Mitt Romney pissed off just about every equestrian in the world when he dissed his own wife's horse Rafalca. The rest of the world forgot because he went on to diss the Olympics and people of color (not to mention dissing poor families wiped out by corrupt bankers by attending a banquet in the bankers' honor). But for equestrians the damage had been done.
Since Carol is an equestrian (albeit a decidedly lower middle class equestrian who rides a horse she was given by a friend and supports the horse with rescue work), I paid attention to Romney's comment. Why? Because Romney's diss of his wife and horse were the equivalent of a diss to Carol and Gabe.
What did Romney say? That dressage was his wife's event, he doesn't know what day it's scheduled (the answer is: several) and he won't be there to see it. He's happy for her, but that's it.
He, after all, ran the Olympics. She just supported two of the athletes, only one of whom is a real American (that would not be the horse, of course).
If I said that about Carol and Gabe (even if I felt that way), I would be sleeping alone, eating alone and calling Carol on the phone at my sister's house because my family took her side.
Many of us think Romney's trip to London was just his ploy to assure die-hard Republicans that he wasn't content to step into Bush's shoes, he's ready to lower the bar even further. But his comments about Ann and her horse concern us here because they should give pause to Christians about his true character.
Democrats have picked on dressage as an elitist sport, comparing it to horse ballet and running ads showing Mitt with dancing horses. Admittedly, Olympic dressage is elitist, but so are all Olympic sports. Olympic athletes are supported by a number of corporate sponsors who pass the cost of sponsorship onto their customers.
It doesn't matter what we think about dressage, his wife Ann is highly invested. Not only has she supported Rafalca to the Olympics, she believes it has helped her Multiple Sclerosis. For Romney to imply that he's too busy to support her team in the Olympics is dismissive and belittling. More so since he claimed almost $80,000 against future earnings for the horse on his taxes.
We have to ask whether or not a man who shows this little regard for his own family will show any more regard for ordinary Americans to whom he has no connection. This could explain why he would be so willing to outsource employees to insure a profit.
Bill Clinton campaigned with the phrase, “I feel your pain.” This is very much in the spirit of Jesus, who put aside his own needs to minister to the needs of others. Even others of no importance, who were too poor or disenfranchised to matter to the empire or Israel.
Mitt Romney's message consistently seems to be, “I feel none of your pain and it doesn't bother me in the least.” Is this a man we would trust with our country?
There is another explanation for Romney's dismissive comments about his wife's olympic efforts. He wants to distance himself from criticism that he is disconnected from average Americans. And how much more disconnected could he be that throwing money after dancing horses?
Sure, he has vacation houses, Swiss bank accounts and a long list of corporate clients. But he has to draw the line at his wife.
This too has Biblical implications. In this, Mitt is not unlike Peter who denied his connection to Jesus three times. And while I certainly don't want to imply that Ann Romney is on the same plane as Jesus, I do want to remind readers that Peter's real sin was to back away from those he loved when they needed his support.
A real family values guy, a real husband, a man who cares would say, “I couldn't be more proud of my wife and you bet I'll be at her side when her team represents America to the world.”
Even if her team does include a dancing horse.
And, as for the Democrats who ran that ad, a dancing horse is far more beautiful than a braying ass.