The Cult of the CEO and the Trumpification of the GOP

Americans should stop paying so much attention to what business executives think.

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The attention junkie Donald Trump announced Monday that he would give $5 million to, oh, never mind. That bozo needs more ink like Chris Matthews needs more coffee. But it’s worth remembering that 18 months ago, Trump was leading the Republican primary polls. And his circus of fail, along with Jack Welch’s insane conspiracy theories about the Bureau of Labor Statistics, not to mention the entire George W. Bush presidency, ought to shine a harsh spotlight on America’s misguided but incredibly resilient cult of the CEO.

Trump’s race-baiting ravings about President Obama’s birth certificate and college transcripts have inspired a lot of ridicule about his own bankruptcies and other business woes, but that’s missing the point. Trump has an impressive business record—even if it’s not as impressive as Welch’s or Mitt Romney’s—and an obvious genius for self-promotion. But he’s still a Guiness Book of World Records jerk who knows less than nothing about public policy. There’s no reason his political bloviations should receive any more attention than any other celebrity’s.

Making money is a genuine talent, just like teaching physics or draining three-pointers or, dare I mention it, organizing communities. CEO’s can produce real benefits for society, even though their main objective is maximizing returns for their shareholders, even though some of them create entire reality shows around the enjoyment they derive from firing people. But there is no reason to think that CEO’s have any more insight into the national interest than their workers do. And the Trumpy drumbeat that Obama is an anti-capitalist radical—recently amplified by a self-righteous parade of CEOs threatening to fire their employees if the president is reelected—is somewhat odd given the spectacular profits enjoyed by corporate America over the last four years. I understand why some of them are bummed that Obama wants to raise their taxes, and they have every right to finance Romney’s campaign, but I don’t see why their opinions (or for that matter the opinion of Obama-friendly executives like Warren Buffett or Jeff Immelt) are big news.

Romney has argued that his experience at Bain Capital makes him uniquely qualified to turn around the economy. I do think his managerial experience is an attractive quality in a chief executive, and unlike many blame-the-staff pundits I do think that experience has helped him run a strong campaign operation. (Of course, Obama ran a strong campaign operation in 2008, and he had never run anything bigger than the Harvard Law Review.) But Romney’s record as a moneymaker in private equity tells us virtually nothing about his ability to produce macroeconomic success, to the extent that presidents can contribute to macroeconomic success. His ideas about the tax code and public investments and budget deficits and monetary policy tell us much more. So does his record as governor of Massachusetts, to the extent that he stands by his policies in Massachusetts.

The cult of the corporate leader seems to have emerged unscathed from the financial and economic meltdown of 2008, just as the cult of the military leader emerged unscathed from the Iraq war. Somehow, the dream of the Harvard Business School CEO president seems to have survived the Bush era as well. There is no reason a CEO couldn’t be a good president—military leaders have been some of our best—or even an insightful political commentator. But there’s a reason a lot of people don’t like their bosses, and very few people ask their bosses who they should vote for. Jack Welch is a crank, even if he did make his shareholders a lot of money. Donald Trump is a clown, even if he builds very very fancy buildings and gets very very high ratings. And Mitt Romney ought to be judged by his policy proposals, his gubernatorial record, and his political party. That’s the best way to tell what he’ll do to the economy.

One final word about that party: The weirdest thing about the Republican convention in Tampa, aside from its unrelenting whiteness, was its unrelenting focus on business owners. Every speaker repeated the mantra: You built this! Just about all of the speeches were directed towards Job Creators, one ode after another to The Man. There was something endearing and true about this incessant valorization of entrepreneurs; my wife started a small business, and I’m still amazed how hard it was. But I couldn’t stop thinking during the convention that the workers for whom jobs are created help build businesses, too, and there are more of us than there are of our bosses. The electorate is getting less white, less evangelical, less old—in other words, less demographically Republican–and it has been widely remarked that if Romney loses after four years of 8 percent unemployment, the GOP will have to reckon with those trends. But it will also have to reckon with its Trumpy conviction that whatever is good for business owners is good for America. It’s the kind of conviction that leads to a candidate like Romney.

