My kind of guy(s)

By DAVID MOON, Moon Capital Management
November 7, 2004

The mean editor of the Business Section wouldn't let me write about the differing business positions of the presidential candidates before the election, presumably because I might accidentally expose my support of conservative policies and causes. Unless Ohio is still accepting homemade ballots, I suppose it is safe to offer punditry and opining.

I am befuddled how an average, middle class American could vote for John Kerry with the hope that a president Kerry could understand, empathize with and address the economic issues facing folks who go to work each morning and struggle with everyday issues. This is a man who attended the most elite private school in New Hampshire, then spent most of his teenage years attending Swiss boarding schools. (I don't know about you, but I always preferred the French boarding schools; the cafeterias offer better haute cuisine and the maid uniforms are skimpier.) As a teenager, Kerry yachted with John Kennedy and dated the first lady's younger sister.

Kerry's father, a diplomat in the Foreign Service, married a member of the ultra-wealthy Boston Forbes family, one of the largest landowners on Cape Cod. A chip off the old block, John Kerry twice married rich. His current wife, Ms. Maria Teresa Thiersten Simoes-Ferreira Heinz Kerry is reportedly worth more than a billion dollars, even though she paid only 12.4 percent of her taxable income last year in federal taxes. The Kerrys don't need a tax cut.

I about puked when Kerry walked into a gun shop in Buchanan, Ohio, and in his best Swiss-Bostonian impression of a redneck asked, 'can I get me a hunting license here?' I almost expected him to visit an inner city neighborhood asking, 'whassup, my bro?'

Voting for a regular guy from Texas was the obvious choice for me.

But wait a minute. George W. Bush ('Bush 43') is a virtual John Quincy Adams. His brother is governor of a state with an economy the size of many countries. His grandfather, political mentor to Richard Nixon and a former US senator, made a fortune associating with companies that received government military contracts. And even if his father had never been president, Bush 41 was once head of the CIA, making Bush 43 the son of the former head spy for the most powerful country on earth. You don't get much more 'insider' than that.

Like John Kerry, the Bushes all went to Yale and were members of the mysterious Skull and Bones Society, whatever that is. Granddad Prescott Bush. George the father. George the son.

Interestingly, Bush 43 is the seventeenth cousin to the Prince of Wales. And scarily, John Kerry is a distant relative of the great great great grandmother of Bush 43.

John Kerry was right when he said, 'George Bush just can't understand what things are like for middle America.' Of course, neither can Kerry. These guys don't buy groceries, haggle with car dealers or juggle credit card payments. They aren't from Massachusetts or Texas; they're from La-La Land.

David Moon is president of Moon Capital Management, a Knoxville-based investment management firm. This article originally appeared in the News Sentinel (Knoxville, TN).

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