When I first heard Ann Romney's attempt to relate to the hardships of average Americans by describing her and Mitt's college days living in a one room basement apartment eating their dinner off an ironing board, I dismissed the story as sheer nonsense; a flat-out fabrication to give the appearance of having struggled their way into the upper class.
But the story is apparently true, and in its truth it sheds light on exactly why the Romneys cannot even begin to relate to the struggles of the average American family, even though they honestly believe they can.
They went through the motions of being humble students who had to tighten their belts and make due, with one crucial exception. They made ends meet by selling off bits of a pile of stock that had been given to Romney by his father. To say that that one detail makes all the difference in the world is an understatement. They believe they struggled, because they went through the motions, but they never truly suffered. They can never relate to the stress of living in that basement apartment, going to school, AND WORKING at the same time. They can't relate to graduating college under a mountain of debt. They can't even relate to paying a mortgage because their first home was bought with money Romney borrowed from his dad.
The key here, and what makes them so repulsive to Americans who actually struggle to make ends meet, is that they honestly feel like they have suffered financial hardship without having the slightest clue what financial hardship feels like.
Another example of the underlying thought process of the elites is spoken quite eloquently by one of Romney's wealthy donors in that secretly recorded meeting in one of their "quiet rooms." The wealthy donor talks about how hard they work, and how much they sacrifice for their families. They have convinced themselves that people who aren't rich just aren't working hard enough. They can't even comprehend that people all over this country are working and sacrificing just to pay the rent and put food on the table.
These people don't just live in another world, they live in a parallel universe.
What I find most revealing is how comfortable and at ease Mitt looks in the midst of his peers; far from the stiff, uncomfortable and quietly annoyed Romney we see at press conferences and in interviews. I'm sure he is genuinely frustrated by his inability to get the American people to like him, but that's because he doesn't understand that what he is experiencing is his own disdain for the American people reflected back at him.