Maureen Dowd has a column in this morning’s New York Times about the problems Mitt Romney has admitting publicly to the tenets of his faith. I have never been too concerned with Romney’s faith. That is between him and his God. But I am troubled by something else Dowd mentions.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Romney has applied for a permit “to replace his single-story 3,000-square-foot beach house in La Jolla, Calif., with a 7,400-square-foot home featuring an additional 3,600 square feet of finished underground space.” His New Hampshire home, I read, is also impressive.
Considering that the financial collapse of 2008 was caused by a mortgage crisis — and considering that millions of Americans have lost their homes or are struggling to stay in them — Romney’s decision, at this point in the campaign, seems remarkably insensitive, to say the least.
It plays into Romney’s central problem: People don’t believe he is who he says he is. Dowd writes:
There’s a certain pathos to Romney. His manner is so inauthentic, you can’t find him anywhere. Is he the guy he was on Wednesday or the guy he was on Thursday?
He has the same problem that diminished the equally animatronic Al Gore. Gore kept mum on the one thing that made him come alive, the environment, fearing he’d be cast, as W. liked to say, as “a green, green lima bean.”
People — including the Nobel Committee — listened to Gore when he finally stood up for what he believed. Romney’s problem is that no one really knows what he believes — although actions like bulldozing his California house and replacing it with a house that most Americans would find a tad too opulent is sure to fuel suspicions that Romney is not the man he claims to be. He certainly is not a common man.