In private life, we try to avoid comparing father to son. Doing so can be seriously embarrassing to both, though the pressure is particularly bitterly felt when the son falls short. We've seen that in presidential races: sons who just don't measure up even though they are clearly driven by competition with dad.
For example, the Romneys. Paul Krugman writes about the moral characters of the two Romneys -- one a wide open contributor to the common good who made big bucks and was upfront about how he made it. He paid his taxes, too.
The contrast between George Romney and his son Mitt — a contrast both in their business careers and in their willingness to come clean about their financial affairs — dramatically illustrates how America has changed. ...
... What did George Romney do for a living? The answer was straightforward: he ran an auto company, American Motors. And he ran it very well indeed: at a time when the Big Three were still fixated on big cars and ignoring the rising tide of imports, Romney shifted to a highly successful focus on compacts that restored the company’s fortunes, not to mention that it saved the jobs of many American workers. ...Paul Krugman, NYT
When George Romney ran for president, he was wide open with his tax return, releasing twelve years' worth, and showing that he paid the full freight. Unlike his son, he was also open about how much money he had and what he used it for.
As for Mitt Romney, "Has there ever before been a major presidential candidate who had a multimillion-dollar Swiss bank account, plus tens of millions invested in the Cayman Islands, famed as a tax haven?"
Mitt Romney is slippery, secretive and very, very rich thanks to activities that were hardly as "out there" his father's choice to manufacture goods that people wanted. Mitt Romney's activities tended to take place behind closed doors, and when the deal was over chances are people lost their jobs.
Even his use of ordinary options available to all American workers is, well, open to question. Take his IRA.
I.R.A.’s are supposed to be a tax-advantaged vehicle for middle-class savers, with annual contributions limited to a few thousand dollars a year. Yet somehow Mr. Romney ended up with an account worth between $20 million and $101 million.
There are legitimate ways that could have happened, just as there are potentially legitimate reasons for parking large sums of money in overseas tax havens. But we don’t know which if any of those legitimate reasons apply in Mr. Romney’s case — because he has refused to release any details about his finances. This refusal to come clean suggests that he and his advisers believe that voters would be less likely to support him if they knew the truth about his investments. ...Paul Krugman, NYT