So let me take off my irony hat and say this earnestly:
John McCain is an insanely rich individual. He is insanely rich because he married a woman who was insanely rich, who in turn inherited that insane wealth from her parents. They own more houses than I have pairs of shoes. Seriously. They have a super fancy credit cards that they carry a $225,000 balance on. He wears expensive shoes. I’m sure his suits and ties cost a lot, too. Whatever. That is what it is.
But, importantly, John McCain simply has no connection to working people on a personal level, and most likely hasn’t for most of his political life. The only working class people he encounters are those who come to his campaign events, those who serve him at restaurants, and the small army no doubt employed to clean his ten houses. And, more importantly, he’s the head of a political coalition that while managing to win millions of working class votes, does not have any real representatives of working America calling the shots in the party’s upper echelons. His top economic adviser spent his entire career trying to stick it to the middle class and enrich the banking industry, which he later lucratively joined. Now that the very policies he pushed for helped create a massive ponzi scheme that is collapsing on the heads of the middle class he sniffs at the rubble and calls those people whiners. Whiners.
Now, if John McCain’s policies were crafted to aid working people, to restore some basic fairness to our economy at a time when inequality is undeniably growing, wages are stagnating and a perfect storm of disparate factors have blown lots of middle-class folks precariously close to the edge of real financial disaster, I wouldn’t really care that much about the fact that marrying a rich heiress has made him fabulously wealthy.
But John McCain’s policies have been crafted explicitly to enrich rich people like himself: he is going to take money from the government and put it in his wife’s bank account, and I mean that quite literally. (Look at this chart, via Matt Y) This has been the signature Bush/Norquist tax policy of the last eight years and the policy McCain wants to continue.
It is upwards redistribution. It is taking from the many and giving to the few. Under his plan you get a foreclosed home, an oil rig off the local public beach and some busted keds: he gets another house, another SUV and a shiny new pair of $520 Ferragamo loafers.
That may sound hyperbolic, but it’s true. My ironic point was that we have the perfect makings of a full-fledged campaign narrative here: you have a super rich guy who got super rich not through any of his own genius or hard work (obvious proviso here about his undeniable courage and heroism in Vietnam, but that has nothing to with his net wealth). This super wealthy guy who has married into a family of millionaires flits around in private jets to his many houses while campaigning on an economic policy that tells working people that the economy is great, and if they don’t think it’s great they’re whiners. Meanwhile he’s pushing a tax code that would make him, his wife and his rich donors much richer.
At what point does it begin to set in that this guy is just another business-as-usual, out-of-touch rich guy?