I can’t quite figure out why it’s so offensive for Romney to admit that he owns Cadillacs. Would it be better for him to pretend that he didn’t? The media coverage of those comments seem unfair to me.
Let’s look at the experience of Corrine and Hal Prewitt as a counterpoint to the media coverage of Mitt Romney. The Prewitts are independents who vote for both Republicans and Democrats, they are not Mormons, and they did not support Romney in 2008. However, in 2009, they purchased Romney’s house in Park City, Utah, and they learned a great deal about Romney in the process.
The linens in Romney’s house were good quality, but not from fancy stores, while the pillows in the master bedroom came from a discount store. When they went to the mud room, they found that Mitt had duct-taped the holes in his gloves.
His indifference to appearance demonstrated his confidence, true character and priorities. Good qualities, but easily misunderstood because they are quite different from those displayed by many famous people and certainly politicians, who highly protect and prize their appearance.
Mitt personally showed the house to the Prewitts at closing, he explained how to use and service the appliances, and he gave them his contact information in case they should have any problems. Romney rented a truck, loaded it with the help of family and a friend, and drove the truck himself to his new home.
Mitt and his family are much more in-touch with average Americans than many people realize. They had a home of faith and family just like many of us…. Clearly he is more like most Americans than not. We learned many things about Mitt Romney that contradicted what we have been told. He is not aloof or out of touch…. It is not beneath him to roll up his shirt-sleeves and get the job done.
Romney is clearly frugal, Romney even used to live on a constrained budget when he was a student, but it’s fine with me if he doesn’t pretend to be poor.
On the other hand, Michelle Obama visited Zanesville, Ohio in the last election cycle. Zanesville is located in a county that had a median income of $37,000, and she told a group of women she met with:
I know we’re spending — I added it up for the first time — we spend between the two kids, on extracurriculars outside the classroom, we’re spending about $10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements and so on and so forth…. And summer programs. That’s the other huge cost. Barack is saying, ‘Whyyyyyy are we spending that?’ And I’m saying, ‘Do you know what summer camp costs?’… We don’t complain because we’ve got resources because of our education. We’ve got family structure…. So I tell people don’t cry for me.
In a county where 12% of adults have a college diploma, Michelle went on to talk about the difficulties of paying off student loans when they should be saving for their kids.
Call me a contrarian, but I’ll take Mitt Romney’s admission that he owns Cadillacs over Michelle Obama’s comments in Zanesville. Remember, Romney never complained about how expensive it was to service his Cadillacs, he just admitted he owned them. To me, it seems more out-of-touch to complain about spending $10,000+ on extra-curricular expenses for your kids in a county where that represents over one-fourth of the median income than to admit you own Cadillacs. And I certainly wouldn’t mind having a rich guy in the Oval Office who still knows how to be frugal.
It seems to me that the independent voter would do well to read the Prewitts’ experience of buying a house from Romney and see if that doesn’t provide a new vantage point for judging Romney.