The baffling paranoia of rich guys who resent Obama

The president who preserved a system rigged for the haves now faces their (confused) wrath

Topics: Barack Obama, War Room, Bank Bailouts, Debt ceiling, Economics, Great Recession, Unemployment,

The baffling paranoia of rich guys who resent ObamaKen Langone

If I’ve learned one thing from Rupert Murdoch’s recent troubles, it’s that the incredibly wealthy and powerful are just confused old men who believe dumb things they read in email forwards, probably. They are certainly not wiser than any random newspaper-reading person. Here is some proof: Home Depot founder Ken Langone, babbling away on CNBC last week:

Langone, former head of the New York Stock Exchange, just doesn’t really make a lick of sense.

Ken Langone wants higher taxes on rich people. He wants the debt ceiling raised. And he wants his taxes raised. And he wants tax loopholes closed. And he wants government investment in education and job training. In other words, he is, in the current political environment, basically a liberal socialist Democrat? He is more or less aligned with Paul Krugman here. Obama wants all of these things, too!

Except Langone has a big problem with the politician who shares all of his major economic policy goals: That politician is also mean to rich people.



Langone told CNBC that Obama’s behavior has been “unpresidential.”

“He is dividing us as a nation,” Langone said. “He’s not bringing us together. He’s willfully dividing us. He’s petulant.”
[...]
“Ronald Reagan would never go into the Oval Office without his jacket on—that’s how much he revered the presidency,” he said. “This guy worked like hell to be president…Behave like a president. Let me look at you as a model to how we should behave. What does he say? Fat cats, jet airplanes. What is the purpose? Us versus them.

“The thing I fear the most about the future of America is…divide us, we all lose. This has got to stop.”
[...]
“He is not acting presidential. He is behaving in a way designed in my opinion to divide us, to make us look at each other with skepticism, with suspicion. That is the end of America as we know it,” he said. “The destruction he is inflicting by his behavior will carry on long after we settle the debt limit.”

OK, so … this is just pure cultural baggage with no relation to observable reality. Langone is upset that the president is not sufficiently “respectful” to John Boehner, he’s outraged that the president appeared in shirt-sleeves in the Oval Office, and he’s upset about a two-year-old reference to “fat cats.” Langone wants his taxes raised and tax loopholes closed, but he’s upset that the president briefly campaigned on … closing a private jet tax loophole.

So, there is an extensive fact-check of the Reagan jacket thing, but it doesn’t need a fact-checking, it needs psychoanalysis.

Yes, Americans are all ideologically confused. Voters like liberal policies but vote for divided government. Thomas Friedman dreams of a technocratic center-left third party without realizing he’s dreaming of the Democratic Party. But Langone crying about the president’s lack of respect and then wishing for Chris Christie to run isn’t just ideological confusion, it’s the pathology of the ultra-wealthy under imaginary siege.

Guys like Langone should be thankful there aren’t mobs with pitchforks out there, but instead of recognizing that Obama’s their best friend in the country, they’re dreaming that there are mobs, and that this awful populist president is leading them. Imaginary president Black Huey Long haunts them. People like Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein, who should probably be in jail, are convinced the president who pissed away a significant chunk of his popularity by giving Wall Street all the money it needed to get back on its feet after crippling the world economy is a socialist bent on their destruction. It’s been well-documented, but Langone’s nonsensical rant is a perfect distillation of how stupid these masters of the universe actually are. (I mean, Chris Christie! He’ll bring dignity and respect back to the White House, by yelling at every teacher in the nation, one by one.)

I thought rational self-interest would lead these “fat cats” to support the party that wants to create a stable economy where they can all make as much money as possible, while the bare bones of the social safety net keeps the underclasses pacified, but thin-skinned paranoia apparently trumps all. The president saved capitalism for the rich while overseeing austerity for everyone else, sure, but … he’s uppity! Go ahead and support the guys who want to bring the entire system crashing down, rich guys. Maybe then we will get the pitchforks and torches!

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>