It was the late, great Ann Richards who famously said of George W. Bush, "He can't help it - he was born with a silver foot in his mouth." The same can certainly be said of many other Wealthy Republicans: sheltered, out-of-touch white persons who display a breathtaking tone deafness, arrogance, callousness and cluelessness when it comes to their privileged place in the world. I'd been holding on to this collection for a few months, intending - honest! - to publish it at some indeterminate point in the future, but The Onion-esque rant delivered by a certain Smith College alum the other day finally pushed me over the edge. Enjoy! - o.h.
[In] a Nov. 28 open letter to President Obama[,] . . . hedge-fund manager Leon Cooperman, the Omega Advisors chairman and former CEO of Goldman Sachs's money-management unit[, wrote that c]apitalists "are not the scourge that they are too often made out to be" and the wealthy aren't "a monolithic, selfish and unfeeling lot" . . . . They make products that "fill store shelves at Christmas" and provide health care to millions.
Cooperman, 68, said he can't walk through the St. Andrews Country Club dining room in Boca Raton, Fla., without being thanked for speaking up. At least four people expressed gratitude Dec. 5 while he was eating an egg-white omelet, he said.
Now that we've got you thinking about Grey Poupon and other condiments, let's consider the gentle reminder provided by Sen. Al Franken about what that right-wing shibboleth, "class warfare," really means. From his 2003 classic, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them:
In her book A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, Barbara Tuchman writes about a peasant revolt in 1358 that began in the village of St. Leu and spread throughout the Oise Valley. At one estate, the serfs sacked the manor house, killed the knight, and roasted him on a spit in front of his wife and kids. Then, after ten or twelve peasants violated the lady, with the children still watching, they forced her to eat the roasted flesh of her husband and then killed her.
That is class warfare.
Arguing over the optimum marginal tax rate for the top one percent is not.
So although the champagne sippers who currently look down upon the unwashed peasantry would rather those peasants eat cake, when things get bad enough the peasants might be looking for a bit more, ahh, substance in their diets.
And it is my understanding that certain large protein sources, when roasted in their own marinade of disdain, contempt, fear and greed, can make for mighty good eatin'. Jonathan Swift had his own modest proposal for dealing with hard times. Herewith are a few tasty morsels from the more immediate past, offered (for the most part) without comment - or condiment. Bon appetit!
"I made my money the old-fashioned way - I inherited it. I think that's a great thing to do."
-- John Raese,
2010 Republican Senatorial nominee from West Virginia
In regards to the Occupy Wall Street movement, Durant said the protesters should "go find a job." In regards to the wealth gap the movement decries, Durant said, "I think it should be wider."
-- Clark Durant, former Republican
"There is income inequality in America. There always has been and hopefully, and I do say that, there always will be."
-- Rick Santorum
"In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks."
-- Rep. Spencer Bachus, (R-AL),
chairman of the House Financial Services Committee
"I'm part of the one [percent] that's making it so these people can get something from the government . . . Have you ever heard of anybody great that's [sic] come out of the 99%?"
-- Jim Kruse, senior managing director of
CB Richard Ellis Commercial Real Estate,
and graduate of taxpayer-supported UC Irvine
"Who gives a crap about some imbecile? Are you kidding me?"
-- Home Depot co-founder
Bernard Marcus, speaking of criticism from
"Instead of an attack on the 1 percent, let's call it an attack on the very productive."
-- John Alison IV, director of
BB&T, ninth-largest U.S. bank
"[T]here was a bigger battle in Congress than Vietnam."
-- Newt Gingrich, on why
he didn't serve in Vietnam
“I definitely see [economic hardship] around me,” said Anu Chandok, 36, an oncologist in Lake Success, referring to the country’s economic pain. “It just personally hasn’t affected me yet . . . I spent four years in undergraduate school, four years in medical school, three years as a resident and three years as a fellow,” she said. “You have to look at the people who are complaining.”
-- Anu Chandok, MD, of
Lake Success, NY
“[I]f you really want shared sacrifice, then the middle class should pay taxes, too. I mean, roll back the Bush tax cuts for everybody rather than looking at the, you know, just having the rich pay more,” Gregory argued. “If it’s shared sacrifice, why not say to everybody, everybody’s going to have to do with less in terms of a social safety net, in terms of taxes and all the rest.”
