Tuesday, June 15, 2004

We Get It -- Kerry's Wealthy (But What About Bush?)

The New York Times had two items -- one a news article on John Kerry's vice presidential-selection process, the other a column by conservative David Brooks -- which continue a theme.

Kerry is well-off.

He's a rich guy. His wife is the Heinz pickle heiress, you know. He plays classical guitar, got a Yale Law degree, speaks French, likes to vacation with the well-to-do on the snowboard trails in Idaho. Hey, he has a boat. The guy has money.

We get it.

But what's amazing is that this information is front-and-center -- the implied message is that Kerry is so rich that he's out of touch -- while anything reference the wealth of Bush and Cheney is afterthought.

The news article, by Glen Justice, "Of 4 Choices, 4 Millionaires for 2nd Spot in Kerry Run" highlights Kerry's wealth, as well as four possible veep picks -- Sens. John Edwards, Bob Graham, Evan Bayh and Bill Nelson.

"That's the Senate, said Stanley Brand, a former general counsel to the House of Representatives who advises members of Congress on ethics. "It has become a millionaire's club."

For what it's worth, Brand has been labeled a Democrat.But who exactly is Kerry to choose? A truck driver from Columbus? A plumber from Grand Rapids? Perhaps a pro bono lawyer from Miami?

Politics is a rich person's game. George Bush has a checkered past -- he got a loan to buy a stake in baseball's Texas Rangers, then cashed out for a humongo profit (after trading Sammy Sosa to the White Sox). He also was involved in what some have called an insider trading scandal at Harken Energy, cashing out of some $846,000 of stock. And, of course, Vice President Cheney is a wealthy man, from his ties to Halliburton, which continue to paying him handsomely. Last time I checked, quite a few people in the Bush administration -- Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Commerce Secretary Evans, etc. -- are very well-to-do.

But none of that appeared in the Kerry article. Kerry's rich, you know.

Bush, according to today's drivel from David Brooks, "went to business school and drives a pickup around his ranch." Kerry, meanwhile, "graduated from law school and plays classical guitar." Brooks concludes: "So we can watch the conflict between these two rival elites play itself out in almost crystalline form."

Bush is a rich guy who talks dumb while driving his pickup on the ranch down in nowheresville, Texas. Message: He may be rich, but he's one of us.

Bush went to Yale undergrad and got an MBA -- don't know if he earned it, but he does have it -- from Harvard University. But since he can't string together coherent, meaningful sentences off the cuff, he must be one of us.

Meanwhile, Kerry's playing the classical guitar, singing in French in between sipping his latte, preparing to join with another out-of-touch "limousine liberal" in his run for the White House.

This is the nonsense coming from the conservatives. The political gameplan is clear -- when in doubt, discredit the opponent.

I wonder if Edwards, Graham, Bayh or Nelson speaks French?



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