James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

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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Posts Tagged ‘jet ski’

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.

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