Romney’s Challenge: Convincing the Electorate That They’re Not Children

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I attended a barbeque. It was thrown by some friends of ours who are pretty well-off financially, and they hosted it at their large house that backs up to a lake. Everyone seemed to have a good time, but on the trip home, something that my seven year-old son said from the back seat of the car caught my attention.

“It’s not really fair that they have a lake in their backyard,” he declared.

I asked him what he meant, and he explained that it wasn’t fair that our friends had a lake, when we didn’t.

Such reasoning is pretty much expected from a seven year-old. In the mind of a child whose naive understanding of personal wealth lacks a level of comprehension that won’t form until later in life, it’s a perfectly logical deduction: They have something I don’t have. That’s not fair!

There are a few approaches a parent can take to address such an impulsive conclusion. Some would probably do what I did by taking the opportunity to try and teach their child, in simple terms, about the fruits that are earned and enjoyed through hard work. Others might decide that the topic is a bit too complex to take on until their child is a little older. What I think is very unlikely, however, is that a parent would respond with something like this: “You know what? You’re right. It’s not fair.”

Even at a time when a large percentage of Americans are hurting financially and are worried about their future, I have trouble believing that any responsible parent would reinforce, to their child, the infantile belief that the concept of unfairness is defined by materialistic envy.

Perhaps that’s why I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up whenever I hear our president trying to convey that very supposition to the American electorate. After all, they’re made up of grown adults… not children. Still, President Obama does this it at every opportunity, and it’s remarkable to see him so comfortably conduct a narrative that most of us would simply feel too unscrupulous to try and serve to our children.

Yet, it seems to be working. National polls show that the unsavory practice is one of the few messages coming out the White House that the public seems to be buying into. We have a president who vilifies the wealthy for having things that the rest of us don’t. He claims that there’s a moral responsibility that justifies the stripping of more of their wealth (beyond the obscene amount they already pay to the government) to prop up broken systems that far too many Americans have been made dependent on. These narratives resonate with a large number of people because President Obama’s definition of fairness has tapped into the inner-child of a lot of adults. It’s a sad and alarming thing to see.

Unfortunately, the garbling hasn’t stopped at the topic of fairness.

When listening to President Obama, we also hear the overturning of other conventional, virtuous traits that we work so hard to instill in our kids. We encourage our children to take responsibility for their actions while he spreads the message that it’s acceptable to assign blame elsewhere for his failures. We tell them not to put off until tomorrow what they can do today, while he repeatedly kicks the can down the road on the most dire economic issues of our time. We teach them the importance of a strong work-ethic while he asserts that our worth is measured not by results, but by whatever demographic we happen to fall within.

With so much talk in the news lately about the president “evolving” on issues, it’s fascinating to note how regressive he’s been on the basic, coming of age wisdom that all of us should have acquired before we were of legal voting age.

Ironically, it’s the chronically weak environment of the Obama economy that has worked in the president’s favor when it comes to successfully drawing out our adolescent instincts. Too many people in this country have felt beaten down in recent years, while they’ve struggled to keep their heads above water. It’s an incessant climate that our country had avoided for the better part of three decades. It’s unfamiliar territory, and there seems to be no relief on the horizon. At some point, the thought of giving up and relinquishing our responsibilities to the parental apparatus of the welfare state becomes an attractive alternative to self-reliance.

That’s what Mitt Romney is up against in this election. It’s a battle between serious issues which need to be addressed and the exploitation of the inner child of the human psyche.

Four years of President Obama have not only propelled our country in an economically dangerous direction, but also a culturally dangerous one. We’ve regressed into a society where self-interest is no longer conjoined with personal accountability.

