Ideologues or Celebrity Politicians?

The big news over the weekend was that French president Nicholas Sarkozy has married the woman of his dreams in the Elysee Palace. Carla Bruni is apparently the woman of many mens’ dreams; she has the reputation for a love ’em and leave ’em kind of social life, including other well-known politicians and rock stars, such as Mick Jagger, among her paramours.

How did a nice girl like that end up in a place like the Elysee Palace? And what does it matter to readers of Markets and Money? A little background: she was born into a family of rich Italian industrialists. Both mother and father were talented musicians too. Then, it emerged that her biological father was a Brazilian (her mother seems to have allowed herself a certain amount of liberty in the swinging ’60s) about whom not much is known. Carla was rich, beautiful, talented and extremely well educated. She speaks four languages…she has been a supermodel…she plays the guitar…she sings…and now she has a hit album in the shops.

Why would a woman like that want to marry a short politician? She didn’t even support Sarkozy in the presidential campaign; she was for his opponent, Segolene Royale.

But we have a new phenomenon in politics – the power couple…and the connubial succession. That, of course, is what Hillary Clinton is banking on. Christina Kirschner pulled it off in Argentina. (Where Juan Peron’s third wife, Isabelita, had blazed a trail years before.)

If Hillary wins, the United States will have suffered under Clintons and Bushes for at least 24 years…and perhaps 28. Nearly three decades in two families…and where’s Chelsea?

Do you see how democracy has evolved…and the world with it? The mob no longer wants ideologues with their ideas and ‘isms.’ Now, it wants celebrities. It wants royals. It wants faces familiar to Oprah and People Magazine.

What is the difference, ideologically, between the Republicans and the Democrats? Does one oppose military adventurism overseas, while the other supports it? Does one favor programs to care for the old and the ill, while the other thinks people should take care of themselves? Is either party willing to let Mr. Market do what he wants, or to put it another way…does either party favor real capitalism? The answer to all these questions is ‘no.’ The voter no longer cares about ideology, and neither do the political parties. Besides, the ideas are too fuzzy for them to grasp anyway…and a bit off-putting. Dr. Ron Paul, quoting from the U.S. Constitution, is regarded as a subversive.

And yet, each party must court the marginal voter – who is as big a nitwit as his leaders. Each must promise more of other people’s money…and more safety from (largely imaginary) enemies. With no real ideas at stake, each party brings out its celebrities…its movie actors…its sons and wives. Each must pretend to care about the poor and downtrodden…and pretend to know how to protect Americans from foreigners…and pretend to have a cure for whatever ails the economy…all while having no real ideas on the subject.

Until tomorrow,

Bill Bonner
Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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