His name: Mitt Romney.
And yet if he’d spent his vacation working at a soup kitchen he’d be accused of shamelessly pandering for votes.
Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.
Pandering or not, surely it is the more meritorious course of action?
I’m not seeing how a jet-ski = rich. I know plenty of people that are no where near rich that own/have ridden jet-ski’s. It’s not expensive to go down to the lake/river/ocean and rent one for a couple hours. Political discourse in this country is full of fail.
Ditto that. I grew up on the Jersey Shore. Ben is correct about the ease and affordability of renting a jet-ski.
My next door neighbor who works in the Dakota oil fields would be amused at this ridiculous equation (jet-ski = rich); he owns a motorboat, two snowmobiles, an ATV, and some other toys. He may be doing well, but he is decidedly blue-collar and does not wear a monocle.
This story is a pure political hack-job aimed at stirring up the envy. Seems like it succeeded here.
Wall Street Journal is all about fomenting class envy.
Aren’t you the one who frequently cautions against (and rightly so) jumping to faulty conclusions simply because information comes from a “ritually impure” source?
I don’t care about the medium in which the story appeared. I’m taking the article at face value. It’s a hack-job.
There’s no necessary contradiction between a hack job and the truth of the fact that the *image* Romney projects is of an out of touch plutocrat. He could have gotten the jetski at Rent a Center, just as Kerry might have gotten his windsail for $20 buck at a rental hut. What matters here is the *image*. And the *image* both men project is of bluebloods wholly out of touch with the people whose vote they want. In our image driven politics, that matters.
Riding a jetski does not present the *image* of a plutocrat. In the various places I have lived (including Seattle), I’ve seen many a truck/suv tugging a trailer with jetskis. Since I have recently located back to Texas (where there are many more folks inclined to vote GOP), more of these trucks tend to have stickers/decals with various messages like “Ain’t Skeered” or “100% Redneck” or even “Yee Haw”. Somehow, I don’t see this doing any damage to Mr. Romney’s chances. Now if Romney was bass fishin’ in one of them Skeeter boats…
Anywhere I can git me a sticker that says “HooooooWEEE!”
I agree that his overall image is that of “an out of touch plutocrat”. But this particular image? No. Jet-skiing is hardly the activity of choice of the very wealthy. Now, were this a picture of him on his yacht? Well, I’d be right there with ya!
I think the proof is in the pudding. When the photo is getting forwarded by jillions of people with jeering commentary (sort of like the Obama on a bike shot), the political damage is done. It’s trivial (as the brevity and jocularity of my post indicates). But its a problem his campaign has yet to deal with that could cost him the election. Sadly, one of them has to win.
First, yes…BOTH are actually “bluebloods” as few people realize Obama comes from a very prominent southern family that owned slaves back in the good ol’ days.
Second, the title of this thread says “sinister wealthy financier”; “sinister” also coming from the Latin “left” (i.e. his former policies). So, very appropriate.
Humbug, friend. Ask yourself if this is the image he is projecting, or if this is the image, carefully crafted with considerable art and over a period of time, his enemies are projecting simply to create in you the reaction of disgust — WHY HE IS RICH UNCLE PENNYBAGS FROM THE MONOPOLY GAME! — the you, indeed, suffered. If your disgust was merely at the ineptness of his publicity handling, there again, you cannot blame him for the successful character assassination orchestrated by his opposition.
It’s not the message he *means* to project, of course. But yeah, even without the help of a hostile media, what radiates out of the guy is “Rich vacuous plutocrat”. Mr. Etch a Sketch. No principles whatsoever beyond money and power.
And yeah: extreme awkwardness with the hoi polloi. Like I say, I don’t resent it. I find it hilarious. It’s one of the funniest aspects of our politics that it forces patricians to pretend to be regular joes. In a civilization that affords almost no form of penance for the rich and powerful, I think that’s a good thing.
I posted that video too. And I wouldn’t classify that group “hoi poloi” so much as “heeeeeeey….hoooooooooo…………. poloi” at least in Romney’s eyes.
If your point is that he runs an awkward campaign, fine. No argument. If you find it amusing that our democracy forces rich folk to act like good old boys when pandering for votes, and that this is good for the humility, fine. No argument.
If you would like to see a return of the more healthy and medieval practice of making the rich wear hair shirts at Lent and sup with the poor, I am all for that. In fact, by world historical standards, I am wealthier than the Pharaoh, who lacked automobile and internet and aspirin and eyeglasses — so many I should find a hair shirt for myself first. In general, I agree with your disgust with Mr Romney. Of the cast of candidates presented by the GOP in this election cycle, he would have been my last choice.
