“Class Warfare”


Mondays are becoming bad days for Governor Romney.

Last Monday, you may remember, we woke to the debate over his criticism of Obama administration for its appeasing ways in the face of attacks on two of our diplomatic facilities.  Except, of course, it turned out Governor Romney was criticizing a statement that was issued by a staffer in Cairo before the attacks actually occurred.

Oops.

Whether you think this incident was an appalling lapse in judgement that confirmed your belief that Mitt is not ready to be promoted up from his office supply chain (my view) or whether you think this was yet another case of the liberal media and Obama sycophants trying to make something out of nothing (see the comments section of the “Mitt’s Character Moment”), the result of Mr. Romney’s statement was a whole week’s worth of debate over the appropriateness of his statement that culminated in every weekend talk show having a “Is Romney losing?” discussion and a long, long, long article on Politico detailing the growing disfunction within the Romney campaign .  At best, a waste of precious days for the Governor and there’s some polling evidence that he’s done some real damage to himself.

Which brings us to this Monday when Mother Jones magazine posted a video of candidate Romney declaring class warfare on half of the country:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…Our message of low taxes doesn’t connect…so my job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

Conservatives are fond of crying “class warfare” when anyone dares suggest raising taxes or that there might be something less that perfect equality of opportunity in America.  “They’re trying to divide us, set us against one another.  It’s un-American!” they like to claim.

The way I hear this, Governor Romney just declared war on me, my family and most of my friends who pay taxes, who believe in doing for themselves but who also believe that government is not the enemy of its people and that it helps to steady the hand of capitalism.  In Mr. Romney’s worldview, being in favor of “radical” ideas like universal health care or a social safety net or providing food or subsidized housing for people who live in poverty also apparently means we’re shiftless, lazy parasites living off the sweat of all the “good” people (presumably the ones who paid a reported $50,000 a piece for the privilege of hearing this hate speech live and in person) and that he doesn’t see it as his job to worry about us – either during the election or should he be elected.

Well, we don’t have to worry about Governor Romney either.  Screw you, Governor, and the Bentley you rode in on.  I’m pretty sure you can take the next 7 weeks off because I’m not seeing how you’re digging yourself out of this one.

– Austin

66 thoughts on ““Class Warfare”

  1. I think he wasn’t referring to the 47 percent who pay no federal income taxes and probably little if any state taxes? Can’t guess because I don’t know his intent.

    What I do know is that we have one of the most polarizing presidents in modern history who disdains business and mocks “millionaires and billionaires” as though all of them came to their success from nefarious ways.

    Mr. Obama has attempted to divide those who have worked and invested and employed people and tried to portray them as undeserving. He has appealed to the lowest common denominator of those who are struggling.

    This guy wants to turn you out in the street, is what he’s saying. It’s a farce. But it plays well to the press and it does play to one of the srongest human emotions….jealousy, which is really just anger, fear and insecurity, all rolled into one.

    That ugly and rather pathetic human emotion is on full display in the Middle East, the ridiculous “the video made us do it” charge nonwithstanding.

    Mr. Obama is good, really good at using this card. The problem is that his policies have led to the worst post World War II recovery on record and much of his promises, if examined at all by the press and reported truthfully, have bombed.

    The herd that passes for journalism has analyzed every word out of Romney’s mouth regarding the Middle East crisis but continues to ignore the administration’s effectiveness when it comes to our policies there.

    Candidate Obama promised they would respect us, that we would listen and garner better relations with the Muslim world. Well, how’s that working out right about now? Meanwhile, he adopts many of the same Bush policies on killing terrorists and his hailed by the media…never mind he criticized them as a candidate.

    Of course he’s leading in the polls, though there is a lot of time on the clock. But Romney better start passing instead of trying to run the ball.

  2. Oh and one other aside…wasn’t it Mr. Obama who stuck his Johnston and Murphy in his mouth when he claimed business owners didn’t build their business and that rural Americans cling to their guns and religion? Seems candidates….and you know this better than anyone Jon…say shit that they may be thinking but perhaps should frame better. I know, I know. The president’s remarks were taken out of context, but Romney’s comments indicate something sinister. No?

