A national columnist recently wrote “Romney Too Rich to be President?” followed by “Mitt Romney is just the latest wealthy candidate who has trouble connecting with the rest of us.”
My response is: Darrell, are you kidding me?!
Obviously, typical mainstream media has little historical knowledge of the Presidency or those who have achieved that status.
Let’s start with the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who came from one of the most well-known and wealthiest families that New York politics had to offer. Yet, FDR was also crippled by polio and I’m sure all of America can relate to being confined to a wheelchair.
He also smoked his cigarette using a holder just like the typical average citizen. Right!
In addition, his cousin Teddy was also a U.S. President (1901-1909) who formed the “Rough Riders” and charged up San Juan Hill, something every one of us can identify with.
No one ever said former President John Kennedy was too rich, maybe too young or too Catholic, but not excessively rich.
Voters knew that most could not be like the Kennedys, John and Jackie, but they could certainly live vicariously through JFK and his Frist Lady.
Andrew Jackson, our 7th President, was recognized as a man of the people but most aren’t aware that his land speculations resulting in the formation of Memphis, Tennessee put his name near the top of the list as one of the richest Presidents.
Yes, Old Hickory could certainly connect with the average person.
Our 31st President, Herbert Hoover, was a world-class geologist and earned $2.5 million annually until the inopportune stock market crash and ensuing Great Depression.
Yet, in his early Presidential days, he was considered the overwhelming choice of the regular citizen. In addition, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, two of our greatest Founding Fathers, also exhibited a wealth that in today’s dollars would be staggering.
However, most notable of all the U.S. Presidents was the man reputed to be the Father of our Country, George Washington.
Land holdings, business ventures, farms, a marriage to a wealthy widow, and several inheritances put Washington at the top of the list of the richest Presidents. Yet, when most Americans think of George Washington, it’s his leadership that comes to the forefront.
His perseverance, ability to take risk, and his truthfulness make him someone we can all admire. As these examples note, the measure of a President is not the wealth he has, it’s what he can accomplish.