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Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Romney finally does something right — and gets slammed for it

Posted by James McPherson on July 5, 2012

(Photo credit: Charles Dharapak/AP)

We know that Mitt Romney has trouble connecting with “real people.” But this week some media folks, both liberal and conservative, are showing that they can be at least as out of touch as Romney often is.

“The Obama campaign is assailing Mr. Romney as an out-of-touch rich man, and the rich man obliged by vacationing this week at his lake-side home with a jet-ski cameo,” the conservative Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal opined.

“Like an early Independence Day gift to Democrats, there it was: the image of a grinning Mitt and wife, Ann, enjoying a perfect summer day on a jet ski on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H., where the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee owns a lust-inducing lakefront vacation home,” wrote the Boston Globe’s Joan Vennochi.

“Romney’s decision to take this week off at his lakeside home in New Hampshire — which led to the photographs of the multi-millionaire zipping around on a jet ski with his wife, Ann — prompted some fellow Republicans to say that Romney had blown a chance to strike a more patriotic theme around the nation’s July 4 Independence Day holiday,” stated a Reuters article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

Conservative talking head Laura Ingraham said Romney should “get off the jet ski.” Even British media got into the act.

Romney is rich, out of touch, and probably going to lose the presidential election. But he won’t lose because he rode a personal watercraft. Playing on the water during the summer is one of the few things he’s done lately that “real people” can actually connect with. Lots of middle-class or poorer people ride personal watercraft (or boats, or snowmobiles, or four-wheelers). The Obama family members ride them when vacationing in Hawaii. And lots of us who have never been on one still think it looks like fun, and that they’re fine if they’re not blasting through our fishing holes or waking us up too early in our lakeside campsites.

Besides, if those in the media care about getting things right, Romney probably wasn’t on a Jet Ski–according to this article, the family apparently owns a couple of Sea-Doo watercraft (made by Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier, rather than the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Kawasaki that produces the Jet Ski). However, the same section of the article that mentions the brand points out a bigger problem for Romney in connecting to the rest of us:

In past years, Romney has gone running by himself down the private driveway that leads to his 6,700-square-foot, six-bedroom home. The home and the 2.2 acres it sits on are worth $3.5 million; the surrounding land the Romneys have purchased, as well as the boat garage, are worth millions more. The house is easily seen from the water of Lake Winnipesaukee, with a side facing the lake and lounge chairs lined up along the beach.

The candidate keeps a 29-foot Sea Ray boat in the enormous three-boat garage outside of his lakefront estate. He also has a small Boston Whaler, two of the Sea Doo water skis and a Malibu water ski boat.

Romney’s money — especially that kept in offshore accounts — will be put him in deeper water with voters than this little summertime ride around the lake. And we can only assume that Ann Romney was driving to keep the craft in a straight line, rather than rocking going back and forth.

6 Responses to “Romney finally does something right — and gets slammed for it”

  1. Reuel said

    But yet if you are a Kennedy and are rich it OK Because? Rich Democrats are in touch and Rich Republicans are not. I guess I just don’t get it. Kennedy’s earned there wealth mostly on Bootlegging. Romney worked for a company that went in when companies were failing and save some, lost some, the same company(Bain) may I add one of the current president advisers worked for also. The biggest outsource of jobs in the last three years has been the current administration and they are in touch? Did you hear Barry’s stump speech yesterday about middle class, go find that clip and tell me who is in touch.

  2. James McPherson said

    You’re right about the Kennedy clan, wrong about the oft-repeated bootlegging myth: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/04/26/the-kennedy-bootlegging-myth.html

    But do you think any Kennedy could be elected president today, either? And remember, I’m no Obama fan. If in a position where I had to choose, I’d pick him over Romney, but as I recently wrote here I don’t plan to vote for either. Thanks.

  3. Reuel said

    James; Lets just say then all of the money the Kennedy’s got was not without controversy. True JFK would be more likely be a Republican. It is all irreverent. As this chart shows, the current administrations policies are not working and the actual rise of Unemployment numbers started to rise, the more Democrats regained power in 2006, but why is that when President Clinton and a Republican Congress do something together that worked, now as history shows it that President Bush had the lowest unemployment until the Dems took back Congress, Then look at the spike when ” Private Sector Employers” realized that they were going to own it all. But the Blame Bush sounded so good and in fact was only a half truth. I think you underestimate the anybody but Democrats in the flyover area of this country.


    There are people who follow treads of history and the ones that project the possibilities of history. We got 6 to 7 trillion dollars of debt and companies are so cash rich they are storing it overseas until the current policies of the Untied States are more friendly to the private sector. I know I work for one of them, and if Romney wins in November reinvestment of capital will return to the Great USA. So the touchy feelgood who in touch and who is not is not going to lower the unemployment figures in the private sector. It may make some feel good about themselves but it ain’t going to pay the bills.

  4. I see no problem with the man’s wealth or riding a jet-ski. I only hope he was wearing sunscreen because I’m peeling now from playing on ours…..

  5. Chad said

    No one should have a problem with someone’s wealth. I don’t believe making money is illegal, yet. The current system only allows wealthy people to run for the highest office. This will get no traction at all. It’s a weak attempt at the usual class warfare tactics of the left. Divide the country. Make people envious of someone else’s fortune. It’s sad that so many fall into the trap.

  6. […] do what he and his campaign have generally been unable to do–look more human. Though he was unfairly bashed for a ride on a personal watercraft, yesterday two major media sources–the New York […]

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