How Dare They: The Romneys’ Sense of Entitlement

I am not really tuned in to the presidential election. Not as I think I should be. I am, after all, a bit of a political junkie. But I listen to the news on NPR, and I catch the headlines on the Internet, the New York Times, Huffington Post, the Salt Lake Tribune, and other premier news outlets and call it good. Or at least as good as its going to be.

One thing I have been struck by so far in this election is the Romneys sense of entitlement. For example, when people started questioning why the Romneys were not releasing more tax returns, Ann Romneys response was: Weve given all people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life. And so the election, again, will not be decided on that. [It] will be decided on who is going to turn the economy around and how are jobs going to come back to America.

Hmmm. Ann Romney has decided what the American people need to know. (And how dare those nasty Democrats challenge what she and her husband have decided is what the American people need to know.)

Then there was the recent tit for tat between the Obama and Romney campaigns. From a recent USA Today story, we read:

Vice President Biden, criticizing Republican deregulation policies, told a crowd in Virginia on Tuesday that Romney ‘s approach would “put y’all back in chains.”

Later, during a speech in Ohio, Romney said Biden’s comments reflected “an angry and desperate presidency.” The Republican challenger added, “Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago.”

That drew this retort from Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt: “Governor Romney’s comments tonight seemed unhinged and particularly strange coming at a time when he’s pouring tens of millions of dollars into negative ads that are demonstrably false.”

(Biden said there was no hidden meaning in his use of the word “chains,” noting that Republicans have been pledging to “unshackle” businesses.)

Romney did not back off today, telling CBS This Morning, “The president’s campaign is all about division and attack and hatred — unhinged would have to characterize what we’ve seen from the president’s campaign.”

As I listened to the stories coming across NPR, the thoughts that came into my mind were these: This is not about Mitt and Ann Romney being members of a privileged wealthy class of Americans who look down with distain upon ordinary Americans who need to be told whats best for them. This is really about Mitt and Ann Romney being Mormons and believing that they are not answerable to others for their actions and believing that they are not accountable to a common standard, but to a higher standard which they alone understand.

How dare others impugn their integrity? The Romneys believe that they have acted with integrity, that they have disclosed all they need to disclose, and how dare others impugn their actions and their decisions, and most importantly their integrity. If its one thing Mormons like the Romneys take issue with, its with others impugning their intergrity.

How dare they?


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40 Responses

  1. chanson says:

    From that USA Today quote, it sounds like the whole election has turned into a battle of name-calling…

  2. Seth R. says:

    To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  3. Goldarn says:

    I thought this was Wilard M., not Marion G! Who does that lowly stake president think he is? 🙂

  4. chanson says:

    Seth, I’ll have you know — I’m a Hamer, not a Hammer!


  5. chanson says:

    I always have to correct people on that… But, seriously:

    This is really about Mitt and Ann Romney being Mormons and believing that they are not answerable to others for their actions and believing that they are not accountable to a common standard, but to a higher standard which they alone understand.

    It’s possible that the Romneys are taking a page from the CoJCoL-dS, believing that they don’t need to hold their finances up to public scrutiny because Heavenly Father and His angels are watching over their ledgers, making human scrutiny inappropriate.

    But, really, it could be anything. Your USA Today quote demonstrates that the campaigns are largely focused on trying to insult each other as cleverly as any dumb-ass Internet flame war, so it’s hard to read too much into anything the candidates say.

  6. TGD says:

    The Romneys are getting all offended that us common folk are getting all uppity. Where have I seen this before?

  7. aerin says:

    I remember all the hoopla about the president’s birth certificate. At the time, the argument was the same – that the president was hiding something by not releasing the birth certificate.

    Personally, I would like to see more about what both candidates plan for the U.S. We face numerous challenges. I’m not sure that taxes matter as much as how we’re going to solve the issues we face. An enormous deficit, a war in Afghanistan, health care and education spending that is outpacing inflation, immigration reform, infrastructure, etc. etc. Most of the ideas have been tried already (trickle down economics) and haven’t worked.

  8. This just in: Mitt Romney apparently either believes he should get credit for the tithing he pays to the LDS Church, or he considers tithing another level of taxation:

    I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that … But every year Ive paid at least 13 percent and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above 20 percent.

  9. Parker says:

    Says Sister Romney: “We have a reason why were running and its because I believe in my heart that Mitt is going to save America, that economically we are in such difficult times and that he is the person thats going to pull us through this.”