The debate needs to “man up” and the electorate needs to “man up” if things are going to improve, and Mitt Romney’s going to have to find a way to sell that message. Rolling back the juvenile naivety that President Obama has woven into our discourse won’t be easy. It will, however, be necessary.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series. His first novel, "From a Dead Sleep," is available at all major retailers. His second novel, "Blood Trade" is available for pre-order and will be released in Sept. 2015. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
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  • dlr

    I wouldn’t mind paying more taxes if I could see that it was creating a significantly better society but I have never seen any evidence that the government had a clue how to spend my money any better than I do.  As far as I can see the most unfair thing is to take our money, give it to a corrupt bunch of politicians, who claim that’s what it means to be patriotic and let them decide how to waste it in order to make them rich.

  • Wil

    McConnell’s statement: “Making Obama A One-Term President Is My Single Most Important Political Goal>>
    You vote for people of McConnell’s ilk!

  • Ellen Sue Chadkin Lerner

    I met someone last night who had spend some time in Europe in the early 2000’s. She said people she stayed with didn’t have a TV and that there were others who did not have tv’s. Most poor in this country all have TV far as I know. Not all have cable but they do have TV and we in America expect this media for news and entertainment and even public schools rely on families having a TV for certain homework assignments. Like the article says though, we have come to expect the government to provide, provide, provide our personal needs and not just the community needs.

  • Genann59

    Mr. Daley, one answer you might have given your child and that others need to realize is that life isn’t fair, never will be fair, and that anyone who expects it to be fair is only setting himself/herself up for major disappointment. I have read that one of Satan’s biggest lies that he uses with people is that life should be fair – that only good things should happen to good people and bad things should come to bad people, and when they don’t (in this life) people then feel they have not received that which they are due. Well, we don’t always know why certain things happen and quite often they do not seem “fair,” and if you think they should be fair you will likely feel slighted  hurt, and prehaps rejected, maybe even by God.  If you feel this way, Satan has get an in to you, and you are headed for the real hurting, the eternal hurting, if you rebel against God because you feel he has slighted you.  Not being any sort of mental health type, perhaps that is part of Obama’s problem , he feels slighted by God for the apparently horrible upbringing he had, don’t know, not my business. but he is only passing on the feeling that gosh, life should be fair, everything should be roses for everyone, and if God hasn’t provided it for you just because you are a nice person, then Uncle Sugar, aka Obama, can and will do what God forgot to do for you. Really dangerous theological as well as political practices. I do believe that a lot of that which is going on now is part of a spiritual warfare as much as a political battle, and the outcomes is more important than whether the country is led by Republicans or Democrats. And I think more focus needs to be placed on that spiritual warfare.

  • Marcus B

    It’s spelled “barbecue” or “BBQ” or “Bar-B-Q”, but not barbeque. Teach your children well, and how to spell…

    • JohnDalyAuthor

      “Barbeque” is actually an accepted spelling. But I’ll be sure and take your advice next time. 😉

  • Light_V_Dark

    There might be 3 or 4 Proud_A_&_GAY-THEISTS, in the world who AREN’T PATHOLOGICAL-NIHILISTIC-NARCISSISTS(autistic 7 year old little girls, EMOTIONALLY).

    Tammy Bruce is ONE of them. I cannot think of another.
    Sam Vaknin, 1998;

    Narcissists are often callous and even ruthless. As the norm, they lack
    conscience. This is evident from Obama’s lack of interest in his own
    brother who lives on only one dollar per month.. A man who lives in luxury,
    who takes a private jet to vacation in Hawaii, and who raised nearly half
    a billion dollars for his campaign (something unprecedented in history) has
    no interest in the plight of his own brother. Why? Because, his brother
    cannot be used for his ascent to power. A narcissist cares for no one but

    This election was like no other in the history of America. The issues were
    insignificant compared to what is at stake. What can be more dangerous than
    having a man bereft of conscience, a serial liar, and one who cannot
    distinguish his fantasies from reality as the leader of the free world?