-- David Gregory, host of
NBC's Meet the Press, and former
Karl Rove dance partner
"Who takes care of the greens and the fairways in your golf course?"
-- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg,
when asked to cite examples of labor
performed by undocumented immigrants
"Because I can."
-- Billionaire David Spiegel, when asked why he was
spending $50 million to build the largest
private home in America, at 90,000 square feet
"The city is going fine. Broadway shows were full last night."
-- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg,
the day after the sixth-largest snowfall in city history
left hundreds of thousands of city residents stranded
"Understand, we have a right to make a profit."
-- Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan
"I . . . get a little incensed when [I] think about how much good all of [us] do . .. [Critics] ought to think a little about that before [they] start yelling at us."
-- Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan
For the most part, the wealthy bust their tail, work 60-80 hour weeks building some game-changing product for the mass market, but at the end of the day they can't enjoy much that the middle class doesn't also enjoy. Where's the fairness? What does Google founder Larry Page have that you don't have? . . .
Just about every product or service that makes our lives better requires a mass market or it's not economic to bother offering. Those who invent and produce for the mass market get rich. And the more these innovators better the rest of our lives, the richer they get but the less they can differentiate themselves from the masses whose wants they serve. It's the Pages and Bransons and Zuckerbergs who have made the unequal equal: So, sure, income equality may widen, but consumption equality will become more the norm . . .
Compared to 20 years ago, or even five years ago, chances are that you're richer. Try to enjoy it.
-- Andy Kessler, former hedge-fund manager,
in The Wall Street Journal
"[The current recession] has hit the people closest to me the hardest . . . I see it even in the very tony neighborhoods where I hang out, like Beverly Hills and Rancho Mirage and Malibu . . . However, as the economist I am, I try to not only watch and wring my hands, but to draw lessons and rules from the experience . . . The people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities . . . [A]s I survey the ranks of those who are unemployed, I see people who have overbearing and unpleasant personalities and/or who do not know how to do a day's work. They are people who create either little utility or negative utility on the job."
-- Rightwing commentator
"I hate to tell you, by Washington's definitions that [Melancon]'s using, virtually everybody in this audience is 'the wealthy.'"
-- Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter,
on Democratic plans to restore previous tax rates
to those making more than $250,000 a year
"There's no one who wants this thing over more than I do. Y'know - I'd like my life back."
-- BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward,
on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
"I think it is a tragedy of the highest proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown . . . I apologize . . . I apologize."
-- Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX),
to BP chief executive Tony Hayward
"Let's not tax corporations . . . I think the solution is to eliminate corporate taxes altogether."
-- Pat Toomey,
2010 Republican senatorial nominee from Pennsylvania
Y'know, the Depression is not here. There are no people selling apples on the sidewalk, there are no lines filled with hungry men. We are a very far distance away from that time.
-- Wall Street Journal columnist
"Get a job! Get a job!"
-- Wharton Business School students,
to OWS 99%ers
What Does Wall Street Do for You?
Hating Wall Street is an American tradition . . . But these are distortions of a fundamentally beneficial business . . . Perhaps the best way to really appreciate what Wall Street does is to imagine life without it . . .
THE POOR WOULD STAY POOR . . . Most people in the world don’t have access to a modern financial system, and there is almost no way, other than through greedy loan sharks, for the surplus cash of the very rich to get in the hands of the poor . . .
THERE WOULD BE NO MIDDLE CLASS . . . The financial-services industry . . . performs a kind of fiscal time travel by pooling the nation’s collective savings and transforming it into all sorts of loans . . . When spent wisely, this money borrowed from the future actually makes the future quite a bit brighter . . .
LOTS OF AWESOME THINGS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN . . . [B]y pooling so much capital and spreading out the risk, Wall Street creates a safe space for failure, which is an essential part of capitalism . . .
Wall Street’s core function is to perform a sort of financial alchemy, an incredibly complicated method of giving a lot of people what they want . . . Stocks, bonds, savings accounts and money-market funds are all ways of making twitchy, conservative lenders and dreamy, semi-reckless borrowers happy at the same time about the same pile of dough . . .
