Mitt Romney knows that $10,000 is a lot of money to the average person. Compared to what he’s worth, though, it’s a small potatoes.
Why, then, if he knows this, would he throw out such a big bet, especially on national television?
Simply put, Romney is starting to feel the heat. In a moment of weakness, tired of Perry repeating a lie, Romney lost his cool, and tried to force Perry to put his money where his mouth was. Romney was serious, and he knew that $10,000 money–real money to Main Street–would show seriousness.
Remember, this is a guy who buys his golf clubs at K-mart and who drove a station wagon to work at Bain Capital while he was handing out Porsche-size bonuses. Yeah, he’s rich, but it’s not about the money, at least not for Mitt.
Soon after Mitt Romney handed out eye-popping bonuses to top performers at his private equity firm in the early 1990s, a young employee invited him to ride in his brand-new toy — a $90,000 Porsche 911 Carrera.
Mr. Romney was entranced by the sleek, supercharged vehicle: at the end of a spin around downtown Boston, he turned to the employee, Marc Wolpow, and marveled, “Boy, I really wish I could have one of these things.”
Mr. Wolpow was dumbfounded. “You could have 12 of them,” he recalled thinking to himself.
But Mr. Romney had frequently driven an inexpensive, domestic stalwart that looked out of place in the company parking lot — a Chevrolet Caprice station wagon with red vinyl seats and a banged-up front end.
A Chevrolet Caprice station wagon. With red vinyl seats.
That sounds about on par with what I drove in high school. Oh, wait–nope. I drove a Honda, a far better car.
So Mitt understands the value of ten grand, and he knows that when you throw down that kind of money, you better be right. That said, perhaps Mitt, trying to shove a nippy little dog away, shoved at the wrong dog. Ten thousand dollars isn’t money that the average Joe can lose when he wants to prove a point. In the end, Perry wasn’t hurt, and neither was Gingrich, the dog that Romney should have been focused on.
Point to the Not Romney crowd. Romney out-thought himself. Therein lies the rub: voters are left to answer the question: do we want a President who is “like us” or do we want a President that can think through the complex problems our country is facing? Like, for example, the economy?
Think about that.
Perhaps a more important question should be: why would Mitt let a second-rate candidate like Rick Perry bait him into such a move? Yes, Perry’s peaked already (and that was the day he announced his campaign), but he’s earned the gratitude of Newt Gingrich. Instead of the stories from the Saturday debate analyzing the attacks on Newt over his infidelity to his wives and conservative philosophy, the story became the $10,000, a comment that had little to nothing to do with public policy, the fitness of the man to be president, or his ability to articulate and defend Republican principles.
On the other hand, it was a good sound bite, it put blood in the water, and it gave Newt another day to live. If there’s nothing the press loves, it’s blood in the water. It doesn’t hurt that the Not Romney crowd was happy to see that the blood was Romney’s.
And that’s fair. It’s politics. It’s a contact sport.
The only problem? Romney is the one that President Obama fears–not Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is exactly the kind of inconsistent, bombastic, flawed, unethical and questionable candidate that Obama would be glad to face in a general election.
But in the fist fight that is the Republican Primary, short-term points are more important than the long-term goal of getting the economy back on track, just to start.
- Mitt Romney Challenges Rick Perry To $10,000 Bet At Iowa Debate (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Mitt Romney’s frugality as an example for the rich (tigerhawk.blogspot.com)
- The Thing About Mitt Romney’s $10,000 Bet With Rick Perry (videogum.com)
- Two Romneys: Wealthy Man, Thrifty Habits (nytimes.com)