  3. Newt says:

    The truth really riles Democrats.

    I want Romney to not only echo, but ramp up his comments in this regard. The Dem’s only political strategy is to ensnare a majority of Americans to become reliant on government-issued wealth transfer payments.

    And if you are appalled at 47% dependency, please do share what percentage would be too much for America to bear. I dare anyone here to answer that question.

    If too few people are left to pull the wagon, the wagon won’t move. Look no farther than the Greek wagon.

    1. PM says:

      You know what, Newt? i agree with you. I want Romney to double down on this one, too–to continue to say that he doesn’t care about (almost) half of the American people, that, as a President, he will ignore them. that anyone who could support the sitting President is a welfare leach sucking on the public teat.

      I absolutely think that Romney needs to really emphasize this (the heart of the Ayn Rand philosophy) so that it can be completely and thoroughly rejected by the American people as the crap it is–so that the Republican Party can finally cut this cancer from its body and get back to being a responsible, sanely conservative and constructive participant in our political process.

      Please, Mitt, do it! Make this election a full throated debate about the evils of the welfare state!

      1. Newt says:

        I can live with losing an election if America openly decides that the Greek model appeals to a majority of its citizenry. In that case, PM, you “win.”

        Yay! We’re like Greece now. Yay! America wins!

  4. Erik says:

    This is “bitter clingers” in reverse. It’s a true parallel. I guess we know how this will all turn out, seeing how bitter clingers sank the Obama campaign in 2008.

    Sigh. The faux outrage is getting to be a bit much. The real lesson is, candidates should remember to not do political science seminars.

  5. Gary Pettis says:

    The secret fundraiser recording of Rommey is sort of like the topless photos of Kate Middleton. I don’t know if I should be pissed at Romney for being to so unaware of the snakes in the grass with little recording devices, or the person crawling on his or her belly, most likely paying out big fundraiser-attendance bucks, who makes the secret recording.

    It’s like, should we think Kate was a dumb-ass fool for parading around a private balcony with her boobies bare to the breeze, or should we be appalled at the photographer with one bad-ass telephoto lens who plotted and showed intense patience to get the topless shots?

    Here’s another way to look at things: A creative piece of work was posted on YouTube titled, Innocence of Muslims. I am a novice movie critic and can freely banter words like “sucks”, “offensive”, and “pathetic,” but I am uncomfortable that the liberal media is missing the piece of the movie makers right to free speech. He did create a piece of art, whether you like it to not.

    So Jon, are you outraged that a photo of an artist, creator like you was posted with the artists’s identity concealed while the artist was surrounded by law enforcement professionals? Or are you really appalled that an artist created something that you find offensive and the work of art incited people to protest violently? (Maybe we should curtail the movie maker’s right to expression?)

    Where on your personal scale do the scales tip?

    Person who recorded the secret fundraiser video: Saint of sinner?

    Romney caught with his boobies showing: Not to your liking, that’s for sure, but for a moment can you empathize with that embarrassing, “oh oops” moment?

  6. Jeremy Powers says:

    OK: 47 percent. The only way that number is even close to real is if it includes everyone on Social Security, every senior who gets Medicare, every member of the armed forces, every vet who has been to a VA hospital or clinic, every police officer, every public school teacher, every air traffic controller. Sure, it includes people on welfare, people who received Medicaid, people on SSI and college students who are getting help. So assuming the collection of nouveau riche neocons here who are so outraged that people are outraged by being called leeches when they’re not, who exactly do you want to kick out of this group? People on Social Security? Or college students? OK, even you guys aren’t that cruel. So, let’s look at the increase in welfare and food stamps. Do you really think these people want to be there? I’ll give you that many of these people made bad decisions – left school, or got pregnant or took drugs. So do we thrown them away? Or do you really think that Romney’s urination-gravity-feed system is really going to help them? Do you think Romney looks at the “little people” any different than Napoleon did foot soldiers? And what I gathered from this video was his absolute indifference to anyone but the filthy rich. (And yes, I like and use that apt term A LOT.)

