The Average Man

Thursday, March 29, 2007


The Average Man didn't think too much about Rudy Giuliani's fund raising trip to Montecito. That quickly changed, however, when I read this article from the Montecito Journal. Specifically, it was the following teaser that caught my attention:

There is plenty of money in Montecito, and anyone who believes there is little Republican strength in what many see as a decidedly Democrat-leaning community, some serious rethinking may be in order.

That got me thinking ... Is this true? Is Montecito a Democrat-leaning community? As someone who Treks to the Left, I would like to hope it is, but this would certainly fly in the face of my perceptions regarding the wealthy. After all, it's no secret that the "haves" do quite well under Republican leadership. And the "have nots?" Well, not so much.

In his speech to the Montecito crowd, Rudy made the following noteworthy comment:

Who has the best health care in the world? Who has a better health care system? Is there one we should borrow from somewhere else? Do you want the health care system they have in England? Or Germany, or Canada, or anyplace else?

I always get a kick out of this argument, because it's stated so boldly you almost feel silly debating it. I mean, Canada, come on. Who would want to get sick there!? Of course, if you know the real story, you know that countries like Canada have excellent health care and pay way less than we do for the privilege. But my point here isn't to defend Canada. You'll get no argument from me that the US generally has the best health care system, but what Giuliani fails to mention is the fact that it's only great if you can afford it.

Here's another interesting quote from the good Mayor:

America is not heading in the wrong direction ... people may feel that way, but that they are responding more to the media and the lack of leadership, and not to the reality of what is happening in this country. It has never been this good, for anybody ...

Bold statement. I'm not sure what people he is referring to here, but it certainly isn't the average man. Apparently Mr. Giuliani doesn't think much of the shrinking middle class or the growing divide between the rich and the poor. It seems to me that the people who have it so good in Giuliani's America are the same people who can afford that great health care: like the people who live in Montecito.

Now, I'm certainly not taking shots at Montecito; it's a beautiful place. I eat there, I shop there, and I would love to live there some day. But I think Giuliani's comments bring light to the problem of perspective suffered by the Wendy McCaws of the world. It's easy to think things are better than they've ever been if you can raise $290,000 in a single fund raiser. So I say to Montecito, if you are a "Democrat-leaning" community, then good for you in voting against your economic interests. If you're not, then I ask you to take a moment and think about things from the average man's perspective.

By the way, I went to the Internets to try and find out how Montecito voted in the last presidential election. I came up with a big goose egg on that one, but I did discover that Avril Lavigne lives there. So, there you go.

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At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking up the subject. It is rare that I'm distinguished with the opportunity to clear up misconceptions about Montecito, especially ones that have to do with the town's political leanings. Most people see Montecito as some hotbed for a John Birch revival concert, a belief that seems to be borne out of the misguided notion that Republicans have all the money. Alas, that's untrue, especially if you look at the 2004 election results, seen here according to the Santa Barbara County Clerk. (I chose this election because it includes presidential results, though the 2006 runoff would probably prove my point more effectively.)

John Kerry (D) – 2,446 – 54%
George Bush (R) – 2,058 – 46%

U.S. Senator
Barbara Boxer (D) – 2009 – 51%
Bill Jones (R) – 1,877 – 49%

U.S. Representative
Lois Capps (D) – 2,157 – 55%
Don Regan (R) – 1,767 – 45%

Montecito is not only decidedly Democrat in national and state elections, but also in local ones, especially when it comes to environmental issues or candidates and new taxes. Hope that helps.

Guillaume Doane
Montecito Journal

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears that you don't recognize that the US economy is a capitalist-based system. In such a system, there will always be "haves" and "have-nots".

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to live in Montecito & my perception is that it was heavily Republican. I enjoyed living there back when it was far less populated & yes more diverse in terms of wealth. It has changed dramatically over the past 15 - 20 years & I would not recommend it as a livable place anymore (unless you've moved from LA which would, by comparison, make it seem lovely).

At 12:44 PM, Blogger theaverageman said...

"In such a system, there will always be "haves" and "have-nots"."

Absolutely. But the concept of the United States is that the gap between them should be far less than, say, the landed aristocracy system that we escaped from in Europe. That's the whole reason we have an Estate Tax, to give one example.

The survival of our democracy depends on there being a large and strong middle class -- people that are well-educated, and have time at the end of the day to find out about current events and vote knowledgably for their best interests.

Instead, right now, we have a growing number of working poor -- people that are burned out from working 2-3 jobs and barely scraping by, while the top 1% get away with buying politicians and writing legislation to help themselves get richer.

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous a1 said...

FWIW, In USA Today, a couple of days ago, per the IRS, the top 300,000 have as much wealth as the bottom 150,000,000!

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Trekking Left said...

Much thanks to Guillaume for providing those statistics. I'm quite happy to have my misconceptions cleared up :)

At 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the haves didn't grift off the government they wouldn't have so much. George Bush is the crappiest president we've ever had and he gets free healthcare. If you are a CEO, stealing from pension funds and stockholders, heck yes you like the US system. Everyone else is screwhoohooed.

At 9:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have no choice. The PTB install presidents, senators. Elections are for show. The federal government is beyond repair.

At 9:17 PM, Blogger theaverageman said...

I don't think there's any way the transfer of power in last fall's election was orchestrated... the Neocons have been working for 30 years to lock up power permanently, and this election threw a major wrench in their plans. Investigations, the first 100 hours of legislation, and the Iraq timetable are just starting to blow major holes in their carefully crafted armor.

Sure, plenty of Dems are as bought and paid for as Repubs, but there's also ones with a lot of character that have just been waiting for the opportunity to make the above stuff (and more) happen.

Public pressure eventually makes most politicians do the right thing, sometimes it just takes a while for them to figure it out.


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