By Gery L. Deer
Deer In Headlines
Presidential GOP front runner Mitt Romney has been repeatedly criticized as being elitist, out of touch, self-aggrandizing and focused only on his capitalist endeavors for gaining wealth. Critics say that he has absolutely no idea what the average American has to go through just to make ends meet in today’s economy, and, unfortunately, his own words have reinforced that image.
During a speech on theMichigan campaign trail, Romney commented that his wife had two Cadillacs. He was attempting to show people that his family owned American-built cars, trying to relate to theDetroit audience. Instead, he left the impression that he thinks that every stay-at-home mom can afford to own two luxury vehicles. Out of touch, or just bad speech preparation?
During the run of the GOP primaries, Romney has often presented himself as snobby, elitist and completely misunderstanding of the challenges faced by today’s worker. His multi-million-dollar income affords him at least two homes, vacations all over the world and much more. But while people are criticizing that kind of success, it’s important to remember that President Obama has also spent a great deal of his adult life in the lap of luxury.
As he finished his first year in office the president reported more than $5 million in personal income; not bad for a junior senator fromIllinois. Like Romney, his fortunes have accumulated because of good financial decisions and investments in the capitalist system – a fact Democrats like to downplay whenever possible.
The truth is, neither man can truly grasp what it’s like to have to scrape together enough money to feed a family or worry that his paycheck won’t be enough to keep the electricity on for another month. But some are working to help change Romney’s image.
Author Jeff Benedict has just released an updated edition of his 2007 book, The Mormon Way of Doing Business, featuring a new chapter about Republican front runner Mitt Romney. Benedict touts a lifetime of the formerMassachusetts governor’s selfless good deeds; from his church-going youth to his big-business adulthood.
No doubt the author added the chapter to use Romney’s fame as a way to refresh book sales, but whatever the motive he does reveal a softer side to the Mormon candidate. In one story Romney grabbed a shovel to assist a family friend after a wildfire nearly destroyed their home. In another, he mobilized a city to search for a missing girl.
In 1996, when the 14-year-old daughter of a business partner disappeared, Romney mobilized the business community and local authorities, creating a command post at his office and utilizing his position to leverage assistance wherever possible. Thankfully, the girl was found, but relatively few know of Romney’s involvement in the incident.
While these stories are emotionally compelling and help to humanize a man who is often seen as cold and without compassion, the timing of their release is precarious. At this point, trying to throw out selfless tales of heroism and personal generosity will likely be reflected by critics as grandstanding from the Romney camp in an effort to win over a few bleeding hearts.
Romney’s business savvy is without question, but can the same be said for his integrity and commitment to working on behalf of a country shackled by an ever-increasing deficit and floundering economy? It’s hard to imagine that a few kind anecdotes will be enough to change his harsh, all-business image enough to sway voters to unseat the president in November.
Given the number of delegates he’s earned in the primaries, the former governor certainly seems a shoe-in for the GOP nomination. If he is chosen to run on the Republican ticket, the challenge will be to convince the majority of the country to give up Obama-ism and follow the book of Romney. It’s too bad the Prophet Moroni didn’t leave behind another golden book to guide his way like the one Joseph Smith found. Romney will simply have to rely on opinion polls and CNN, just like everyone else.