Can anyone explain how this wooden and immensely unlikeable fellow could be one step away from the presidency except for money? Half the people in his own party can barely stand him, most of the rest realize he doesn’t stands for anything, and his campaign has been an unending series of howlers that should have buried him. And yet this tone-deaf robot who couldn’t carry a tune in a karaoke bar gets the lead role at the Metropolitan Opera.
Romney plowed his way through the ranks of his adversaries and decimated them one by one by wielding overwhelming force in the form of cash. He picked them off individually with a barrage of negative ads that people pretend to dislike but fail to resist although the more bizarre (Trump, Cain) self-imploded without help. Cash, all the cash, and nothing but the cash took care of the rest, and now the mortars are being wheeled into position for six months of trench warfare between the two remaining sides.
Like all wars of attrition, those of us living on the battlefield will have to fend for ourselves until the victor emerges. Neither camp awakens great love although there is some potent residual loyalty. As occurred during the primary season, whoever mobilizes more firepower is likely to win in November. If a non-entity like Romney can get this far, he can money-bomb his way to victory.
Speaking of money and lots of it, the NY Times had a full-page spread last week under the headline “The Billionaires’ Club” which listed the total assets and favored causes of 19 top political donors. Here are the smiling faces that appeared in that run-down along with their wealth:
Bill Gates $61 billion
Charles & David Koch $50 billion
Warren Buffett $44 billion
Christy Walton $25.3 billion
Sheldon Adelson $24.9 billion
Michael Bloomberg $22 billion
George Soros $20 billion
Sergey Brin $18.7 billion
Carl Icahn $14 billion
Then the second-stringers:
Phil Knight (Nike) $14.4 billion
John Paulson (hedge) $12.5 billion
Donald Bren (property) $12 billion
Harold Hamm (oil) $11 billion
Stephen Schwarzman $ 5.5 billion
Henry R. Kravis $ 4 billion
Ken Griffin (hedge) $ 3 billion
Julian Robertson (hedge)$ 2.5 billion
Peter Thiel (PayPal) $ 1.5 billion
That comes to a total of $346.3 billion distributed among 18 people (19 if you count the Koch brothers twice). Why don’t we save ourselves a lot of time and trouble and just have them elect the president directly? It’s an uneven number, so there’s no danger of a tie.