[D]uring a crisis, a country must do everything possible to preserve its banks. And while that has resulted in making the rich even richer, our economy would be much worse off if it hadn’t happened . . .
-- Adam Davidson, Wall Street Journal columnist
and founder of NPR's "Planet Money"
"If those people could camp out in that park all day, why aren’t they out looking for a job? Why are they blaming others?”
-- Anthony J. Bonomo of Manhasset, N.Y.,
who runs a medical malpractice insurance
company and is a Republican
I would say that you could - anybody could give whatever amount they want directly to the candidate fully disclosed, period. Then, you don't have all the legal hoops you have to jump through . . . it would be very straightforward, clean and honest.
-- Billionaire Republican donor
Foster Friess, on eliminating
all campaign finance laws
The people who are attending Smith these days are A) lesbians or B) international students who get financial aid or C) low-income women of color who are the first generation in their family to go to college and will go to any school that gives them enough money . . .
I can tell you that the days of white, wealthy, upper-class students from prep schools in cashmere coats and pearls who marry Amherst men are over. This is unfortunate because it is this demographic that puts their name on buildings, donates great art and subsidizes scholarships.
-- Anne Spurzem, Smith College Class of 1984,
President of the Smith Club of Westchester County
"I'll read you this little funny clip that we got from a friend. It says, 'Isn't it ironic that the food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever. Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to please not feed the animals, because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.'"
-- Minnesota State Rep. Mary Franson (R)
"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."
-- South Carolina Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R),
speaking about people receiving government assistance
“The raccoons figured out the beetles are in the bucket. And it's like grapes in a jar. The raccoons - they’re not stupid, they’re gonna do the easy way if we make it easy for them. Just like welfare recipients all across America. If we don’t send them to work, they’re gonna take the easy route.”
-- Nebraska Attorney Gen. Jon Bruning (R)
"[W]e have to demonstrate who it is in this society that creates jobs, wealth and benefits -- and who it is that eats them."
-- U.S. Chamber of Commerce President
"The 1 percent are always going to have access to things. It's not fair. That's life. Get over it."
-- New York City Councilman Peter Vallone
"It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in child laws which are truly stupid," Gingrich said. "Saying to people you shouldn't go to work before you're 14, 16."
-- Newt Gingrich, family values guy
"[Y]ou have all of the children growing up in an environment where government is paying you, and then we wonder why do these kids feel they're entitled to so much? . . . That is not a healthy thing for children, it's not a healthy thing for society ... Suffering, if you're a Christian, suffering is a part of life. And it's not a bad thing, it is an essential thing in life ... There are all different ways to suffer. One way to suffer is through lack of food and shelter . . ."
-- Rick Santorum,
misinterpreting yet another Bible passage
"If I hear a politician use the term 'paying your fair share' one more time, I'm going to vomit."
-- Tom Golisano, billionaire founder
"I will go to the NAACP convention, and tell the African-American community why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps."
-- Newt Gingrich
"So if you don't have any teeth, so what? What's applesauce for? Isn't that why they make applesauce?"
-- Rush Limbaugh, responding to
Rep. Louise Slaughter's telling of a woman
with no teeth and no health coverage who was
forced to use her dead sister's dentures
"Full disclosure, I happen to know [West Virginia Republican senatorial nominee] John Raese. He is a part-time resident here in Palm Beach [Florida] and he has a locker right across the, right across the bench from me at a prominent local club. I've never played golf with him, but I've met him . . . He wants to eliminate the minimum wage. He actually said it's been counterproductive. Now that's the kind of thing most Republicans are afraid to go anywhere near because the minimum wage is actually seen as a welfare program for the poor and if you talk about eliminating it they can say you're being cold-hearted and mean-spirited to the poor, but the bottom line is that, to tell you the truth, it hasn't helped."
-- Rush Limbaugh
"[I]t doesn't make sense that our waitresses are getting tips plus the highest minimum wage in the country . . . [minimum wage is] a hot button that people don't really understand."
