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JUNE 16, 2011 6:54PM

Romney says he feels unemployed's pain

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Gage Skidmore photo


If you’re unemployed, Mitt Romney says he is your man for president.

That’s because he understands your plight. He feels your pain. Because, see, he’s unemployed as well.

Yep, that’s what the former Massachusetts governor says. He’s unemployed. Just like those folks who have to decide between frank and beans and mac and cheese for dinner.

And he’s “networking” as he searches for a new job.

Of course, in Romney’s case, unlike those who send out so many resumes that when they get an unusual response they don’t remember what the job was they’d applied for, he’s focusing on only one job: President of the United States.

Democrats are all over Romney’s comments – painting them as insensitive.

Judging from his personal worth, and by the money he’s getting to drive his campaign, it’s unlikely Romney really is going through what the nation’s unemployed are. Still, it’s kind of nice to at least think there’s a possibility he gets it. Especially if he is eventually elected president.

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The importance of Romney's joke was not the remark itself, but the context. Years ago, when Robert Kennedy was running for the Senate from New York, his stump speech included a remark to the effect that he was committed to living in New York, and had eleven children -- so that New Yorkers would want him to have a job. For those of us who attended his rallies, the line was good for a laugh.

But Romney was speaking to Floridians who are truly unemployed, who aren't worth hundred of millions of dollars -- and in that context his remark was cruel and insensitive.

Romney is running citing his business background, but business often means increasing profits by reducing the workforce. That can be good for the company, but bad for society as a whole. Government exists for the benefit of all citizens, and at times must serve as the antidote for sound business practices. Romney was a good governor of Massachusetts, but party and partisan politics are driving him too far to the right, and the nation can't afford the damage that would do.