Another thought about the candidates' tax returns. Hillary released hers last week; since 2000, the Clintons have made $109 million. My pocket calculator shows that's over $13 million a year, which means Hillary's average year is about 10 times as good as Obama's best year. Her charitable giving totaled out to about $10 million in that time, so almost 10% overall. Most of the contributions were to the Clinton Family Foundation, which distributes the money to other charities, so it's not all been "officially" given away yet, but by law, it eventually will be. John McCain hasn't released his returns yet, but given the fact that his wife is a multi-zillionaire heiress, let's just guess that he's not hurting. I found a link that posted the return info of George and Laura Bush (sorry, no link... can't get on blogger at home these days, and it's on that computer). The Bushes made about $800,000 a year and gave away a little over 10% a year.
Here's the funny thing. By these numbers, Obama is the most "normal" guy of the bunch. In this case "normal" only means that he has made between 5 and 30 times as much as an average family over the past few years, while the Bushes have made an average of 16 times the national average year in and year out (not counting the house and the plane). And the Clintons, bless their hearts, have averaged 270 times the median family income of $48,000 a year. Yet if you look at voting patterns, Obama comes across as the most "elite" of the bunch. Hillary's getting the six-pack democrats, while Obama is getting the champagne and latte set. (And of course, Bush gets, or at least used to get, NASCAR.) It hardly seems fair that a guy whose granddad was a senator and whose dad was president, who attended Andover (for a while), Yale, and Harvard business school, gets to be seen as a "regular guy" while another guy who went to Columbia and Harvard after rising from a pretty unusual family background comes across as the "Ivy League" candidate.
Maybe it's because he can't bowl. (Obama bowled a 37 over 7 frames a week ago... whoever talked him into THAT photo-op should be fired.) Maybe it's because Bush can throw a baseball. (In the only good press old W has gotten in months, he threw out the first pitch of the season last week: heat, a little high, right down the middle). Maybe it's because Bush mangles the language (hey, it worked for Ike!). But you often hear people ask, "which candidate would you rather have a beer with?" My gut says that Obama would order some yuppie micro-brew that nobody has ever heard of. Hillary would order whatever the focus group told her was the favorite of the locals. Bush, of course, would not order a beer, reminding us that he gave that up years ago. I wonder what McCain would do? He radiates "Miller Lite." But his checkbook says "Dom Perignon." I think that's one reason Romney didn't make it.
Let's face it--none of the people at that level are "normal." And we wouldn't want them to be. But their ability to at least relate to us little guys is key to getting a job that makes them even LESS normal.