The Occupy Wall Street protest may have petered out, but its antagonism against the nation’s wealthiest one percent lives on in the unlikeliest of places: a GOP primary race between two multi-millionaires. As Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich duke it out in the weeks leading up to the first primary contests, their attacks on each other are increasingly focused on one another’s vast wealth. It all started on Monday, after Romney called on Gingrich to return the money he’d earned from Freddie Mac, for his work as a, um, historian. Not because earning money is inherently bad, but because of where it came from — an organization that conservatives blame for the economic meltdown.
Gingrich responded by attacking Romney’s time at investment firm Bain Capital, while also mocking his tin-eared $10,000 bet during Saturday’s debate:
“If Gov. Romney would like to give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain that I would be glad to then listen to him,” Gingrich told reporters after a town hall, referring to the company Romney ran. “And I’ll bet you 10 dollars, not 10 thousand that he won’t take the offer.”
Gingrich’s condemnation of Romney’s private-sector experience didn’t sit well with a lot of conservative observers. On Fox News, Charles Krauthammer said it was a line you might expect to hear “from a socialist.” The National Review’s Jonah Goldberg called it “petulant, leftwing, bunk.” Indeed, there’s nothing conservatives hate more than when liberals engage in so-called class warfare against the wealthy, something Obama is accused of on practically a daily basis. So Romney’s rejoinder today, provided to CBS News between trademark fits of fake laughter/panting sounds, probably won’t make the GOP establishment any happier:
“He’s a wealthy man, a very wealthy man. If you have a half a million dollar purchase from Tiffany’s, you’re not a middle class American.”
Isn’t there a drum circle somewhere you two could join?