What Is It about Massachusetts Politicians?

Massachusetts Democratic politicians -- past and present alike -- display an unusually high regard for themselves and have an expectation of privilege and consideration that is both perplexing and largely unwarranted. This is as true today as it’s been since the early days of Ted Kennedy’s political career. We’ve had 50 years of the assumption of professional privilege and nonstop holier-than-thou preaching from a group of decidedly unholy politicians.

Senator Elizabeth Warren just announced the formation of an “exploratory committee” in preparation to the widely-expected formal launching of her run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. A far-left socialist, self-proclaimed “Champion of the Middle Class” who espouses all manner of government freebie handouts, open immigration/nonexistent border security and far-reaching nanny-state protectionism, Warren -- hilariously drinking a beer -- could not possibly come across as more phony, hypocritical, ill-informed, and disingenuous if she tried.

Being from MA, I have a vantage point on Ms. Warren that the rest of the country does not. When she announced her intention to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012, she stood at a local press conference event with then-MA Governor Deval Patrick. To put things charitably, Patrick was not exactly a detailed policy wonk, instead having ascended to the governorship mainly by virtue of his agreeable personal demeanor and, many think, his checking of a required demographic box. A foreign-policy question came forth from the reporters’ pool. With a panicked, deer-in-the-headlights reaction, Warren turned to Patrick and said, “Let’s let the governor answer that one.” The governor. And so started her uniquely expert, courageous, inclusive-of-all-voters Senate tenure.

Warren claims to be “for the middle class,” yet she is astonishingly ignorant of many of the real issues that the middle class actually faces every day.  Warren was the force behind the creation of the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), founded for blatantly political appearance reasons only in a knee-jerk manner by Democrats in the aftermath of the so-called “banking crisis” of 2007-2008. According the CFPB’s website, the CFPB's "central mission... is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans -- whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products."

Really, Senator Warren? While nowhere near every consumer has a mortgage, virtually 100% of consumers have at least one credit card. Most have several. The interest charged on unpaid credit card balances used to be 9 or 10 or 11% not very long ago, but now it’s 22.5, 23.25, 24.125%. That’s loan-shark territory. Is Warren aware of these predatory interest rates facing virtually 100% of the adult American population? How much is that costing consumers every month? And while the banks blithely charge 24% on credit cards, they’re paying their depositors .5% (a half a per cent) on regular savings and a whopping 3% on multi-year CDs. The current magnitude of the gap between interest charged and interest paid is absolutely unprecedented.

And Ms. Warren, how about the relationship between crude oil pricing and retail gasoline prices? Historically, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light crude -- our benchmark for oil pricing -- had a maximum 4:1 numerical relationship to retail gasoline pricing. Oftentimes, it was less than 4:1, more like 3.5:1. But even using 4:1, if WTI was $40/barrel, then gasoline would be around $1.60/gallon (40 x 4 =160 cents, or 1.60). During the 2011-2014 time period when oil was sky-high, averaging well over $100/bbl, gasoline was still far less than $4.00/gallon. This 4:1 numerical relationship held true for years. Decades even, until the last few years.

Has Senator Warren -- the Champion of the Middle Class -- looked at the pumps lately? The national average for gasoline is around $2.50/gallon, yet WTI crude is trading in the upper 40’s, around $47-49/bbl. 47 x 4 = $1.88. The American consumer is overpaying for gasoline by a huge amount. Where is the estimable Senator Warren on these issues, ones that affect real people every single day, costing them thousands of wasted dollars each year?

These issues would be worth looking into, if only our People’s Champion had a clue they were happening.

Warren is just another in a long line of sanctimonious, condescending, out-of-touch Massachusetts politicians who lurched onto the national stage with a sense of unfounded entitlement and misplaced assuredness that the punitive rules they are gleefully willing to impose on others would never actually apply to them.

