With true serendipitous timing, I was stuck in traffic outside this busy store just as NPR commentators were debating whether or not Mitt Romney's wealth and wealthy family background would act as a deterrent to voters. Well, yes, said one voice, obviously (for here is a man who does't regard going to NASCAR races as a normal form of entertainment - nor do I, of course, but I can't think of many circumstances when I need to try and pretend that I do - but who says that Ah, yes, I have friends who own NASCAR teams). He's obviously entirely out of touch. Well, no, said the other - he epitomizes the American dream. Hmmm: one might have thought that this argument applied more to his father. One might, of course, fairly think that it applied more still to Obama, though his personal history seems to be entirely forgotten by all Republicans (apart from his birth certificate), because after all, he's never had a real job - which means, apparently, running a business, large or small. Not, one might note, being a worker in a business, small or large, whether that business be a dry cleaners or an auto plant or a university.
Has Romney, or Santorum, or Gingrich, ever been in one of these establishments? Admittedly, I only have once, back in 1994, when I was still living in the UK, had a check for my first chunk of summer school teaching in Santa Fe, and no money in the bank, and nothing else to buy food with, and no US bank account. And, in some sleazy looking dive on Cerillos, I was treated with utmost courtesy and curiosity by a Hispanic woman who wasn't used to English accents coming in and wanting to cash a check - and indeed let me do so at a huge and compassionate discount when it came to the commission. So I'm sure my experience wasn't at all typical.