After barely paying attention to the Obamas’ lavish lifestyle for years, some media outlets are tut-tutting former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney for having the audacity ride a jet ski during his recent vacation in New Hampshire:
Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi writes:
The last thing Mitt Romney needs is a John Kerry moment that conjures up F. Scott Fitzgerald’s description of the very rich: “They are different from you and me.”
But 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. The photo of the contented pair skimming joyfully over the water is a natural bridge to the next, less-quoted, line from Fitzgerald’s 1926 short story, “The Rich Boy”: “They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand.”
A U.K. Telegraph article about the jet ski incident was titled, “Mitt Romney’s jet ski pictures carry unwelcome echoes of John Kerry.” That article’s subtitle: “Mitt Romney risked evoking the spirit of John Kerry’s failed presidential bid on Monday when he was pictured riding a jet ski on the water in front of his $8m New Hampshire home.”
Some Twitter users piled on:
Get off the damn jet ski! People suffering & you are partying!! Romney is struggling with ObamaCare 'problem' http://t.co/hRBsuCWR
— MPal (@texasaunt) July 4, 2012
Even a few conservatives chastised Romney:
Talk show host Laura Ingraham: “Should Romney call the ceasefire or get out there on the trail and get off the jet ski?”
The Wall Street Journal: “Meanwhile, 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.”
In truth, jet skis are not outlandishly expensive. They are enjoyed by Americans of many different income levels, not just the ultra-rich.
Ive seen a lot of jet skis in trailer parks around here RT @CuffyMeh: WSJ slams Romney for riding a jet ski, aka a redneck's first boat.
— Rschrim (@Rschrim) July 5, 2012
@mkhammer The WSJ ed board has clearly not spent much time on the intercoastal waterway in the Carolinas. Jet Ski = the people's boat
— Scott Lincicome (@scottlincicome) July 5, 2012
@mkhammer Actually Rednecks love to jet ski. Romney's should vacation in Panama City, FL. That would prove he's not an elitist!
— LeRoy Curtis (@zeroshenanigans) July 5, 2012
I think Romney is out-of-touch rich, but I know plenty of lower-middle-class folks who own jet skis. http://t.co/L655iUqH
— Amy Derjue (@derjue) July 5, 2012
Here is a small sampling of Twitter users who rode jet skis during the last day or two, or are planning to do so today. Not one of them is named Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg:
— alec owens (@alecowens2) July 5, 2012
Sometimes I wish I was a lazy fuck n had a part time job, then I remeber. I own a house, 3 cars 2 bikes, jet ski, dirtbike, sled. at age 21
— Kevin Peacock (@K_peacockk) July 5, 2012
My body is so sore from riding the jet ski with my love..I'm not as young as I used to be #ifeelold :((
— Fat to Fittie (@Fat2Fit2014) July 5, 2012
A day with her at the lake, Good food, swimming, jet ski-in all over just us two, and to enjoy herself with my family.
— ☪Schoolboy M (@209xxxx) July 5, 2012
Being woken up at 8 AM to drive a jet ski to the boat launch since we don't have lifts yet and it's going to storm was not the best surprise
— Megan Dawson (@meganardele) July 5, 2012
@MadieeMariee (: okie dokie… or we can go 2 the lake & i can take u on my jet ski!!
— St♥ner lyfe (@KekeIdgaf) July 5, 2012
I'm so sore all over from holding on to Brandon on the jet ski yesterday! Wah 🙁
— Christy † (@mrs_carteaux) July 5, 2012
Lost my leopard plugs on the jet ski yesterday 😡😡😡😡😡
— Joe (@BigBootyJoeee) July 5, 2012
Some Twitter users (rightly) detect a media double standard:
Like when the NYT was outraged by Kerry's windsurfing. RT @CuffyMeh: WSJ slams Romney for riding a jet ski, aka a redneck's first boat.
— Matt (@mdrache) July 5, 2012
— Rick (@StrokesofCandor) July 5, 2012