There is a science fiction book by Gibson called IDORU where a computer generated pop singing idol wins world admiration. Perhaps we should just have our candidates selected by focus group studies to generate a similar computer generated hologram, utterly fake, telling the voters only what they want to hear, and able to appear on every talk show at once.
It may be a hack job, but the same hack job done on Kerry.
“Wall Street Journal is all about fomenting class envy.”
I agree! But usually its about the rich being envious of what the poor and middle class have.
I’m normally NOT a conservative dittohead, and I wondered the same thing. Is this some form of new populist bigotry against Jet Ski owners? Is my little minnkota-powered fishing pontoon any better?
How is this political news? A brief search online reveals you can rent that exact model jet ski for about $100 most anywhere. Not super cheap, but hardly outside the reach of the middle class. This is not a multi-million dollar schooner or something. It’s a freakin jet ski for crying out loud.
I won’t lie – if Romney donned a top-hat and monocle, I’d totally vote for him, for no other reason than that.
Me, too. Wouldn’t it be awesome if he came to one of the pointless debates wearing that? “Yes, yes. I’m rich. I’ve got a hotel on Park Place and Boardwalk. Do you want some poor bastard who barely makes his rent and is behind on his student loans sitting in the White House? No? Then shut up.”
Bonus points for coattails and a villainous moustache.
I loathe Romney’s Randian economic vision, his opportunistic flip-flopping, and his smug complacency about finance capital, but the jet ski photo didn’t really make me think “rich guy” at all; lots of middle income people own/rent jet skis. I felt the same way about the media-frenzy over his family’s dressage hobby–here in Texas at least, lots of upper middle class but not exactly rich suburban professionals indulge their daughters’ desire for dressage/riding lessons, and tons of rural people own horses. I say all this as someone who has never been on either a jet ski or a horse. Romney bugs me, but these are cheap shots.
Irenist – I agree with everything you said, although not sure “Randian” would correctly categorize his vision (certainly his past would suggest he is more pirate or mercenarial in his economic practice). I think the thing I hate most about his candidacy is his “how would you like me today?” politics. It is really hard to believe he could have a “change of heart” on so many intrinsic/key issues.
While no one cares to bring it up anymore, this flip-flopping is actually a built-in component of his polytheistic religion, Mormonism (ooops, that’s “monotheistically challenged” for the PC police who froth at the mouth). The Mormon cult has often changed/re-thought such issues such as abortion, polygamy, allowing blacks into the priesthood etc. The leadership simply “prays on it” and then magically a command comes down from “god” that tells them to do a 180-degree turn and everyone just accepts it. And that’s his MO to a tee. It would be very difficult to live with the anxiety of having a president who could do a 180 at any point and be perfectly comfortable with it.
True, it’s been really amusing to watch the really die-hard Republican fringe just sort of gloss over his whole flip-flop thing after making it the main point of the Kerry campaign. Then again, it’s really funny* to watch the Republicans suddenly pretend to care about the budget and the Democrats suddenly not care about foreign wars and expanded federal power.
*funny in the sense that laughter is better than alternative responses, like joining an Occupy group or becoming a homeless drunk.
Fits his family history also, which lost several fortunes before he built his over new “commandments from God” as they moved from Ohio to Illinois to Utah to Mexico (just in time for that atheist Calles to kick them right back out again for being foreign and religious) and back to the good old USA. Roots as shallow as a pine tree.
Irenist and Qualis Rex I agree – a jet ski doesn’t bother me, unless it is where I fishing. I too am more bothered by the changing positions. He seems to change with the need to appeal to a specific group of voters. I really have little idea what he really believes or what he would do. To change as his positions as severely and quickly as he did speaks of opportunism more than a true change. I recall when my wife and I wrestled with issues, not as national as what a presidential candidate must wrestle with, and how long it took for us to find the final agreement point. That pushes me away far more than his jet-ski or dressage (my wife and children all ride).
Nice! I hope you and the family have a VERY enjoyable summer! And yes, outside of Mormonism (and he does appear to be passionate about that) it really is hard to know what he truly believes.
“Randian economic vision?”
You must be referring to the Canadian-American stage magician James Randi as there is nothing even close to resembling the economics of Russian-American screenwriter Ayn Rand in Romney’s views. He is a classic big-government, Rockefeller Republican. He supported the bailouts, for Pete’s sake.
