Class Warfare

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Of the men running for president and vice-president, who's the richest? According to The New York Post, "Edwards' personal wealth is comparable to his November rival, Vice President Dick Cheney," which means he's very rich indeed. But the wealthiest is John Kerry—or, at least, he's got the wealthiest wife. All four major-party contenders are multimillionaires.

I'm not sure who the least wealthy candidate is, but I suspect it's the itinerant Michael Badnarik of the Libertarian Party.

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  1. Actually, given the Bush and Prescott family fortunes, W’s mere $15 million could be considered downwardly mobile.

  2. Watch joe’s head bulge, his face turning red, as his brain tries to maintain an illusion that his hometown candidate (and boy-wonder sidekick) can relate to everyman. He rearranges his information in new and creative ways, vainly struggling to defend his internal hatred of wealth and success.

  3. I remember reading a story about Cheney having some unpleasant manual labor jobs in his youth. I don’t think his family was particularly wealthy.

  4. Seems like none of the four amassed their fortunes in especially admirable ways.

  5. WTF are you talking about, Marlon?

  6. Easy Joe, he’s claiming you’ve been duped (or perhaps that you’ve duped yourself) into thinking Kerry and Edwards can “relate to everyman,” when in fact they’re rich and therefore clearly elitists. (But perhaps you just wanted him to come out and say that to assist in your rebuttal.)

    Personally I don’t care who or what a candidate relates to.

  7. Other than if this wealth was procured illegally, would someone remind me why the fuck anyone’s wealth (or “wealth arc”) is any of our business? I mean, this is a libertarian website, right?

    I love these posts…”admirable ways”…none of your goddamn business how anyone amasses wealth!!

    However, I am looking forward to the VP debate when Edwards pulls out his Halliburton amulet (for all you Doc Strange fans) and Cheney returns fire with the $600K tax shelter as Edwards was pulling in $28m over a 4 year period.

  8. I’d say it’s my business how a pres./vice pres. candidate amasses wealth if such candidate’s administration plans on getting up my ass regarding how I amass my wealth.

  9. so you’re saying that the business a candidate embarks upon before becoming a politician is of no use in determining even a facet of his character?

    the entire Who Wants To Elect A Millionaire game is pretty funny.

  10. B.P. (Is that Batting Practice or British Petroleum?) is at least beginning to think clearly as he indicates he will link his opinion of a candidate with their statements, ideas, opinions, etc.

    dhex, I thought that the glorious new paradigm of the 1990’s was that politicans could “compartmentalize” negative facets of their character so as not to affect their overall performance?

    Bottom line: There’s no correlation between socioeconomic status and/or family background and successful leadership.

  11. That may be true, snake, but I think we should be aware of the assets politicians hold, in order to be aware of potential conflicting interests.

  12. So snake, you wouldn’t see any difference between a candidate who grew a corner store into a nationwide chain of department stores, and one who ran his store into the ground?

    I think candidates’ professional backgrounds, and the success, failure, or bailouts that have accompanied them, are completely relevant to judging those candidates. I also believe that people who come from normal homes and later become rich probably ARE more able to relate to normal people than those who come from big money and never set foot in the real world.

  13. Other than if this wealth was procured illegally, would someone remind me why the fuck anyone’s wealth (or “wealth arc”) is any of our business? I mean, this is a libertarian website, right?

    Good Point Snake.

    Larry Flynt for Prez!

  14. $800 million to $1 billion huh? That’s a lot of ketchup. So, what does Badnarik do to make money anyway?

  15. joe,

    Unless you’ve had a “Road to Damascus” experience, I’m assuming you’re attempting to interpret this in favor of Kerry/Edwards. Unfortunately, one married into money, and the other won it from the makers of killer swimming pools, etc. Point is, neither one actually created wealth by starting and growing a business.

    Of course, the path to wealth has little to do with relating to the little guy. While many born-rich people look on the poor with compassion, many rags-to-riches types consider them lazy, unworthy scoundrels, asking why those others haven’t moved up the ladder as they themselves have. There’s a lot more to a person than the size and trend in their finances, to say the least.

  16. Hustler Honey: Why not, what the fuck? He’s already pretty close to the political process anyway as a Democratic operative. (Bob Livingston) I hope he wears that “I wish I was black” t-shirt during the debates.

    joe, the greatest president (by a wide margin) in U.S. history had a marginally shitty professional resume. (Yeah, Walker and Gillespie, I concede that Lincoln suspended writ of HC in Baltimore, before you freak out) I can’t contest the part about being “born rich” as a disqualifier (since it’s your qualitative opinion) except to point that FDR did a fairly good job burying fascism and some rich Virginia plantation owners did a servicable job at getting our collective ball rolling.

