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Right Turn
Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 05/31/2012

‘Shiny object’ of the week

The obvious candidate for this week’s “shiny object” non-story-meant-to-distract-from-Obama’s-record is Donald Trump. But I think former Gov. John Sununu said all there is to say on the topic:

Whoa. Enough said.

To take a different tact, we’ll select as the “shiny object” for this week the media’s newfound interest in Ann Romney’s expensive hobby: horses. Did I mention it’s expensive?

The Los Angeles Times (“passionate engagement in a rarefied sport that she believes helps her deal with a debilitating chronic illness” — does the Los Angles Time have a contrary medical opinion?) is fascinated. But so is the New York Times (“Ann Romney immersed herself in the elite world of riding over the last dozen years”).

I would point out that no one seems interested in the cost of the president’s golf addiction or the costs (including White House staff time) for Michelle Obama’s garden and lavish travel, but unbalanced coverage is just part of the problem. In truth, none of this matters.

The horse stories are another round in the “Romney is rich!” stories that are supposed to show that rich people — except for FDR, JFK, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Hollywood elites and all the other rich liberals — don’t understand the problems of the little people.

The “rich” jibe is, I suspect, one of the least effective barbs against Romney, not only because Obama is rich too but also because people already are well aware Romney made a lot of money at Bain.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) put it well in a speech last fall at the Heritage Foundation:

Class is not a fixed designation in this country. We are an upwardly mobile society with a lot of movement between income groups.
The Treasury Department’s latest study on income mobility in America found that during the ten-year period starting in 1996, roughly half of the taxpayers who started in the bottom 20 percent had moved up to a higher income group by 2005.
Meanwhile, half of all taxpayers ended up in a different income group at the end of ten years. Many moved up, and some moved down, but economic growth resulted in rising incomes for most people over this period. . . .
Instead of appealing to the hope and optimism that were hallmarks of his first campaign, he has launched his second campaign by preying on the emotions of fear, envy, and resentment.
This has the potential to be just as damaging as his misguided policies. Sowing social unrest and class resentment makes America weaker, not stronger. Pitting one group against another only distracts us from the true sources of inequity in this country – corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless.

In short, the Obama campaign and its media helpmates want us to think that Romney and other wealthy people got rich by making other people poor or by trickery (or both). Romney is the living embodiment of what the Obama administration thinks we need to keep a lid on: profit, destructive creation, free markets and private wealth accumulation. But this conclusion and the fixation on Romney’s wealth only work if you agree with Obama that the economy is a zero-sum game. Otherwise, why not let everyone prosper?

Another president could point to the strides made in employment, wages and reduction in poverty and the number of those dependent on food stamps. That’s how he’d establish his economic bona fides and concern for the less well-off. But this president can’t do that. Instead we get to learn all about Ann Romney’s horses. They are expensive, didn’t you know?

By  |  11:00 AM ET, 05/31/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign, Media

 
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