Los Angeles Times reporter Maeve Reston went out on Long Island over the weekend to cover the fundraisers for Mitt Romney in the Hamptons. She hit paydirt with a a quote from a woman Reston described as a “New York City donor … who would not give her name” sitting in the “passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits.”
“I don’t think the common person is getting it. Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them. We’ve got the message. But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”
That sounds oddly reminiscent of another poster child of New York 1 Percenters, Leona Helmsley, the billionaire “Queen of Mean,” who was convicted of tax evasion in 1988. During her trial, one of her former housekeepers quoted her as saying, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”
Outside the East Hampton fundraiser, a reporter the New York Daily News also encountered a 1 Percenter in the traffic jam that day:
One woman in a blue chiffon dress who arrived at Perelman’s house in a Range Rover considered herself among the most important on the exclusive guest list.
“Is there a VIP entrance? We are VIP,” a New York Times reporter heard her yell to a Romney aide.
Both the donor who spoke so condescendingly about the “common people” and the woman in the blue chiffon dress announcing her VIP status arrived in Range Rovers, so it’s possible the two reporters encountered the same woman. If so, while she certainly sounded like Helmsley, the sad fact is, Leona died five years ago at age 87, and let’s assume the reporters would have mentioned it if they had suspected they’d seen the reanimated corpse of Leona Helmsley in that Range Rover. On the other hand, maybe Leona wasn’t immediately recognizable. After all, rejuvenating miracles are performed with botox and fillers every day.
Of course, a more realistic possibility is that the condescending woman and the screeching VIP in blue chiffon were two different members of the cast of “The Real Housewives of New York City.”