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The Class War Candidate

I was hitting balls at a driving range not far from the East Hampton airport Sunday afternoon. From the flow of small private jets taking off, wending their elite cargo back to Manhattan, it could have been the Monday rush at La Guardia. Not sure how many of these personages had flown in for the Romney fundraising events on Saturday. In the past it always seemed the big money got evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. Doesn’t seem true this year.

Perhaps as a person with conservative roots and attitudes, I shouldn’t even read Paul Krugman, much less admire him. But I can’t find anything to disagree with in this column, which contrasts George Romney, an auto-exec who employed thousands of Americans and made a product used by millions, and his son Mitt — who made a much bigger fortune creating nothing much at all, essentially using wrinkles in the tax law to redistribute wealth to himself and his partners. Krugman pushes for  greater transparency into Mitt’s finances, particularly the offshore tax haven accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. Like me, he is mystified as to how Mitt gets away with it.

There is a weighty book to be written on how America has evolved so a man with Romney’s resume could plausibly run for president. It’s connected to many things, and one  often overlooked is how immigration and diversity, largely a project of the Left, has helped to stymie any class-based or populist reaction to Romneyism. But however one ranks the causes,  there really is no precedent for a fabulously wealthy Wall Street operator running on a  distribute-wealth-from-the-middle-to-the-rich  platform being a plausible contender for the American presidency.

about the author

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars. Follow him on Twitter at @ScottMcConnell9.

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