226 comments
ds25
ds25

One aspect of Trump's personality is rarely mentioned. He is vindictive. Consider the case of the analyst whose report was the catalyst for an early Trump bankruptcy. Trump was able to get him dismissed as well as hinder his ability to get another job.

alison321
alison321

I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do, Be84.com

ahandout
ahandout

This leftist trash is brought to you by Citi, the bank of Barry Obama, Turbo Tax Timmy, Larry Summers, and Robert Rubin.  What a joke.

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

While people flail and bicker over which party is best, or which is worst, the fact is neither party is capable of cogently leading the nation.  The Democrats have little fiscal policy that helps middle America or higher.  The Republicans have nothing that helps anyone earning less than a million a year.  The polarization in politics has reached the point of diminishing returns in policy.  Trickle-down only makes the wealthy wealthier.  Handouts to the poor won't do anything to stimulate job growth.

There is too much of something and both parties have it.  On the right, too much "values" that mean nothing in the way of job creation (in fact, could make unemployment CONSIDERABLY worse).  On the left, too much concern for stopping change in a changing environment that will not be stopped but needs to be dealt with.  What we need is something in the middle.  Something that gets small business up and running and makes it easier for one to expand them.  We need something that give people who need it a hand-up, but makes them responsible citizens.  We need a military that is lean AND effective at the task of defending the United States.  We need to balance environmental concerns against realistic expectations of the impact.  We need to lose the term "Zero tolerance".  We need to begin to use the word "compromise" without making it sound like a bad thing.

In a democracy, compromise is mandatory.  Unyielding dogmatic political policies DO NOT CHANGE.  A country that doesn't change stagnates and dies.  Only a country that compromises and adapts to change will thrive.  Both the left and the right suffer from the delusion that their unchanging, unyielding policies will stimulate GROWTH.  They are both a sure-fire path to eventual stagnation and catastrophic decline.  Growth can only come from change.  Growth IS change.  And a country (or economy, if you will) that can't adapt and can't change due to the stagnated policies of narrow-minded special interests, will not grow and will instead wither and die.

Toss both sides out and elect someone - ANYONE - who can compromise and has demonstrated that ability in life.  We don't need platforms to bridge the troubled distance between here and prosperity if they don't meet in the middle anymore.  We need new bridge makers who know how to get from one edge to the other so that we can get to where we want to go.

ahandout
ahandout

Al Gore is worth 100 million , and he has produced what?  A video full of lies and exaggerations that liberals still believe, an electric car that will never make it.  And, most importantly:  ignorance.  Through his lectures and lies, Al Gore, the millionaire opportunist, has spread ignorance to the liberals that believe.

DavidFarrar
DavidFarrar

What if Romney’s ‘Birther” joke wasn’t a joke at all, but a threat?

According to a recent MIT poll: 73% of Republicans (Romney’s base) question the place of Obama’s birth.

If we accept the fact, as Romney does, that Obama was born a U.S. citizen in Hawaii, allowing public access to his Hawaiian natal records* in return for Romney’s FBAR reports, which provide detailed information to the IRS regarding foreign bank accounts, should be a ‘no- brainer’ for Obama. Sure, Romney can refuse, but not without a cost to his base. Not a bad outcome in a close race for simply revealing a truth. Yet it seems Romney was able to effectively threaten Obama into silence with his August 25, 2012 “joke” about his own birth certificate.

ex animodavidfarrar*Including Obama’s Hawaiian natal hospital records

LouAZ
LouAZ

Let's be honest, Mitt Romney -- and many of his supporters -- were born on third base and think they hit a triple. – Robert Creamer

The Donald and Ronmey earned their money the old fashioned way - the inherited it from their Father.

dunedweller
dunedweller

Of course it's more important to Trump that President Obama show his college and passport applications - items that have no relevance or impact on policy making for the American people, than it is for Romney to show us his tax forms several years back which would be clear indicators of his ideas for tax policy.

Fareed
Fareed

The Donald is making another cry for help.  I'm sure he may have contemplated suicide more than once.  Friends or family need to look in on him.

KentR
KentR

Mr Trump is a waste of time until he wants something you have  then  hes  a bigger pest than the supposed welfare queens in line with food stamps on half price Meat super sales day.just trying to ge 165 dollars to cover a food bill of over 500..

