On a day when millions of Americans face serious hardship as they recover from Hurricane Sandy’s damage, Mitt Romney clearly decided it would be crass to campaign in a conventional way. So he turned a scheduled rally in Kettering, Ohio, this morning into a “storm relief event,” and posed before piles of donated canned goods.
“We’re going to box these things up in just a minute and put them on some trucks, and then we’re going to send them into, I think it’s New Jersey,” he said, according to the Washington Post. “There’s a site we’ve identified where we can take these goods and distribute them to people who need them.”
He described such donations as “the American way,” and there’s no doubt that dropping off a few cans of Campbell’s tomato soup makes people feel as if they’re contributing.
But the real “American way” is quite different. Most disaster agencies don’t want donated goods; they need cash. And in the modern era, the most important cash comes from taking people’s tax dollars and distributing them in the form of federal aid to communities hard-hit by a disaster. Because that involves the federal government, it is tainted in the minds of Mr. Romney and his party. It is compulsory, and thus not an offering of the heart.