WASHINGTON -- Did I waste my time last Sunday? In the morning, I was reading "The New York Times," acquainting myself with precisely how the rich and famous live. The editors of the Times chose this story for its front page, so I figured they thought it important. It involved the Romney family and someone called Jan Ebeling. It turns out I could have spent my time otherwise.
On Sunday morning, the syndicated columnist George Will appeared on ABC News' "This Week" and, though I failed to watch it, he ruminated over Mitt Romney's fundraising and those donors whom he cultivates. George noted one donor in particular, Donald Trump. He called Trump a "bloviating ignoramus." That was not the end of it. Trump detected George's rude utterance somehow and leapt to Twitter, where he twitted -- I presume that is the verb -- that "George Will may be the dumbest (and most overrated) political commentator of all time." What an exciting exchange of ideas!
Meanwhile I was lost in the Times' vast explication of the toney life of the Romneys with Ebeling and a cast of what seemed like hundreds of rich people, their lawyers, the horse cardiologists and, of course, their horses. Mrs. Romney's is, by the way, named Super Hit.
Ann Romney, some years ago, took up horseback riding as therapy for multiple sclerosis. That would be bad enough, for these were expensive horses, but it gets worse. She took up a very posh kind of horseback riding called "dressage." At first, I thought dressage involved cross-dressing or something risqu‚. After all, the Times's tone was decidedly alarmist. But the story is more troubling still. Dressage is very, very expensive and, as the Times sees it, frivolous. Moreover, the Romneys had become very friendly with this fellow Ebeling, who emigrated here in 1980 from Germany. Since then, Ebeling has become a mentor to the rich and famous and is now trying out for our Olympic team. The horse he plans to ride at the Olympic tryouts is in part owned by Ann Romney, and she and her husband, the Republicans' presumed nominee, have loaned Ebeling and his wife money for their horse farm at which the Romneys take quiet getaways in a "Mediterranean-style guesthouse." Why a Mediterranean-style as opposed to an Igloo-style is left to the imagination.
Well, those getaways will not be quiet any longer. The Times has blown the whistle on the whole sordid deceit, and I anticipate we shall be informed of even more lavish recreations in the months to come. The Times and "The Washington Post" are nothing if not exhaustive and exhausting. Recall, if you will, the Post's extensive piece about Romney's high school bullying of a boy or the rumor of his bullying of a boy, or some Democratic acquaintance's recollection of Romney's bullying or, perhaps, someone else's bullying of the boy who, incidentally, is now dead and whose family objects to the Post's characterization of him.
Frankly, I think I shall stick with "The New York Times." For sheerest boredom, they take all cakes. What of Mitt Romney's other recreations? Doubtless before this election is over, we shall read all about them. We already have heard about how he treated his dog twenty-nine years ago. And then the Romneys have five sons. They may be windsurfers, as Jean-Francois Kerry windsurfed during the 2004 election. They may be bungee-jumpers. Was not Al Gore a bungee-jumper until he developed those multitudinous inner tubes of flesh around his midsection? On one subject I think we shall hear very little -- Mitt Romney's drug use as a young man. It is abundantly clear that he did not use drugs, not even caffeine.
On the other hand, President Barack Obama did use drugs. And he actually did bully a fellow high school student, though the student was not a boy. President Obama admits in his memoirs, Dreams from My Father, to having bullied a girl. Where did he get the money to pay for his drugs and why did he bully a girl? I shall never know. I read "The New York Times."