    “There’s class warfare, all right,” Warren Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    1. Erik says:

      It’s not a good number. What he was trying to say was that 47% of filers have no personal income tax liability. His number is probably off a bit, but it’s in reference to a fairly innocuous observation about broadness of the income tax that’s hot with Rs these days.

      As to the other stuff… he didn’t cast any of that in crude class terms. He’s merely saying there’s a cultural / self interest obstacle that will prevent a big slice of people from voting for him. This is also fairly innocuous poly sci.

  7. Bryce Elson says:

    It would be nice to know what the Governor’s tax liablilty is, but he isn’t willing to share that piece of information.

      1. PM says:

        Obviously, because SD has no inheritance tax, as well as no state income tax. MN has both.

        I doubt that Dayton is claiming to be a SD resident (clearly would not meet IRS guidlines for that), so i imagine it is the inheritance tax angle he is working. Also, if I remember right, SD does not have any limits on perpetual trusts, so he is probably the beneficiary of a couple of trusts established by his parents/grandparents (Mike, you probably know more about this than i do, so feel free to correct me). All conjecture on my part, but none of it would point to a personal decision by Dayton to stash $$ in SD–he is probably the benficiary of trusts established by someone else.

        Not quite in the same league as setting up overseas accounts in Switzerland or the Caymans and then refusing to disclose your tax returns….

      2. Erik says:

        Except Mitt has disclosed tax returns…. And on these returns he reported income from Cayman holdings etc… and if he reported the income, it was taxed…

      3. PM says:

        Erik: you are being disingenuous. He has released one full year, and one partial year, and is refusing to release any more, much less as many years as his father released, or as many years as he (Romney ) released to the McCain campaign when he was being vetted for VP.

  8. PM says:

    Bottom line:

    Mitt blew this big time. This is going to hurt him. I do not think that he has necessarily lost the election here. but his own words make him look not only extreme, but like an ass. As David Brooks put it, he looks like the classic caricature of a country club millionaire. And that just plays into all of the existing stereotypes that most people already have about him–reinforces those stereotypes.

    And that press conference last night did not help.

    He is close to the point where he needs a couple of Hail Mary passes to win–and desperate people make mistakes. He needs to be very careful and deliberate about what risks he is going to assume from this point in.

    1. Erik says:

      I doubt it has any effect at all. It’s a mirror image of “you didn’t build that”. “you didn’t build that” didn’t move anyone from Obama to Romney.

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        The “you didn’t build that” attack is so ridiculsouly flimsy. Full quote:

        “There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.

        You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

        If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

        The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

        The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

        Feel free to provide a full quote from Mr. Romney to show that he doesn’t believe that about half of Americans won’t take personal responsibility for their lives.

        Obama was a victim of partisan editors. Romney was not. When a speaker says “The point is,” the phrase that follows is The Point…not an orphaned phrase elsewhere.

      2. Erik says:

        The attack – or the basis of the outrage – is no flimsier or firmer. It’s the same, unless you care to parse to the point of ridiculousness. Nor is Obama on any firmer ground than Mitt with his stock caricatures.

        BTW what I hear in that quote that I think is actually the flashpoint of ire for a lot of people is Obama’s mocking voice at “It must be because I was so smart.”

      3. No, Joe. It is not flimsy at all. Read that quote and it’s full context. Mr. Obama is saying that there is no individualism in this society. This is absurd and ridiculous. Many people are successful because they took a risk….a risk that they may fail and lose their house and their retirement plan and their car etc., while a good number of people would never subject themselves to such risk. He is loathe to give credit to people who will do what unsuccessful people won’t do.

        There is a risk/reward component to our socieity and to capitalism in general. To ignore this or try to to demean accomplishments by a line such as “you didn’t build that. Someone else made that happen.” That’s so much bullshit.

        I had kids. Yes, other people assisted by helping deliver them and assisted by ensuring their illnesses were treated, that they received an education in school etc. But their parents did 90 percent of the heavy lifting and bore most of the financial and emotional and physical responsibilities.

        Let’s give credit where credit is due. Mr. Obama is unwilling or incapable or both.

