Do the Romneys Suffer from a Siege Mentality?

Their recent comments reveal a real resentment of the social changes that have helped former outsiders gain a toehold in society

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Evan Vucci / AP

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann speak during a campaign rally in Nashua, N.H., on Sept. 7, 2012

As parents, we often encourage our children to give others a chance, to get to know them better, to take the time to discover that when you get beneath the surface, most people are a lot more sympathetic than they first appear.

Unfortunately, there may be exceptions to that would-be golden rule, people with whom familiarity breeds unease. Such has been the case with Mitt and Ann Romney. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve gotten repeated glimpses of their under-the-surface selves, and the experience hasn’t been uplifting. First we had the governor’s surreptitiously taped comments from a Boca Raton, Fla., fundraiser in which he dismissed 47% of the population as being sniveling, entitled “victims” and complained that he’d have “a better shot” at the presidency if he were Latino. Not so nice.

(MORE: Is Mitt Romney Doomed? Not Yet)

Then we were treated to Ann Romney’s churlish exclamation on Radio Iowa that her husband’s critics should just “stop it” and get over themselves enough to recognize “how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt’s qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country.” And most recently, her entirely cynical comment to Jay Leno this week that created an equivalence between the significance of our having elected our first African-American President and the good we might do, in terms of “leaving prejudices behind,” if we elect her husband. (Because, as we all know, anti-Mormon prejudice — particularly the oppression of white, multigenerationally wealthy, powerful and well-connected men like Mitt Romney — has played a central and damning role in our nation’s history.)

(MORE: Hilary Rosen Is Right: Ann Romney Is out of Touch with Most Women)

What emerges from the composite inner self-portrait the Romneys have painted of late is a siege mentality. (Check out, once again, if you’ve forgotten it, the sound of the “you people” Ann Romney served up to Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts when she was impolite enough to ask questions about the Romneys’ tax returns back in July.) This mentality, unfortunately, has become a familiar routine: the cry of conservative types who still can’t quite get their heads around the democratizing changes to American society that began post–World War II (when lots of middle- and lower-middle-class sons of immigrant groups made their way into the highest reaches of higher education thanks to the GI Bill) and widened greatly in the ’60s, when African Americans and women started to fight for their place at the table.

This big democratizing push has been great for many — it brought us our first African-American President, for example — but it’s been a bitter blow to those who in the past might have been aided in life by having the right ethnic affiliation, the right amount of money and the right connections. It’s a blow that has left, among some, a pretty long-lasting sense of woundedness that can’t quite speak its name and that instead contorts itself outward into high-minded-sounding declarations about how wonderful our country is and how unworthy are the beneficiaries of its modern-day blessings.

I heard this churlish bit of mental acrobatics particularly in Ann Romney’s angry slap at those ungrateful enough not to realize their good fortune in having a man as fine as Mitt willing to work for them. Her response was ostensibly aimed at Romney’s Republican critics, who have pounded him hard in the wake of his ill-conceived comments about the “47%.” Yet she made sure to say that “it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are.” How privileged, in other words, “we people” all ought to feel to be in the position of having the tables turned and to be on the receiving end of services from a man who, by his birthright, ought to be served by us.

(MORE: How Romney’s Faith Could Help Him Win)

One hears this very specific form of rancor quite frequently in Republican utterances that slam the sense of “entitlement” among those — women, ethnic minorities, the working poor — who don’t recognize how lucky they are to have somehow wrangled their way into having a voice and being empowered enough to use it to make inconvenient demands. A voice, let’s recall, that was granted us, to which we are not “entitled” by any sort of natural right, for which we must realize that we are purely “lucky.” As Republican assaults on voting rights in swing states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania make all too clear, it isn’t sheer paranoia to hear, behind the talk of the “entitlement” of us people, a vague threat that rights so graciously granted can, under the right set of circumstances, be taken away.

