Certainly, the American experience is filled with rags-to-riches stories. For those who weren’t brought up in poverty and didn’t learn from the experience of a poor upbringing, it’s obnoxious and offensive to pretend that they did. Case in point – Mitt Romney.
Last week, President Barack Obama made the comment that, “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.” Obviously, this jab was intended at Romney, although his spokesman later said it wasn’t aimed at this target.
For Romney to go on the offensive, however, and to make far-reaching claims about his family’s distant poverty is truly absurd. Speaking to 200 people gathered Sunday from the Lincoln Day dinner in Pennsylvania, Romney said,
“My dad’s dad went broke more than once. And my dad learned lessons about the importance of family and of faith and had a great and abiding affection for this country – lessons he taught me.”
As everyone in America knows, Romney did, indeed, grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father, George Romney, was the former Michigan governor and president of American Motors. Mitt Romney attended prep school and went on to graduate from business and law schools at Harvard.
Sunday, Romney continued on this rags-to-riches path, describing how his own father was born in Mexico and how his early difficulties shaped him – and Mitt. As Romney said,
“My dad, as you might know, was born in Mexico and, ah, of American parents who’d been living there for some time. There was revolution in Mexico, around the early part of the 20th century, 1910 or so, and so his family came back to the United States and his dad went from place to place. His dad was a contractor, and as you may know contractors have financial difficulty from time to time.”
Yes, poverty and struggle can shape people and it’s typically look at in a favorable light on the campaign trail. When it’s not true, however, it just makes the candidate look ridiculous – and look like he’s grasping at straws that simply aren’t there.
It would be much more admirable to simply admit the wealth and the lack of the rags-to-riches story and move on.