  • Dave O’Connor

    Your youngster’s observation makes sense considering his age. “They have something I don’t have. That’s not fair!”
    Yet, we have people many times his age who are even less mature, and seeking to be further infantilized – demanding it. He, at least approached it with a tone of parity, not just “I wanna lake.”
    From sexual identification – I suppose I should say gender assignment – to the obese, to the depressed, Islamics to dog-walkers; everyone wants the exception.
    I guess that makes us not an exceptional country, but a country of exceptionals.
    And, what could more of a paradox; everyone so exceptional, that indeed they are quite common.
    Must be quite disappointing to some of the terminally unique.

  • Wil

    Four years of President Obama have not only propelled our country in an economically dangerous direction>>
    John how mush help did Obama get from the Republicans? Remember, McConnell’s statement, 
    “Making Obama A One-Term President Is My Single Most Important Political
    Goal”When you want the country to fail, I call that treason!

    • StanW

      Wil, we have been through this before.

      Republicans want OBAMA to fail, which will make this country succeed.

      And by the way, how much help did President Bush get from the Democrats during his administration?

      • 1LonesomeDove1

        You know Wil. He’s not even remotely interested in honesty or accuracy because his cause gets a pass for being righteous and pure.

        He’s a democrat, because mommy and daddy were democrats, because grampa and gramma were democrats cause democrats are “for da poor”.

        Trouble is, 70 years after the New Deal, we haven’t eliminated poverty.
        We just have richer democrats.

        • ph16

          As Bernie says, “Being liberal means never having to say you’re sorry.” To be fair, liberals weren’t always like this. Liberalism got corrupted by the Vietnam War generation and the McGovern revolution.

    • John Daly

      How much help did they give OBAMA?

      Our leaders are supposed to do what’s best for the country, not help some sophomoric know-nothing  drive our nation into a ditch.

      If the president had pulled a Bill Clinton and actually worked with the Republicans to deal with problems, I can guarantee you that Obama would have been in a far better political position right now than he’s currently in.

      • Wil

         McConnell’s statement: 
        “Making Obama A One-Term President Is My Single Most Important Political Goal>>
        The only way to work with the Republicans, is to cave in on everything, they want! Have you checked on, how much the Republicans have used the filibuster? Most ever in history. 

        • ph16

          Oh really? I thought that was Obama. His idea of bipartianship is that the other party does everything he and his party want.

          • Wil

            You people are unreal and I think you also hate America!

          • ph16

            Oh really? Could you give me an example of how I hate America?

          • Wil

            McConnell’s statement: “Making Obama A One-Term President Is My Single
            Most Important Political Goal>>

            You vote for people of McConnell’s ilk!

      • Wil

        Yes, Clinton was involved with the elimination of the
        Glass–Steagall Act. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s repeal of the
        affiliation restrictions of the Glass-Steagall Act was an important cause of the
        financial crisis. Clinton working with The Republicans almost put the
        country into a deep depression.

        • John Daly

          lol. You’re just mad because Bill Clinton keeps undermining your savior.

          • Wil

            Bill Clinton has a lot to answer for. His behavior in office (Getting a Lewinsky) paralyzed our country for 2 years. 

          • John Daly

            Kind of like Obama and his healthcare law? At least Clinton’s screwing didn’t include the whole country.

          • Wil

            You cannot even get the Lewinsky affair right. Why do you insist on messing up Bernie’s blog? All you do is repost right wing nonsense! BTW, Do you have a real job?

          • StanW

            The Lewinsky affair? You mean the affair where the President of the United States had sexual relations with a subordinate about the age of his own daughter in the Oval Office, then lied about it to EVERYONE including a Federal Grand Jury, and was impeached for it?

            Is that the affiar you mean, Wil?

          • John Daly

            What? Are you taking exception to the term “screwing”? lol. You’re wound up WAY too tight, man.

            Count to ten and relax.

            Better yet, count to 57 then explain to me again why you honestly believe there are that many states in our country, like you did before.