Peggy Noonan and others who have unhappily wrung their hands of late over the haplessness of real-Romney communications need to see that the couple’s bad p.r. is a problem for which there is no honest solution. The Romneys have — as they were long advised to do — pulled back the curtain to show us where they really come from and who they really are. Who they are, it’s worth reminding, worked very, very well for them until very recently. Maybe that’s why these days they seem so very mad.

MORE: How Mitt Romney Dumbed Himself Down
94 comments
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SB Cheek
SB Cheek

Like the liberals are not getting in digs and more?  And who knew Obama before,  or his "experience"?  Romney stated the facts... and we must face facts to fix things.. This last "Change" has not been a good one.  Who has it helped?  Illegals here?  Get off Romney's wife and onto the real problems the average US citizen faces.  If we cannot take care of ourselves, we cannot keep taking care of others.  Secure our country in business, oil, borders and National security.  What we are living on is the last of what was a great country of business, freedoms and security.  Some new peoples here do not seem proud to be an American and contribute. 

f_galton
f_galton

I'm cracking up at someone of the author's background accusing others of having an unjustified "seige mentality".

thoughtsm27
thoughtsm27

CNN is dishonest.  When Anderson Cooper calls the TEA party "Teabaggers" as a gay man he knows exactly what this sex practice means and is using his position to goad others who don't know what it means into saying that the tea party are tea baggers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

http://www.urbandictionary.com...

Seriously if someone said you were the sucker of men's scrotums on tv would you get a siege mentality?

Marlowe53
Marlowe53

Mormons do have a siege mentality which they are taught from childhood. It creates the "us versus them" feelings that help to keep people in a church that takes 10% of your gross income for the privilege of being told how to live in a much more invasive way than the vast majority of faith traditions.

Btw, acccording to Mormon theology, if you don't pay the 10% to the LDS Church, you don't get into the good heaven.

Ronald Ojeda
Ronald Ojeda

The romney dou are just plain NASTY, GROSS and DISGUSTING.

karen.alise
karen.alise

i merely have an issue with the statement that blacks and women "started to fight for their place at the table" in the 60s. They made the most significant strides in that era, but that definitely was neither movement's start.

jimhale
jimhale

If Ms. Warner doesn't think religious bigotry has had impact on our history that closely resembles the division over slavery and civil rights for blacks, she needs to go learn some more history.  She can go read up on the history of the treatment of Mormons in this country.  But she should not stop there. 

Chuck Lynch
Chuck Lynch

I think it shows a poor profesional who believes they can psychoanalyze someone through a TV screen or the prism of the media. You lady are one unprofessional person, I feel bad because you clearly place your politics before your profession, and I hope others will see that.

garotadagavea
garotadagavea

Much like Nutmeg Witless in California, these two are convinced that all they need to do is to show up and wave truckloads of money and that is that.

Geonew
Geonew

 Talk about a siege mentality.   8 years of the Bush Republican presidency left the country with an economic disaster, a huge deficit due in part to 2 unfunded wars.  We lost thousands of dollars in our 401K, in our investments, in our work, watched coworkers being laid off, lived in fear of the same peril.   Now these Republicans are talking about replacing Medicare with worthless vouchers, thereby threatening our retirement,  increasing taxes by eliminating deductions (implied anyway) while decreasing taxes on the wealthy elite, and adding at least one more war.   All to improve the lives of the "Job Creators" like Bain Capital who cannot brag loud enough about how many jobs they have sent to China.   Now who should feel besieged?

Chuck Lynch
Chuck Lynch

Actually when Bush left office unemployment stood at 7.8%! Not going to lie, compassionate conservatism was a total failure. It left our government larger and our debt on the edge. Obama pushed it over the edge and added more to the debt that the previous three Presidents in the entirety of their terms. It was Obama in his "one term proposition" speech who said he could turn this all around in ONE term! So I know you are obsessed with Bush, but I took Obama at his word. I sincerely thought he would do what he promised and turn around an economy that was headed in the wrong direction! 