  10. Chris F. says:

    Yes, Mitt will save America…from having a Romney family go through the pain and torchure of not having two personal jets and a two jet garage with elevators.

  11. Parker says:

    I receive unsolicited emails from former church associates–you know the kind that goes out to everyone in the ward, or stake, and all of their family and friends. They are universally anti Obama (and his war against religion), and recently Harry Reed (do they have a different set of temple recommend questions for him). They are absolutely gushing about Mitt Romney. The latest is the CBS segment where the participants more or less say what a nice person Romney is. So there is this concerted effort, based on what I’m receiving, to get this segment viewed by as many people as possible. So there you have it, to be qualified to save the world you have to be a nice person. Or at least that is what the discriminating Latter-day Saints are saying to me. Oh, and they send out these completely false reports about things Obama has supposedly done, that they apparently accept as true because they received it from a fellow church member, and you know how serious we Mormons are about the truth.

    If you want to know what a nice person Mitt Romney is and how he spends his free time serving others then watch the segment

  12. Seth R. says:

    Whereas, by contrast – America’s political left is nothing but intelligent rationales, and reasoned arguments.

    Like when you read the comments section at the Huffington Post.

  13. Parker says:

    Is that comment suppose to be an explanation as to why Latter-day Saints ignore their own standards of truth to disperse clearly false and distorted pieces that are personal attacks, that have nothing to do with the issues? Or, are you presenting it as an example of inane comments by defensive Mormons? If the latter, it is a really good example.

  14. Seth R. says:

    I don’t know Parker, I’ve thought your attempt to link Romney’s ethics (which I’m not even convinced you’ve described correctly) to Mormonism has been a bit tedious at best.

    So Mormons chain email.


    And like no one else does that.

  15. Parker says:

    You should be completely convince that I haven’t correctly described Romney’s ethics, since I haven’t declared, or even inferred anything about Romney. What I have said is that it is interesting that people whose articles of faith celebrate their pursuit of truth, deal so readily in untruths and personal attack on Obama, and one of their own, Harry Reid. So, if you want to talk about why that is the case, then please do so. But don’t try to pretend it doesn’t exist, or that others do it too, therefore, it is justified, or to side slip it with more mindless comments. So here is the question: Why are Mormons so eager to paint Obama as the devil, and Romney as just a little lower than angels with what are basically false reports?

  16. Elaine says:

    I thnk it is important to keep in mind that when Ann Romney was on “Good Morning America” and talking about this, she didn’t say “…all people need to know…”, but her actual words were …”all you people need to know…”. The quote was doctored in some later reports about that interview to read “…all people…”, but I happened to be watching that broadcast and heard exactly what she said, and my immedaite response was, “OK, now she’s demonsrated how she and Mitt actually feel about the citizens of this country.” Not only did she come across as elitist and feeling entitled, because the woman conducting the interview is African American (Robin Roberts), it also took on the racist tones that “you people” have long had in this country.

    I was sort of surprised at the time that Ms. Romney said that so baldly, and I’m sure she was instructed afterwards to not do that again, but her words that morning were clearly indicative of how she and her husband feel about those not of their race, class, and religion. To me, it just underlines one more reason why Mitt Romney should not be President of the United States.

  17. Seth R. says:

    Parker, I’ve always been an Obama supporter.

    Go bark up a different tree.

  18. Parker says:

    Thanks Seth, that was insightful–again.

  19. Ren says:

    News is all about # of views or online # of page views. There’s a reason CSPAN doesn’t get the ratings that the 24 hour news networks do. It’s not about the soundbite and drama.

    This is why we can’t have nice things. 😉

    Ann and Mitt have said more than once, that we’ll have to trust them. That is the Mormonest thing. Sorry, I can’t have faith in tax returns unseen. Or gold plates unseen, for that matter.

  20. aerin says:

    How many years of tax returns did the Obamas’ release in 2008? the McCains’?

    And I did read somewhere that Gov. Romney was counting up to 20% when he included charitable giving. Does charitable giving count? Where is that money going? I’d like to see those numbers as well.

  21. Seth R. says:

    I don’t care about either Romney nor Obama’s tax returns.

    I only care about what they plan to do about the recession and how much political strength each man has to enact his plans.

