(Ben Sargent via GoComics.com)
Gail Collins at the NYTimes muses on the financial acumen, or what passes for it, among the current top GOP contenders:
The personal finances of the G.O.P. presidential hopefuls are important for two reasons. One is that we’re talking about people who aspire to the most prestigious and important job the nation has to offer. The other is that these folks seem to have done really, really well. Perhaps, they can offer career tips….
Gingrich wants everyone to understand that he does not lobby. Really, whatever the exact legal definition of lobbying is, that is something he did not do. The Gingrich Group got what turns out to be about $1.6 million to not-lobby for Freddie Mac, one of a long, long list of clients. Let’s all pause to recall the high dudgeon with which Gingrich announced, during one of the debates, that Representative Barney Frank ought to be put in jail for being “close to” Freddie Mac lobbyists. What kind of politician demands that an elected official be incarcerated for hanging out with the same people who are paying said politician $1.6 million or so to not-lobby?…
Romney is the richest person running for president, worth somewhere between $190 million and $250 million. Most of that came from his work at Bain Capital, a firm that bought up troubled companies and gave them makeovers. Although many people lost their jobs when Bain Capital reeled in their employers, Romney’s work did create a lot of new value. Which, on occasion, Bain Capital walked away with, leaving the remnants of the company flopping helplessly on the beach….
Some of the Republican candidates seem to have no visible means of support whatsoever — like Rick Santorum, who has seven kids. You would hate to think they were going without shoes just so Dad could continue his never-ending quest to break into the 5 percent range in the polls.
But, good news! Santorum made at least $970,000 in 2010, in all those mysterious ways unsuccessful Republican candidates for president seem to have of making money. Part of it came from being a commentator for Fox News, and part of it came from Santorum’s work at — yes! — a think tank.
Rick Perry does not have a vast fortune, although he is blessed with friends who fly him around on private jets, take him on cool vacations and, occasionally, sell him real estate at bargain-basement prices. This week, Perry laced into Barack Obama as a man who could not possibly understand what ordinary Americans were going through because he “grew up in a privileged way.” This is a strange way to describe the president’s upbringing — particularly when Romney, the guy Perry is actually supposed to be running against, was the son of the head of American Motors. Maybe he got the two mixed up.
Have you seen the little piggies
Crawling in the dirt?
And for all the little piggies
Life is getting worse
Always having dirt to play around in
Have you seen the bigger piggies
In their starched white shirts?
You will find the bigger piggies
Stirring up the dirt
Always have clean shirts to play around in
In their styes with all their backing
They don’t care what goes on around
In their eyes there’s something lacking
What they need’s a damn good whacking
Everywhere there’s lots of piggies
Living piggy lives
You would see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives
Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon
Villago Delenda Est
Do you suppose BoBo can be tempted away from slobbing on OvenMitt’s knob long enough to read Collins’ column?
At what point do the second-tier candys start calling uncle? Or do they all stay in thru the primaries?
Left out the punchline.
Wingnut welfare on steroids. I think one unspoken feeling that drives the rage against the 1% is the knowledge that so much of their munificent rewards stem not from talent, drive, or bold risk-taking, but simply from knowing the right people or being born into the right family. These are mooks and wankers who consider themselves the Masters of the Universe and who are apparently determined to turn the rest of us into indentured servants.
The GOP race for president gives us a chance to look at some of these people up close. How on earth did someone as clueless as Herman Cain get to be a CEO of a corporation? Probably had some competent assistants covering for him all the way. What on earth could Newt Gingrich have possibly done as a “consultant historian” to earn millions of dollars? His intellect is demonstrably an inch deep. Clearly he was paid to lobby his old buddies in Congress.
c u n d gulag
Poor, poor, Perry – unless “The Onion” decided to become a think tank, he’ll never find a job in one.
But, I’m sure Wingnut Welfare will find something for him to do – maybe ‘Hair Club for Men’ ads?
Or he can play the Texas yokel in the TV ads, opposite NY hipsters Clyde “The Glide” Frazier and Keith “Snort” Hernandez, for ‘Just for Men’ hair dye.
Santorum’s already got the Catholic penitent “Hair Shirt for Men” ads.
I love how she always manages to work in a reference to Romney and the dog strapped to the roof.
I don’t think Herman Cain is stupid, and he did spend a considerable amount of time working his way up the ladder to become CEO. The reason he’s coming across as this season’s Sarah Palin is that he wasn’t really running for President (more running for the sake of all the media attention) and hence apparently didn’t feel the need to learn anything about any of the topics that Presidents have to care about. He probably was more surprised than most of us when he surged in the polls and had to act like a first-tier candidate.
@Punchy: I think they’ll stay in at least through New Hampshire. Then they’ll “regretfully” announce that they have to go back to their rather cushy jobs being paid to be insane, and not have to deal with the icky voters and media. Unless they get paid to do so.
