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August 22, 2008

All the Pretty Houses: The Mystery of McCain's McMansions

In fairness to John McCain, nobody else knows how many houses he owns, either. The smart money's on somewhere between eight and eleven with estimates ranging as high as nineteen--depending on whether guest houses count as houses and whether you want to count the number of luxury "clubdominiums" the McCain's originally bought to combine into one residence.

In the hopes of helping John McCain get his bearings, here's McCain's latest Senate finance disclosure: John_McCain_Financial_Disclosure_2008.pdf

How many, Hivemind?


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Was just commenting elsewhere about how many politicians never worked an honest day in their lives.

After the military, I'll put McCain in that category. And he certainly had the eye for the cash when he kicked Wife No. 1 to the curb.

John Kerry married into money, then doubled down when he married the dead senator's widow Teresa, a very good career move. Picked up the patrician airs so well and so fast too.

Obama is not in their league money wise, and he has not married into money either. But he has never worked a day in his life either, yet lives very well as compared with most Americans. Both he and the wife have played games with money, and before they're through, they'll be living in the lifestyle of the McCains, Kerrys, Kennedys, and all the rest of them.

The Phantom -

Regarding Obama:

Does being the editor of Harvard Law Review require work?

Does writing two bestselling autobiographies take work?

OK, he went to school and edited a student publication. And yes he wrote two books. Lets give him that.

But ( apart from the student newspaper, or review, whatever ) he has never run anything, nor has he accomplished anything of significance other than sounding eloquent.

I don't count the "street organizing" as much of anything, and the serving in the IL Legislature and US Senate count as little for me, especially the latter. As he basically was running for President very soon after his arrival in the US Senate.

What's worse. Marrying a rich beer heiress or knowing that you have a brother living in extreme poverty and not lifting a finger to help him, when it would be so easy to do so?

The Phantom -

According to the article, Obama's half-brother doesn't want help:
"We have only met twice, once when I was five or six, and again in 2006," he said. "I cannot say that we are close, he probably does not even think about me. I am not going to start pestering him, I don't want to look to him for help, I want to achieve things for myself."


If I, or you, had a brother in such a position, we'd find a way to provide help and to make him OK with it.

More power on the brother for saying that. But, man oh man, I think that a man of Barack Obamas' wealth and power to persuade could find a way to do something

Its nice to say you want to save the world. But start with your own flesh and blood.

Wuh? Obama worked for five years between college and law school, and then again as an attorney and law professor after law school. He ran the Developing Communities Project (DCP) in Chicago; he directed Illinois Project Vote; he taught at the University of Chicago law school for a dozen years. He wasn't just editor of the HLR, he was also its president. How can you possibly say that he "never worked a day in his life" or "has never run anything"?

Of all the kinds of work mentioned in this thread - community organizing, writing, teaching, etc. - I'd say being a lawyer is the one that qualifies as real work the least.

That sounds more like play than work to me.

Running a student publication or these Chicago public organizations is very small beer - infinitessimally smaller -- than anything than the successful executive careers of Romney or Giuliani.

OK, the "never worked a day in his life" comment is over the top. But this guy has no true executive experience --a trait he shares with McCain unfortunately-- and a very light resume in public life.

Alon, what's your definition of "real work" such that being a lawyer barely qualifies?

Of course, different people define "real work" differently. When I was a clerk in ad advertising agency, I was riding home on the subway with one of my office mates, and a panhandler boarded the car asking for money.

"He should get a job," my colleague said.

"He has a job," I replied. "He's a panhandler."

"That's not a real job."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because the work he does doesn't help anybody."

"We work in advertising!" I replied.

That shut him up.

I don't really have one. I was making a sarcastic comment about the prevalence of lawyers and about how lawyers and consultants are considered to have realer gobs than writers and editors and even politicians.

This could be an interesting segue. But I can give a few examples of

Very important work
Doctors, nurses, medical researchers, EMTs, police, fire services, front line military, those who generate jobs in the private sector, Commercial airline pilots, Bus Drivers, plumbers, carpenters, construction workers, most school teachers, farmers, full time mothers, most social workers, quality journalists, brewers, bartenders, librarians

Useless or harmful work
Most elected officials, staffs of elected officials, most trial lawyers, IRS staff, professional criminals, drug smugglers, human traffickers, parking enforcement agents.

