“The Romneys are silly rich, move in rarefied and exotic circles, and are perhaps a tad shady.”
It must be true. I read it in Politico, where Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen lead the GOP butthurt chorus that the liberal media’s being mean to Mittens yet again, while leaving Obama unenvettened:
On the front page of its Sunday edition, the New York Times gave a big spread to Ann Romney spending lots of time and tons of money on an exotic genre of horse-riding. The clear implication: The Romneys are silly rich, move in rarefied and exotic circles, and are perhaps a tad shady.
Only days earlier, news surfaced that author David Maraniss had unearthed new details about Barack Obama’s prolific, college-age dope-smoking for his new book, “Barack Obama: The Story” — and the Times made it a brief on A15.
No wonder Republicans are livid with the early coverage of the 2012 general election campaign. To them, reporters are scaring up stories to undermine the introduction of Mitt Romney to the general election audience – and once again downplaying ones that could hurt the president.
The offending NYT article’s here. SteveM at Balloon Juice does a handy job of taking apart this “bias” nonsense, as does Paul Waldman at The American Prospect, but all I can say is: Welcome to public life, Mitt.
You’ve only been at this politicking lark for the best part of twenty years, and still the American public seems to regard you as some sort of mysterious cipher—if VandeHei and Allen are to be believed, all too vulnerable to having the vacuum in your public image contaminated by details of how you and your family pass the time off the campaign trail:
Swing voters are just getting to know him. And coverage suggesting he is mean or extravagant can soak in, even though voters who took the time to weigh the details might dismiss the storyline.
Oh dear oh dear. I think the Romney campaign should be more concerned about Politico than anything the NYT publishes. Now “he is mean or extravagant”? The hits keep coming!
But wait a minute—I thought Mitt Romney, like any good capitalist living the American dream, was proud of his wealth? Is it supposed to be a big secret? Is his family not supposed to enjoy the fruits of his labors in whatever way it wishes? How many Cadillacs did Mitt volunteer that Ann owned again? Make your minds up, dammit!
If Mitt wanted to keep his family’s lifestyle of the rich and famous under wraps, surely he’d ask Ann to be a little less forthcoming in interviews about her hobby. And maybe he’d also have a word with Politico, since stories like this whinefest just set people like me a-digging, and look at one of the first things I found, via Noah Rothman at Mediaite:
A 2007 article by the New York Times’ Jodi Kantor explains how Ann Romney’s dressage hobby hurt her husband in his 1994 race for the Senate against the late Ted Kennedy.
Mrs. Romney’s debut as a political wife was somewhere between a disappointment and a disaster.
Her husband was running unsuccessfully for a United States Senate seat in Massachusetts in 1994, and Mrs. Romney was derided as superficial, pampered and too deferential to him.
Dressage is a sport of seven-figure horses and four-figure saddles. The monthly boarding costs are more than most people’s rent. Asked how many dressage horses she owns, Mrs. Romney laughed. “Mitt doesn’t even know the answer to that,” she said. “I’m not going to tell you!”
Ann Romney—horse hoarder. Just. Stop. Now.
Anyway. Did somebody say “shady”? Ah. Here:
The L.A. Times article details Ann Romney’s numerous interviews on the subject of dressage horses, her family’s animal purchases and a civil suit in which Ann Romney had to testify over her impression of the health of a horse that was sold and later succumbed to an affliction which rendered it “unrideable.”
Insurance documents in the court file indicate that from November 2006 to November 2007, Ann Romney paid $7,800 to insure five horses against mortality and theft for amounts ranging from $50,000 to $135,000 per horse, which she said was far less than their value. “I self-insure for the rest,” she testified. “Just expensive to have insurance.”
As for the case against the Romney’s that they may have sold off a lemon horse (that case reached an undisclosed settlement), the L.A. Times seems to think they’re on the case of a real scoop – if only due to the resistance with which their investigation was met from one of the Romneys lawyers.
Romney’s lawyers wanted to keep the case out of the public eye. In December 2010, one of her attorneys sent a letter to Robyn Ranke, the attorney for Norris, expressing dismay that Ranke refused to sign a confidentiality agreement.
“You can be assured we are not going to give any records … to the L.A. Times,” replied Ranke, “and are at a loss as to why you would even suggest such a thing.”
What nasty, suspicious minds VandeHei and Allen must have to interpret this behavior as “shady.” The thought would never have entered my head until they suggested it.
The Romney campaign would far rather we talk about this much more high-minded ad it’s currently airing, greeted with misty eyes at the RW blogs: “On World Multiple Sclerosis Day, Ann Romney and her family share their thoughts on her struggle with the disease. Ann and her sons also recount Mitt’s undying support to the woman he calls his ‘soul mate.’”
The ad seeks to show a human side of Romney, who pledged to do anything he could to help his wife, his “soul mate,” cope with the illness. That apparently includes spending some of the wealth he’s amassed on a string of horses so she can practice her favorite sport of dressage, which every interview she’s given on the subject insists helps her deal with the ravages of MS. How mean would Mitt Romney have to be to deny his wife that? What’s he supposed to be—a miser as well as “silly rich” and “shady”?!
Now, some people—similarly afflicted or not—may be jealous of that sort of lifestyle and the comforts it affords. But from all the evidence I’ve seen, the Republicans don’t want such green-eyed socialistic peons, consumed by the politics of envy, voting for them. So what’s the problem, Politico? Let Mitt be Mitt. Let him enjoy his wealth. Let him flaunt it. What are you, a bunch of commies?