If you haven’t guessed, those two sentences are pure sarcasm, yet part of a juicy political story that has been brewing that ties Romney to the 2012 London Games.
I’ve doubted Romney’s political sense since the start, but flying to England for the Olympics four months before the election is just another confirmation. Yes, we all get that you were CEO of the 2002 Salt Lake City games, but you’re running for President of the United States now and we think that would take priority. Lest I jump the gun (lots of sport references today), this story only gets better.
Mitt’s wife, Ann Romney, happens to be one of three co-owners of a horse named “Rafalca,” which is competing on the U.S. team in dressage (YouTube it). Romney, plagued by a well-deserved image of a wealthy Republican out of touch with everyday working Americans now has to explain his wife’s love of and participation in horse ballet.
Making matters worse, Jan Ebeling, Rafalca’s rider and employee of the Romneys, had this to say about the sport in a recent press conference: “Money is not something that defines dressage. It’s something you can do with a normal budget.”
People have a misconception that you have to be wealthy to sail a big boat, drive a ultra-luxury car, or travel in private jets, when the reality is you don’t need that much money. All you have to do is become a crew member, chauffeur or flight attendant, and it becomes incredibly affordable. Such is the life of Mr. Ebeling, who rightly can defend the hand that feeds him, while not being part of the upper class.
Why criticize Romney or his staff for a horse?
Generally, this is the point where Republicans go on the attack by saying Democrats are trying to incite “class warfare” and negatively stigmatize successful people.
My response is simple: “get over yourself!” No one is attacking your wealth. What we are attacking is your lack of understanding that you are wealthy when many are struggling to make ends meet. George W. was famous for spending lots of vacation time at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. To his credit, he had many photo ops of him clearing brush and doing simple ranch jobs. Bush did this because he wanted the American people to see him as a “regular Joe” and someone who could relate to their lives.
Romney, on the other hand, is spending $100K on a horse — $77K a year on upkeep according to the tax returns we have seen — and can afford to fly Rafalca across the globe to compete in a dance competition. How a presidential candidate, in the midst of one of the worse recessions our countries has ever faced, can’t understand how horse ballet disconnects him from the average person just proves his lack of connection.
I wouldn’t ask Romney to give up Rafalca, only for him to acknowledge the fact that most young people in the Bronx and East L.A. don’t have access to the sport of horse ballet. We should want a president who has been successful and in no way demonize those who have achieved wealth.
However, if class warfare is asking the simple question “Does your horse have better health insurance than my child?” then I guess I’m guilty.
Jose Cruz is the editor of OurTiempo.com worked in the Clinton White House and on three Presidential campaigns. He is the founder of ImmigrationPAC a pro-comprehensive immigration reform Federal Polical Action Committee and active political commentator.