From this Sunday's Up With Chris Hayes, his Story of the Week where he discusses the disconnect between the ultra-wealthy campaign donors who we saw asking painfully ridiculous questions to Mitt Romney during that secretly recorded fundraiser of his from earlier this year, and the lives of the rest of us. As Chris asked, how different would our politics look if the Romney's of the world were forced to sit down with and listen to rooms full or ordinary workers day after day instead of these out of touch, wealthy plutocrats who do not share the same concerns as most of the country.
The video of Mitt Romney talking to donors that Mother Jones posted last week is an incredible artifact from an entire culture and civilization that exists in our midst, but which we hardly ever get to see: the world of the high-end donor. And, whoo boy it is not pretty. The first thing that jumps out is that a lot of the questions are really inane.
In fact, I almost feel sorry for Mitt Romney having to sit there and politely smile and nod as donors pick through their salad and tell him that what he really needs to do to win is "take the gloves off" or "show your face more on tv"—something he's been doing more or less non-stop.
The folks in the room all but advise Romney to simply tour around the country reading passages of Ayn Rand novels out loud at his campaign rallies and hectoring the idiotic masses to bow before their obvious superior. Romney, who is many things, but not a total fool, gently explains that that probably is not the best way to go about attempting to win over the Obama voters he needs to be elected. Almost none of the advice Romney gets during the tape is very good, some of it's terrible.
That's not novel, of course, everyone who watches politics closely thinks they have the secret insight that will win the election. Unlike the millions of other political junkies and backseat drivers, this small coterie of folks, by sole virtue of their wealth, gets to impose their invaluable insights on the actual candidate. It would be like the head coach of the Giants, Tom Coughlin, having to spend most of the week between games meeting with the opinionated fans who call into sports talk radio with their theories about how the Giants should be blitzing on every down, or lining up two quarterbacks under center.
This is the power of money not just in politics, but in society more broadly: the power to make people listen to your ideas no matter how dumb or uninformed. The other thing that stood out to me was just how under siege, persecuted, and victimized these extremely wealthy people appear to feel.
Keep in mind we're talking about a fundraiser that cost $50,000 a plate. Fifty thousand dollars also happens to be the median household income in the U.S. So the kind of wealth you need to have to be in the room with Romney is the kind of wealth that means you can just pony up as much money as many Americans make in a year to listen to Mitt Romney trash talk the very people who make in a year the same amount you just ponied up for dinner. Read on...