“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me…Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different. ”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
How shall I describe Howard Schultz? The coffee-serving billionaire who wants to be president.
Like his coffee, rather bland. Unprepared for the rigors of presidential combat. More than anything else, however, I find Schultz tedious. Here we go again, another member of the 1% who believes that being a member of the 1% qualifies him to be president.
He doesn’t seem to be able to make up his mind whether he wants to be a Republican or Democrat, so he settled on Independent without really understand what it means to be an independent. For Schultz, being an Independent means “Well, I can’t win the Republican or Democratic presidential nomination, but I want to be president, so I’ll just make up one of my own.”
When Schultz announced he’s thinking about running for president you can’t escape the feeling that he expected rose petals to be strewn in his path and distant trumpets to announce his arrival. He would be our savior from the calamity of both the mendacious and ridiculous Donald Trump and those crazy far-left Democrats. Instead, he was greeted with tough questions and more than a healthy dose of circumspection.
The Wall Street Journal opinion page, long a bastion of the very rich and their interests, claimed that Schultz was being “bullied.” No. He was just being treated like a man who would be king. Or president in this case. What Howard Schultz and the Wall Street Journal don’t seem to understand is that the media is no longer buying the “I’m very rich so I know how to run this country” scam, and have no intention of just going along for the ride.
Fool me once…
It is very true that, unlike Donald Trump, Howard Schultz really is an American success story. He came from a poor family. He didn’t have $400 million from his father. He had to borrow money and put himself deeply in debt to open his first coffee shop. He worked his way up until he became a multi-billionaire. One would think that this background of hard work and determination would help him identify with the many millions of Americans who live in economically depressed conditions. But Schultz has been so rich for so long it’s hard to connect him with the childhood background.
Like most of the very rich, Schultz really has no understanding of how America works these days. Except that the rules have been created greatly aid people like him. That’s why he had such a violent reaction against Democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s idea about a 70% tax on the very rich. People like Howard Schultz.
The positions that he is taking on important issues indicate that he has no real plan for running for president other than he wants to be president. Like Trump, he wants us to believe that he alone can solve all our problems. Being very rich, he wants us to believe he knows all the answers and that being mega-rich makes him smarter than the rest of us. Oh, he would never admit that out loud, but his true inner feelings were betrayed by his defensive reactions to the quite legitimate criticisms he received this week.
My dad, who worked in politics for much of his life, used to tell me there was a big difference between running for election and governing. Anybody can run for an office, he once said to me, but very few people really know how to govern.
There have been very rich individuals who have been president in the past. Both Roosevelts came from a wealthy family. The Bush family has more than a little bit of money. The members of these families who did run for president, however, first gained extensive experience in government.
You can see this disparity in Schultz. He knows how to run for office – after all any American over the age of 35 can run for president. But does he really have any solid ideas about governing? For instance, his answer to healthcare problems? Get people to sit around a table and talk about it. His answer to poverty? Eliminating two of the most effective anti-poverty programs that exist in the United States. These are the answers of a very rich man who only knows the world of business, not a man who knows how difficult it is to govern.
I, for one, am not worried about Howard Schultz draining enough Democratic votes away to ensure the reelection of that other megarich moron Donald Trump. Americans saw Donald Trump for years on a terrible TV show which helped create the mythical and mistaken image of him as an outstanding businessman and leader. Trump knew how to cultivate the media. Howard Schultz? He doesn’t seem to understand how the media works, let alone how to cultivate it.
Another time, my dad told me if you get too full of yourself, and you want to see how much you impress people, go stick your finger in a bowl of water and see what kind of impression it leaves. I think Howard Schultz needs to do the same thing and then quietly go back to his double lattes and cake pops.