APphoto\ Charles Dharapak
At a campaign fundraiser in Chicago last week, Mitt Romney shared a story with donors that was meant to illustrate his family’s connection to hard-working Illinois natives. Apparently, when Romney was a young man, he ventured into the top drawer of his dad’s dresser, just to poke around and to possibly find “an old coin he might not miss.” Instead of a quarter, when he reached into the drawer he found something a bit more valuable.
The story goes that, as the head of American Motors, Romney’s father George led training sessions for McDonald's, which at the time was a fledgling fast food restaurant with serious potential. As a sign of his gratitude, the late Ray Kroc, the Illinois-born businessman who founded McDonald's, granted the senior Romney a lifetime supply of McDonald’s meals.
This little tidbit about George Romney father was no doubt employed by his campaign to increase Romney’s likeability in an effort to pump the candidate’s "everyman image" -- which remains the white whale to Romney's Ahab -- and allow the former Massachusetts governor a chance to talk about one of his favorite topics, his father. It is important to note, however, that one interest group’s opinion which will not be swayed by Romney’s fun-fact about his pops is that of the fast-food industry itself.
This is largely the case because they don’t need to be pulled onto the Romney bus; they jumped on board long ago. Reports from Mother Jones show that the fast food industry has become a serious funder of the Romney campaign:
Fast food's love for Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is uncomplicated. All told, he's received $561,582 in contributions from the food and beverage industry, more than any other candidate in the country.
This is not at all shocking, considering that the Obama administration’s health initiatives aren’t exactly proponents of excessive fast food consumption. Can’t you just see the board meetings now?
CEO 1: "We’ve got to put our weight behind Romney.’
CEO 2: ‘Yeah, I don't care about Romney or Obama, but that Michelle with her salads and her brown rice and her low-fat yogurt has absolutely got to go."
The Los Angeles Times also weighed in with a view point worth reading on the trials facing the President with balancing his Administration’s health positive policies and appeasing the myriad of fast food fanatics within the electorate:
First Lady Michelle Obama may head an anti-obesity, healthful eating campaign, but the president must be making a couple of other calculations: 1) real Americans like other Americans who like their fast food and 2) a chili dog may be hard on the arteries, but it’s good for the soul.
As his plan would deny the poorest Americans benefits and cash in hand in order to pay the wealthiest among us, Romney tells this story of his father’s access to free food as a fun little anecdote, free food from an industry which is now filling his coffers more than any other candidate's. Romney, in moments like this, is like a struggling magician, continuing to bring up supposed ‘average qualities’ that should endear him to the average American, all the while hoping that we won’t see his privilege showing.
Ed. note: Morgan Franklin, a upperclassman at Tulane, ended her summer internship in #nerdland this past Sunday. The best and only intern we've ever had, we hope she'll continue to write in this space, along with not forgetting us little people.