My (admitted) preference is for single malt Scotch (taken, as St. Paul suggests, in moderation). I have no idea what hallucinogenic alternative you have been ingesting.
Pax et bonum, Keith Töpfer
I wish he would wear a top hat and monocle. It’s been AGES since we’ve had a dapper president.
And a pipe. I mean, it was a big deal when we found out that Obama smokes (and, now that I think about it, how is it there are never any pictures of that?).
If we’re going to have a smoking president, let’s make it a pipe.
Mormon. No smoking.
How about a snuff box then?
Also not allowed. No tobacco.
As long as its full of cocaine. Romney runs a high class campaign.
Ah. I still stand by the pipe. It could have bubbles!
I agree.. Bubble pipe erupting with foam, top-hat (or tiny bowler), monocle… ending every sentence with “fiddle-dee-dee.” No one would DARE mess with the US, then.
Also, “What ho, homies!” would really connect with the Street.
Reminded me of this: http://xkcd.com/771/
Forsooth, do you grok my jive, me hearties?
And a walking stick! He’s got to have a walking stick. And always a rosebud boutonniere in his lapel.
That all depends on how devout he is…
Yeah. Reagan’s stroller-style morning coat at his first inaugural was sort of the last gasp there.
Heck, how long has it been since we’ve had a president with ANY facial hair? If we’re going to vote in a guy who’ll sell us out to the corporations, the least he could do is have a full, villainous mustache while he’s doing so.
Or if he’s more the “start foreign wars” type, then I demand a full barbarian beard.
Just get somebody who looks like Teddy Roosevelt and we’ll never lose a foreign policy argument again.
“Death to- hoo boy, sorry Mr. Roosevelt.”
And yet the president’s endless vacations with full entourage for the First Lady (on our nickel) portray him as a roll-up-the-sleeves working stiff who pulled himself up by his bootstraps blah blah bah ad nauseam.
As a working-class scraper-by I could care less about the jet-ski. Got bigger fish to fry. The political class (BOTH parties, just to be clear) doesn’t give a rat’s patoot about me and mine, so I have lots to do.
Not to mention all of Obama’s golfing at exclusive, expensive clubs around the country.
Golf Courses of the Obama Administration http://pinterest.com/amfuturefund/golf-courses-of-the-obama-administration/
Man of the people.
Every President back to Reagan has spent more time on vacation than in the White House, this is an old complaint.
I think this is actually another symptom of people’s unmasked envy (yes, envy, nothing good about it) of people with money.
I don’t like Romney as a candidate. Never did. So the man has a jet ski. Big deal, why would that matter to someone who is not envious of rich people.
Mark, your ‘monocle’ comment is rather… to be gentle… infantile.
I don’t see why people who have money having a nice vacation should shock and offend me. I wasn’t offended by pictures of John Kerry skiing either. The picture tells the truth. What would you have preferred? Him wearing torn, cutoff jeans at a Nascar event, pretending he’s just ‘one of the boys’? He isn’t. That would be a lie.
Get a grip people. There’s plenty to pick apart on Romney that actually matters besides running news items that are the equivalent of “OMG!! Romney isn’t pretending he’s blue collar so he can impress the rubes!’
I’m not shocked and offended. I’m amused. Romney is just so thoroughly plastic that it cracks me up to watch him make awkward efforts to imitate a sense of connection with ordinary humans before relaxing back into his truly comfortable role as a plutocrat. It’s so obviously *unnatural* for him to be around or attempt to fake sympathy for some member of the hoi polloi. He can’t wait to get off this ghastly hotdog eating campaign trail with all those tacky slobs in T shirts. He is so evident at sea as he casts around for something to say about trees, lakes, and cars, hoping it will spark some sort of connection with these strange aliens who evidently populate all that flyover country. He can’t wait to get back to the boardroom and the club and the reassuring cocoon that protects him from having to deal with all that baffling and possibly contagious humanity who, as our system unfortunately decrees, must be dealt with each four years.
I prefer pictures like this to pics of him ‘being one of us’. I just get frustrated at the mock outrage. If a good candidate ever came who respected the constitution, was pro life, etc. aka got it right, i wouldn’t care if he came from a poor family or if he was a bazillionaire.
“Gee, it sure is good to be here in [ location ] surrounded by [ geographic reference ] with the best darn [ local food ] in the world. And get a load of those [ something they like ]. It’s just how [ insert deity] would have wanted it to be.”
