The next generation
Ron Paul sent a message to the GOP establishment last week that he’s not looking to cause mayhem at this summer’s Republican National Convention. By announcing that he won’t compete in the remaining primaries, Paul tacitly assured the party that he didn’t intend to disrupt the likely Tampa coronation of Mitt Romney.
But those close to the 76-year-old Texas congressman said he’d become worried about a series of chaotic state GOP conventions in recent weeks that threaten to undermine the long-term viability of the movement he has spent decades building.
Several incidents cast the campaign in an unfavorable light: Mitt Romney’s son Josh was booed off the stage by Paul backers, and Romney surrogates Tim Pawlenty and Gov. Mary Fallin received similarly rude treatment in Oklahoma.
Paul retires from the House at the end of this year, and his son, Sen. Rand Paul, is widely expected to run for president in 2016 as a Republican.
Against that backdrop, the Paul high command worries about pyrrhic victories: hostile takeovers at state conventions that win hordes of delegates but generate a backlash that could hurt the younger Paul in four years.
Ah, the dream lives on. Or the nightmare.
The 1 percent
Three things are apparent from President Barack Obama’s financial disclosure statement that was just released.
He is a wealthy man, with assets of as much as $10 million.
He also has a hefty stake in JPMorgan Chase, the megabank that just made a bad $2 billion bet. Obama has an account worth between $500,000 and $1 million.
And despite the nation’s $15.6 trillion debt, he is a believer in government paper. More than half of his assets are in Treasury bills and notes.
The disclosure statement lists assets and liabilities in dollar ranges, so pinpointing the president’s net worth is difficult. His assets appear to tally between $2.6 million and $9.9 million.
No investments with Bain Capital? Mitt will be disappointed.
Vive la France
Just as we were getting used to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Napoleonic style, rather large ears and twitchy manner, it’s out with the old and in with the new. Now it’s Francois Hollande, the very first to assume France’s most powerful job while unmarried.
And unheard of. Even the Musketeer-like Sarkozy rushed to divorce his longtime spouse, Cecilia, and marry a celebrity just to do the honorable thing.
But Hollande, a self-proclaimed social Democrat, will enter the Elysee Palace not with a spouse at his side, but with a twice-divorced “partner”: Valerie Trierweiler, an elegant but take-no-prisoners reporter who, at 47, is 10 years younger than Hollande. (She has children, but like Hollande has never married.)
Trierweiler brings her own baggage into this unusual presidential relationship. Having worked all of her adult life to support her three boys, she says she has no intentions of “retiring as first lady” — a ceremonial non-job in France with no bureau, staff or real budget — “or of living off the state.”
For that, you have to live in Greece.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean was in Montreal recently doing a radio interview by phone about the American political landscape when the vehicle Dean was traveling in was involved in an accident.
“I’m going to have to — goodbye — we just got hit by a car,” Dean said.
The interview was put on hold until Dean called the radio station back about 20 minutes later. When asked about the crash, Dean said a taxi had hit the car, but he laughed it off.
Surprisingly, Dean did not scream when his vehicle was struck.