Friday, March 17, 2006

The Real World Experience Project

Here's a challenge for all media types, independent journalists, and concerned citizens:

I was just reading this post over at Rising Hegemon (thanks to Atta J. Turk), which features this interesting snippet of Presidential monologue.

This guy has got a great question because really what he's talking about is transparency in pricing. When you go buy a car, you know exactly what they're going to charge you. (Laughter.) Well, sometimes you don't know. (Laughter.) Well, you negotiate with them. (Laughter.) Well, they put something on the window that says price. (Laughter.) His point is, is that the more you know about price, the better you can make better decisions, and I appreciate that.

Here's another example of Bush putting his foot in it -- when you go to buy a car, you don't know exactly what they're going to charge you. You don't even, I'm given to understand, know whether in some cases they'll even condescend to sell you the car you're looking at -- that's what that "OAC" thing is they always talk about in car commercials, "On Approved Credit," and ask anyone with a spotty work history or skin darker than light pink about "redlining," which car companies do all the time, the same as the rest of the lending industry. (Car lending is big business; look at the squabbling recently about GMAC, General Motors' credit and lending division.)

I'd posit, then, that as the current POTUS, the son of a former President, and someone who comes from several generations of serious money, Bush doesn't know Thing One about buying cars, or, for that matter, groceries, toothbrushes, or replacement toilet seats. He probably hasn't even had the iconic teenage experience of sneaking off to the 7-11 after curfew to grab Coke, nachos and cheese, penny candies, and other such staples, and/or to try to convince the clerk to sell him cigarettes or beer, assuming of course that he was in a jurisdiction where beer is sold in 7-11s, as I am not. (In my misspent yout', we also specialised in lifting skin mags, but that's another story entirely.)

Then again, this probably doesn't make Bush all that out of the ordinary for a high-level politician. Most of them probably don't do their own shopping; they have enough money to hire someone to take care of all those tedious details de menage. That's why the challenge. If you should get the chance, ask your local elected leaders if they know how much a loaf of bread costs. Just an ordinary, not fancy loaf of bread from any of the local grocery stores; not a fancy gourmet loaf from the local specialty bakery, either.

The answers might be instructive, provide great segues to follow-up questions ("Actually, Mr. Premier, a loaf of bread doesn't cost 59 cents; it costs $1.09. Given that you don't even know that, don't you think it's time for you to review social assistance rates comparative to the actual cost of living?"), and really great negative ads for the next election campaign.


Blogger Expedition Sailor said...

This hurt Dub's daddy back in 1992, if I recall correctly -- Poppy couldn't say what a gallon of milk cost, when asked (it was during an interview or debate, can't recall which now). I can't remember now, but I do remember it being a big deal, because from that moment on Democratic candidates could really play him for out of touch and elitist, no matter how "folksy" his fake Texas accent made him seem.

Seems to me I remember the one who got the most mileage out of it was Bruce Babbitt, who was one of the early Democratic candidates (before Bill 'Dark Horse' Clinton made his mark), though it could be said that Babbitt didn't necessarily know it because he bought his own groceries at home. He probably didn't, for that matter. The Babbitt family owned a chain of grocery stores in the southwestern U.S. until Kroger bought them out -- it was, in other words, Babbitt's business to know that kind of thing. He might not have been able to tell you what a case of typing paper cost for his office, in other words, but I'd love to have a car that got the kind of mileage he got out of that gallon of milk!

I thought a lot of him, unfortunately he was plagued with honesty and admitted that when he was in college, he'd smoked a little dope. When Clinton set up his cabinet, I seem to recall he put Babbitt in charge of the Department Of The Interior. I was disappointed to find out that Babbitt was as bad as anybody else had been in treating the Native American Indians as it had been agreed they would be treated, but that's the breaks, I guess.

1:27 PM  
Blogger LeoPetr said...

Myself, I've never snuck off, never had a curfew on account of never sneaking off, never attempted to buy cigarettes of beer while underage, never purchased pr0nography, and never shoplifted. This must explain why I am such an absolute weirdo.:P

3:17 AM  
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