I can’t let a Thursday slip by without commenting on Collin Levey’s latest column in the Seattle Times. [Brace for a race between producers and advocates]
Faithfully following the memo from her bosses at Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, Inc., Collin uses John Kerry’s choice of John Edwards as his running mate as an opportunity to paint the presidential race as a contest between hard working businessmen who create our nation’s wealth (Bush-Cheney) and blood-sucking trial lawyers who enrich themselves at the expense of consumers (Kerry-Edwards.)
Yeah, nice try. Attacking trial lawyers didn’t work when Edwards ran for the Senate, it didn’t work in the primaries, and it won’t work in the general election. In fact, if I were running the right-wing media echo chamber, I’d be careful this tactic didn’t backfire, as an examination of the candidates’ resumes makes Edwards look quite a bit more productive than so-called “producers” like Bush and Cheney.
Collin writes that “George Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s private-sector careers were as business leaders — Cheney at Halliburton and Bush at the Texas Rangers and smallish oil companies.”
Dick Cheney started his impressive climb up the corporate ladder as a low-level flak in the Nixon Whitehouse, where Donald Rumsfeld took him under his wing. When Rumsfeld became Ford’s chief of staff, he made Cheney one of his deputies. And when Rumsfeld became Secretary of Defense in 1975, Cheney replaced him as chief of staff.
Cheney was downsized out of a job in 1976 when Jimmy Carter completed his hostile takeover, so like many other business leaders, he ran for Congress… and won. There he served until 1988 when Bush the 1st made him Secretary of Defense.
Another hostile takeover in 1992, this time by Bill Clinton, left Cheney jobless once again. And so with absolutely no private sector experience, a political science degree, and nothing but Washington insider credentials on his resume, he of course landed a job as Chairman and CEO of Halliburton, one of the world’s largest oil services and construction companies… and a major military contractor.
As for Bush, well, let’s just say that his only claim to being a “business leader” comes from leading those “smallish oil companies” straight down the toilet.
Bush, the son of a sitting Vice President, was given his stake in the Texas Rangers to help grease the wheels of an effort to secure public financing for a new stadium. After taxpayers agreed to foot the bill, the value of the team dramatically increased, and Bush cashed out, making millions.
As businessmen, the only wealth Bush and Cheney ever produced was millions of dollars of profits for themselves, by cashing in on their Washington connections.
Edwards on the other hand, is a self-made man in the proudest American tradition. The son of a mill worker, and the first in his family to attend college, he achieved wealth and prestige through hard work, determination, and talent. Nobody every gave him a leg up because of who he knew, or which man he called dad.
And finally, I hate to burst your bubble Collin, but law firms are businesses too. And there is no denying that Edwards was a leader in his business.
So to Collin and her right-wing overlords I say “bring it on.” If you want to make this campaign a debate over the candidates’ private sector resumes, I’ll start planning my November 2 victory party now.