I just want to say on the record that I don’t begrudge Ann Romney and her dressage horses, any more than I resent people who play polo or compete in show jumping or other equestrian events, or own thoroughbred race horses. I’m never going to be a participant, but I like to watch.
The only thing about the Romneys and their horses that bothers me is that Mr. Mittens calls his horses “it.”
Romney said April 10 in a clip with Sean Hannity, whoâ€™d just asked him about his wifeâ€™s horses and the needed break from the campaign riding gives her: â€œShe has Austrian Warmbloods, which are â€“ yeah, itâ€™s a dressage horse, itâ€™s a kind of horse for the sport that sheâ€™s in. Me, I have a Missouri Fox Trotter. So mine is like a quarter horse, but just a much better gait. It moves very fast, and doesnâ€™t tire, and itâ€™s easy to ride, meaning itâ€™s not boom-boom-boom, itâ€™s just smooth, very smooth.â€
I never heard a horse owner call his horse “it,” and not “he” or “she.” Seems odd.
It’s also odd that when Sean Hannity brings up the subject of the Romneys’ horse habit that’s OK, but when the New York Times does it, its a hit piece.
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 â€“ and once again downplaying ones that could hurt the president.
â€œThe New York Times has given Obama the longest wet kiss in political history, and they have done him a favor again,â€ former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said. â€œThe New York Times does a huge expose that Ann Romney rides horses. Well, so does my wife, and a few million other people. Watch out for equine performers!â€
To me, the New York Times story was more of a puff piece than an expose. Sample:
Mrs. Romney took up dressage at age 50 as a therapy for multiple sclerosis, but it soon became her passion. Riding, she has said, â€œsings to my soul.â€
IMO the only part of the story that might rise to the level of expose was mostly about Mrs. Romney’s riding instructor, who is being sued for selling someone a lame horse. The horse belonged to the Romneys (who were named on the suit originally but dropped from it later) but was in the care of the instructor who also acted as sales agent.
What’s wrong with the Romneys owning some horses? I really don’t see anyone on the Left making a big bleeping deal about the horses, but the Right seems to think there must be some nefarious reason why the New York Times blabbed about the horses. But then, what was wrong with John Kerry going windsurfing? I never understood why that was an issue, either.
You’d think that people who glorify the rich as “job creators” wouldn’t be so uncomfortable with the trappings of wealth. But then, these are the same people who think it is scandalous that President Obama plays golf a couple of times a month and has been photographed wearing a tuxedo.
Part of the Right’s issue is that while the Romney horse story was featured prominently in the Times, a new book that discusses the President’s pot-smoking in his college days was buried on page A-15. But President Obama had “exposed” the pot thing himself awhile back, in a book he wrote. So it was already public knowledge. (See also Steve M.)
And, frankly, I’m puzzled why anyone under the age of 70 would still be scandalized by college-age pot smoking. If they caught him smoking pot now, yeah, that would be an issue. But, what, thirty years ago? Please.
I don’t think most Americans resent wealth, so merely pointing out that the Romneys are very, very wealthy is not going to dissuade many people from voting for him. There are many, many flaws in Romney that the public needs to see before the election — like the fact that some of that wealth cost other people their jobs. That’s an issue. The fact that Romney is genuinely out of touch with what most other Americans are going through is an issue. The horses are not an issue.