            That will always be my favorite ‘Wil’ post… even though you keep trying to top it.

          • Wil

            John,  Do you have a job? And, if you do, does it require getting your hands dirty?

          • John Daly

            Yes, Wil. And I get my hands dirty every time I reply to one of your posts that has nothing to do with the columns I write.

            If your litmus test for being qualified to have an opinion is how grungy of a job someone has, I can assure you that I’ve had several throughout my lifetime.

          • HollyBacon

            Wil, didn’t you just argue earlier that Bush inherited a healthy economy? Here’s the quote if you can’t get your talking points straight.
             “Bush inherited a healthy economy and took it to the crapper.”

          • Wil

            Your point?

    • DanB_Tiffin

      You just cannot grasp the distinction between the president and the country itself, can you?

      • John Daly

        The distinction was only clear to him when Bush was our president.

      • Wil

        You don’t have a clue, Danny boy!

        • John Daly

          Why didn’t you answer his question? Do you believe its the obligation of congress to do whatever our president wants them to do, or do what they believe is best for the country?

          • Wil

            McConnell’s statement: 
            “Making Obama A One-Term President Is My Single Most Important Political Goal. What is your answer to this question and remember he’s the Senate Minority Leader!  
            The Republicans are doing anything to make president Obama a one term president.
            Including killing our economy. In a better USA all Republicans in Washington
            would be investigated pertaining to the charge of treason.

          • John Daly

            Answer to WHAT question? You didn’t give me a question.

            If you’re upset about what McConnell said, you surely must be outraged over the Democratic party’s rooting for failure in Iraq during both of Bush’s terms, right?

            Obama had free reign for two years, and the only thing the Republicans have been able to do in the past year and a half is to force him into spending a tad bit less than he wants to on programs that would have just dug us a deeper hole.

            This Obama’s economy. Say it with me… “This is Obama’s economy.” You can do it.

          • Wil

            This is Bush’s economy and you know it!
             When Clinton was president we had a surplus. We were paying down the
            national debt. Then the Republicans seized power and the surplus quickly became
            a deficit. They cut taxes for the rich and started two expensive wars. The
            deregulated the financial markets and allowed the big banks to steal to the
            point of global economic collapse. 
            This video of Bush with his hat in his hand begging America to pony up
            almost a trillion dollars reminds us what really happened. Maybe then the public
            will have a real choice about whether we are going to stay the course with Obama
            or go back to irresponsible spending and deregulation as it was when Bush gave
            this speech

          • StanW

            George Bush has not been President in over THREE YEARS, Wil. At some point you are going to have to see that OBAMA is in charge.

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            He can’t. With liberals…..blame is for other people. They never take responsibility for their own failures.

          • John Daly

            Could you imagine a CEO insisting to the board of directors, after three and a half years, that his predecessor is still to blame for the company’s problems? The thought is absurd, yet we have a presidential administration that’s actually running on that!

          • John Daly

            lol. You’re cute Wil. A real treasure.

            Had President Clinton actually taken Osama Bin Laden when Saudi Arabia offered to hand him over, we would have never been pulled into war by BOTH parties.

            Yet, you never heard Bush crying like you and President Obama over how terrible of a situation he inherited. He just addressed the problem (regardless if you or I liked the results) and let the electorate decide his political fate.

            He didn’t whine and complain about the hand he was dealt.

            “Ohhhh poor me..”

            It must be nice to be a president who was elected to fix a problem, only made it worse, and still has people like you to defend him after 3 1/2 years of failure.

            You should get a free bumper-sticker from the administration.