Who can forget how Ted Kennedy sidestepping any accountability at Chappaquiddick for the 1969 death of Mary Joe Kopechne, a young campaign staffer? Or his unmitigated hubris in assuming that the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination was his -- over incumbent President Jimmy Carter -- simply because he wanted it? Unable to answer the softball-esque question posed by sympathetic ABC reporter Roger Mudd of, “Why do you want to be President?” Kennedy’s stark lack of quick improvisational thinking ability and his political tone deafness ran headlong into reality and his supposedly ineluctable march to the Presidency -- his birthright -- was unceremoniously halted in its tracks. His own stunning lack of natural political adroitness notwithstanding, the more significant aspect of this is that Kennedy felt he deserved it simply by virtue of being a Kennedy, that being awarded the nomination was a mere formality.

And of course, there is John Kerry, perhaps the gold standard of the politician who is smarter than you are, whose every word and strained intonation drips with the contempt he feels for having to exert the effort to speak with those clearly not qualified to occupy the same room as him. Kerry is and always has been so very much smarter than anyone else around him and he never fails to make it known that to hear his brilliantly insightful utterances is a privilege indeed.

The list of Massachusetts politicians who fit perfectly into this mold is large and growing. Michael Dukakis, the 1988 presidential nominee, demonstrated his bona fides by refusing to stoop down and take the death penalty bait when asked by CNN debate moderator Bernard Shaw whether he (Dukakis) would favor the death penalty if his wife Kitty Dukakis had been raped and murdered. Oh no, of course not. Michael Dukakis was far too sophisticated and intelligent for that. He operated on a much higher moral and intellectual plane than the average voter. Please, don’t insult his sensibilities with such a base question.

Today, of course, Massachusetts is blessed with Congressman Joseph Kennedy III. His policy knowledge may be close to zero, his important legislative accomplishments after nearly seven years in office may be nonexistent, his personal aura may be akin to an overindulged teenager from a wealthy family, but his name recognition is stratospheric. The instant that either Senator Ed Markey or Elizabeth Warren should retire or vacate their seats for any reason, rest assured, Young Joseph will be waiting in the wings to assume his rightful place in the halls of higher power.

Because, after all, like so many Massachusetts politicians before him, he deserves it. Just ask him.

Massachusetts Democratic politicians -- past and present alike -- display an unusually high regard for themselves and have an expectation of privilege and consideration that is both perplexing and largely unwarranted. This is as true today as it’s been since the early days of Ted Kennedy’s political career. We’ve had 50 years of the assumption of professional privilege and nonstop holier-than-thou preaching from a group of decidedly unholy politicians.

Senator Elizabeth Warren just announced the formation of an “exploratory committee” in preparation to the widely-expected formal launching of her run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. A far-left socialist, self-proclaimed “Champion of the Middle Class” who espouses all manner of government freebie handouts, open immigration/nonexistent border security and far-reaching nanny-state protectionism, Warren -- hilariously drinking a beer -- could not possibly come across as more phony, hypocritical, ill-informed, and disingenuous if she tried.

Being from MA, I have a vantage point on Ms. Warren that the rest of the country does not. When she announced her intention to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012, she stood at a local press conference event with then-MA Governor Deval Patrick. To put things charitably, Patrick was not exactly a detailed policy wonk, instead having ascended to the governorship mainly by virtue of his agreeable personal demeanor and, many think, his checking of a required demographic box. A foreign-policy question came forth from the reporters’ pool. With a panicked, deer-in-the-headlights reaction, Warren turned to Patrick and said, “Let’s let the governor answer that one.” The governor. And so started her uniquely expert, courageous, inclusive-of-all-voters Senate tenure.

Warren claims to be “for the middle class,” yet she is astonishingly ignorant of many of the real issues that the middle class actually faces every day.  Warren was the force behind the creation of the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), founded for blatantly political appearance reasons only in a knee-jerk manner by Democrats in the aftermath of the so-called “banking crisis” of 2007-2008. According the CFPB’s website, the CFPB's "central mission... is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans -- whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products."

