One upside to Romney surrogate John Sununu's ham-handed attacks on Barack Obama today is that they've distracted from Mitt Romney's own unfortunate remarks at a fundraiser in Mississippi on Monday night.
"We’re accused, by the way — in our party — of being the party of the rich,” Romney told donors, according to an ABC News report. "And it’s an awful moniker, because that’s just not true. We’re the party of people who want to get rich. And we’re also the party of people who want to care to help people from getting poor. We want to help the poor."
There's no doubt that "the party of the rich" is an "awful moniker," as Romney puts it, but "the party of people who want to get rich" is a pretty awful moniker, too, because it's just not true. What about the troops? Stay-at-home moms? Teachers? They, and countless others, are not exactly in it for the money.
It's one thing to say that Republicans want people to have the opportunity to become rich and quite another to say that they all want to be rich. Everyone may want and need to provide materially for themselves and their families, but not everyone wants to be rich. It's a fine thing when someone works hard and gets rich. But others may pursue happiness in different, not-necessarily-lucrative ways.
For whatever reason, Romney seems to struggle at times when speaking about an opportunity society (though he did better on Tuesday while hitting back at Barack Obama's latest bafflingly statist remarks). Perhaps for inspiration Romney could turn to the first Republican president, a self-made man who told members of Ohio's 166th Regiment in 1864 that the purpose of government is to secure "an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations."