One of the recurring statements you often hear from various conservatives, particularly wealthy ones, is that “the poor” – and liberals in general – “hate rich people,” because we’re “jealous.” Which, as many other commentators will point out, is not the truth. The reasons people are irritated with them are due to something else entirely. I was given a perfect example in this news story:
”If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain,” she said in a magazine piece. “Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.”
Wow. Impressive words coming out of one of the world’s wealthiest woman. Yup, she … inherited her wealth. But she thinks that’s “work.” Now the news is about Mitt Romney’s statements along the same line.
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
As David Corn, the author of the Mother Jones article states,
With this crowd of fellow millionaires, he apparently felt free to utter what he really believes and would never dare say out in the open. He displayed a high degree of disgust for nearly half of his fellow citizens, lumping all Obama voters into a mass of shiftless moochers who don’t contribute much, if anything, to society, and he indicated that he viewed the election as a battle between strivers (such as himself and the donors before him) and parasitic free-riders who lack character, fortitude, and initiative.
The reaction has been swift – and negative. Even veteran political commentators admitted having a personal reaction to the statements:
I was surprised at my own reaction as I first read those words. I found myself taking personal offense.
Others pointed out the fallacy that Mitt Romney is perpetuating, along with pointing out just who the “47%” are: The elderly, students, military personnel, and the working poor. I’ve written about the massive “blind spot” that the wealthy have before, and Mitt apparently has that in spades.
Many years ago, I had a subordinate who was one of my “problem children.” If there was a way to slack off, he found it, complained constantly, and created problems for the others. He also made it clear that he was only doing this because his father wanted him to, and he let everyone know that his family was wealthy. All of which didn’t make him terribly popular with his fellow subordinates. One day he came to me, and said that “the other guys don’t like me, because I’m half (ethnic group).” My reply was not what he expected. “Oh. I didn’t realize that. I thought the reason they don’t like you was because you’re an asshole.” Which is why so many people are irritated with many of the wealthy. It’s not because they’re rich, or because we’re “jealous” of their success. It’s because they’re assholes.
If (as seems increasingly probable) Mitt Romney loses this election, it won’t be because he wasn’t “sufficiently conservative,” or that he didn’t lay out a coherent plan for the country. It won’t even be due to his … gaffes … on a range of issues, or his ineptness in putting together a campaign. Yes, those will be a part of it, but you know what will matter more? It’s that he’s demonstrated what an asshole he is, and the voters decided they didn’t want one as President.