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Socialists in the White House

BY BEAU ELLIOT | MAY 08, 2012 6:30 AM

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Harper's Index, which is not great literature like the inner musings of Mitt Romney (which is kind of a frightening thought) but is really interesting, reports that Romney's estimated net worth, at a minimum, is $190 million.

Well, that's pretty rich by my standards — which are assuredly not the standards of, say, George Soros or Warren Buffett. Or, glancing to the right, the Koch brothers. A cool $190 million is, to those guys, probably something like walking-around money — not that I'm implying any of those guys spend a great deal of time walking around.

The next line in Harper's Index reports that George Washington's estimated net worth, taking into account inflation, was $525 million.

Well.

Puts the Father of Our Country in a rather new light (probably a compact fluorescent — oh, those socialists and their communist light bulbs).

Of course, if they were truly communist light bulbs, they'd pretend to light up and you'd pretend to pay the electric bill.

(That's a play on an old joke from the dear, departed East Germany, technically the German Democratic Republic, in that uncannily dry German humor and known as the DDR in German. Or, as my East Berlin friend and writer Stephen Mensching put it, the Da-Da-R.)

I was reminded of the light-bulb war a few days ago when I overheard a conversation in one of the local saloons that undergraduates tend not to frequent.

(Speaking of undergraduates, did you hear about the guy who got busted for misuse of a driver's license at the door of the Union Bar over the weekend?

(Turns out, he was 19, using an older person's ID, and he handed it to the bouncer. The only problem was, it was the bouncer's ID. Cool, dude.

(You know, if you're using a fake ID, wouldn't you study the picture, just in case?)

Meanwhile, back at light bulbs, these two cool dudes were raving on about having to buy light bulbs dictated by the socialist in the White House. Oh, the injustice of it all.

What? I thought. Eugene Debs is in the White House? How did that happen? I mean, for one thing, Debs is dead. Not to bring up any uncomfortable facts.

Well, no, of course they meant Barack Obama.

Who is about as much a socialist as is Angela Merkel. (She is, of course, the chancellor of Germany, the leading push behind the austerity movement in Europe, and about as close to being a socialist as is, say, George W. Bush or Sarah Palin.)

Well, back at the light bulbs, Obama did not mandate the energy-efficient light bulbs. Congress did, in 2007. George W. Bush signed the law.

And, in any case, you may buy any light bulb you want — incandescent, compact fluorescent, LED. The government isn't forcing anyone to buy any particular light bulb. It's just demanding certain energy efficiency, and the industry has responded.

I will tell you this: Since replacing old-style incandescents with compact fluorescents, my electric bill has dropped in the neighborhood of 35 percent. The whole light-bulb thing reminds me of the story, floated by the Romney people (either his campaign or the Super PAC that's "independent" of him), that Obama ate dog meat when he was a child in Indonesia.

That, somehow, is supposed to take the luster off the story of Romney strapping the dog to the top of the car on a trip to Canada.

Um. Isn't there a difference between eating dog meat when you're 6 and putting a family pet on the roof of the car when you're 36?

Just wondering.

I mean, if you're worth $190 million, couldn't you afford to put the dog in a kennel for a couple of weeks?


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