  17. “Bottom line: There’s no correlation between socioeconomic status and/or family background and successful leadership.”

    Well, sez you. In your last post you make some attempt to produce evidence for this assertion, but it’s hardly comprehensive and is ultimately just your own opinion. If I decide that a candidate’s wealth and/or his means of attaining it pertain to his qualifications as a potential office-holder, then it’s damn well my business. BOTTOM LINE. Heh.

    That said, truth is I’m not especially interested in the candidates’ wealth either. My comment about unadmirable means was meant as an offhand one and was intended as much for cynical humor as anything else. To back this up, I point to my later comment that I don’t care who or what the candidates relate to.

  18. Other than if this wealth was procured illegally, would someone remind me why the fuck anyone’s wealth (or “wealth arc”) is any of our business? I mean, this is a libertarian website, right?

    Some people may believe that the way a candidate got their wealth has a bearing on how they’d treat others when in office. In theory, if someone got rich off of “connections” and/or inheritence they’re more likely than not to enact policies that screw over Joe & Jane Average trying to make ends meet without such advantages, whereas someone w/ self-made wealth may understand from experience that the last thing we need is their nose up our ass or to witness their friends getting our tax dollars.

    Now, is it necessarily “libertarian” to feel that way? No. But it isn’t automatically Marxist either. Until we can finally get the gov’t to obey it’s constitutional limits, this type of ugly stuff is a factor in our politics. Sure in the long run it shouldn’t matter one lick, we’re not there yet though, if it’s possible to even remotely “figure out” candidates like that why not? Why deny ourselves a tool simply because the end result of our agenda would void its necessity? Does using a hammer mean you worship it?

    IMO, we as Libertarians need to roll up our sleeves & learn to play dirty, otherwise we’re getting nowhere. This is how american politics works, like it or not.

  19. “Cheney got rich from defense-department government contracts. We don’t need any corporate welfare kings in the White House, do we?”

    I’d rather have that then some guy who got rich pushing junk law suits.

  20. Notice the distinction joe draws between “normal” and “rich”. Typical of Leftus Americanus, joe maintains that wealth is fundamentally tainted and must be redeemed through some historical connection to “ordinary” roots. As his candidates are decidely abnormal and super-ordinary by his definition, we wait eagerly to see his response to this cognitive dissonance.

  21. To the extent that wealth makes in a difference in understanding a candidate, I think it’s at least as important to consider their background and “wealth arc” than their holdings at a moment in time.

    Edwards’ family was working class, and he become rich.

    Kerry’s family was middle class, and he become a little rich, than became incredibly rich.

    Bush’s was very rich, and he remained very rich.

    What about Cheney?

  22. …though not nearly as important as their speling and grammur.

  23. Edwards’ family was actually middle class. His father was a manager at that mill.

  24. Cheney got rich from defense-department government contracts. We don’t need any corporate welfare kings in the White House, do we?

  25. Here’s the text for that New York Post story:

    July 7, 2004 — All four major-party candidates for national office this year are multimillionaires, with John Kerry the wealthiest and President Bush the poorest.

    The wealth of the national nominees is hidden behind the vague terms of financial disclosure statements, but the data indicates the newest addition, John Edwards, has a nest egg of up to $70 million.

    The North Carolina Democrat earned his fortune as a trial lawyer, winning more than $200 million in verdicts and settlements for his clients.

    Edwards’ personal wealth is comparable to his November rival, Vice President Dick Cheney.

    Cheney had an estimated $45 million in stock when he left the private sector in 2000 and now is believed to have most of it invested in tax-exempt bond funds.

    Most of Sen. John Kerry’s wealth comes from his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, who inherited a fortune from her first husband, ketchup heir John Heinz.

    The Kerrys are worth an estimated $800 million to $1 billion.

    By comparison, President Bush’s wealth is estimated at $15 million, most of it coming from his sale in the early 1990s of his stake in the Texas Rangers baseball team.

  26. I stand corrected, Jesse.

    Thanks, Jennifer, but what I was wondering was how wealthy Cheney grew up, what his prospects were coming out of school, etc.

  27. It is not normal to be rich. Being rich is a rare condition. No taint is implied anywhere, and I’ve drawn a number of distinctions between various ways of getting rich. I think you should stop arguing with the liberal in your head, and actually read what I wrote.

    I have no problem supporting a candidate who has money.

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