Friday, August 31, 2012

The Political Horse

How Horses Affect My Vote

Well, sort of.  In this case, let me warn you, I am going to be making a very political post here, so if you aren't interested, don't keep reading.

First, let me tell you, I am politically biased. I am a Democrat and rather liberal, so there is a definite slant to what I say.

But, in the interest of fairness, I did watch a good part of the Republican National Convention, where--for my non-US friends--Mitt Romney was nominated to run for the office of President of the United States. Mr. Romney has already made his less than impressive mark in Great Britain where he criticized the Olympics, so some of you may know of him.

Here in the USA, he has gained a reputation for being a kind of "wooden" figure with little human personality. He made his acceptance speech last night, and did his best to present himself as a warm, compassionate person. To a large extent he succeeded.

However....I am forced to question his sincerity mostly because of, get this....HORSES!

Ironically, the Olympics also figure into this.

As you may well know, Mitt Romney and his wife Ann, own the Olympic dressage horse, Rafalca. The mare competed in the 2012 Olympics under rider Jan Ebling and while she did not medal, they put in quite a solid, nice performance.

Regardless of what I think of Mr. Romney, I was quite excited and pleased about Rafalca, and was proud to know dressage had moved into the national spotlight because of its connection to the Presidential race.

Too bad Mr. Romney didn't feel that way too. In fact, the horse became quite a sore issue in the campaign. Many newscasters mocked out the Romney's for their "expensive, elite" lifestyle filled with dancing horses--"horse ballet."  OK, well enough. Add to it the $177,000 income tax deduction the Romney's took for the cost of their horses, and I suppose some of that criticism was valid. But, I didn't mind all of that too much. I was happy the Romney's had horses and happier still with their dressage connection and felt it did make them more "human."

Until...the crucial moments.  The week of the Olympics arrived and Mr. Romney was questioned about Rafalca's Olypmic debut.  What did he say?  In an interview with NBC news, here was his take:

"I have to tell you. This is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well."

What?!  Mr. Romney brags about his saving the Salt Lake Olympics from bankruptcy, suggesting a strong commitment to the Olympic games, and he doesn't even know when his own horse will compete? Worse, he claims it's his wife's horse and he doesn't even have enough interest to support her passion?

My take. The political heat was too much for Mr. Romney. He simply did not have the courage to stand up to negative press and say, "This is a once in a lifetime experience for my wife and our family. I am proud of our horse and Jan Ebling, and delighted to be a part of representing the United States in the Olympic games."

Nope, instead, he ran away from the whole scene.

OK, political expediency perhaps excuses his behavior, but then, last night in his acceptance speech, he lauded his father for standing by his mother's side during her run for office by saying:

"When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice, 'Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation?"

He admired his father for that, yet somehow, he could not emulate his own hero.  Further, in the film introducing him to the convention, he said of his wife: 
"He recalls telling her that he would be a happy man 'as long as I’ve got my soul mate with me.' "
 Read more:

Well, he certainly didn't think enough of his "soul mate" to bother being at her side during one of the most exciting and important events of her equestrian life. 

"Hypocrisy" comes to mind and sticks there. 

And that's a prime reason I will not vote for Mr. Romney. 


  1. I wasn't planning to vote for Romney, myself, but when I heard he wasn't going to watch his wife's horse--when he was even in Europe at the time--he would have lost my vote, too. I think it speaks volumes about the man.

    Author of "Trail Training for the Horse and Rider" and "Trail Horse Adventures and Advice"

  2. I disagree...Political expediency is no excuse.

  3. He wouldn't have gotten my vote horse or no horse. I'm very political and have lots of opinions about this race. Just suffice it to say I don't think he and Ryan are the men for the job.

  4. Oh yay - I want to chime in.

    Romney's refusal to "take one for the team" on the dressage issue was cowardly, and he lacks warmth to be sure.

    His choosing Paul Ryan as a running mate, who has such disregard for women - co-writing "personhood" legislation with Todd Akin of "legitimate rape" fame for one, and Ryan's eagerness to gut the social saftey net with his budget proposals, are two of many good reasons to reconsider a vote for the Romney / Ryan ticket imho...

  5. I'm not a Romney fan but that was based on policy and not personality - until the Olympics and he made that statement about not knowing, or caring, when Rafalca went. From that point forward, I have disliked the man. A supportive, loving husband would not have said such a thing about his wife's passion.
    Oh, and he lost my husband's support with that comment as well.

  6. I'm with you. Anyway, my soul mate is JOSE! and I'll tell all the pundits that.
    By the way, we used to have the GOP out here in Owyhee: the Great Orange Pumpkin. Jose's brother. That's about the extent of my interest in politics.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  7. well i'm english and well on the left, so would never choose any republican (tory over here) for anything.. i could not believe he said that when i saw it reported in the british press. he has made a very bad impression over here...and i wouldn't have thought he did his marriage any good either... know what i'd be saying to partner who said such a thing about my passion.....