      4. PM says:

        Mike:

        “The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

        Sounds to me like he is giving credit to individual effort and individual initiative taking there. Frankly, i find that a very difficult quote to take issue with.

        That said, i am also reminded of the story about Mr. Romney refusing to take the position at Bain Capital unless Bain Consulting would structure the deal such that there was no risk to Mitt–he was guaranteed not only his old job and salary, but also bonuses he might have missed, etc.

        My point isn’t that he is or is not a risk taker (much less whether that would qualify him for the Presidency), rather i am (i think) agreeing with your larger point–or society needs to have a healthy mix of risk and risk aversion.

        basically, government is all about reducing risk, about social insurance. That is what national defense and fire and police are all about, as well as welfare, education, medicare, social security, etc. That is what families do, what corporations do, what government does–how we share risk and rewards as a society. And that is what Obama was trying to point out.

        What is wrong is the Ayn Rand view of the heroic individual who succeeds despite society. That simply is not a reflection of reality. There is no one who does not benefit from government, society or family–from the socialization of risk that takes place every day, everywhere. There is no one who does not benefit from our system of roads, infrastructure, education, research, laws, courts, etc. And all of that comes from taxes. we can debate the edges of this if we want (20% of GNP? 22%? 18%?), but the basic fact is that it is there and we all benefit from it.

      5. I guess this discussion is revelatory for me.

        When Hillary Clinton put the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” into popular play I thought what a wonderful saying; it evoked for me a feeling that we’re all in this together, that kids are everyone’s responsibility to look out for, to mentor, to educate. I aspire to live in a society where everyone looks out for their neighbors and those struggling.

        To others, it seems, that same phrase, along with other ideas like “redistribution,” collective responsibility, working together for the common good and contributing to society through actions and taxes is oppressive and coercive. These people apparently see themselves as real-life John Galts carrying the weight of the world (including those of us who are apparently dead weight).

        This sort of thinking is zero-sum based; anything you take from me and give to someone else, the idea goes, does nothing but subtract x from my column and add x to yours.

        I believe, on the other hand, that society does not have to be – should not be – a zero-sum proposition. My taxes are not just a “taking” from me, they’re an investment in my neighbors and my community that benefits them but also helps me in the form of infrastructure, an educated electorate and workforce, first responders, defense of our borders and care for the young, the old and the at-risk.

        – Austin

      6. Erik says:

        Academic. A lot of this stuff is a given that we all agree on re the social contract.

        The problem with “you didn’t build that” as expressed by the President and embraced by you all that are his fanboys is that government is said the determinant for success.

        It’s wrong. GOVERNMENT IS NOT THE SUCCESS DETERMINANT. Yes we all need it and yes we all paid for it, but as such that social infrastructure is ostensibly available for everyone to use. If everyone has it, then it’s not the success determinant. K? The determinant has to be that which can be uniquely singled out. Individualism: effort, brains, creativity, some luck. The President belittled that, wrongly, inaccurately, but thing is it follows that if you don’t own your own success, bitching about your tax rate is illegitimate. He’s discrediting the practical tax concerns of the small business class. Insofar as he doesn’t have a real tax proposal, it’s class warfare, and this is why it’s a hornet’s nest. Not because they misunderstand the social contract re progressive taxation and other social mechanisms.

        I assume you guys who have thriving one man PR shops have revenues of a few hundred K a year. Why don’t you have employees, BTW?

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      PM. I agree with part of your observation that people need other people to make the world go around. That’s a given no one would dispute. I even agree with some of what he said but the line “you didn’t build that. Someone else made that happen” was over the type and made him sound strident, sarcastic and lecturing. Mr. Obama has a bad habit of acting as the lecturer in chief. He’d have more credibility with me if he had ever worked in the private sector, a sector which he seems to be have little understanding. The point is, that shitty snide comment could have been dropped without any material change to the speech.

      Jon, I’ve been trying to get your point across for years. People don’t get rich and prosper at someone else’s expense. Success is not a zero sum game. There is plenty of potential success for everyone. Me making millions (I wish) doesn’t take away from others in society. It adds to society. Thanks for seeing the light.

