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Mitt Romney Stinks at Being Rich

Mitt Romney Stinks at Being Rich
Illustration by 731, Photograph by Getty Images

Mitt Romney’s fundraising events in the Hamptons yesterday wouldn’t have looked much different if the Obama campaign had organized them on his behalf. From the ostentatious mega-mansions, to the Bentleys and Ferraris, to the guests’ crass boasting about their yachts and condescending put-downs of the poor and middle class, the whole scene seemed designed to reinforce Team Obama’s preferred image of Romney as an out-of-touch plutocrat concerned only for those with a comparable net worth.

For Romney, just back from a jet-skiing vacation at his lakeside manse in New Hampshire, the events will raise lots of money and put further distance between himself and the president. In June, he and the Republican National Committee outraised President Obama and the Democratic National Committee $106 million to $71 million. But every time Romney draws attention to the unseemly aspects of his wealth (or when his supporters do, like the Hamptons crowd), he undercuts that fundraising advantage and hurts his candidacy. He does this a lot: bragging about his multiple Cadillacs, proposing a $10,000 bet during a GOP debate, boasting of his friendship with NFL owners. Romney’s problem is that while he was very good at getting rich, he isn’t any good at being rich. In fact, he’s downright terrible at it.