Thursday, November 1, 2007
Personal Asides: Ganging Up on Hillary Helped Her and the GOP All Hail the Altruistic P. R. Puffery of Warren Buffery.
NOTE: As there was some interruption of the Internet service Thursday, some may not have seen that days offerings in which case I submit them again. People following the day-to-day scenario of Hubert and Gene have been agitating for Thursdays installment to be run. Here goes.
Ganging Up on Hillary.
Precisely because the Democrats are the party of political correctness regarding minorities, women, gays, the disabled as sacred cows the party suffered a black eye with its constituencies Tuesday during the 2-hour presidential debate. While I have no brief for Hillary, her rivals didnt help themselves by doubting publicly whether she is electable in the general election and taunting her because of her high, 50% negatives. They imparted unto themselves a double whammy.
First, they showed their insecurity by evidencing that she is the front-runner. Second, in a party of political correctness they seemed to be mocking the only woman who has had a major chance to become president in U. S. history. Third, they gave sound bytes the GOP can use against her in the general election.
Fourth, they maimed themselves by highlighting their own radicality. John Edwards Will she be the person who brings about change in this country? You know, I believe in Santa Claus. I believe in the tooth fairy. But I dont think thats going to happen. If a radical populist like Edwards thinks she would not bring the change he desires, it rings the polling cash-register for Hillary with voters to the right of Michael Moore and later with the GOP to the right of Hillary. All told, helping Hillary and the GOP in that way was the latest good break the Republicans have had in a season seemingly bereft of them.
Not that Hillary was particularly good that night. She was awful. She wisely avoided direct answers to most questions and leveled the brunt of her answers in the form of criticism of President Bushwhich is adept debating posture when youre leading your fellow Democrats. But she goofed badly when she attempted to waffle her way out of a question on whether she favors giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens as did New York governor Eliot Spitzer. She very nearly lost her temper; she did become shrill. On the Spitzer issue, in debaters terms she would have been better served in making a choice and sticking with it. To blunt assaults from the left-wing of her party, she should have prepared a compromising position and stressed the need to do more to assimilate illegals into society. I was stunned that as smart as she is, she hadnt prepared anything and was caught flat-footed.
The Wondrous P. R. Puffery of Warren Buffery.
If Warren Buffett feels the U. S. treasury should get more of his money, he ought to pony up. Theres no law that says he cant contribute to help alleviate the national debt. But theres no chance he will. His commiserating with libe
ral media that he wishes he could pay more taxes and that the rich are getting a break is public relations puffery in its most egregious form. If Buffett didnt understand that, he could not have gotten $52 billion out of his investments.
Buffetts sanctimonious concern that his cleaning lady ought to have equal representation with him in campaign donations. Why doesnt he take a poll of cleaning ladies and mobilize a campaign for whomever they choose. Why doesnt he do that? Are you crazy? Do you remotely think he would want to do all he could to get a likely wing-nut in the White House? He knows better. It is accumulated guilt for his wealth that makes him try to schmooze the average guy by pretending to side with him. Its as old as philanthropy which was popularized when public relations advisers to John D. Rockefeller became alarmed at how hugely unpopular the old geezer was, giving out dimes to urchins on the street as he toddled on the arm of his valet. So the advisers et up the Rockefeller foundation in an effort to make things look better. So long as old John lived, the foundation operated all rightgiving to people who at least wanted to participate in the system. After he died (at almost 100) the foundation was taken over by a cadre who had bamboozled his son, John D. Jr. and went to the left. Going to the left was huzzaed by the public relations fraternity which showed garish press clippings lauding the Rockefeller family for its compassion.
Since then, many of the very rich have gone to the left for societal protection. After all, its not very altruistic to point out that the government cant raise tax rates as high as liberals would like without adverse consequences. There is no doubt that top tax rates were too high for several decades after World War II. Youre not going to be elected the most popular guy at the Racquet Club if you go around saying that Reagan was a successful president domestically because he lowered tax rates on the rich. You wont be toasted in champagne at your country clubs Christmas soiree if you talk about the need to continue Bushs tax cuts which have given us the longest spell of prosperity in modern times.
What you want to do, my friends, is dismiss your wealth as inconsequential. How are you going to be nominated as Man of the Year at your churchs Black Tie Ball if you go around saying the truththat capitalists are by nature performing a huge social service possible by risk, by making investments gambles without a pre-determined return? That comes perilously close to saying the hideous truth that would get you banished to the third circle in Hell: to help the poor and middle class, one must cut the taxes of the rich. Warren Buffett understands this because its an economic truismbut why in the name of God would he want to be caught dead saying it if he wants to be immortalized in bronze as a statesman? Let the benighted Republicans perform the dirty workall the while your head is in the clouds. Watch for him to be named Nobel prize winner for something or other. Its in the cards and this is a sure thing.
On a lesser level do you think saying this would get you celebrated in the two major newspapers here or on WTTW-TV? Its not the way to be celebrated as a business statesman. Similarly, you cant get on the Jim Lehrer NewsHour by announcing your support of, say, Fred Thompson or Mitt Romney. But look what pro-tax hike puffery has done to Buffery! Not to mention the last time he was onwhen he endorsed Barack Obama. Aw the shame of it. With all his billions he can only give Obama a total of $2,300. Damn that federal law (note to the file: dont ever let the occasion rise when a rich man had the right to back a candidate unlimitedlyala what happened to Stewart Mott who had to fork over several millions to Gene McCarthy. Thank God for McCain-Feingold!).
Buffett is the latest in a long line of billionaire phonies to espouse liberalism as a creedbut he has added a fillip: condemn the tax code as helping the rich and wishing that he could pay more taxes than his office receptionist. You notice he doesnt write a check for a couple of billions to the Treasury, havent you? His lawyers will, backstage, find some hitch in the law that prevents him for which old Puff Bucket will go tsk-tsk. . Its all a dodge and of course the only one falling for it is the left ala Tom Brokaw who interviewed him. Hence let us all honor the puffery of Warren Buffery: he has become embraced by the media as an economic guru which has not been duplicated since the Democrats canonized John Kenneth Galbraith who theorized a nation can tax itself rich. In the same way you can drink yourself sober.