Really, Senator Warren? While nowhere near every consumer has a mortgage, virtually 100% of consumers have at least one credit card. Most have several. The interest charged on unpaid credit card balances used to be 9 or 10 or 11% not very long ago, but now it’s 22.5, 23.25, 24.125%. That’s loan-shark territory. Is Warren aware of these predatory interest rates facing virtually 100% of the adult American population? How much is that costing consumers every month? And while the banks blithely charge 24% on credit cards, they’re paying their depositors .5% (a half a per cent) on regular savings and a whopping 3% on multi-year CDs. The current magnitude of the gap between interest charged and interest paid is absolutely unprecedented.

And Ms. Warren, how about the relationship between crude oil pricing and retail gasoline prices? Historically, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light crude -- our benchmark for oil pricing -- had a maximum 4:1 numerical relationship to retail gasoline pricing. Oftentimes, it was less than 4:1, more like 3.5:1. But even using 4:1, if WTI was $40/barrel, then gasoline would be around $1.60/gallon (40 x 4 =160 cents, or 1.60). During the 2011-2014 time period when oil was sky-high, averaging well over $100/bbl, gasoline was still far less than $4.00/gallon. This 4:1 numerical relationship held true for years. Decades even, until the last few years.

Has Senator Warren -- the Champion of the Middle Class -- looked at the pumps lately? The national average for gasoline is around $2.50/gallon, yet WTI crude is trading in the upper 40’s, around $47-49/bbl. 47 x 4 = $1.88. The American consumer is overpaying for gasoline by a huge amount. Where is the estimable Senator Warren on these issues, ones that affect real people every single day, costing them thousands of wasted dollars each year?

These issues would be worth looking into, if only our People’s Champion had a clue they were happening.

Warren is just another in a long line of sanctimonious, condescending, out-of-touch Massachusetts politicians who lurched onto the national stage with a sense of unfounded entitlement and misplaced assuredness that the punitive rules they are gleefully willing to impose on others would never actually apply to them.

Who can forget how Ted Kennedy sidestepping any accountability at Chappaquiddick for the 1969 death of Mary Joe Kopechne, a young campaign staffer? Or his unmitigated hubris in assuming that the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination was his -- over incumbent President Jimmy Carter -- simply because he wanted it? Unable to answer the softball-esque question posed by sympathetic ABC reporter Roger Mudd of, “Why do you want to be President?” Kennedy’s stark lack of quick improvisational thinking ability and his political tone deafness ran headlong into reality and his supposedly ineluctable march to the Presidency -- his birthright -- was unceremoniously halted in its tracks. His own stunning lack of natural political adroitness notwithstanding, the more significant aspect of this is that Kennedy felt he deserved it simply by virtue of being a Kennedy, that being awarded the nomination was a mere formality.

And of course, there is John Kerry, perhaps the gold standard of the politician who is smarter than you are, whose every word and strained intonation drips with the contempt he feels for having to exert the effort to speak with those clearly not qualified to occupy the same room as him. Kerry is and always has been so very much smarter than anyone else around him and he never fails to make it known that to hear his brilliantly insightful utterances is a privilege indeed.

The list of Massachusetts politicians who fit perfectly into this mold is large and growing. Michael Dukakis, the 1988 presidential nominee, demonstrated his bona fides by refusing to stoop down and take the death penalty bait when asked by CNN debate moderator Bernard Shaw whether he (Dukakis) would favor the death penalty if his wife Kitty Dukakis had been raped and murdered. Oh no, of course not. Michael Dukakis was far too sophisticated and intelligent for that. He operated on a much higher moral and intellectual plane than the average voter. Please, don’t insult his sensibilities with such a base question.

Today, of course, Massachusetts is blessed with Congressman Joseph Kennedy III. His policy knowledge may be close to zero, his important legislative accomplishments after nearly seven years in office may be nonexistent, his personal aura may be akin to an overindulged teenager from a wealthy family, but his name recognition is stratospheric. The instant that either Senator Ed Markey or Elizabeth Warren should retire or vacate their seats for any reason, rest assured, Young Joseph will be waiting in the wings to assume his rightful place in the halls of higher power.

Because, after all, like so many Massachusetts politicians before him, he deserves it. Just ask him.