BobR
BobR

Americans should do themselves a big favor and gain in self knowledge by educating themselves what Narcissism is and means. Donald Trump, like Mitt Romney and George W Bush...is a narcissist. A narcissist is a soul sick individual who is full of unconscious rage and shame. The ego gets disconnected from Soul at an early age and human development is arrested. People like Trump seek attention and praise outside of themselves...the are psychic vampires that feed off other people. 

It isn't even possible to begin to understand politics without basic psychological knowledge of human nature. To a more elevated consciousness Trump and Romney obviously lack integrity and are both liars....characteristic of narcissism. This is obvious. Co-dependence is the opposite polarity of narcissism in which the sick co-dependent is enmeshed with, attracted by, and dependent on the toxicity of the narcissist. This is the dynamic behind battered wife syndrome. 

Narcissism and co-dependence are epidemic in the USA and afflict 99.9% of everyone to one degree or another. These soul diseases used to be called "the human condition" by the religious old timers. These soul sicknesses are the ROOT CAUSE OF ALL OF THE USA's problems. Want to save the country and your family? Then gain self knowledge and courageously elevate your own awareness by learning about the diseases that afflict you and which manifest in American politics as the dualistic 2 party system. 

Ol'Bob
Ol'Bob

The Republican party is the Party of the Big Corporation.  Always has been, always will be.  Anyone who believes otherwise is living in a dream world.  If you are not an executive at a Big Company and you vote Republican, you are voting for candidates which will actively work to screw you in favor of the interests of large corporations, and they're gonna grin at you while they do it.  If you're a one-issue voter whose single issue is part (a *teeny* *weeny* part) of the Republican platform, understand that you've agreed to vote for people who will not enact legislation which helps you in any way except for that single issue you care about.  On the other hand, if you're a corporate CEO, officer, or senior manager, by all means Vote Republican!  'Course, you're likely to anyways...

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

[i]"The cult of the corporate leader seems to have emerged unscathed from the financial and economic meltdown of 2008..."[/i]

Personally, having profited from destroying the lives of millions, I have no idea why we aren't building stocks and gallows. The sheeple have spoken.

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

I have ambivalent thoughts about the attention that this squirrel receives for outrageous stupidity and relevance.  On the one hand I want to curse the media for providing the attention.  On the other, I think it is good to be out there what major players in the Republican party are about.   

dunedweller
dunedweller

Considering the top CEOs have amassed piles of wealth in the last two decades while employees from top management on down have seen their incomes recede significantly, I don't know how anybody believes a CEO could be a good choice to lead the 100% of our country. If you listen to President Obama in the 3rd debate he mentions fairness several times in several forms - leveling the playing field, getting a fair shake at success. These concepts are absolutely foreign to a "take all you can get no matter who or what it destroys" CEO.

meddevguy
meddevguy

What's Bozo is linking a Trump, who is way outside the Romney camp with the party and candidate.

But what do you expect from Michael, who is so low that he makes the racist statement "aside from its unrelenting whiteness" about the convention. Yeah, I know your chosen candidate went from winning to even or losing because the American voter found out who he was, but it shows a lot of desperation to play the race card -- instead of pointing out what a great job the President has done on the economy and how the burning embassies is a validation of his Apology Tour speeches to MidEast audiences.

Mr. Grunwald, you are as irrelevant as Donald Trump -- permanently. Donald will still have his money and ego after November 6 -- you will have lost all credibility as a journalist and once your usefulness as a shill for the President as a candidate is through, you will be dropped by the Democrats just like they will with any preference for women or Latinos. They have their agenda, and you and the rest of America ain't in it.

fred
fred

As an outsider to me there is more respect between the Jews and Arabs then there is between the Republicans and Democrats - the hatred the Republicans have for Obama is so intense, that it has clouded their judgement and makes the Americans a laughing stock of the rest of the world. Only in US politics you are allowed to lie and misquote while competing to represent the country as their government. 

Billionaires want to become zillionaires even though they can never spend all the money before they meet their Maker whom they speak so highly of when their true God is the almighty $

2 of the most successful CEOs Buffet and Gates both agree that further tax cuts for the rich are not warranted but yet the greed persists - It is also amazing that the rest of the country which comprise of Have-Nots are never considered EXCEPT when the country goes to war - Honestly, how many billionaires and multi millionaires sons and daughters have served on the front line - can you imagine a Trump, Romney, Bush, or Coulter actually enlisting and doing battle in Iraq ........only after pigs fly

axl
axl

Under the category of what's wrong with this country. Only in this country, where a 2bit salesman can command this much media attention, is rich via greed and can potentially run/win the presidency is a waste of oxyen. He should be thankful he lives on this side of the fence.

