Mitt is a millionaire in a nation currently struggling with unemployment, and he also said he would bet 10,000 dollars on the spot.

    In the conclusion of your blog post, you quote a response of Mitt Romney’s from an interview: “We don’t divide America based upon success and wealth and other dimensions of that nature.” Mitt Romney states that America isn’t divided according to wealth. Don’t you think that’s quite peculiar because of the fact that the U.S. is a capitalist nation that divides its people into three categories: the upper, lower, and middle class? ; )

    Once again, great job on your blog.

    – Andrew P


  4. Hi mklstudent!
    My name is Karina and I am from Oregon Episcopal School. Great job on your post! The title really caught my eye. You did a great job summarizing the Romney and money topic. And the video you added provided good information that seemed rather unbiased (at least compared to most media outlets). In fact, your post in general felt neutral towards either side (democrat vs. republican). Now I wonder, what is your personal opinion?

    I like the quote you posted “‘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).’” I think many people would *say* that they agree with this statement as well. However, I feel that when many people are actually faced with a “rich” person (i.e. Romney), they just get really angry. I know that this is an over-simplification, but in general, do you think that is true?




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