Most of us fall in the middle someplace.

Kudos on the post title, Lindsay. 8^)

OK, the "never worked a day in his life" comment is over the top.

OK, now that someone calls you on it, it's over the top. What was it when you were giving ground grudgingly on whether writing a couple of books qualified as work?

I was being very generous when I called writing those things as work.

He'll have time to write many more books after November 4. I'll give him the title of the next one, gratis:

" Dreams from My Defeat: How I Lost an Election it was impossible to lose"

Forewards by Al Gore and John Kerry

Phantom, where would you place people whose incomes depend on government protection or subsidy? In the US, this group includes farmers, auto workers, steelworkers, university professors, truck drivers, scientific researchers, and doctors, among others. The only ones of those who receive income from the government are farmers, professors, and some researchers, but the rest benefit from various tariffs and indirect subsidies.


A very big question. Farmers are way too subsidized esp with assholish programs like ethanol, but still they contribute a lot and keep us all fed.

The rest of it? Too big a question. I stick to my original comment.

Professors covers a lot of territory. On the one hand, you have people doing Gods work educating and inspiring and trying to find a cure for cancer. On the other hand you have slugs like Ward Churchill, the goons who marched against the Duke students, and a bunch of "can't fire me" tenured deadbeats from coast to coast. You have the best and the worst of society in the one category.

Good entertaining low-level politics. McCain stepped in it, allowing Obama and his supporters to:

1. Portray him as out of touch like Bush I at the supermarket.
2. Remind voters of his age (he forgot, can't rememeber, bearings, etc)
3. Emasculate him since they are his wives houses (payback for kerry)

McCain will respond with Rezko so he'll lose this round 3-1.

Useless or harmful work:

Most elected officials, staffs of elected officials Officials and their staffs are best appointed by monarchs and/or dictators.

most trial lawyers No one deserves legal council if tried for a crime. (Unless they can get a certifiably honest lawyer who would never stoop to defending anyone who might have committed a crime, and that would be people who have not been formally accused of a crime.)

IRS staff The government doesn't need to collect money when it can simply print it.

professional criminals As opposed to amateur criminals like Tom DeLay

drug smugglers Marijuana bad, tobacco good.

human traffickers Better a shirt is manufactured in a sweatshop in Honduras than to import a Honduran to make it in a sweatshop here for twice the wage. Oh, wait, are we talking about sex workers? Better to drill Honduran children in Honduras than to have them hustling johns here. (Just ask Rush Limbaugh.)

parking enforcement agents I have the right to abandon old wrecks anywhere I want to.

Back to McCain. His wife is a beer heiress. Beer is the drink of the masses. Ergo, McCain is also one of the proles. If I have enough beer I can't find my house either.

Oops, I meant Dominican children. There's probably a difference. I wouldn't know, but Rush would. Ask him.


I'd lay off the speculation about Rush Limbaa's sex life. Probably about as true as something off the keyboard of Cliff Schecter.

But he has never worked a day in his life either...

But ( apart from the student newspaper, or review, whatever ) he has never run anything, nor has he accomplished anything of significance other than sounding eloquent.

The sound of goalposts moving has deafened me.

As someone said this morning:

At least none of McCain's houses were paid for by the criminal Tony Rezko!

Exactly what was the reporter asking? Did he want to know how many DOMICILES John McCain OWNS? Maybe on his own he's got his Senate salary and his veterans benefits. Didn't he sign a prenup with Cindy? Are some of those houses investment properties? Did he order one of those Carlton Sheets courses? Is he in the same hole with many Americans and may have lost a home or two lately to bankers? Maybe he's like Ed McMahon and hasn't worked in years.

I propose an alternative definition: If you don't have to ask someone how rich you are, you ain't rich.

"Useless or harmful work"
You forgot CEOs, market traders, insurance brokers, real estate brokers, sub-prime mortgage lenders, predatory lenders and most of the financial sector. What a strange coincidence. At least pols can be voted out.

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