11 Ways Mitt Romney Shows His Rich-Guy, Ayn Randian Cluelessness
Photo Credit: AFP
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
Poor Mitt Romney. Just when he manages to go nearly a month without making a gaffe further compounding his rich-guy cluelessness about the way the other 99 percent live, here comes the New York Times, that bastion of the elites, shining a light on his wife's enthusiasm for a sport, dressage, that most have never heard of. Dressage, the Times informs us, involves getting very expensive horses to execute dance moves on the non-verbal commands of a rider dressed in top hat and tails. The front-page article, by Trip Gabriel, examines the relationship between the Romneys and Ann Romney's coach and horse-trainer, Jan Ebeling:
A taskmaster, Mr. Ebeling pushed Mrs. Romney to excel in high-level amateur shows. He escorted her on horse-buying expeditions to Europe. She shares ownership of the Oldenburg mare he dreams of riding in the Olympic Games this summer. Mrs. Romney and her husband, Mitt, even floated a loan — $250,000 to $500,000, according to financial records — to Mr. Ebeling and his wife for the horse farm they run in California, where the Romneys use a Mediterranean-style guesthouse as a getaway.
In fairness to Ann Romney, it should be said that she took up the sport at age 50, as a way to combat her newly diagnosed case of multiple sclerosis, a devastating immunological disease, and persevered through pain to become a highly ranked amateur competitor. In fairness to the many uninsured and underinsured with MS, it should be said that Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal the healthcare reform law that will cover the costly diagnostic and treatment of those with the disease, perhaps leaving them enough pocket money to buy a pair of sneakers for the exercise that is recommended for them.
Don't get me wrong: the problem with Romney and his money is not that he has it (his personal worth is estimated at $250 million); it's that he's never ventured far enough beyond his own rarified world to understand how regular people live, leading him to a "Let them eat cake" attitude that surfaces with regularity in his interactions on the campaign trail.
Whether he's telling a group of unemployed workers that he feels their pain because he, too, is unemployed; explaining to the people of Nevada, a crucible of the foreclosure crisis, why foreclosures should be allowed to continue at their current pace; or telling recent college grads to just borrow money from Mom and Dad to start their own businesses, Mitt Romney, together with his wife, Ann, demonstrates the hubris of a certain kind of multimillionaire: the kind who think it is the job of the rabble to preserve the rich man's wealth, even if it comes at the rabble's own expense. After all, that's just the ever-virtuous free market at work.
I've collected a smattering of evidence of Romney's Ayn Rand game plan, listed below, which actually wasn't all that hard, since former Romney primary opponents Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry did much of the work for me. That's why it was deliciously gratifying to see Gingrich doing a less than fabulous job defending Romney last Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press. His heart just didn't seem to be in the task. It was Gingrich, after all, who plotted the blueprint for the Obama campaign's offensive on Romney's legacy of job-killing while at the helm of Bain Capital.
Here, for your edification are Romney's top clueless rich-guy moments to date. (Don't worry; he'll make more.)
1. The $10,000 bet. When during a debate in Iowa last December, Mitt Romney challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet, jaws dropped and the Twitterverse lit up. Romney's quip was off in so many ways, not least of them the obvious way Romney clearly regarded $10,000 as a normal amount for a wager, while, as ABC News' Jake Tapper noted, the sum represented about three months' wages for the average Iowan.