THE CANDIDATES’ DIGS – CAN THEY REALLY RELATE TO US?

I take Mother Jones, and I love the magazine. My newest arrival has an interesting blurb on the candidates’ “humble” abodes. I thought this might be something interesting to pass along, lest we get too carried away with our notion that they are “just like us.”

Democrats

Where to start. Oh well, let’s go alphabetically.

Hillary Clinton

The former first family resides in a 5 bedroom, 5,200 square foot Dutch Colonial sitting on 1.1 acres in Chappaqua, New York. Price in 1999 – $1.7 million dollars – not a lot when you consider that the price enabled her to establish residency and run for the Senate from New York. Pretty cheap price to pay for a springboard for the presidential bid.

John Edwards

John Edwards’ theme of two Americas sounds enticing. His America – not ours – includes a 21,000 square-foot Chapel Hill estate situated on 100 acres. When he isn’t busy campaigning he has a choice of a basketball court, a racquetball court, and a pool. Which way to go! A mere $5.4 million. And, when the Chapel Hill home becomes boring, how about the family’s $1.03 million dollar, 2,800-square-foot beach house on the North Carolina coast.

Barack OBama

The Obamas live in a 3-story, 96-year-old Georgian on the South Side of Chicago. Cozy little retreat with four fireplaces and a 1,000 bottle wine cellar. 2005 sale price – $1.65 million. Just a pittance.

Republicans

What the heck, alphabetically again.

Rudy Giuliani

Sumptuous 9-room apartment on Manhattan’s Upper east Side. A great deal at $5 million.

Mike Huckabee

With a name like Huckabee, you might think, “now here’s a fellow who sounds down-to-earth.” And, you might be kind of close – at least when his digs compare to the others. Huckabee’s haven is a 5,124 square-foot home with a deck and a pool. Situated in Little Rock, Arkansas, it is priced at a mere $525,000.

John McCain

McCain’s roost is really two units in a brand-new Phoenix luxury-condo tower. Only $4.7 million. But when he isn’t nesting in Phoenix, you might find him at his Sedona desert hide-a-way, a $1.1 million, 6.6 acre ranch.

Mitt Romney

Romney takes the prize for the most homes listed. His east coast ties are fortified with a 2.5 acre Boston home. And, if Boston becomes too crowded, then how about a $3 million New Hampshire getaway?

But for Romney, the east coast isn’t quite enough. Just pop out to Park City, Utah, and enjoy your primary residence with its price tag of $5.2 million.

Fred Thompson

The last entrant to the Republican field for president, Fred has done well in the housing department. His upscale McClean, Virginia residence has 7 bedrooms and 5 baths. Only $3.3 million.

When we listen to the candidates and their speeches about how they feel “our pain”, I have to chuckle. I have always wondered how, once a person has moved up and out of a certain status level, that person can still possibly relate to those in the lower status categories.

I say they can’t. While I am sure they can remember their roots, their mission now becomes to try to convince us that they understand our situation because they once were there. Looking at the money that the candidates spend on their residences makes me really wonder whether they understand the average American’s plight. The old saying, “You can never go home again” really has a double edged meaning for candidates. How can they commiserate with us when they retreat to their multi- million dollar abodes and no longer live in our world of reality?

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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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5 Responses to THE CANDIDATES’ DIGS – CAN THEY REALLY RELATE TO US?

  1. Jeff Pruitt says:

    Charlotte,

    Surely there must be a distinction between those that at least “have been there before” and those born with a silver spoon – no?

  2. Jeff:

    I have thought about that prospect. And, I guess that is not only my question but also my concern.

    Do they still remember what it was like? Or are they so removed from their “other” days that the connection is now remote in time?

    I also wonder why, if they truly still care about “us” in the other life, do they have to have such grandiose homes and embellishments. Why not just live like we do. I would find that more convincing.

    Although I support Edwards, I have to wonder why on earth you need 21,000 square feet to roam around in.

    And, I know, I will hear the arguments (or smackdowns) that this is the United States and captitalism is just great and one can pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

  3. shannon says:

    Found your stuff here: http://vocalo.org/node/12123. We’d love to have you come and comment more about your thoughts. Thanks for the post.

  4. Phil Marx says:

    Charlotte,

    I understand your point and generally agree with it. But, while being rich (whether born or acquired) probably means that a candidate is out of touch with the realities of the average person’s life, this is not an absolute.

    Robert Kennedy was born rich, and I expect that the home(s) he lived in would have been described as mansions for their time. Yet he was very much in tune with the lower economic classes.

    Of course RFK was an exceptional person, and few candidates then or today rolled up their sleeves and really worked for the people the way he did.

    I only use this example to point out that being suspicious of a wealthy candidate is probably more warranted than absolutely excluding them because of their wealth.

  5. Hi Phil:

    I know there are a few politicians that maybe can still relate to us. But when I saw that short piece in Mother Jones, I couldn’t help but wonder how they maintain some semblance of the “old” days – their youth when they didn’t have much and integrate that with their present lives of wealth and prosperity.

    FDR also was from money yet fought for the average person. Some would discount his contribution to bringing us out of a dark period in our history, but, the fact is, he was elected president for four terms, and many of the programs he started were aimed at helping those who had little or nothing.

    I like John Edwards, and I do believe he remembers his youth and hardships, but I still do not understand the need to display the wealth in such outlandish ways as a 21,000 square-foot home.

    Perhaps it is the outward trappings that politicians choose that lead us to wonder their true motives.

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