          • Wil

            You’re cute too John, but a real treasure you ain’t!
            Had President Clinton actually taken Osama Bin Laden when Saudi Arabia offered
            to hand him over, we would have never been pulled into war by BOTH
            Not true and didn’t happen, because the wasn’t wanted in the
            US for anything.
            Yet, you never heard Bush crying like you and President Obama over how terrible
            of a situation he inherited.>>
            inherited a healthy economy and took it to the crapper. 
            He just addressed the problem (regardless if you or I liked the results) and let
            the electorate decide his political fate.>>
            Bush’s secret mission was to completely wreck the economy – he
            wanted to force elimination of the hated economic safeguards that have been put
            in place since the Great Depression. He is very close to being able to declare
            “Mission Accomplished” on this one, but he won’t quite make it before he’s
            kicked out
            It must be nice to be a president who was elected to fix a problem, only made it
            worse, and still has people like you to defend him after 3 1/2 years of
            Compared to Jan. 20, 2009, It has been a success!
            You are a free bumper-sticker for failed conservative policies!  

          • Jeffreydan

              Any patriotic legislator would be doing the country a favor by seeing to it that a politician as stunningly bad as BO doesn’t stay in power.

              A bad economy doesn’t remain bad (certainly doesn’t get worse) after three+ years when the president is a competent leader. No true leader constantly blames others when he breaks his promises and things don’t improve.
              If BO manages to stay in power, and continues with his agenda, it’s guaranteed that A) the economy will not get better, B) he will continue to make excuses and blame others, and C) people like you will still defend him.

              Understand this, Junior: Obama didn’t inherit anything–he CHOSE to run for the job. It doesn’t matter even if President Bush had left him with a grotesque, Carter-bad economy. He wouldn’t be ducking responsibility after 2 1/2 years if he were good at his job, and we’d be at .01% unemployment if he were as good as he thinks he is.

              It’s now about 3 1/2 years since he took office, over half of that time with democrats in control of Congress as well. If you really want to talk with us grown-ups, quit making excuses. The era of blaming Republicans is OVER.            

          • Wil

            Little man, Go play with yourself. Bush inherited a
            healthy economy and took it to the crapper. Everyone knows this but, you
            boneheads. BTW, when the last time you heard Romney utter Bush’s

          • Jeffreydan

              Wow, wrong again kiddo. President Bush entered the White House while there was a recession. Forgot that, did ya?
              He & Congress passed a relatively moderate tax cut (compared to Presidents Reagan and Kennedy), and millions of net jobs got created in the private sector.
              When did the economy get worse? After Bush started governing more fiscally liberal, after Congress was taken over by democrats, and after Fannie/Freddie’s chickens came home to roost. This concludes your badly-needed lesson on recent history.

              Now get it through your cone hat-covered head: you can’t blame Bush anymore. YOU’RE DONE. BO is president now, and he is being held accountable.

  • Bruce A.

    John, I must take exception to this article!   Romney does not have to convince the electorate in general that they are not childern.  He must only convince the Obama voters they are not children.

  • Nancye

    From the article:
    “It’s not really fair that they have a lake in their backyard,” he declared.
    I asked him what he meant, and he explained that it wasn’t fair that our friends had a lake, when we didn’t.


    Duhhhhhhh or simply explain that WE didn’t choose to build our house near a lake.  We built ours on a mountain, or close to a river, or on the beach, or close to where I work, or…or…or…just whatever.  No apology is needed.  OR – at least our house isn’t close to the garbage dump!   

    • John Daly

      How do you know our house ISN’T close to a garbage dump? 😉

  • Light_V_Dark

    Hey, Sunshine—This, might cause your microcephalic gourd to EXPLODE¡¿?!

    “Woe unto them that call EVIL GOOD, and GOOD EVIL; that put DARKNESS- 4-LIGHT and LIGHT-4-DARKNESS; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” – Isaiah 5:20 (KJV) 

    Buddhist site. 
    No one should underestimate the unseen seen force driving communism. It is HATRED OF GOD(LIGHT, TRUTH, LIFE & HUMANITY) and the Divine Mother. Dharamsala may not be safe either.

  • JohnDalyAuthor

    If you disagree with Obama, Wil thinks you hate America.