By Dr. Norman Berdichevsky
Nowhere in the history of recent political campaigns has a party (the Democrats) engaged in such hypocritical nonsense as the new party line that “Mitt Romney is out of touch with ordinary Americans in the 99% “(according to the Occupy movement) because of his earned wealth which puts him in the category of the 1 %.
Compared to Democrat presidents FDR and JFK and recent candidates Al Gore (2000) and John Kerry (2004) all of whom would eminently qualify for the 1% club, Mitt Romney’s earned wealth pales in comparison.
Go on line and you will find out that the family fortunes of all the above were due to inheritance and/or marriage. These connections put John Kerry over the billion dollar mark (marriage to the Heinz fortune) , while the patriarch of the Kennedy clan Joe Kennedy became a multi-millionaire through shady real estate deals and most of all by avoiding the prohibition laws and smuggling liquor into the U.S.
Let’s start with the greatest Democrat of all, FDR, the intimate friend of the common man. The Roosevelt family was one of the original group of Dutch settlers on Manhattan – the land they acquired would in the course of four centuries become million-dollar real estate.
During the economic crisis of 1837, Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt began buying the cheap land on Manhattan Island. His investment paid off without employing anyone. The Roosevelt family was regarded as wealthy land barons by the time of the Civil War.
FDR’s mother, Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, came from a wealthy Georgia plantation family and the family was regarded as one of one of the most influential in the state. FDR’s grandmother on his father’s side was a direct descendant of well-known historic figure, William Penn.
The Roosevelts can claim prominence through ancestors that include fighting in the Revolutionary War and presiding over the Continental Congress. This was “old wealth”, the opposite of Mitt Romney’s climb to personal success and affluence.
Although the extended family enjoyed a great fortune, Kerry’s parents themselves were “only “ very high upper-middle class; a wealthy great aunt paid for Kerry to attend elite schools in Europe and New England . Kerry spent his summers at the Forbes family estate in Brittany, and there, he enjoyed a more opulent lifestyle than he had previously known in Massachusetts.
Kerry and his second wife, Teresa Simões-Ferreira Heinz, the widow of Pennsylvania Senator H. John Heinz III, a Republican, and former U.N. interpreter married on May 26, 1995, in Nantucket. The Forbes 400 survey estimated in 2004 that Teresa Heinz Kerry had a net worth of $750 million. However, estimates have frequently varied, ranging from around $165 million to as high as $3.2 billion. Regardless of which figure is correct, Kerry is the wealthiest U.S. Senator.
And the Gores – they are one of the oldest most influential families in the state of Tennessee. Albert Gore, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C., the second of two children of Albert Gore Sr., a U.S. Representative who later served as a U.S. Senator from Tennessee, and Pauline LaFon Gore, one of the first women to graduate from Vanderbilt University Law School. Gore is partly descended from Scots-Irish immigrants who first settled in Virginia in the mid-17th-century, and moved to Tennessee after the Revolutionary War.
During the school year he lived with his family in The Fairfax Hotel in the Embassy Row section in Washington D.C. During the summer months, he worked on the family farm in Carthage, Tennessee, where the Gores grew tobacco and hay and raised cattle.
Gore attended the all-boys St. Albans School in Washington D.C. from 1956 to 1965, a prestigious preparatory school for the Ivy League. He was the captain of the football team. He graduated 25th in his class of 51, applied to only one college, Harvard, and was accepted. Since leaving “public service”, he has multiplied his net worth several times through the connections and influence he acquired while Vice-President.
These are the Democrat “super-stars” with a common biography – born with a silver spoon in their mouth and enjoying old wealth and family connections. Mitt Romney, by contrast had none of these advantages – he belongs to the religious denomination which has been the subject of scorn and derision and active persecution in the 19th century.
His grandfather Gaskell Romney was kicked out of Mexico because of envy – the resentment of local Mexican farmers and politicians at the success of the Mormon émigré colonies.
After returning to the U.S. almost penniless, the family lived in several states and ended up in Salt Lake City, Utah, where they struggled during the great depression. George Romney, Mitt’s father worked in a number of jobs, served as a Mormon missionary in England and Scotland, and attended two universities in the U.S. but did not graduate from either.
In 1939, he moved to Detroit and joined the American Automobile Manufacturers Association where he served as the spokesman for the automobile industry during World War II and led a cooperative arrangement in which companies could share production improvements.
He joined Nash-Kelvinator in 1948, and became the chief executive of its successor, American Motors Corporation, in 1954. There, he turned around the struggling firm by focusing all efforts on the compact Nash Rambler car and mocked the products of the “Big Three” automakers as “gas-guzzling dinosaurs.”
Unlike other Mormon young men, Mitt did not instinctively head for Brigham Young University in Utah but sought to integrate into American life more fully. He enrolled at Stanford University near the counter-culture epicenter of the Sixties.
This is the story of the likely Republican candidate for President. It is the American dream of personal success in the space of only two generations. Both he and his father achieved success by relying on innovation and “thinking outside the box”.
Mitt Romney will face Barack Hussein Obama and the President will play every card in his hand of divisiveness and pitting Americans against each other – first and foremost the racial card, then the gender card and the ethnic card with Hispanics.
Almost possessing a straight flush, Obama will play the class card of the Occupy Movement.
Mormons will be portrayed as anti-Black, anti-women and anti-Hispanic, a cult of wealthy elitists – you can count on it. The only card Obama can’t play is the one testifying to a record of achievement, keeping promises and success – that’s Romney’s card.
Norman Berdichevsky is a native New Yorker who lives in Orlando, Florida. He holds a Ph.D. in human geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1974) and is the author of The Danish-German Border Dispute (Academica Press, 2002), Nations, Language and Citizenship (McFarland & Co., Inc., 2004), Spanish Vignettes; An Offbeat Look into Spain’s Culture, Society & History (Santana Books, Malaga, Spain. 2004), An Introduction to Danish Culture (MacFarland, 2011) and The Left is Seldom Right (New English Review Press, 2011). He is the author of more than 200 articles and book reviews that have appeared in a variety of American, British, Danish, Israeli and Spanish periodicals such as World Affairs, Journal of Cultural Geography, Ecumene, Ariel, Ethnicity, The World & I, Contemporary Review, German Life, Israel Affairs, and Midstream. He is also a professional translator from Hebrew and Danish to English and his website is here.
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