Just for a moment, let's put aside questions of economic policy. Let's also put aside questions about how Mitt Romney made his money, or about the moral legitimacy of the system that allowed him to make money in the ways that he did. For just a second, let's focus on the money itself and what it might mean.
Mitt Romney has a quarter of a billion dollars.
If you have that much money and you're doing anything other than giving it away or thinking about how to give it away, then you have been overrun with greed and self-absorption.
I don't say this in order to bash Mitt Romney. We all have our weaknesses, and I suspect that the greed and insecurity that drive him are at least as painful, somewhere deep down, as many other forms of suffering. But that doesn't mean that he's ready to be president, either. Because with this kind of greed and self-absorption comes a weakened capacity to see the world around you. If you have $250 million and you're doing anything other than giving it away or thinking about how to give it away, then it's hard to see how you could have the compassion and concern for your fellow human beings that is the starting point of a decent presidency.
This post originally appeared on my blog, The Wheat and Chaff.