Pollopa
Pollopa

There are still moderate republicans after all. There was a time when I voted for the republican candidates, the tent they've erected has since shut me out. As the extremists in the republican party continue to put themselves in the news, they drive those who are acceptable to the larger voting populace out. When Obama wins and seats are lost in congress, the republican party will implode under the weight that the rightwing has put upon them. It is very clear that Reagan would not have made it in todays rightwing controlled republican party. The only reason Romney even holds today is because he is willing to not take a stance on anything and willingly shows he is malleable to the rightwing when called upon. Reagan not so much. Powell now shows that he holds to his beliefs, and understands that to represent America you need to represent 100% of America.  Vote Obama and the democratic ticket.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/25/powell-endorses-obama-again/

RyanSharpe
RyanSharpe

I agree we should judge Mitt Romney solely on his policy proposals. In America, we judge a politician based on their family life, religion, and other characteristics that do not relate to their policy proposals whatsoever. If the media stopped covering these unrelated topics, perhaps we can move towards a more-informed society.

outsider
outsider

Is it just me, or is Trumps hair more frightening that the Paranormal movies?

outsider
outsider

The new format only allows for 8000 characters - and that is too few for Mitt's lies. I condensed and put the link.  

Mitt’s six biggest lies to womenIn a campaign noted for its deceit, Romney's appeals to women voters have been especially craven

Women — along with a handful of undecided voters — are pretty much going to decide this thing come November 6. The gender gap is at historic highs, and if solely women were voting, there’s no question as to who would be occupying the White House for the next four years.

In the last weeks before the election, Romney has shown himself ready to get down on bended knee to woo the female vote. Which would be cute, if he didn’t have a record of denying women their basic human rights. Unbeknownst to Mitt, women, in addition to making handy office workers, are also fully capable of seeing through all the manipulations, mansplaining and malarkey that have been spread around this campaign season. So let’s pause a moment to take a look at Mitt’s continual war on women’s credibility.

1. Global Rights for Women

In the final presidential face-off Monday night, Romney seemed to glow with the fire of the global struggle for women’s rights. Right off the bat, he hailed the Arab Spring and the “hope that there would be a change towards more moderation, and opportunity for greater participation on the part of women in public life….”

Maybe that glow was really the tell-tale flush of the hypocrite. Because the funny thing is, women can’t participate effectively in public life if they can’t get access to family planning services and find themselves thrown into abject poverty trying to feed too many children.Mitt has vowed that his first order of business as president would be to reinstate the devastating “global gag rule,” also known as the “Mexico City policy” – a restriction originally hatched by Reagan that has been used to block federal money for family-planning work abroad to any organization that provided information, advice, referrals or services for legal abortion or supported the legalization of abortion — even using its own funds. As the New York Times summarizes, “Merely talking about abortion could cost groups not only federal money, but also useful technical support and American-donated supplies of contraceptives, including condoms for distribution in the communities they serve.”

President Obama lifted the global gag rule after taking office, a move that was a much-needed step in the fight to end world poverty. Mitt Romney has taken it as his highest priority to see that the misery factor for women around the globe increases the moment he takes office.

2. Reproductive Freedom

Mitt’s plans for women at home are as cruel as those for their sisters abroad. Make no mistake: Romney will say whatever it takes to get elected, and then govern exactly as he pleases. In a Republican debate, he boasted of switching positions on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy once he became governor of Massachusetts. He campaigned as pro-choice to secure votes, and then reversed himself in office to win conservative GOP support. In his own words:

“I changed my mind as the governor. This didn’t just happen the last couple of weeks or the last year. This happened when I was governor the first time a bill came to my desk that related to life. I could not sign a bill that would take away human life. I came down on the side of life every single instance as governor of Massachusetts. I was awarded by the Massachusetts Citizens for Life with their leadership award for my record.”

For a mind-bending trip through Romney’s lies, switches and obfuscations on pregnancy termination, check out a video by Slate’s William Saletan.