Romney’s campaign speech brought to you by the good people at “Ad Libs”
I volunteered for a campaign in a congressional race in MA, and my largely unknown candidate had linked up with Mitt in his bid for governor. They did a joint stop right in the middle of my home town. While my brief encounter (actually two campaign events) don’t provide any definitive insight on the man, it is contrary to your perception. Although plastic captures some of the sense of Romney’s flip-flops, he’s not mechanical or out-of-touch as you imply. He’s as genuine as a used car salesman (or any other politician). His smile isn’t forced, he doesn’t hate the campaign trail, but there is a sense of emptiness to the man that you’re certain he’ll forget your name five minutes later. He’s not awkward, but rather he comes off as polished.
I think you’re better off with sticking to the empty suit narrative.
His smile definitely looks forced and he really does not look at all comfortable around “those people”.
Of course I prefer this remix
I’m sorry, I don’t see it the way you do.
Absolutely no need to apologize for a difference of opinion.
The amusement here could just as easily be directed at the voting public: “it’s amusing that you want someone who clearly has a great deal more talent than you, is better-looking, richer, has kids who’re more successful than yours, has better manners than you, is by all accounts a nicer person than you – to pretend that he’s a mediocrity.”
I mean: Romney is “plastic” – and so are the voters who wouldn’t vote for someone unless they pretend not to be successful, talented and driven (no envy there, I’m sure.)
“I’m not shocked and offended. I’m amused. *Obama* is just so thoroughly plastic that it cracks me up to watch him make awkward efforts to imitate a sense of connection with ordinary humans before relaxing back into his truly comfortable role as a plutocrat. It’s so obviously *unnatural* for him to be around or attempt to fake sympathy for some member of the hoi polloi. He can’t wait to get off this ghastly hotdog eating campaign trail with all those tacky slobs in T shirts. He is so evident at sea as he casts around for something to say about trees, lakes, and cars, hoping it will spark some sort of connection with these strange aliens who evidently populate all that flyover country. He can’t wait to get back to the boardroom and the club and the reassuring cocoon that protects him from having to deal with all that baffling and possibly contagious humanity who, as our system unfortunately decrees, must be dealt with each four years.”
I’m not sure if you’re being entirely serious, but that’s a fair assessment of both candidates
Yes. It does work equally well, dunnit?
That’s why I did it.
I soooo did not need that top hat and monocle image . . . I’ll never look at Planters nuts the same way again!
The article confirms my theory that Romney is the Republican John Kerry. Just as the Democrats were eight years ago, so now the Republicans have grown so frightened of character assassination by the other party that they’ve nominated a candidate with no discernible character. I fear the results (four more years of the incumbent) are also likely to be the same.
Must be from a different era. My first thought was Monopoly’s Uncle Moneybags.
Why is there all of this griping and moaning about Mitt Romney? Is he not the candidate that the all Americans want or is he just the GOP Establishment’s candidate ? To me this would not be the issue if Ron Paul (I know he admires some of Ayn Rand’s beliefs) but should that end up costing him the Republican nomination because the future of the GOP belongs to his followers not to Mitt Romney. He is a flip flopper and he does NOT get anybody all fired up and enthusiastic except Brad Pitt’s mother. It is just like the 2008 campaign all over again with John McCain.
“I don’t see why people who have money having a nice vacation should shock and offend me.”
But the way Romney acquired his wealth should offend every American.
And I mean “acquired,” not “earned.” People have called Mitt and others like him “vulture capitalists,” but that’s really not fair to vultures, who feed off the dead. Mitt’s wealth is more like a vampire, sucking the lifeblood out of the living to prolong its existence.
“This was the week that got people wondering if the Romney campaign needs a change of personnel.” Yes, they should start with Romney. Although to be fair, I don’t think this picture is that big a deal. I just can’t stand him because of his flip-flopping, dishonesty, the Massachusetts healthcare, his pro-abortion actions, etc.
I suppose if I didn’t like Romney in the first place, I would probably see his vacation that way.
It’s hard to like or dislike tofu. It simply absorbs whatever flavor is around it.
Mark wins the internet with this comment for today.
Yeah, that’s a tough one to overcome.
I’ll suggest that Romney could have gotten away with the photo if he and his wife looked like most people I see who ride jet skis on the lake–windblown, messy hair, sunburnt skin with hideous tan lines and a little drunk. Jet skiing is not only done by the wealthy but Romney & the Mrs just look a little too primly perfect for a couple who presumably want to project the image of comfortable & ordinary people.
