Last week, President Barack Obama took a swipe at Governor Romney that I believe the Governor can turn to his advantage. During an economic speech, in which the President spewed more of his class warfare rhetoric, he accused Governor Romney of being “like Robin Hood in reverse – Romney Hood.”
While this little one-liner was supposed to be cute and amusing, I think it presents an excellent opportunity for the Romney campaign to seize the initiative. That’s because most folks have a favorable opinion of Robin Hood, given that he did fight for the disadvantaged and the economically hurting.
What’s more, for those familiar with Robin Hood’s history, is that he wasn’t taking from the rich to give to the poor as we’re often told. Instead, he was taking from the tax collectors to give the people back their own money.
Thus, it was the overgrowth of government, not the success of entrepreneurs, which Robin Hood was trying to reverse.
This should give liberals pause as they try and cast Robin Hood as, in the words of Andrew Busch of the Ashbrook Center, “the patron saint of liberalism.” That’s why I think Governor Romney ought to embrace Barack Obama’s nickname of “Romney Hood” and use it as a teachable moment in this election.
The lesson is that, in our current economic condition, the same social injustices that permeated Robin Hood’s English society are now permeating our own. An overreaching Prince John had an insatiable appetite for revenues to fund his royal excesses. In order to finance his top-down, government-centered economic model, wherein only the politically well-connected were successful and wealthy, he employed the Sheriff of Nottingham as his chief tax collector. It could be said that Prince John is reincarnated in Barack Obama and that Sheriff Nottingham is channeled through the IRS.
The overreaching arrogance of Prince John brought the private economy to a standstill, trampled any semblance of a middle class and grew the government on the backs of the people. In response, Robin Hood took the initiative to reform the corruption of government under John, and to return power and prosperity to the people. The more one really looks at the real history of Robin Hood, the more Barack Obama’s attempt at an attack on Romney could prove to be vulnerability. That’s because Robin Hood and his allies didn’t only fight back against economic injustices, but also legal overreaches initiated by Prince John and his officers.
In the original story of Robin Hood, the cast of characters consistently refers to John as “Prince John, the phony King of England.” This is because, historically, King John I abused the laws of the Kingdom to advance his agenda against established precedent. This certainly sounds a lot like the Obama Administration, which has sought to impose its will through illegal executive orders – even in direct defiance of Congressional acts.
I think Barack Obama’s labeling of Governor Romney as “Romney Hood” could prove to be one of the greatest gifts the President’s campaign gives conservatives this cycle. Now I think it’s time for Romney Hood and Ryan Hood to seek to return prosperity and power to the people by taking it to the overreaching “prince” in Washington.
The path to victory is as simple as uniting the same groups of folks Robin-Hood did in the legends: working people, families and folks of faith. In the words of Friar Tuck, a clergy ally of Robin Hood, “Praise the LORD and pass the tax rebate.”
Amen, Friar Tuck, Amen.