The next best thing to calling a Republican "racist," "sexist," "homophobic," or "Uncle Tom" (where appropriate) is to call him "out of touch."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the latest wealthy Republican to be called "out of touch." The proof? Why, he offered to bet rival Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The amount offered was — gasp — $10,000! This, of course, makes him another born-on-third-base-and-thought-he-hit-a-triple Republican. The Democratic National Committee pounced and immediately put out a video: "Mitt Romney: Simply Out of Touch — Ten Thousand Times Over."
But which "elite, out-of-touch politician" considers a $172,200 annual salary "relatively modest" — Republican presidential hopeful Romney or President Barack Obama? Answer: Obama.
Whose $300K-per-year hospital-executive wife traveled to working-class Zanesville, Ohio, and complained about the high cost of her daughters' summer camp, piano and dance lessons? Answer: Obama's.
The then-U.S. senator was making $170K. The 2005-2009 median income in Zanesville: $28,854, almost $13,000 less than the national median.
Romney fits this role perfectly. Son of a former American Motors CEO and Michigan governor, Romney made a bundle buying and selling businesses. Pretty blond wife. Pretty kids. Every hair in place. What's not to hate?
Never mind that there are more multimillionaire Democrat senators than multimillionaire Republican senators. Never mind that the average contribution to the DNC is larger than the average contribution to the RNC.
If not enough anecdotes exist to paint a Republican as a condescending patrician, why, just make something up. The New York Times wrote a phony story to slap the "elitist" label on former President George Herbert Walker Bush. At a grocers convention, Bush was intrigued by a device that could read torn bar code labels. Only one pool reporter was present, from a Texas paper, and he filed an unremarkable two-paragraph report on Bush's tour at the convention.
The New York Times, however, ran a front-page story headlined, "Bush Encounters the Supermarket, Amazed." The Times falsely wrote that the allegedly clueless out-of-touch Bush was surprised by an ordinary checkout scanner.
Reacting to the Bush-didn't-know-a-scanner assertion, a systems analyst for the National Grocers Association who showed Bush the scanner said: "The whole thing is ludicrous. What he was amazed about was the ability of the scanner to take that torn label and reassemble it." Nevertheless, Bush's image as a rich, out-of-touch patrician hurt.
Obama, on the other hand, is a "man of the people."
But Obama has long enjoyed a very un-Joe Sixpack-like life. His mom had a Ph.D. in anthropology. His father won a graduate scholarship to pursue an economics Ph.D. at Harvard. Obama was raised for a time by his maternal grandparents — one a successful salesman, the other a bank executive. He attended the most prestigious private prep school in Hawaii, Punahou School. Obama spent his first two college years at the elite private California school Occidental, before transferring to Ivy League Columbia and then to Harvard Law. He met his future wife, Michelle, at a blue-stocking, big-time Chicago law firm, where today first-year associates make the "relatively modest" pay of about $160K.
Obama, to counter this and make himself more relatable, apparently takes a page from The New York Times playbook — and makes stuff up. On the 2008 campaign trail, for example, he says he and his mom spent time on food stamps — something that he somehow failed to included in his autobiography. Conveniently, records do not exist to prove or disprove this. And Obama, in making the emotional and personal case for ObamaCare, repeatedly said his mom, as she lay dying of cancer in a hospital, fought with insurance companies to get them to pay her medical bills.
But according to a New York Times reporter, in an otherwise flattering book on Obama's mom, she did, in fact, have her medical bills paid — less deductible and co-pay — without dispute by her carrier. Obama paid no price for this because a) the reporter is suddenly "unavailable" for interviews, and b) the media do not care and Obama has never been directly asked about this contradiction.
Here's the bulletin: When you get to the level of governor or U.S. senator — let alone president — you are out-of-touch. Oh, sure, every now and again Queen Victoria saunters out from her carriage and mingles with the hoi polloi. But then it's back to a world of power and celebrity. It's a world where people constantly kiss your rear. It's a world of dining out most days and nights, drivers, handlers, people to carry your luggage, pack your clothes, do your shopping, walk your dogs, make travel arrangements, arrange your schedule, remind you when to remember birthdays, anniversaries and your children's names. Despite the world-weary look on the faces of so many politicians, they live in a world of abbreviated workweeks, with staffers to do the boring grunt stuff. Why do you think they want to be re-elected?
But Democrats, by definition — no matter how much money they have — are down with the common folk, and Republicans are nose-in-the-air, I-got-mine selfish SOBs.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2011 LAURENCE A. ELDER
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