Michael Kinsley suggests that we can't discount luck, as well as other factors, from the definition of success; this is something that Mitt Romney should keep in mind, instead of defending himself with that America resents success.
"I am being sunk by a society that demands success when all I can offer is failure," says the ruined theater impresario Max Bialystock in Mel Brooks's "The Producers."
Mitt Romney sees things differently: He is offering success to a society that seems to actually prefer failure. "If people think there's something wrong with being successful in America, then they'd better vote for the other guy," he says. "Because I've been extraordinarily successful, and I want to use that success and that know-how to help the American people."
Among the secrets of success that Romney might wish to share is how you arrange to be born to a rich family. Or, to be less vulgar, an intact and loving family that valued education. Or, for that matter, to be born smart. The neocon controversialist Charles Murray writes books arguing that the second and third factors (family and innate intelligence) are more important than the first (money). You can argue about this all day, but in Romney's case it doesn't matter because he had all three factors hard at work, paving his way to success.
Is he even aware of it? Maybe Romney's not so smart, because he goes on and on about how successful he is in a way that strikes people as obnoxious. "I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success."