Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Counting Houses

I am not very naïve. A little bit, probably, but not too much. I know that big-time politicians are rich people, and most have more than one home. So I’m not naïve; I understand how a person who is smart enough, influential enough, and ambitious enough to become a well known politician – say, a U.S. Senator, for example – would naturally end up being pretty rich.

But I am trying really, really hard to get my mind around being so rich that you lose track of how many homes you own. I mean, really? It seems like it would be an easy question, doesn’t it? “How many homes do you own, Senator McCain?” Even just taking a few moments to think about it and then replying would have been better than, “I’ll have my staff get back to you on that.”

So then that adds a layer. I now have to get my mind around being rich enough to have a staff that you could pay to count your homes for you for the purposes of answering the question of how many homes you have. By the way, do you think he asked one person, or did he appoint a task force? Was it, “Hey Joe, do me a favor and count my homes, would ya?”

Like I said, I’m not naïve, so I know that Senator Obama is rich, too. He probably owns a few homes himself. He’s smart, influential, and ambitious enough to be elected Senator and nominated for president, which means he’s probably loaded up a bit of cash along his way.

How out of touch with median-income-$50,000-citizen are you when you actually lose track of how many homes you own, and have to defer the question until your staff can do some fact-checking? In what world must you live, and how in the heck are you going to make sure the working poor can afford health care by the way, when you have to use more than one hand to count your homes?

I’m not saying that being extremely wealthy automatically disqualifies someone from leading the country, either. But it would be nice if someone would remind me of the distinction between a republic and a plutocracy again. The line seems to have grown a bit fuzzy.


Hairy said...

How about one explanation being that his wife keeps separate finances and much of her investments and holdings are held in a blind trust? And an attempt to answer honestly meant consulting with his staff to give the most correct many they own together versus that which may be owned by her.

And do you really want to wade into partisan politics? Our do you intend to take every opportunity to slam a fellow Christian? Do Methodist preachers regularly make snide and unfair comments for partisan reasons? Bizzare.

kris said...

Wow. Granted, I am extremely unfamiliar with the lifestyle of the ridiculously wealthy, but I think Andy's critique of Senator McCain is fair. I wouldn't expect Senator McCain to know how many shares of stock he and Cindy have in some random company, but I do expect him to know how many houses they have.

Actually, I read this post as being quite bipartisan; but I'm sure that's just because I'm some kind of liberal, tree-hugging hippie. Maybe it's just a Methodist thing...

Kansas Bob said...

I wonder if this will be an out-of-touch moment like (the first) President Bush had when the cameras caught him being awed by the barcode scanner at the grocery store?

Mr. Slate said...

"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes." - Yoda

I'm not sure that I care how many houses they own or how rich they are. I'm more concerned about how they respond to questions about healthcare for the poor and other questions that will influence my decision.

Concerned I am about the possibility of not having proper checks and balances between the three branches of government should one party control two of these and can nominate others to the third. Our Republic stands on these three branches and is why the line should not be that fuzzy.

Granted both McCain & Obama have considerably more financial resources than most any of us will ever see, they are far from wealthy enough to be able to call themselves leaders of a plutocracy.

John said...

Remember Lamar Alexander's Presidential campaign back in '96? It was hilarious. His campaign consisted entirely of a series of gimmicks that tried to depict him as a man of the common people, instead of filthy rich. He had signs everywhere that just said "Lamar!" -- always with an exclamation point. And he always wore a red plaid shirt with blue jeans, and arrived at rallies in a red pickup truck. Once, a reporter cornered him and asked him how much was the price of a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. Alexander, of course, hadn't done his own shopping in years. That's what servants are for. So he quickly turned to an aide and said "Quick! Get me the price of a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread!"

That finished him.

His campaign was a train-wreck. He correctly assumed that voters are morons, but he pushed his condescension too far. Voters weren't that stupid.

John Schmalzbauer said...

Actually, Methodists are pretty bipartisan. In the year 2000, 46 percent of Methodist clergy voted for Al Gore and 46 percent for George Bush (according to a survey by political scientist Corwin Smidt).

So I guess the average pastor voted for neither (or both).

CARYL said...

Wow, Andy, Hairy really let you have it! Don't know why he is so upset. Seems to me like a preacher, no matter what denomination, can say what he/she wants on a blog. that's a far cry from telling congregations from the pulpit who they should vote for. Which, if I'm not mistaken, has been done recently. cb

sparklesax said...

Methodist Preacher here. Snide comment alert. Maybe. Professional can opener. Yes.

First, ditto what the mom said. (Caryl)

And while Andy doesn’t need me to stand up for him, Second: hairy, why don't you let us know who you are? Your profile is hidden in blogger. It's kinda rude not to let us (at least Andy) know who you are.

When we tune into the talking heads as they disagree and lash out at each other, we at least know who's talking and who's lashing. There is an observed context of relationship.

When you anonymously post to my friend’s blog, I wanna know who you are too, so I can get some context of who you are and where you are coming from. For all I know you are Mark Tooley trying to launch an attack to besmirch so as to further the partisan politics within the UM church.

Honesty is important. Identity too. Feel free to click my profile, you'll learn a lot about adoption and testicular cancer, but that has nothing to do with *this* conversation, or does it? It will give you context of who I am and the basis of a relationship upon which to converse. As well as plenty of information upon which you can question me.

The point you raise is interesting. However, one could question the notion of keeping finances separate from your spouse...Isn't there something in Acts about Christians (and not just the married ones) sharing all things? (Acts 4:32) But in that context they were of all one heart and mind. Alas we fellow Christians are far from being of the same mind, let alone the same heart. When Christians PRETENDED to be of the same mind (in the next chapter) they dropped dead on the spot, Ananias and Sapphira anyone?

But if I continued down that rabbit trail then I'd be going all "liberal-Jesus-freak” (aka preacher) on you. Then I guess I could also be accused of trying to create a Biblical dialog within the context of partisan (and gasp! Church) politics. Then again, Jesus really pissed of the politicians and the preachers of his day, but I digress. I would argue that Jesus started out being in relationship with people, letting us know who he is as he lets us tell him who we are.

One of my greatest pet peeves (and I think Andy blogged about it some time ago) is to have and or to witness a "conversation" via a blog with someone who holds their cards so close to the chest that you have no idea if they have a face let alone a poker face. Then to have that faceless person lob javelins into the air, with no real destination other than to stir up and or stop a conversation.

It is one of the most bizarre (one z, two r's) areas that out wonderful world wide web takes us into. No body wins. And it keeps us further away from attaining that one heart and mind that for some of us Christians represents the kingdom we passionately long for.

Sarah C. Evans, wife of Frank, out of the pulpit preacher to be a stay at home mom to Zane and friend to Andy. I now must go rescue the Bible with the onion skin pages from my 17mo hands. Hey, at least he's reading, right?