The stupidity prevalent in political campaigns is indicative only of the low regard held for the average voter. This weekend the Romney camp and team Obama traded accusations of who is more “out of touch. As ridiculous as this is, they only did it because they think the voting public is remarkably impressionable.
Barack Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law. He has a net worth of $10.5 million and is a former U.S. Senator and the current President. Mitt Romney is a graduate of Brigham Young, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Law. Romney has a net worth of $250 million and is a former Governor. If the question is, “which man is out-of-touch with the average American?” the answer is an emphatic “both.”
The average American does not have a college degree, lives within three miles of a McDonald’s, and earns between $28 and $32,000 annually. His total debt is 136 percent of his annual income, he is married, and owns a home (or at least a mortgage.) The statistically average America pays taxes, believes in God, and needs to lose 20 pounds.
The average American will also never be President. And that is the point. Any one who has a credible shot at becoming President is by definition, not average. The life of a potential President involves $10,000 a plate fundraisers, regularly wearing tuxedos, hobnobbing with movie stars, and being able to read about your college classmates in Forbes. Anyone who would be President does not know the price of a gallon of milk unless they recently memorized their talking points on consumer goods. They are all out of touch.
I do not fault them for being out of touch. It would be my pleasure to be equally out of touch. That is simply not a good test. With regard to the common man, I think there are two relevant measures of a political aspirant. First, do they hold the average American in contempt, and second, are their policies apt to drive the average down, or raise it up?
Contempt is different than confusion. Surely it would be an embarrassing gaffe if a would-be President did not know how to pump his own gas, but it would also be meaningless. Does the politician look down on the citizen who not only pumps his own gas, but can change his own oil? Does he think the commoner simple, or ignorant, or somehow “unenlightened?” Argue as much as you like, but you will not soon convince me that Barack -“bitter clingers”/redistribute Joe the Plumber’s money – Obama respects the ordinary person.
As far as impact on the normal citizen is concerned, any comparison between Obama and Romney is a bit unfair. Only one man has been President, so only one man has a national track record. Alas, that record is not elevating the statistical norms.
Under Obama more people are collecting unemployment, personal debt and public debt is increasing, homeownership is declining, fewer people pay taxes, and the numbers of persons living in poverty has increased. Would Romney improve the national averages? Maybe, or maybe not, but it is doubtful that he would continue the Obama trend of driving down the averages.
The next time anyone alleges that someone else is out of touch ask instead who has more respect for you and your situation. My guess is that the candidate who spends the most time trying to manipulate your opinion through emotional appeals is the candidate who has the least respect for you.