Gotta let the kids know. You can pay those college loans back. Just become a third-rate political player and you’re set for life. Say a few things about homosexuals and vague religiousy things and you’ll go places. Don’t be a fool like Buddy. He’s not qualified; he hasn’t become rich enough in the system to trust his smarts.
Villago Delenda Est
@c u n d gulag:
If Perry can fake being a hack, he can get a wingnut welfare job in a “think tank”.
There is no thinking in one of those…only blind recitation of ideology in ways that would have made heads spin in the Soviet Kremlin.
Gail Collins thinks Bain Capital “created a lot of value”?!? Classic corporate-speak euphemism for stealing. They have the accountants create some nebulous, made-up “value” amount for a particular company, then sell it when they think they’ve gamed it as much as possible, and before potential buyers catch on to the swindle.
In order to create this supposed “value,” they first fire much of the workforce or send all the jobs the slave-labor countries. Presto! Instant “value!” And Gail Collins thinks this is helpful to society how now?
Please let Bachmann stay in the race until the very end, that way it will be too late for her to fall back and campaign for her old seat.
Santorum, who made almost a million dollars last year, was the one who told Americans “they aren’t suffering enough.”
That Kristof column is pretty good too, but his video clip – man, he’s got a voice for newspapers.
@dmsilev: I recognize that Cain worked his way up, so there has to have been some competence at some stages of his career and therefore he may not have been the best example of wingnut welfare. However, I think there may still be an element of his being promoted beyond his level of competence. Even if it’s just a glorified book tour, the way Cain has run his campaign (choice of staff, illegal financing, bumbling response to scandal) doesn’t betray any ace management skills.
You’re assuming that’s a high bar in the pizza industry.
I think the guy’s a dope but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t rise to the top of a shallow talent pool. Clearly way over his head in politics though.
So many of these R candidates display contempt for the office of the President; the duties and responsibilities. As though there is no difference from climbing the Wingnut Welfare ladder.
It’s an article of faith with them that government doesn’t work, so anything remotely functional must be rendered useless. Unless it can be repurposed to facilitate enriching the 1%.
Villago Delenda Est
There’s management (as in business) and management (as in politics, in the public eye).
I’m sure Cain has a skillset that is well suited to the somewhat narrow vision of the operator of a chain of restaurants, even some management skills in the soft drink bottling industry (from which he came to run Godfather’s). Of course, it’s always possible he was kicked sideways to the National Restaurant Association to get him out of the way in PepsiCo. He’d joined the club by that time, and fuckups are not dealt with by demotion, but with “kicking out of the way”.
The problem is that those skills do not necessarily translate well to management of a political campaign, particularly one where you’re living under klieg lights all the time, as he’s doing now.
What might work well within a conference room that you have control over may not work at all in a press conference with nooze types eager to set themselves apart from their peers by asking provocative questions.
The entire “extended book tour” meme is very attractive, particularly since Cain is a great “see, we’re not REALLY racist” token for the usual suspects who pull strings from back stage.
Not exactly what you’re talking about, but I’ve read a theory (I think by Hannah Arendt) about French politics from the old, pre-revolutionary days, that the real popular rage against the nobility didn’t start until after Richelieu and Louis XIV had pulled all their teeth and created a strong central monarchy, with the nobles being reduced to just being courtiers.
The people can be willing to put up with cruelty and pettiness as long as they think the nobles served a purpose. When they start looking like useless cronies, they start wondering “why do we put up with them again?”
You might need to adjust your snark meter. I think Collins is being satiric.
@Villago Delenda Est:
Yeah, but in some ways this reinforces my original point. These supermen who are somehow worth millions more than you or me flounder helplessly when they have to function outside a cozy protective corporate cocoon. Most of us have had to repeatedly scramble to gain competence in wildly varying occupational settings just to keep our lives on track, and no one showers us with gobs of cash, a limo, a driver, a house in the Hamptons, or a golden parachute. Yet we have to scratch around for reasons why Cain (and Perry and Palin and…) can’t function even believably when they are thrust into a situation slightly different from their usual element.
@Steeplejack: ‘zactly. Created a lot of financial “value,” actively destroyed social value. I don’t see anything suggesting that it was contributing to society.
I’m pretty sure she was being snarky:
I thought that actually the richest GOP candidate was Jon Huntsman. Isn’t he a billionaire – which is one major reason that he gets good press coverage as a reasonable Republican?
@mamayaga: Selection bias is also a tricky thing. Cain somehow succeeds (almost certainly due to some luck along the way) in his pizza business, so he decides he is a genius. As the song says, “it ain’t necessarily so.”
As I understand it, Cain success came from his “brilliance” in closing the franchises of the pizza chain that were losing money.
Holy bazoli, I could do that; and I can’t even balance a checkbook.