      BTW, higher taxes on the rich an those who invest does not materially change the hole we are in.

      1. PM says:

        Its not just that you need other people–it is that people are better off when they are in situations where they get the support of the entire society. And they are better off when they get more support from their society rather than less support–the society that you are born in can make a huge difference to your life outcomes–you are much better off being born in the USA than being born in Haiti.

        This is what Obama was saying. And I agree with it. And, frankly, even Romney also agrees with this point–although he probably doesn’t see it.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/09/15/romney-if-you-were-born-in-america-you-didnt-build-that/

  9. Mike Kennedy says:

    Oh spare me….any time a conservative or independent questions the size of government, liberals hysterically scream about us wanting to do away with everything from health care to Social Security blah blah blah. It’s all all or nothing proposition? Let’s have a debate about size of government. Yes we can all agree a safety net is needed…but how big and comprehensive is the debate or it should be. Liberals once again throw every government related function into the pot. Let us differentiate. Food stamps and Medicaid ARE entitlement programs. Social Security and Medicare ARE NOT. They are social insurance programs. Defense and police and fire are public services from which we all benefit.

    To the far left liberals, calm down. No one is advocating taking your government away, not even the cold hearted ticket of Romney and Ryan. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

      1. PM:

        The response is to a couple of people on this thread who like to lump every conservative into a “neocon” label. I consider them to be lefties, so I guess we are even on the label accusations. Just to be clear, I don’t put you in that category.

  10. Newt says:

    “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them … And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

    The great uniter.

  11. Erik says:

    This is now hot on the tweeter, etc. Better be sure that fresh set of undies is around libs.

    Oh noes! Class Warfare!

    1. Newt says:

      Holy shit – the bomb drops at 1:25 on this reel. Nice work Erik.

      So why weren’t we privvy to this revelation in 2008?

      By the way, the Obamas fly in their personal trainer to DC from Chicago once a week. Talk about class warfare and redistribution! How about that for a carbon footprint?

      1. PM says:

        Newt–that was just a description of what we already have, and have had in this country, for a very long time!

        Our tax system is redistributive. A lot less so than most other countries, of course, but it is redistributive–money comes in from a wide variety of sources, but generally those with more money pay more in taxes. And the benefits are distributed more or less equally among the population, depending on the nature of the particular programs.

        The only way this could be shocking to you is if you are a complete fool, or a liar.

      2. Newt says:

        Yes, you’re talking about the earned income tax credit, er I mean welfare check that is part of the Dem wealth redistribution scheme.

      3. PM says:

        Newt:

        the earned income tax credit is not a democratic program or even a democratic idea. President Nixon was one of its earliest proponents. It was expanded significantly by Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush,

      4. Erik says:

        Revisiting the old civics lessons here at SRC is a good thing, but ….
        We all agree that redistribution is a byproduct of taxation and spending. AND. You’re explaining the concept narrowly and technically so as to not acknowledge its ugly Marxist context.

        It’s the context that matters, and it’s the context that’s a problem for the President.

      5. PM says:

        Erik:

        i agree with you that context is critical, and that that is largely where Mitt blew it. The reality is that i do not think that most people (including you and Mitt and maybe even Newt) are arguing against ALL redistribution (the extreme Randian position, if you will), nor do I think that anyone is advocating a Marxist position (from each according to his ability, to each according to his need).

        Further, i think that the real/practical scope of the argument has to do with the extent of redistribution (say, the difference between 18% vs 22% of GNP thru federal taxation) as well as the form of that redistribution (needs tested vs. universal, etc.).

        Of course, that doesn’t mean that we can’t argue about what different candidates, in their heart of hearts, would really prefer. To that point, it seems to me that there is a lot more evidence suggesting that Mitt and the GOP (well, at least some elements of it) are really closet Randians who feel that 47% of the population are leeches than there is evidence that Obama is a closet Marxist.

        And that last point can be kind of fun–and is a lot of what we engage in here.

        Let’s just keep it all in perspective.