Mitt has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood, appoint only the most anti-women judges, and reverse Roe v. Wade. He has lately taken to pretending that he cares about contraception, a necessary part of women’s healthcare, and in the second presidential debate, he said he didn’t believe Washington bureaucrats or employers should tell a woman whether to use contraception. Don’t buy it. Mitt backs the Blunt Amendment, which would allow employers to refuse to cover things like – contraceptives.

3. Equal Pay for Women

5. Work/Family Balance

6. Binder Full of Bull

http://www.salon.com/2012/10/25/mitts_six_biggest_lies_to_women/

NP042
NP042

Is LiveFyre eating comments?  I've seen mine and others that I was replying to just disappear. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ahandout Yet more lies Troll. We know that Wall Street is firmly behind Mittens since they want to be able to rip people of without oversight yet again.

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

@paulejb1 You offer a choice?  I choose neither.  I'm not into wallowing in muck.  I vote a straight Democrat ticket.  If there are no Democrats, I vote Green Party, if none of them, I vote Libertarian.  One thing I will never do is vote GOPee.

KentR
KentR

What On Earth could Trump want..  YOUR VOTE  to do his bidding  and hurt the middle class while boosting his own fortune.. as most of his Past employees  especially the ones that worked for him each time he went bankrupt  and stiffed the income due that worker.

Ol'Bob
Ol'Bob

You're in a twisty maze of little Republican minds, all alike...

dunedweller
dunedweller

@meddevguy Romney was in his campe enough to accept his endorsement like it was a badge of honor.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@Pollopa 

The current GOP is less then a decade away from either seriously redoing itself or imploding. When you bank on 65+ white and male and a small clique of really rich people you will eventually run out of enough voter rolls to scrub in order for it to matter.

We all want a sane conservative movement because it also challenges the dems to be on their best game. Insanity in one party only leads to meh-ness in the other. Why should one party even bother bringing their best and brightest if the other hords the droolers and groaners?

I just don't understand the current GOP that seem to think that keep on harking on social conservative issues will somehow widen their tent?

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@outsider2011 8000 characters?  What?  Have they not heard of an ntext or a varchar(MAX) column?  What is this, amateur hour?

outsider
outsider

@NP042 

They dont' eat them, but because having all the comments on one page is very resource intensive, they don't show. Just hit refresh, and they are there. 

La_Randy
La_Randy

@NP042 I have noticed this too. I had comments disappear then reappear later.

paulejb1
paulejb1

@MrObvious @paulejb1 

Nothing general about that particular box of crazy, Ob. Ted Turner is a card carrying member of the leftist elites.

Ol'Bob
Ol'Bob

The GOP loves socially conservative voters because they're easy to appeal to.  Best of all are the "one issue" voters, such as the anti-choicers.  They're sweet because if you say just one thing, you've got their vote.  The rest doesn't matter- just that one thing.  The GOP isn't interested in a Big Tent these days - they want voters who will show up once very two years, send their GOP candidates-du-jour off to Washington, and then the voters should shut up and go home until they're needed again.  In the meantime Mr. or Ms. Congressperson/President/Senator can go ahead and wallow in all the slop they can get their slimy little Mitts on.  That's why Mittens comment about "Corporations are people too" is so disturbing.  Votes for corporations?  Y'think?  If the GOP had their way they'd do it - and, y'know, with the conservative stacking of the Supreme Court it might just hold up.  Hey, if you can't *suppress* the vote, just *dilute it*!!!!

NP042
NP042

@outsider2011 @NP042 Yep, my replies to dectra and Kevie G at the beginning of the thread keep disappearing for me.  Can anyone else see them?  Your (or Obv's) and Paulie's replies to dectra are gone too.

NP042
NP042

@MrObvious @NP042 The posts I was replying to are still there, but both of my replies have disappeared even though they are still in my posting history if you click my avatar.

outsider
outsider

@NP042 @outsider2011 

At the beginning it's because of the resources issue. A lot of the posts get lost that are at the beginning. Only the most recent post seem to be accessible with any kind of regularity. 

MrObvious
MrObvious

@NP042

It's possible that if someone deletes their post all the replies goes away. 

outsider
outsider

@NP042 @outsider2011 

That is strange then; i know Ivy and i had an issue as well - but the refreshing helped. 

I hope we get pages. it'll be easier to handle the amount of posts we get here.