Since When Did "For-Profit" Become a GOP Slur?


Reason contributor David Harsanyi makes a salient point in today's Denver Post:

Listen to presidential candidates these days and you may start believing that working for a living was a moral failing.

Republican front-runner John McCain, for instance, seems especially fond of himself—or, at least, more fond of himself than usual—when throwing around a line about how his life was "not for profit, but for patriotism."

No one is diminishing the senator's war record, but there is no shame in making a buck, starting a business, promoting entrepreneurship, risking capital, creating jobs or generating the tax revenue that keeps folks like McCain employed.

The same vibe was on display last night in the Dem debate, as it has been in most of Obama's ballyhooed Kennedyesque oratoria, with its emphasis on shared sacrifice, greater causes, and inspiring brand new generations of young people to avoid those high-paying law firms to do the noble work of helping spend taxpayer money.

I talked about the McCain's disparaging attitudes toward private-sector individualism earlier this week, and made it one of my reasons to be very afraid of his presidency last April.

It's also a hoot-and-a-half that the GOP front-runner would call Mitt Romney's fortune-backed self-financing "alarming," given that he was more than happy to finance his first congressional campaign "from his wife's personal wealth." As the Arizona Republic reported, in its long, worthwhile October 1999 biography of the hometown senator,

Under 1982 election rules, it was legal for McCain to tap his wife's assets, as well as his own, when making personal loans [of $169,000] to the campaign. In 1983, the rules were rewritten, with tighter guidelines on the use of family money.

Still, when asked last July by the New York Times whether he would consider borrowing money from his super-rich wife, McCain said: "I would never do such a thing. I don't think it's the appropriate thing to do."