HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Twitter:
@digby56
@DavidOAtkins

emails:
Digby:
digbysez at gmail
David:
isnospoon at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news

Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
BagNewsNotes
Daily Kos
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Echidne
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
oilprice.com
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist


Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Friday, January 07, 2011

 
Out of Touch? Nah, They're Just Better Than Everyone Else

by digby

Begala and Matalin on Biltzer this afternoon:


Blitzer: In an interview the other day with the New York Times, the president said about his press secretary Robert Gibbs, Paul let me read it to you:

He said "We've been on this ride together since I won my Senate primary in 2004 ... He's had a six-year stretch now where basically he's been going 24/7 with relatively modest pay."

Now realtively modest pay has caused a bit of a stir out there. We've checked and he's getting 172,200 dollarsa year. The president says that's relatively modest. the bureau of labor statistics says the mean annual salary in the US is 42,000 dollars. the question is, is the president out of touch? Is he giving the impression that he's out of touch when he says someone making 172,000 a year is getting a relatively modest salary?

Begala: It that adverb, it's that modifier "relative." The president is exactly right. I'm going to defend him on this. Robert Gibbs is an astonishingly powerful man who's been serving our country. And yeah that's a good paycheck, it really is. 172 grand? But just to put it into context, the chief flack for Goldman Sachs makes over a million bucks a year, just for being a spokesman for an investment bank! Sarah Palin, some obscure pundit on some other channel, makes ten to fifteen million a year if you add in the coloring books that she publishes.

Gibbs should be in that range. It's a relatively small amount compared to what he could or should be making in the private sector.

Blitzer: What do you think Mary?

Matalin: I think the president is out of touch, but not for that statement. These jobs, if you take them apart, that salary is little more that three times, maybe four times than the average salary. But he's not working an average job, he's not working at an average government job. He really is working, and Paul did this too in the Whiter House, you really do work three shifts a day. You work 24 hours a day. You eat lunch at your desk. There's many days when you are lucky if you can get to the bathroom. And when you do that for a sustained period, your brain starts to bubble away. So I think it's a little unfair to attack the president on this, I do.

Blitzer: But does the impression, I guess ... what folks out there ... take a look at nearly 10 percent unemployment right now, and the president is saying spomebody making 172,000 dollars a year is relatively modest, the impression you get is that the president coulod be out of touch with average folks out there around the country Paul.

Begala: But, but, I do think ... again, it's that word "relatively." You know a factor in a campaign, in what was otherwise a terrific interview with pastor Rick Warren, John McCain was asked by Pastor Warren what constitutes rich, McCain said "five million dollars a year." Now he was kind of joking, to tell you the truth. It doesn't mean John McCain's out of touch. He was trying to make a point that he wasn't trying to tax anybody. The President's trying to make a point here --- he's not trying to say that 172 thousand dollars a year is not a good paycheck. But compared to what the guy could be making... And, as Mary points out, if it's a hourly wage, then Gibbs is probably making about fifty cents an hour.

Blitzer: And we know he's working hard and deserves to take some time off because he's been working hard all these ... but, I'll, Mary, I'll let you have the final thought.Was the president correct when he said this is a relatively modest paycheck.

Matalin: Uh, uh, I'll go to your other question which is he ...

Blitzer: No no, answer that one...was he right when he said, "this is a relatively modest paycheck."

Matalin: To the average American it's a good paycheck. For those kinds of jobs, and those hours, it is minimum wage. That's how hard those jobs are.

Blitzer: We'll leave it at that guys.


I'll just let that sit there for a minute. Read it again, keeping in mind that Robert Gibbs is the presidential press secretary. According to these guys the job is right up there with curing cancer for sheer importance to the future of mankind.

Look, you can't blame these two. They are both glugging from the same taxpayer trough half the time and have a big investment in believing that what they do is so special and so unique that they are just a little bit better than lesser people who toil at less exalted labor.

And evidently, they truly believe regular people don't eat lunch at their desks and work long hours and have huge responsibilities. Or if they do, they are in very important jobs like media and investment banking where people are paid what they are "worth." Indeed, they seem to believe it's actually a huge sacrifice that someone should have to work for a mere 172k a year(plus BIG perks) even for just a few years until they can cash out like Gibbs is about to do and start making a decent salary of five million dollars a year or more.

This is one of the most revealing conversations Wolf Blitzer accidentally ever led. (Judging from their discomfort toward the end, I'd have to guess they wish they had been asked something else.) And it pretty well confirms for me that they are beyond "out of touch" --- they are living in their own universe. If they are comparing public servants to million dollar celebrities rather than average Americans then it says everything you need to know about why they have placed all their faith in the magical markets to fix things. In their America, that's how it works.

Walter Shapiro wrote about this yesterday and made an excellent point:

Obama's sympathetic comments about Gibbs' financial sacrifice illustrate that populism remains an abstraction for the president, despite the persistence of the worst economic downturn since the Depression. In the world of Obama (or Clinton or either Bush), it is par for the course that William Daley, the new White House chief of staff, served as Midwest chairman for JP Morgan Chase between his stints in government. Or that Rahm Emanuel made $16 million as an investment banker during the three years between his departure from the Clinton White House and his 2002 election to the House.

[...]

There was an era (personified by the likes of Truman and Sam Rayburn in the 1950s) when a high-level career in public service and an upper-middle-class income seemed reward enough. These bygone values endure among many in the military and the federal judiciary -- not to mention among the underpaid denizens of the White House briefing room. But too often power players in Washington believe that if they see the president every day, appear on television and have a permanent seat on Air Force One, they are entitled to get rich as soon as they leave government.

When it comes to personal money, there is a sense in Washington that what happens within the Beltway stays within the Beltway. But voters are not dumb, even if more than 90 percent of them survive on less than $172,000 a year. What happens in government is not the only trigger for populist outrage. For it is equally easy to become enraged by career arcs after government.


You know, for me it's even beyond the lack of empathy and common touch. It's the political malpractice that I can't get over. Are these people really so insulated in green rooms and limousines and fat cat fundraisers that they have no idea they sound like total assholes? Huge numbers of people in this country are living in economic terror right now, wondering if they are going to have a roof over their heads next month. They'd love to eat lunch at their desk --- in fact, they'd love to have a desk. And these idiots are trying to tell us that 172k a year is minimum wage?

I'd like them to tell it to this guy who was featured on a CNN segment just a short while before the pampered celebrities were asked about what a "relatively modest" paycheck is:



I felt like crying right along with him. And then a few minutes later, I felt like throwing up watching the so-called populist Democrat Paul Begala and his sister in arms the cruel PR flack Mary Matalin sit there and tell America that Robert Gibbs is worth so much more than that man and whining that he's underpaid by only making 172,000 a year. Completely clueless. They live in another world.


.

Search Digby!