by James Ray Deaton 1/12/15
Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald said that the very rich are different from you and me, but today its clear that the elite political class is different from us as well. Sometimes in the news stories of the day, little tidbits of information leak out between the lines to reveal special perks and lifestyle benefits available to the very rich and very political.
Recently while exercising in his Henderson, Nev., home, former Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, broke several ribs and facial bones after a resistance band broke and caused him to fall. Several news reports state Reid’s security detail took him to St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson for treatment after the accident.
Now I want our U.S. senators to be as safe and secure as much as the next guy, but does the average tax payer know their senators have security details on duty at their in-state homes? Security at the capital and during official duties is one thing, but “security details” at home while exercising seems a bit much.
Are such details one tough-looking guy with dark glasses and a microphone in his ear? Two guys? Six? When Reid goes to the grocery store back home in Henderson, is there a convoy of black SUV’s wending their way to the supermarket? It may seem a bit picayune, but there is likely some mission-creep going on when senators have security details on hand when exercising at home.
And remember early last year when former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, told the National Automobile Dealers Association that she has not driven a car for nearly two decades? “The last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996,” Clinton told the group last January.
I guess giving up driving is understandable when you’re a “former this and that” political bigwig always surrounded by Secret Service agents, but still it’s a little disconcerting. It must be nice to be whisked hither and yon, but can someone who doesn’t do the mundane tasks required for everyday living really understand the people? We’re not talking changing your own oil or even pumping your own gas, but just driving yourself here and there to complete the tasks of your day.
The grandaddy example of the pampered politician is probably former President George H. W. Bush in his 1992 town hall debate with Bill Clinton. A questioner flummoxed Bush when he was asked how much a gallon of milk cost. Bush didn’t know and was characterized as out of touch with the concerns and problems of average Americans.
That same year H. W. also famously expressed surprise at a grocery price scanner, already quite common in 1992. While visiting an exhibition of the National Grocers Association in Washington D. C., the New York Times reported Bush was “amazed by some of the technology” at the exhibit. “This is for checking out?” he asked after seeing a price scanner at work. It was seen as another example of an out of touch , pampered politician.
And then there’s former President Bill Clinton and his score of phone numbers. In the just breaking sex scandal civil suit story involving England’s Prince Andrew and billionaire convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, Clinton apparently has a peripheral connection. News reports state that in past years, 2002 to 2005, prior to the police investigation of Epstein, Clinton “frequently flew” on the billionaire’s private jet.
During the investigation, it is reported lawyers obtained Epstein’s computerized telephone directory that included 21 phone numbers for Clinton.
Really? Who knew? Bill Clinton has 21 different phone numbers? I know we are in this new “connected” age, but I doubt that the average person can relate to having 21 telephone numbers. 21! How many assistants does Clinton have to keep track of all these different numbers? What is the most number of calls he has taken at one time? Do they all have different ring tones?
My parents got along with one telephone number for over 30 years. Between work and home, I have four different telephone numbers and that’s really more than I want or need.
It’s sad but true — the very rich and the very political really are different from you and me. • (967 views)