January 24, 2012

JOEL KOTKIN: The Last Patrician: Romney Falls From Favor as America Loses Faith in Old Money.

The forgers of American preeminence in the business world—Henry Ford and Alfred Sloan, the Rockefellers, Thomas J. Watson of IBM, David Packard and Bill Hewlett—embraced the ideal of growth where enriching themselves meant creating unprecedented opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Americans. These men built and financed things—from oil wells and high-tech instruments to autos and suburban tract houses—essential to the prosperity of the working and middle classes they employed and depended on to purchase their products.

But the last successful product of this class, John Kennedy, was elected more than a half century ago, to lead a nation that was ascendant, confident and economically vibrant. In the ensuing decades patrician politicians, particularly George W. Bush and his 2004 opponent, John Kerry, lacked the self-confidence and charisma to transcend their class.

Actually, that’s Romney’s biggest problem. He’s acted like he’s ashamed of his money. And he hasn’t been willing to get in their face, and punch back twice as hard — which are requirements in today’s political environment.

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