      6. Erik says:

        The projection here is blinding. We’re not a having Randian argument. There is no Randian argument taking place.

        Mitt didn’t say he wants to strip the 47% of the population that are layabouts of their welfare checks. He said there’s a cultural obstacle where 47% of the population won’t vote for him because doing so would be against their self-interest. This is fairly conventional poly sci.

      7. PM says:

        Erik:

        Mitt’s budget and tax proposals would lead to a significant reduction in government spending on various forms of “redistribution”, and might also lead to tax increases on the middle class (arithmetic). Of course, this is a bit difficult to tell, because Mitt hasn’t given us much in the way of specific proposals (despite his recent promises).

        And it is not conventional poli sci–it is in fact wrong. Lots of people have pointed out that large swathes of the 47% he cited are, in fact, going to vote for him–like the elderly (maybe a third of that 47%) who tend to support Romney over Obama (by about 10 to 15% in most polls)

      8. Erik says:

        Not a literal reduction now. Mitt also says the rich aren’t going to pay less than they do now. He’s said this several times recently.

        I didn’t phrase that last part quite right, but the overall question is one of mainstream pol sci: who does your message / ideology appeal to? Conservatives are mindful of this in the age of the comprehensive social safety net. Thats all he was talking about.

  12. PM says:

    OK, so i have a question:

    there seem to be 2 Mitt Romney’s– a milder, more centrist Romney (the former governor of MA who passed a universal health care laws, supports gay rights and is pro choice), and the severely conservative Mitt Romney, who thinks that society is divided between makers and takers, is far more conservative on social issues, and will repeal the national version of his health care plan (maybe keeping some parts of it?).

    So which is the real Romney? If he is elected President, which one will we get (and there might be different answers to those two questions)?

    Did we just see the real Mitt?
    http://www.redstate.com/2012/09/18/conservatives-agree-romneys-right/

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/09/mitt-romney-closet-conservative.php

    or not?

  13. Jeremy Powers says:

    Mike Kennedy

    You are a classic Neocon. Born in a blue-collar family, raised fiscally and socially moderate, were a liberal when it suited you as a student, started working as a corporate whore for a Fortune 500 company that made money while it produced absolutely nothing, found it fun to hang around with rich people, became pseudo nouveau riche and started some rich asshole hobbies and think that you are one car, one home and one vacation from being a Rockefeller.

    1. Powers:

      Are you trained in psychology? Didn’t think so. You know no more about me than the guy down the street. But you know, never having a clue about what you are talking about didn’t stop you from flapping your considerable gums. Keep shooting off your mouth about things you know nothing about. You’ve been doing it all your life. You have seemed to figure out everyone else other than yourself.

    2. GARY PETTIS says:

      I have known Mike for more than 20 years and know in detail the steps in Mike’s life about which you so glibly write in your post. It’s curious how a different perspective–tainted by jealousy or political correctness–can take one person’s achievements and make them look like broad brush strokes of paint on a Salvador Dali canvas.

      In sum, Mike excelled as a writer and editor at Mankato State, dedicating a year to lead the diverse personalities on the Reporter staff. Somewhere between his first reporting job and accepting his first corporate gig, he did a lot of business writing and interviewed countless business owners, most of whom were self-made, wealthy people, conservatives, decent folks. Like-minded people do gather in clusters. Naturally, like a good reporter, he built several community relationships.

      He made the switch from business beat reporter to a corporate PR guy quite handily, motivated by a better salary and prestiage. If you truly believe in the American Dream, these are good things to attain. (Right?)

      His employer was decent enough to give Mike a great deal of training and he became certified on many different levels. Those of us who know Mike well knew it would be a matter of time before he’d strike out on his own.

      His first year or so starting his own business was a fearful time. Mike worried much about personal and professional failure and woke up a lot of mornings with the feeling that he needed to throw up. Still, Mike is persistent and competitive, and today, things are different. I don’t know too many of the backgrounds of the Rowdy Crowd regulars, but Mike is in the unique position of having the ability to generate more revenue, pay more taxes and hire more employees. In these hard economic times, what’s so rich-assholely about that?