Well, he’s letting his wife steer, so clearly he’s pandering to the female vote. Then again, maybe that’s typical of the Romney household.
I thought about that too, but this female voter finds the ploy more suggestive of Romney’s childishness than belief in woman empowerment. Actually if they just looked like they were having a crazy good time with enormous goofy grins on their faces they would have been more appealing. They are so poised and bland. There is nothing sexy about Romney’s image. He is repugnantly wholesome. Odiously vanilla. I am starting to actually feel sorry for him now that I think about how boring yet presidential-appearing he is.
I see what you mean. It’s kind of like those celebrities who are “caught” naked on the beach with just enough skin covered such that it could make the front page of a magazine without editing. Unless both Romney’s had a cadre of makeup artists and hair-stylists named “Jude” waiting just off camera, it’s really hard to believe they could be travelling at such high speeds on a jet-ski without some major hair “blow-out”.
Let us all face the fact that, whether the winner is Romney or Obama, the next decade (or perhaps three decades, depending upon whether the President du jour is, or is not a Keynesian at heart) are well and truly unavoidable. We are standing on the brink of the Great Depression of the 21st century, and you are all debating which inept incompetent is the best choice to pilot us through the turbulent channel to the future, which is festooned with rocks, reefs and shoals. The Presidential campaign has come down to which loser you feel more comfortable having as the next resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.
My advice is to vote for whom you feel you must and prepare for the likely financial collapse of the industrial west. Because, worrying about which of the two losers you should vote for is about as efficacious as deciding whether to wear evening wear or casual attire in the lifeboats. The only way past the iceberg that looms ahead on the bow is to get in the lifeboat and row like madmen.
Keith – no disrespect, but that kind of hyperbole and alarmism doesn’t serve any good. I am not belittling the plight of those who are currently facing economic hardship (specifically those who are/were in the service, construction or manufacturing industries) but I can say with confidence we are nowhere near an economic collapse. For four years straight everyone has been forecasting doom and catastrophe such as the break-up of th Euro, civil-war in Europe, mass ruin across the US leading to a return of the gold-standard etc. Hogwash. The consumer and industrial economies of the world are too interrelated at the moment; and this is both good and bad. But as long as there is a continuous free-flow of investment, goods produced and consumer demand across borders then we will not see the results of a 1930’s-style depression, regardless of who takes office for the next 4 years.
I am certainly extremely concerned about the fiscal future of our nation, but yeah, the prognosticators don’t really worry too much, because I am just old enough to remember the last REALLY bad economy in the early ’80s — and I remember the exact same kinds of predictions. That was when the whole “survivalist” movement went into full swing, because all of the “experts” were predicting the collapse of the U.S. and the West at any moment, so some folks started arming themselves and hoarding food in the woods.
There’s actually a really funny movie about this: THE SURVIVORS, with Robin Williams and Walter Matthau. One of my favorite bits:
Williams: Is the air getting better? Pollution getting better? Are politicians getting any better? Crime? Tell me one thing — just one thing — that has gotten better in the last 20 years.
Matthau’s daughter: Video games!
Matthau: See. There you go. Video games.
Which to me sums up the bread and circuses mentality of our culture. The more things change, the more they stay the same. We aren’t really advancing or going backward. We’re wobbling.
I’m much more concerned about the spiritual and moral collapse of the West rather than Wall Street. Our fiscal problems seem only the rotten fruit resulting from a deeper sickness in the roots. And neither candidate is going to correct that. They are part of the problem, not the solution. Put not your trust in princes.
Wow. Very eloquent and right on the money, as it were : ) Well said.
” That was when the whole “survivalist” movement went into full swing, because all of the “experts” were predicting the collapse of the U.S. and the West at any moment, so some folks started arming themselves and hoarding food in the woods.”
I resemble that remark. If the bank ever forecloses on my home, the hardest thing will be cleaning out the garage and pantry.
I about as far from a supporter of Romney as you can get, but I don’t see how using jet skis makes him appear either wealthy or out of touch. My income has always been just about right on the median, but I occasionally rented jet skis for my kids on family vacations. Being clumsy, I never tried them myself. I’m more inclined to think that people who regard jet skis as something foreign to the average American are the ones who are a bit out of touch.
Much ado about not much at all. Except that, if people vote for or against Romney or Obama because of ski-jet or bike pictures, our politics is in a pretty sad state, indeed.
I gotta say, these comments are pure gold.