Friday, August 26, 2011

Money or nothing

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, a Republican, did it when he was raising money in 2005. In 2004, so did a surrogate for U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachussetts, a Democrat.

Following in their footsteps, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a contender for the Republican nomination for president, did it last week.

It was just as unattractive in Romney as it was in Cheney and Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. To our mind, it's unworthy behavior of anyone in pursuit of the highest elected office in the land.

Romney is the third person looking for a place in the White House who came to the Sun Valley area and refused to appear in public at all. He offered not a wave as he stepped from a car to the doorway of the private mansion where supporters welcomed him with open checkbooks. He offered not a handshake along the way for the people who do all the work around here. He spoke not a word to the public—the people he's vying to lead and whose votes he needs to succeed.

Instead, Romney spoke privately only to the people who paid from $500 to $2,500 a ticket to his political fundraiser.

Romney's handlers refused all requests from this newspaper for even a quick photo opportunity.

The behavior is puzzling given that Romney, like the others, has worked overtime shaking hands, kissing babies and giving anyone who would listen an earful—everywhere but Sun Valley, Idaho.

It's worth remembering that when President Barack Obama was deep in his long-shot campaign for the White House, he traveled to Boise and spoke to a packed arena—in public. He said he had come even though people had told him there were no Democrats in Idaho.

But that was then and that was Boise. In Sun Valley, money is the thing. And voters, well, they're chopped liver.

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