      Maybe we should demonize the successful Mikes of the world and instead let a bigger government entitle us to all sorts of goodies? What do you think?

      I did like your “pseudo nouveau riche” phrase. Many business advisors, psychologists, and faith leaders say that phrase differently but keep the meaning the same: “Fake it until you make it.” Jeremy, there might be some part of your world where you need to “fake it until you make it.”

      Finally, if you think mastering P90X and owning and flying a single-engine airplane are rich asshole hobbies, well son, you got to get out more often and see the hobbies of real rich people. But seeing them would probably piss you off even more; i.e., class envy.

      Jeremy, I have known you longer than Mike, and we are all around the same age. The fact is, nearly half of our lives are over. Shouldn’t we be allowed the time now to indulge in our passions, politics and play things without someone with a disconnected perception pinning nasty adjectives to them?

      1. I don’t know Mike at all, but I like having him around for the level of discourse he brings. Ditto for Gary, Jeremy, Newt, Erik, PM, Dennis and everybody else who has claimed a seat at the bar.

        So, at the risk of being nannyish, can I ask all of us (including me) to think twice or thrice before attacking one another on a personal level? Ideas, arguments, positions, yes! Ad hominen rhetoric, no!

        And, I’ll use this opportunity to make one of my occasional requests that everybody consider using their actual names in making posts. I think it’s a little harder to demonize one another if we’ve got names to go with avatars. And, truthfully, I give a little more weight to the arguments of someone who puts their name under them.

        Just a couple of thoughts.

        – Austin

  14. Jon: I don’t know you at all, but we did have dinner at the Olive Garden in Bloomington about 1996 or 1997. You were running PR for Northwest and were looking to hire another PR (or corporate whore, I guess) person for your staff. I do remember some of your stories about working for McGovern and I remember you ordered fried calamari, the first time I had ever had it. You were engaging. We had some laughs, and I had an enjoyable two hours. I think you would have been a good boss. I have sometimes regretted not taking it.

    1. I was letting you keep some of your dignity by not mentioning that; better reputations than yours have been brought down by eating calamari at an Olive Garden with me.

      You would have enjoyed the gig. It was never boring, almost always fun and we ate a lot of Thai food. I’m not sure there’s another company in America that would – or should – have hired me and given me the level autonomy I enjoyed. I think it worked out well for NWA, but that’s a little bit like Obama’s argument about the economy: it’s hard to prove it would have been worse but for his efforts.

      Onward.

      – Austin

  15. Hey, the flight benefits alone were something to ponder. Then there was learning from you and Thai food….it would have been fun. One of my old college roomates went to work for NWA right out of college and is still with Delta…just got named president of MLT Vacations. He’s an airline lifer.

    1. It does get in your blood and I never lacked for small talk at cocktail parties; there was always somebody doing something incredibly weird, stupid, funny, amazing (passengers and employees). Whenever the phone rang and the person on the other end of the phone started the conversation with “I got one for you…” you knew it was going to be interesting.

      – Austin

      1. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Jon, I take it your tenure at NWA was after Lambert’s “Northwest Watch” column in The Twin Cities Reader.

      2. Lambert wrote a column for the Reader just on Northwest? Damn, I must have missed it in my eagerness to get to all the personals and the classified ads for escorts and exotic massage.

        I’ve forgotten, but given the editorial slant of the Reader back in those days, he probably thought I was a smug, condescending asshole who couldn’t give a straight answer to “what time is it?” and I probably thought he was an agenda-driven hack who’s last effort at balance was on the playground teeter-totter in 2nd grade (I only got to use that phrase twice, but boy it was fun both times).

        In other word, same ‘ol, same ‘ol.

        – Austin

      3. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Yep, another amusing intersection of the contributors here. it was back when Northwest was having some fairly dramatic problems with customer service. I seem to recall one dire anecdote involving a malfunctioning restroom resulting in a “urine-soaked brief case.” The column was of short duration, but, as I recall, cathartically-followed by Northwest passengers of that era. Lambo was a frequent flier back in those days as the TCR’s film critic.

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