The Political Risks of Romney's Financial Skills

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wonders if the GOP presidential candidate's outsize wealth is a political deficit in today's withering economy. 

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GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney (Getty Images)

In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson wonders if GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's outsize wealth is a political deficit in today's withering economy. 

You can conduct byzantine transactions through opaque investment accounts and private corporations in offshore tax havens such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Or you can credibly run for president at a time of great economic distress.

I don't think you can do both.

Let me be clear that I have nothing against wealth. In fact, I have nothing against great wealth, which is how I would classify Mitt Romney's estimated $250 million fortune. We can argue about the social utility of private- equity firms such as Bain Capital, but Romney isn't responsible for distorting the system so that financiers are grossly overpaid. He just took advantage of the situation.

Increasingly, however, I have to wonder whether the achievement Romney touts as his biggest asset in running for president -- his business success -- might be seen by many voters as a liability.

The question isn't whether people can relate to a candidate who has tons of money. It's whether they will connect with a man who didn't make his money the old-fashioned way -- by building a better widget -- but by sending capital hither and yon via clicks of a computer mouse to take advantage of arcane opportunities most people never even know about.

Read Eugene Robinson's entire column at the Washington Post.

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