    I don’t care about Bain Capital in the slightest. Economists in general don’t care about the “shipping jobs overseas” argument. Because, as they point out – companies that boom in places like India, China and Latin America inevitably beef up their presence in the US as well – which means job creation here.

    I’m not voting for Romney. But not for any of the reasons people have mentioned here. I’m not voting for him because he is not in charge of his own party and cannot count on their unified support when/if he does enter the White House. The GOP is a shambles right now. The Tea Party sabotaged the GOP’s ability to forward and pass unified legislation. Experienced Republicans in Congress cannot cut deals with the other side without being instantly attacked by the radical elements of their own party as being “sellouts”. The GOP is, in its current fractured, bickering, self-sabotaging state incapable of adult governance.

    And Romney isn’t even remotely a strong enough Republican to unify this mess.

    I see the only hope of real legislation by adults rather than a mob of guys having a late mid-life crisis to be in the Democratic Party. Because Obama is far and away better positioned to lead his party than Romney is to lead his.

    All this stuff you guys have been talking about (and the media has been obsessing over) is just trivial fluff as far as I’m concerned.

  22. Holly says:

    All this stuff you guys have been talking about (and the media has been obsessing over) is just trivial fluff as far as Im concerned.

    But somehow, Seth’s interest or lack thereof in what everyone else is or is not interested in is…the least bit relevant or significant? So far as Seth is concerned, everyone else is supposed to…what? change the subject, once he comes along and ever so helpfully tells everyone that their conversations–which he is ever so anxious to participate in–are “trivial fluff”?

  23. Parker says:

    Helen Whitney and Gregory Prince list a series of questions that they suggest Romney address.

  24. Holly says:

    the questions from Whitney and Prince are terrific and give Romney a great opportunity to make the case that Mormonism has been beneficial in shaping his attitudes toward social responsibility and governance. Wonder if he’ll be smart enough to take advantage of the opportunity.

  25. Elaine says:

    Seth…I have to admit that I don’t really care what economists think about shipping jobs overseas. I care that when jobs are sent overseas, there are that many people here in the States who suddenly (or even not so suddenly) don’t have work. Having those jobs come back two or five or ten years later doesn’t help those people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own to put a roof over their families’ heads and food on their tables now.

    And then, the folks responsible for sending the jobs overseas (people like Romney) get up and talk about those people who have been put out of work because their jobs have been outsources, unemployed for long enough that they have to ask for assistance until they can find a job, as if they are lazy and stupid and don’t want to work. What was it Romney said about people on assistance, that they’d “rather get a welfare check than a job”? Well, I’m sorry, but Mr. Romney doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about, and he is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    The problem, with businemen and politicians, as well as the economists who justify sending jobs overseas (that isn’t all of them, by the way) is that they don’t see people. They don’t see families struggling to get by. They don’t see the people who are willing to flip burgers or fly a cash register at a retail store or wait on tables until they can get someting in their field again, but can’t get a job doing those things because people won’t hire them because they’ve “overqualified”. All they see are numbers on a spreadsheet, and as long as their own bottom line is good, they don’t care what happens to those they sacrifice in order to keep their own bank accounts flush.

  26. Seth R. says:

    Elaine, there’s something I care about as well.

    I care about companies succeeding enough to hire MORE people and put more people who are out of work, back to work.

    So if a company can succeed overseas and beef up its staffing here in the US – leading to net increase in the US job market, then that’s a great thing.

    Look, I don’t believe in trickle-down Reaganomics either. But if the numbers show an increase, then I’m on board.

  27. Elaine says:

    Seth…You still didn’t say how you feel about people being put out of work here and then the same people who put them out of work by outsourcing their jobs calling them lazy and stupid and accusing them of not wanting to work, when all they want is a job to keep their families housed and fed.

  28. Seth R. says:

    I didn’t say anything about it Elaine, because I’m very familiar with the practice of ripping isolated quotes out of context, adding in ellipses in convenient spots, and then using rhetoric to make the quote look like something awful.

    I’ve seen it done to Barack Obama, I’ve seen it done to Mitt Romney. These gotcha-game quote mining faux-news items don’t interest me at all. Mostly, I just ignore them.

  29. Elaine says:

    Well, Seth, when I heard Romney make that statement, it was not isolated from its context, and I heard it in a video in which he was delivering a speech. It was not in written form, so there were no “ellipses in convenient spots”. So, you know, you can ignore that he said it if you want, but he did say it, and in the context, it was very clear that was exactly what he meant.

