It’s gotten so that I look forward to Fridays because that’s the day David Brooks’ column comes out, and I can go straight to the hilarious blogger responses, like this one by Charles Pierce, titled “Our Mr. Brooks Climbs the Romney Family Tree“:
The applause came from deep in the plush leather armchairs gathered by the fireplace in the clubroom of the Premature Fogies Club. It was warm and sustaining, as was the morning brandy. People touched the patches on his master’s blazer as he walked by. “Good show, old top,” they told him. Moral Hazard, the Irish setter belonging to David Brooks, yawned and stretched his legs all the way down to the tips of his paws. He knew what was going on. His master had brought joy to all the calcined specimens in all the armchairs by telling them the up-from-poverty saga of Willard Romney and his family, the relentless immigrant-ish striving that still drives Willard no matter which of his several luxury homes in which he happened to be doing his striving at the moment. This Friday’s column had made them all feel like pioneers squinting across the Great Plains into the setting western sun. His master, thought Moral Hazard, will never lack for dinner-party invitations after this:
Mitt Romney is a rich man, but is Mitt Romney’s character formed by his wealth? Is Romney a spoiled, cosseted character?
He’s persevered year after year, amid defeat after defeat, to build a political career. Romney’s salient quality is not wealth. It is, for better and worse, his tenacious drive — the sort of relentlessness that we associate with striving immigrants, not rich scions.
(Actually, his wealth is pretty goddamn salient to his political career, which would not exist, defeat after defeat, without it. It is far easier to drive tenaciously in a Porsche. Just sayin’. And Willard Romney is not a immigrant, not even by proxy. That would be his gardener, as we all recall.
Mitt Romney’s great-great-grandfather Miles was a member of the church in Nauvoo, Ill., and spent years building a temple there. Even after Joseph Smith was killed by a mob and most of the Mormons fled, Miles stayed to finish his temple.
(Good for Miles. What does this have to do with the fact that his foof of a great-great-grandson won’t release his tax returns?)
Miles returned in 1867 and bought a two-room house. Young commanded him to take another wife, and Hannah had to prepare the room for the woman who would be her rival. “I used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow,” she recounted in her own private memoir…. Mitt’s great-grandfather, also Miles, made the trek starting at age 7. He was married in 1862, but a month after his marriage Brigham Young told him to leave his wife, Hannah, and become a missionary for three years in Britain. Hannah supported herself by taking in other people’s washing.
(Newt Gingrich reads this and thinks, “Damn, I wish I’d been born a Mormon in the 1860’s.”)
Daniel Larison has a more straightforward response, but equally relevant (emphasis mine):
No one doubts that Romney has worked hard and continues to do so. There is a reason he has been compared to robots and machines more than a few times. By all accounts, he has an impressive work ethic. No one is going to accuse Romney of being one of the “idle” rich after he has spent the better part of six years running almost continuously for President. That isn’t the point, and Brooks knows that it isn’t. The point is that he is a pro-bailout corporatist oblivious to the problems of decreasing social mobility, income stagnation, and rising income inequality. Romney’s wealth by itself isn’t the issue. It is the substance of his stated views on these and related issues that provokes negative reaction, and he has no response to this except to accuse other people of envy and … of engaging in class warfare.
Yes, exactly — and I wish more media pundits would point this out.