The last two Democratic candidates for president have been Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Neither man grew up poor — Clinton’s boyhood home was, in fact, one of the larger houses in Hot Springs, Ark., while Obama was a pampered, dope-smoking student at the elite Punahou School in Honolulu — but neither did he come from the moneyed aristocracy. By contrast, the GOP has nominated two scions of the Connecticut WASP oligarchy, George Herbert Walker Bush and George Walker Bush; John McCain, the son and grandson of admirals in the U.S. Navy; and millionaire Willard Mitt Romney, the son of the former governor of Michigan and failed presidential candidate George Romney.
You see where I’m going with this.
Clinton defeated Bush I in an election that Poppy never should have lost in 1992, consigning him to one-termer status, while Obama handily defeated both McCain (another GOP millionaire, who married his money) and Romney, who has now effervesced into the political ether as if he’d never run for president, which I’m still not sure he actually did. Only Bush II managed two wins against the donkeys, first by running against a guy who was ever dumber than he was (Albert Arnold Gore, Jr.) and later by running against a guy who was even richer (John Kerry, who also married his money).
Now you see where I’m going with this.
American’s don’t like plutocrats in the White House. With the rare exception of a JFK or an FDR — to the manner and manor born, but with the common touch — they prefer men who have fought their way up from humble circumstances to grab at the highest rung of the ladder. Men for whom losing means losing everything. What would Bill Clinton be today had he failed in his daring gambit to unseat Bush the Elder? A has-been southern governor with a wandering eye and the gift of the gab, working the rubber-chicken circuit on behalf of lesser men. Or Obama? From non-entity to non-entity in the blink of an eye. They both fought like hell to win because, with their outsized egos and ruthless ids, the alternative was unthinkable. By contrast, here’s Mitt Romney‘s La Jolla consolation prize for losing Ohio.
And this little dump in Massachusetts:
Not to mention the compound in New Hampshire and the ski house in Park City, Utah, and whatever else may suit his fancy down the line.
Now you definitely see where I’m going with this.
Now, this is America: buy all you can eat, if you can stomach it. But the point is, there was no personal downside for Romney in losing the election. Everything in his life continues as before, and he’ll be living off his investment income forever — and living a life completely disassociated from the vast majority of his fellow citizens.