Romney can't connect with middle class

Shannyn Moore

Have you ever had a chance to save someone from an embarrassing situation? It doesn't have to be a big one. More than once I've seen women leaving the ladies room with toilet paper trailing their fancy shoes. It's easy; walk up to them, step on the trailing end and they are free.

I have the same uneasy feeling watching Mitt Romney campaign for president. I'm embarrassed for him. I get squenchy and want to look away when he speaks. I want to step on something and free him of his awkwardness.

Since he's been running for office longer than it took the smart kids to get through high school, there's not much shiny left on him. A recent ABC news article documented that people on both sides of the political aisle have zero interest in reading anything about Mitt Romney. He's a buzz kill.

I've been thinking a lot about this. I'm pretty sure Mitt makes most people uncomfortable. He's just not that into us. By "us" I mean everyone but maybe 48 people.

There are those who say his lack of luster is rooted in some deep-seated envy of his wealth. That's insane. We make celebrities of the wealthy in this country. We watch TV shows about them and read about their latest shoe purchases. Americans believe that, at any moment, they may be raptured up into the strata of the affluent, and don't resent them. I know people with more money than Romney who are as cool as cucumbers and lack his awkward nature when it comes to dealing with ordinary, middle-class Americans.

The disconnect is startling, and I think it's more on Mr. Romney's end. Born gumming a silver spoon, he's never gone without. Everyone should be so lucky. Almost no one is.

As a result, Romney can't connect with middle-class Americans despite his best efforts. The harder he tries, the more painful it is to watch.

Parents get a $1,000 tax deduction for their child. Mr. and Mrs. Romney tried to take a $77,000 deduction for their horse. The annual housing for their mare was almost twice what the average American family spends on a place to live.

I'm not saying fancy horses are immoral or that he shouldn't enjoy his wealth. He just doesn't seem to understand that many hard-working, moral Americans struggle every day to make sure they have the basics; food on the table and a roof over their head.

Betting another candidate $10,000 during a televised debate was weird on many levels. His church, like most, condemns gambling. People don't make $10,000 bets; that's a down payment on a home, or a day and a half in the hospital.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson contributed $10 million to Romney's election war chest.

"Corporations are people, my friend." No, Mr. Romney, they are not. Corporations don't cry, give birth or buy yogurt to help with constipation. Until the state of Texas puts a corporation to death, I'm not buying it.

With such fantastic hair and a good-looking family, I want to believe there's more to Mitt than just being born into money. Several weeks ago there was a dustup when Mitt said his wife was his adviser when it came to women's issues.

Anne Romney gave an interview to the Boston Globe in 1994. She talked about the young couple's initial trials and tribulations. They spent their early marriage living off Mitt's sales of stock. They had their third child about the time Mitt got his first paycheck. She went on about how hard they struggled ... living off what in today's dollars would be $377,000. How did they survive?

It's great if your parents can afford to put you through school. But for the love of God, don't tell people it was a struggle. Americans shoulder more debt for student loans than we owe in car loans or credit cards. Why? Because most of us can't live off our stock portfolios during our college years.

"Which Cadillac should I drive today?" or "Which home should we stay in this weekend?" aren't questions most of us will ever ask ourselves.

Before you go off all crazy and accuse me of supporting that black socialist who wants people to have health care, shelter and food on the table, unless you mean Jesus, I don't know who you're talking about.

Shannyn Moore can be heard weekdays from 6 to 9 p.m. on KOAN 1020 AM and 95.5 FM radio. Her weekly TV show can be seen Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. statewide on ABC affiliate KYUR Anchorage, KATN Fairbanks and KJUD Juneau.

Shannyn Moore