If Obama did not want the job or thought the a turnaround was impossible than perhaps he should not have said otherwise. He made it clear he could keep unemployment below 8%, that was not true. I would simply settle for reasonable gas prices. Talk about a tax on the poor! Nearly a 100% increase in the price per gallon of gas is the biggest tax hike on the poor and middle class in the history of this country. Not sure if Romney will do better, but I doubt he could do worse! 

Sabreen60
Sabreen60

 A Republican talking point - Bush did not put the 2 wars in the budget. Pres. Obama added them to the budget that's the why of the huge increase. The Recovery Act is a fraction of what Bush left us.

Diane Helland
Diane Helland

Don't count on it, Romney wants to go back to the same policies that created the recession in the first instance when we have not yet recovered.  That could well take us to a depression.  You also need to get your facts straight, Obama never promised to keep unemployment below 8%, that came from an advisor.  At the time that projection was made, before he took office, the best estimates available were that we would have a loss of 3% of GDP in the final quarter of 2008.  When the actual numbers came in, the loss in fact was just under 9% loss--nearly THREE times what every economist predicted.  Given that, is it any wonder that we have not yet had a full recovery?  Personally, given that it was three times worse than every economist predicted I think Obama did exceedingly well in keeping unemployment in the 10% range at its worst.

Kathy T. Garcia
Kathy T. Garcia

Do you actually believe in your "world" that Obama is poor? .. GreatFestival.NotlonG.CoM

John Watson
John Watson

That little inkling of "siege mentality" is just part of the residual Mormon peersecution complex from the 19th century.  It's still there.

Greywolf72
Greywolf72

The one who have a "sense of entitlement" are the 1%. They think they are entitled to their wealth. They really don't understand reality: that without the rest of us, they would have no wealth to feel entitled to.

bebo
bebo

Are you one of  the 1%?  How can you contribute qualities to them?  Where do you fall?   Do you believe that all this focus on wealth will get the "community organizer" re-elected?

Andrew Kamadulski
Andrew Kamadulski

 You mean get the President of the United States re-elected.

bebo
bebo

We won't be fooled again.

bebo
bebo

One of Obama's great realizations was that he was against gay marriage, but then "evolved" it into acceptance.  The ability to have same sex marriages, and children. Defenders  have compared it to interracial marriage - but wasn't that with men and women?  I've seen men with babies, but what becomes 0f them as adults?  Constantly defending their parents selfish decision, masked as "equality"  Gays have carefully crafted themselves into an oppressed minority.  My brother, gay actiivist:  " Glorified groans from what must be the world's most comfortably oppressed class, borrowing the cries of people long facing truly brutal oppression. It's a phenomenon worth some sober thought: on the politics of ennobled victimization." RCB

Andrew Kamadulski
Andrew Kamadulski

Isnt this story about Romney's siege mentality? Go rant somewhere else wingnut.

bebo
bebo

Your last name tells me you're an idiot.

bebo
bebo

I don't know where this wingnut lingo came from,  I feel more confident just calling you an asshole.

Sis Hoskins
Sis Hoskins

You  people just won't allow someone who is not poor govern you? At least he's a success, raised his family right, been a good citizen to his community. Do you have such a weak arguement , that you can only fault him for being wealthy, being "cold", and having a wife you don't particularly care for? PLEASE! How about looking at the real world, the issues that face our country today, and act like you have half a brain. Obama is bancrupting the US. He's telling you he can give you everything - you think that's legit?  Don't you get it? He's telling you what YOU want to hear ! So you'll vote him back in office. And he and his cronies will make lots more money, and have LOTS more power, and spend LOTS more taxpayer money? That's your money he's spending, not his own. and he's laughing all the way to the bank. Fools.

Andrew Kamadulski
Andrew Kamadulski

NO I fault him because he worships a God that is defined by his religion as an intergalactic warrior living on the planet Kolob. That and he believes that through polygamy, tithing 10% of his income to his cult and wearing magic underwear he can be appointed God of his own planet in celestial heaven just like Jesus was appointed as God of Earth. I wouldnt want a whackjob scientologist as my president either.

