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Thomas Lifson - Contributor

Thomas Lifson is a management consultant in Berkeley, California, specializing in US-Japanese management issues. A self-styled recovering academic, he graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in political science, and received a masters degree in East Asian studies from Harvard, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar, and a doctorate in sociology from Harvard. He subsequently taught all three fields on the faculty at Harvard, and also taught economics at Columbia University’s Graduate School of International Affairs. He is a partner in the award-winning winery Sunset Cellars, in Alameda, California. Mr. Lifson is proprietor of the website American Thinker. [go to Lifson index]


The Stress Test
An imperious first family?...
[Thomas Lifson] 10/21/04

Suddenly, it doesn’t seem like much fun being a billionaire couple in the national spotlight, with a focus of intensity that only a presidential campaign can provide. Queen Teresa and her prince consort John had always enjoyed being the center of attention, eagerly seeking opportunities to express their well-informed views to the lesser orders of mortals. Kerry was so eager to appear on local news broadcasts in Massachusetts that he earned the nickname “Live Shot” for his practice of charging over to reporters addressing mini-cams and offering comments for the evening news. Teresa, for her part, found that the audiences she addressed at Heinz Foundation-funded symposia on The Great Issues of the Day treated her every word as the concentrated essence of wisdom.

The run for the White House was supposed to be a piece of cake. Bush, after all, was an idiot, barely able to generate an intelligible sentence, and the Democrats’ friends in the media were promising to add 15 points of voter support, in the now-notorious words of Evan Thomas, one of the top editors of Newsweek. With American soldiers fighting and dying, admirably sophisticated foreign friends heaping scorn on America, and the economy dropping salaried jobs in favor of entrepreneurial self-employment, the voters should be readily persuadable that disaster was at hand. Surely, they would dump W and restore a JFK to the White House.

But it hasn’t been working. The national polls show a close race, with Bush stubbornly in the lead most of the time in most polls. The proprietary unpublicized polls of both campaigns are telling the candidates to battle over the states that Gore won last time, as demonstrated by the deployment of campaigners and advertising dollars. The prospect of Teresa adding the White House to her string of palatial residences seems to be dimming.

You can almost see the wheels turning in their minds: how can this be happening to me? What the hell is the matter with the American public? The French, the Germans, even the Canadians, all hate Bush. These damn swing state voters are dumber than even we thought.

Next to the prospect of hanging, nothing else focuses the mind like the possibility of power, perks and position slipping from the grasp of those who have lusted after them for decades. So, it is time to speak bluntly, and let the slower members of the voting public realize what a huge mistake they will be making if they support this…this…stumbling, bumbling…Texan!

This is why we are being treated to the spectacle of the candidate slyly informing the ignorant heartland homophobes out there that the Cheney family harbors a lesbian in its bossom. They are so stupid and bigoted that they will recoil in horror. After we keep them from voting for Bush, Teresa can spend her White House years making good on a pledge to make gay tolerance a centerpiece of her First Lady duties so there will no harm done, really. A necessary step that our friends in gay community will understand.

For her part, the prospective first African American inhabitant of the White House is having a hard time dealing with the popularity of her rival, Laura Bush. The polls show that the public overwhelmingly likes her. Yet she speaks with a drawl, and has never even demonstrated a facility in French. She feeds her husband cheeseburgers, for crying out loud, and regards a backyard barbecue as a satisfactory dinner party.

Possibly with the onset of Fall weather, Teresa’s arthritis has been acting up again, causing her to take extra doses of the gin-soaked white raisins she recommends as a cure. So she “forgot” that Laura Bush worked as both a teacher and a librarian, and possesses a masters degree, when she said of her rival:

I don't know that she's ever had a real job — I mean, since she's been grown up.

Teachers and librarians being highly-organized interest groups supporting the Kerry campaign, Teresa apologized to members of these professions within the same news cycle her comments appeared. However, full-time wives and mothers are still, stupidly, regarded as not having “real” jobs.

Given the status of women voters as the crucial swing constituency, what can explain the stubborn contempt inherent in Teresa’s posture?

The answer is disarmingly obvious. Teresa grew up in colonial Mozambique, where cheap black domestic labor made full time motherhood a matter of giving orders to and correcting the behavior of the servants, and then idling away the afternoon on the veranda while drinking pink gin fizzes, or whatever it was that Portuguese colonials consumed in their tropical overlordship.

When she became a mother herself, Teresa had one of America’s great fortunes available to afford a similar army of better-paid servants in Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. Motherhood and wifehood once again were a matter of giving orders. American wives actually have the advantage of servants who speak the language better and are more familiar with the customs of the master’s household, for goodness sake. The duties of motherhood under these circumstances are not to be confused with a real job.

So the Heinz-Kerry team finds itself enduring the stress of a potential looming disaster. It is no longer fun. Off-balance and under pressure, they are letting their core beliefs and habitual attitudes show. And it is not a pretty picture. CRO

copyright 2004 Thomas Lifson



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