  30. Seth R. says:

    Yes, yes. And how does it match up with all his other statements? How much does it reflect his campaign policies? How much will it impact his campaign promises?

    Like I said, I don’t go for “gotcha” politics. Maybe CNN, NBC, and Fox News get their jollies off that kind of thing, but I frankly don’t give a damn what Romney or his wife said once or twice at a rally. Spin alley can take that stuff nine ways to Tuesday, but it doesn’t signify anything meaningful.

  31. chanson says:

    @23 and @24 — I agree that those are great questions for a leader to answer, but they’re not convenient for a politician.

    Some of them (#2, #3, #4, #8) emphasize differences between Mormonism and Protestant Christianity — and since Romney is running as the faith guy, he wants to elide his differences with his biggest faith-constituency.

    Some of them ( #5, #6, #7) emphasize problematic aspects of Mormonism (and ask Romney how he’s going to compensate for or distance himself from these problems!) Every good Mormon knows that you don’t bring up or give a straight-forward answer to Mormonism’s “issues” — you pretend the issues don’t exist, and if someone else brings them you, you accuse that person of being ignorant and/or an “anti-Mormon”.

    He might be able to do OK with #1 and #9.

  32. Parker says:

    I have continued to think about comment #30. and agree with Seth that often political comments are subjected to what he calls “spin alley.” But what isn’t clear to me is how you determine what is meaningless and what is meaningful. When is a toss away comment, really just that, especially by someone running for a high political office? For example Todd Akin, senatorial candidate made a comment about “legitimate rape.” He has been attacked right and left, even by Romney. Is that an example of “spin alley?” And is Romney guilt of jumping on the bandwagon for political gain, or is he expressing heartfelt concern?

    It occurs to me that the same questions of meaningful versus meaningless comments that should be ignored can be asked of LDS Church PR statements. Are they often another type of “spin alley?”

  33. Seth R. says:

    Well, you’d be ill-advised to rely only on an organization’s PR statements in making decisions about them.

    But I think that a carefully crafted PR statement from a campaign or organization says a lot more about what that organization wants to do than a one-off statement in a speech does.

  34. chanson says:

    But I think that a carefully crafted PR statement from a campaign or organization says a lot more about what that organization wants to do than a one-off statement in a speech does.

    Sometimes. But a lot of times a carefully crafted PR statement says more about what the PR department thinks its audience wants to hear than anything else. Candid, unscripted remarks can sometimes give more accurate information about what the speaker actually thinks and believes.

  35. Seth R. says:

    What I’m saying is – the fact that the PR department wants you to read this message is, in itself, a piece of relevant data.

    It states how the organization WANTS to be viewed.

    That’s not irrelevant.

  36. Alan says:

    Heh, I would love to see #7 of Whitney’s questions be asked during a presidential debate:

    Given that your church’s highest leadership councils consist entirely of white males, that it denies its lay priesthood to women and that it played the decisive role in the passage of California’s Proposition 8, how can you assure the American public that the composition of your administration and the policies that you would pursue would be reflective of, and responsive to, the diversity that is the foundation of this nation’s strength?

    I particularly want it asked by Whitney herself, taking a pose like the Huff Post headshot of her looking over the top of her glasses. =D

  37. Holly says:

    This comments on the question of Romney’s tax returns, but I’m posting the link mostly because it’s just plain old awesome in about every way something can be awesome:

  38. Alan says:

    From the LDS Newroom: “Humanitarian Aid and Welfare Services: A Breakdown of Donations and Resources”

    You would think an article with a title like would include a breakdown of donations and resources so that you see exactly how charitable the Church is in relation to its income, but you’d be mistaken.

    It’s the same old, “If by ‘numerical details,’ you mean how many hours a year LDS folks volunteer or how many pounds of food we deliver, then we’ll be happy to give those to you. If by ‘numerical details,’ you mean financials to make a determination about whether we’re actually as charitable as we say we are, then no, that’s our business.”

  39. Dave says:

    Invictus – I wrote a guest post in 2011 on your InvictusPilgrim blog.

    Would love to get back in touch. Here is the post:

    How can I contact you?

  40. chanson says:

    Dave — Here’s his current blog: Uomo Nuovo.

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