WHY IS THERE NEVER A TUMBREL AROUND WHEN YOU NEED ONE?
Chris Christie still says he's not going to run for president in 2012, but he did agree to have a conference call yesterday with billionaire Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone and a bunch of other swells. Politico's Mike Allen tells us more about the confab:
Langone backed Rudy Giuliani in 2008, and his guests came from both parties, although most were moderate Republicans. Most are uncommitted in the presidential race. Participants who rank on the Forbes list of richest Americans included ... Paul Tudor Jones (hedge funds; $3.3 billion), Stan Druckenmiller (hedge funds; $2.5 billion) and Bernie Marcus (Home Depot; $1.9 billion).
Several of Langone's guests said during the session that they are Republicans, but voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because they disagreed with having Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket.
Several said they were severely disappointed in the president. The biggest complaint was what some called "class warfare."
If that last sentence maybe you look around for a torch, a pitchfork, and an angry mob, you're not alone.
Excuse me, swells, but if this were real class warfare, some of you wouldn't still be billionaires. (If this were real warfare, some of you might be heads on pikes right now.)
And are we supposed to be impressed that these guys thought Sarah Palin was a tad extreme in 2008? Well, the crazy disease has gone pandemic by now, and even Forbes 400 billionaires aren't immune. Mr. Druckenmiller, one of the plutocrat conferees, told The Wall Street Journal a couple of months ago that a debt-ceiling default would be no big whoop, because he would only miss a T-note payment or two:
"Here are your two options: piece of paper number one -- let's just call it a 10-year Treasury. So I own this piece of paper. I get an income stream obviously over 10 years ... and one of my interest payments is going to be delayed, I don't know, six days, eight days, 15 days, but I know I'm going to get it. There's not a doubt in my mind that it's not going to pay, but it's going to be delayed. But in exchange for that, let's suppose I know I'm going to get massive cuts in entitlements and the government is going to get their house in order so my payments seven, eight, nine, 10 years out are much more assured," he says.
Then there's "piece of paper number two," he says, under a scenario in which the debt limit is quickly raised to avoid any possible disruption in payments. "I don't have to wait six, eight, or 10 days for one of my many payments over 10 years. I get it on time. But we're going to continue to pile up trillions of dollars of debt and I may have a Greek situation on my hands in six or seven years. Now as an owner, which piece of paper do I want to own? To me it's a no-brainer. It's piece of paper number one."
So don't assume that all the fat cats desperately want a debt-ceiling deal ASAP. (By the way, Mr. Druckenmiller heads a charity called the Harlem Children's Zone; if he's asked any of the beneficiaries whether they feel the same way he does about certain government payments being "delayed, I don't know, six days, eight days, 15 days," or about "massive cuts in entitlements," I'm not aware of it.)
Oh, and speaking of crazy ideas, I'd also like to point out that Ken Langone's 2008 endorsee, Rudy Giuliani, is apparently backing Rick Perry this time around. And as for that sane, non-crazy Chris Christie, well...
Christie travels to Iowa next week to appear on behalf of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).
You know what, guys? Just get behind Bachmann or Perry or Cain. There's no saner-than-Palin wing of the GOP anymore. And if you think Obama's a big commie, then there's no alternative for you.
Incidentally, Public Policy Polling has Christie's approval/disapproval rating in Jersey at 43%/53%. More here.