Given Barack Obama’s record in the White House, it seems odd that one of the few issues where he regularly leads his Republican rival is empathy. Just yesterday, CBS News reported that their latest poll
. . . shows that half of registered voters think that Mitt Romney does not understand their problems, reflecting an empathy gap with President Obama as Romney prepares for his acceptance speech at the Republican nominating convention.
Only 41 percent of Americans said Romney understands their needs and problems, compared to 54 percent who feel Mr. Obama understands their needs and problems.
And this is not the only survey to show what CBS writers dubbed an “empathy gap.” Perhaps, the reason is simply the stories the news networks tell. The incumbent is cold, often aloof. Mitt Romney while sometimes awkward in public has a long record of helping neighbors and friends in need.
It’s just that he doesn’t boast about it.
When I asked at the beginning of July if Obama had ever (personally) helped individuals in need, no reader could come up with a single example. Maybe Obama did help out at one time or another, but the stories aren’t easy to track down.
The stories of Romney’s good deeds, however, are legion. “At every turn in his life,” his wife said last night, “this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others.”
I found endearing. But my slowly softening opinion went instantly to goo when The Real Romney unfolded an account of his endless kindnesses—unbidden, unsung, and utterly gratuitous. “It seems that everyone who has known him has a tale of his altruism,” the authors write. I was struck by the story of a Mormon family called (unfortunately) Nixon. In the 1990s a car wreck rendered two of their boys quadriplegics. Drained financially from extraordinary expenses, Mr. Nixon got a call from Romney, whom he barely knew, asking if he could stop by on Christmas Eve. When the day came, all the Romneys arrived bearing presents, including a VCR and a new sound system the Romney boys set up. Later Romney told Nixon that he could take care of the children’s college tuition, which in the end proved unnecessary. “I knew how busy he was,” Nixon told the authors. “He was actually teaching his boys, saying, ‘This is what we do. We do this as a family.’ ”
(Via Betsy’s Page via Ace.*) Mitt Romney does seem to be a man who understands the needs and problems of others. Through his actions, he has repeatedly demonstrated that understanding. The issue now is conveying it to the American people.
*Funny indeed how reading Ace while eating my bedtime snack inspired a post and led me back to an article I had seen on the Weekly Standard‘s home page, intending to read, but never getting around to it until Ace led me back to it.