I really cant wrap my head around conservative Christians supporting a guy who thinks that Jesus was nothing special and that he will be Jesus' equal in celestial heaven.

bebo
bebo

All religions can be defined as "no invisible means  of support"  Don't go preaching about  Jesus, to win an election.  Fool.

Eric Boyer
Eric Boyer

When everything's handed to you, these little challenges are "Hard." CEO's like Romney are used to having their asses kissed and their ideas "Yessed" and they snivel and whine, and lash out when they don't get their way. Politics isn't like that.

bebo
bebo

You always wanted to be a CEO, but your not.  So don't make up fantasies about their behavior.

Noon Yi
Noon Yi

Mitt Romney wants the Office of the President just for Secret Service Detail for Life...It shouldn't be hard to tell he has no  ambition to help all people achieve anything. He is so vain and shallow that Secret Service Detail will just compliment his lifestyle...don't be fooled...lol

bebo
bebo

You're just a shallow Noon.

worleyeoe
worleyeoe

Judith, honesty hurts sometimes. The well educated like yourself might mistake it for being "churlish" though. I know; it's a hard pill to swallow for any liberal who hates Romney's honesty. The upside is that, when Obama is re-elected, he actually has to stand on a record and can't blame Bush for everything.

We'll loop back in late 2015 and see how "churlish" the democratic challenger is towards Obama's real record. With what will most certainly be $20,000,000,000,000 in debt, it won't be pretty, both campaigning and the final lurch towards our Greece moment it's sure to accelerate.

Andrew Kamadulski
Andrew Kamadulski

You do realize the budget proposal from Ryan-Rmoney doesnt balance until 2040 right? No matter which side you elect you are still going to be seeing 20T in 4 years. Especially when Rmoney decides to honor the quid pro quo for Sheldon Adelson and we end up invading Iran at a cost of a couple trillion.

bebo
bebo

You envious peasant.  Rmoney?  Boy you're brillant.

worleyeoe
worleyeoe

Yes, of course I know. Conversely Geithner admitted Obama doesn't have one. Having a plan is a start, though. It's not perfect, but at least they're thinking about ways to balance the budget. Once Iran gets the bomb, please feel free to move to Israel, since your post suggest you don't think there is ANY conceivable way they would use it against Israel or the U.S.

I for one think containment will work over the near-term. However, the day will come that Iran's oil wealth dwindles to near nothing. At that point, the Iranian regime will be vulnerable to overthrow. When they go down, they'll use suitcase bombs against Israel and the U.S. Again, this is years down the road, which gives them more than enough time to miniaturize their bombs.

One more scenario. The flight time of a medium range ballistic missile off the coast of LA to Lebanon, KS, is less than eight minutes. At 250 miles up, the resulting EMP blast will send the continental U.S. back to the stone-ages. About 10 years from now, that seems to be very plausible. 

Noon Yi
Noon Yi

Wow this was a great article, right down to the last bite. I could have never said it better! I just read the Latimes.com and Joe Biden said they had 2 different analyst groups look at Romney /Ryan Budget and they plan on taxing Social Security checks in order to balance social security out. here is what the article said:

On his first trip to Florida in more than two months,

Biden will offer a new argument: To pay for additional tax cuts for the

wealthy, Romney would either drive up the deficit further, or he could

require additional taxes on Social Security benefits for middle-class

seniors, costing on average $460 more each year. Some seniors would see

benefits taxed for the first time, he will argue.

The

campaign bases the claim on its reading of analyses of Romney's

economic plan by the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Tax Policy

Center. Romney has not specified revenue sources to offset additional

tax cuts, other than saying he would close some tax deductions. An Obama

campaign memo says that it would be “impossible for Romney to pay for

his plan without also cutting deductions that the middle class relies

on,” including Social Security.

Here is the link:http://www.latimes.com/news/po...

Cane Pazzo
Cane Pazzo

The Romney's credo - The barbarians are at the gate, defend yourselves from the 47%.

bebo
bebo

If that's how you view yourself, I'd suggest some self-esteem courses.