Boyz Living Large

Boyz Living Large

by digby

Speaking of our Dark Overlords ...

Hardly a soul in official Washington doesn't know that National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers can be very high maintenance. Brilliant, bullying, and packing an ego the size of the national debt. Even President Obama has been frustrated with Summers a time or three. All of the exhaustion of Obama's first year, coupled with the toxicity of wrestling with Summers, may soon send some staff members out the door or into new posts, informed sources report. Summers' legendary self-regard worsened last August, when the president reappointed Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke to a second term. Many Fed-watchers -- Summers chief among them -- thought that Obama might turn to his economic adviser instead of retaining the Republican academic whom President George W. Bush appointed and who presided over the Great Recession.

So peeved was Summers that he buttonholed Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for some personal perks he wanted to add to his position in the West Wing. First, according to informed sources, Summers asked to play golf with the president, which he did four weeks later on September 27. The economic adviser also huffed that he desired Cabinet status, an upgrade that Emanuel granted. Summers got walk-in privileges to Cabinet and other high-level meetings, for example, and he strode among the Cabinet officers who witnessed Obama's State of the Union address. In addition, the former Harvard University president sought a personal car and driver, which happens to be a privilege that the head of the nation's central bank enjoys. The chief of staff initially said yes, only to discover that that perk simply does not exist in the White House.

Well, not exactly. The president has his own car and driver. But he's not quite on Larry Summers' level.

This is inevitable. Elites like Summers have a terrible time grappling with the fact that lesser men than they are making huge sums of money while they toil for far less doing a more important job. When he gets dissed, he needs to be soothed somehow, and persuaded once again that he really is superior to all these other bozos in the room. Hence the demand for perks.

And frankly, Summers is a piker. Remember this guy?

As White House Chief of Staff, Sununu reportedly took personal trips, for skiing and other purposes, and classified them as official, for purposes such as conservation or promoting the Thousand Points of Light. The Washington Post wrote that Sununu's jets "took him to fat-cat Republican fund-raisers, ski lodges, golf resorts and even his dentist in Boston." Sununu had paid the government only $892 for his more than $615,000 worth of military jet travel. Sununu said that his use of the jets was necessary because he had to be near a telephone at all times for reasons of national security. Sununu became the subject of much late-night television humor over the incident. Sununu worsened the situation shortly afterwards when, after leaking rumors of financial difficulties in his family, he traveled to a rare stamp auction at Christie's auction house in New York City from Washington in a government limousine, spending $5,000 on rare stamps. Sununu then sent the car and driver back to Washington unoccupied while he returned on a corporate jet. In the course of one week, 45 newspapers ran editorials on Sununu, nearly all of them critical of his actions.

Sununu repaid over $47,000 to the government for the flights on the orders of White House counsel C. Boyden Gray, with the help of the Republican Party. However, the reimbursements were at commercial rates, which are about one-tenth the cost of the actual flights; one ski trip to Vail, Colorado alone had cost taxpayers $86,330.

And then there's Michael Brown and the Squealing Eagles.

Hey they all know that if you want to hang with the Big Money Boyz you have to live large. And lord knows, they have to hang with the Big Money Boyz. They run the country.