Mitt Romney has a great deal of empathy for people like himself -- rich guys -- and he would serve them well as president. Of course, the wealthy have seldom not been served well by our commander-in-chief. Father and son Bush came from among the affluent, too, while Bill Clinton aspired to join their ranks and has defended Romney-style venture capitalism. Even Barack Obama bailed out Wall Street in 2009.
Yet, of late, rich folks have been getting picked on by protesters and threatened with higher taxes by Democrats. A big majority of Americans think that, given the big bills that have been racked up by congressmen and presidents over the last 12 years, the wealthy need to chip in more to dig everyone out of the hole.
So, maybe they deserve a little sympathy and understanding. It's not easy rolling in green.
Imagine living in a house so big you need to hire a staff to keep it up. Downton Abbey may look attractive, but would you truly want all those minions hovering around, day and night? And what if half of them didn't even speak English? Multiply that by a summer house in Florida and a ski lodge in Aspen, plus the yacht, and that's a lot of people intruding on your privacy.
Sure, everyone thinks having tons of money would be great, but we all know that possessions just weigh a person down. Imagine having lots and lots of very expensive possessions -- the weight would be unbearable!
And then imagine being a rich person and having to deal with the Bill Gates. Here he is, the richest guy in the world and what does he do with his stunningly huge fortune? He pledges to spend it all curing every disease in Africa, from malaria to mumps and probably acne, too. How would that make you feel if you had a crummy few millions of dollars and everyone was staring at you, expecting you to sell your Ferrari and chip in to save some mosquito-infested village in Bongoland?
Honestly, in a roller coaster economy like ours, fortunes come and go with a quick turn of an automated stock trade. A fellow who has come into a lot of money through hard work, inheritance, sheer luck or good old piracy can never feel perfectly secure. It comes, it goes and, while you have it, you want to have some fun with it. Why be pressured to live up to Bill Gates? Why not emulate the man with whom Gates founded Microsoft, Paul Allen?
When Mr. Allen became a billionaire, he did the normal thing. He quit his job, bought a basketball team, bought a football team, bought a yacht the size of a battleship, built a rock-and-roll museum, started thinking about sending rockets into space and got together with his friends to play guitars. Isn't that what most guys would do if they hit the jackpot?
Yes, the rich have it tough. They have pressures the rest of us with our simple little lives cannot appreciate. They deserve a break. And Mitt Romney would give it to them.
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Horsey is a political commentator for the Los Angeles Times. Go to latimes.com/news/politics/topoftheticket/ to see more of his work.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun