For those Republicans who simply can’t understand why the public has failed to embrace Mitt Romney and why President Obama continues to enjoy much higher likability ratings, I offer to you exhibit A: Romney’s answer on NBC when asked about his wife’s horse competing in the Olympics.
Rather than talking about the family being proud or excited about this special moment, the Republican presidential challenger instead threw his wife Ann under the bus and pretended he barely knew anything about her horse—whose name is Rafalca, by the way—and its big Olympic moment.
“I have to tell you, this is Ann’s sport,” he said, preferring to not even say the word “dressage”—which is a French word meaning “training” and sometimes described as horse ballet.
“I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on,” Romney said. “She will get the chance to see it; I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well.”
So let me get this straight—your family has invested probably millions in dancing horses, supposedly as a way to help Ann treat her multiple sclerosis, “her horse” is going to compete in the globe’s most prestigious event, and we’re supposed to believe you don’t know anything about it? The subject never came up at the family dinner table or in the marital bedroom? Really, Mitt?
And even worse, if we accept that Rafalca the horse is completely Ann’s deal and Mitt knows nothing about it, the guy isn’t even interested in going to watch his wife’s horse compete at an Olympics he’s already going to be attending?
Clearly he’s afraid that if the public sees him at a horse dancing competition, we will suddenly be reminded: Oh yeah, Mitt’s rich—I almost forgot until I saw him at the Olympic dressage event!
The Romney campaign doesn’t seem to understand a fundamental fact about the American electorate: Americans don’t hate rich guys, Americans hate liars. Rich guys trying to pretend they aren’t rich, acting like they are the same as the rest of us. That’s being fake, a fraud, and we can spot it from a mile away. We don’t want the existence of your money thrown in our face, but if we don’t see it we’re not going to forget it’s there.
Take a look at the American Senate. Nothing but rich guys. A fraternity that provides definitive proof that Americans vote for rich guys all the time. In fact, I would contend that we actually PREFER to vote for rich guys. This is a nation that tends to lionize the very wealthy—Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, P Diddy—believing that they must have some special stuff the rest of us mere mortals don’t have.
Let’s take a look at New York City, for example. For seemingly like the last two decades, one of the most liberal cities in the nation has been run by an incredibly rich guy, Michael Bloomberg. In fact, Mitt, he’s even richer than you. A lot richer. But the thing about Bloomberg, one of the reasons New Yorkers keep electing him again and again, is he’s comfortable being rich. He doesn’t seem to mind if you know that he happens to be a billionaire. He doesn’t try to hide it—like some people I know. If Bloomberg wants to spend his leisure time at the Metropolitan Opera or the New York City Ballet, he’s gonna go to the opera and ballet. He’s not going to pretend he’d rather be at a Knicks game—you know, like regular guys.
Something tells me that if Romney were mayor of New York, he’d sneak into the opera wearing a fake nose and a mustache—while the next day we’d see him front and center at the Rangers hockey game, clutching a beer he doesn’t really want to drink.