When Mrs. Ann Romney told Robin Roberts on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she and her husband, presidential candidate Mitt Romney, had “given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,” she betrayed a grave misunderstanding on modern democracy. Her comment lacked the cluelessness of Marie Antoinette’s famous, and likely apocryphal, “let them eat cake” line, but the two remarks share a common lack: accountability.
In a democracy, we the people get to decide what we think we need to know about those who aspire to public office. And the extent to which we are entitled to invade a person’s privacy is directly correlative to the amount of power we are being asked to entrust to the person seeking office. In the case of the modern presidency, Mr. Romney seeks a great deal of power and consequently we are entitled to know a great deal about his past.