Did I waste my time last Sunday? In the morning, I was reading the New York Times, acquainting myself with precisely how the rich and famous live. The editors of the New York Times chose this story for its front page so I figured they thought it important. It involved the Romney family and someone called Jan Ebeling. It turns out I could have spent my time otherwise.
On Sunday morning, the syndicated columnist George Will appeared on ABC News’ “This Week” and, though I failed to watch it, he ruminated over Mitt Romney’s fundraising and those donors whom he cultivates. George noted one donor in particular, Donald Trump. He called Mr. Trump a “bloviating ignoramus.” That was not the end of it. Mr. Trump detected George’s rude utterance somehow and leapt to Twitter where he tweeted, “George Will may be the dumbest (and most overrated) political commentator of all time.” What an exciting exchange of ideas.
Meanwhile, I was lost in the New York Times‘ vast explication of the tony life of the Romneys with Mr. Ebeling and a cast of what seemed like hundreds of rich people, their lawyers, the horse cardiologists and, of course, their horses. Ann Romney’s horse is, by the way, named Super Hit.
Mrs. Romney, some years ago, took up horseback riding as therapy for multiple sclerosis. That would be bad enough, for these were expensive horses, but it gets worse. She took up a very posh kind of horseback riding called “dressage.” At first, I thought dressage involved cross-dressing or something risque. After all, the newspaper’s tone was decidedly alarmist. But the story is more troubling still. Dressage is very, very expensive and, as the paper sees it, frivolous. Moreover, the Romneys had become very friendly with this fellow Mr. Ebeling, who emigrated here in 1980 from Germany. Since then, Mr. Ebeling has become a mentor to the rich and famous and is now trying out for our Olympic team. The horse he plans to ride at the Olympic tryouts is owned in part by Mrs. Romney and she and her husband, the Republicans’ presumptive nominee, have loaned Mr. Ebeling and his wife money for their horse farm at which the Romneys take quiet getaways in a “Mediterranean-style guesthouse.” Why a Mediterranean-style as opposed to an igloo-style is left to the imagination.
Well, those getaways will not be quiet any longer. The New York Times has blown the whistle on the whole sordid deceit, and I anticipate we shall be informed of even more lavish recreations in the months to come. The New York Times and The Washington Post are nothing if not exhaustive and exhausting. Recall, if you will, The Post’s extensive piece about Mr. Romney’s high-school bullying of a boy, or the rumor of his bullying of a boy, or some Democratic acquaintance’s recollection of Mr. Romney’s bullying or, perhaps, someone else’s bullying of the boy who, incidentally, is now dead and whose family objects to the Post’s characterization of him.
Frankly, I think I shall stick with the New York Times. For sheerest boredom they take all cakes. What of Mr. Romney’s other recreations? Doubtless before this election is over we shall read all about them. We already have heard about how he treated his dog 29 years ago. And then the Romneys have five sons. They may be windsurfers, as Jean-Francois Kerry windsurfed during the 2004 election. They may be bungee-jumpers. Was not Al Gore a bungee-jumper until he developed those multitudinous inner tubes of flesh around his midsection? On one subject I think we shall hear very little: Mr. Romney’s drug use as a young man. It is abundantly clear that he did not use drugs, even caffeine.
On the other hand, President Obama did use drugs. He actually did bully a fellow high school student, though the student was not a boy. Mr. Obama admits in his memoirs, “Dreams from My Father,” to having bullied a girl. Where did he get the money to pay for his drugs and why did he bully a girl? I shall never know. I read the New York Times.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. He is the author most recently of “The Death of Liberalism” (Thomas Nelson).