-- Chris Dudley,
2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee from Oregon
"With the tips that [waiters and waitresses] get to take home, they are some people earning over $100,000 a year. More than the very people providing the jobs . . . "
-- Tom Emmers,
2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate from Minnesota
"Well, the minimum wage now in our country, I think we have set that, and so there are a lot of people who have benefitted from that, but I think we need to review how much it ought to be."
-- Linda McMahon,
2010 Republican senatorial nominee from Connecticut
"They keep extending these unemployment benefits to the point where people are afraid to go out and get a job because the job doesn't pay as much as the unemployment benefit does. ... What has happened is the system of entitlement has caused us to have a spoilage with our ability to go out and get a job."
-- Sharron Angle,
2010 Republican senatorial nominee from Nevada
"This is craziness. We're at risk of creating an entire class of people, a subset of people, just comfortable getting by living off the government."
-- Rep. John Linder (R-GA),
on the growing number of Americans whose sole income
is the $200 a month provided by food stamps
“I would walk into a lead-paint abatement story, and where a colleague of mine might walk past the mattress on the floor and the dishes heaped in the sink that smell and the roaches climbing the window and the peeling lead paint and see victims and sadness and something that someone else had done, I would walk in and see all those things, but . . . I would go beyond the mattress on the floor, and look at the big-screen TV [and] the video-game system . . . And I would wonder to myself, well, can’t they afford, y’know, a box spring and some sheets, when they got the big screen there? And as I walk in the kitchen and see the dirty dishes piling up, I think to myself, well, y’know, they’re not, they’re not a victim – why don’t they just do those? Y’know, I didn’t have a dishwasher, y’know, until my third house. I washed dishes. And then I would see the roach infestation and I would wonder – y’know, how can – there are name-brand sneakers, right over there in that corner – you could’ve not bought the name-brand sneakers and bought some roach traps, or – name-brand sneakers? I mean, you could afford an exterminator on name-brand sneakers some days, right? And so while [my colleague] saw a victim and while [my colleague] saw a government solution for this problem, as a conservative, I saw someone who made a choice, and they chose not to do their dishes, they chose to buy the sneakers instead of the roach traps and they chose not to buy the sheets for the bed and the video game system instead. And I believe everyone has a choice.”
-- Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch
“You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards.”
-- A current Apple executive
"Corporations are people, my friend."
-- Mitt Romney, on who makes a better
best friend than a dog
"I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs actually."
-- Mitt Romney, average joeDressage is a sport of seven-figure horses and four-figure saddles. The monthly boarding costs are more than most people's rent. Asked how many dressage horses she owns, Mrs. Romney laughed. "Mitt doesn't even know the answer to that," she said. "I'm not going to tell you!"UPDATE (h/t Laura Clawson):
"I don't even consider myself wealthy."
-- Ann Romney, recalibrating Webster's
"I like being able to fire people."
-- Mitt Romney, everyone's favorite boss
MATT LAUER: When you said that we already have a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy, I'm curious about the word envy. Did you suggest that anyone who questions the policies and practices of Wall Street and financial institutions, anyone who has questions about the distribution of wealth and power in this country, is envious? Is it about jealousy, or fairness?
MITT ROMNEY: You know, I think it's about envy. I think it's about class warfare."Make a profit," a laughing Romney is shown saying in the 28-minute film, obtained by Bloomberg News. "That's what it's all about, right?"
-- Mitt Romney, revealing the purpose of life
“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there . . . we have a very ample safety net."
-- Mitt Romney, conserving a precious resource: concern"[I don't follow NASCAR] as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners."
-- Mitt Romney, man of the people
“We ought to provide help to the people who have been hurt most by the Obama economy. And that’s the middle class It’s not those at the very low end; it’s certainly not those at the very high end. It’s for the great middle class — the 80 to 90 percent of us in this country.”
-- Mitt Romney, middle-class guy
"So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."
-- Former First Lady Barbara Bush,
speaking of New Orleans evacuees temporarily housed
in the Houston Astrodome after Hurricane Katrina
"This is an impressive crowd: the haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite; I call you my base."
-- George W. Bush
MS. MORNIN: I'm a divorced, single mother . . . I have one child, Robbie, who is mentally challenged . . . I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.
THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?
MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)
-- George W. Bush
" - now watch this drive - "
-- George W. Bush