Ideologues or Celebrity Politicians?

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The big news over the weekend was that French president Nicholas Sarkozy has married the woman of his dreams in the Elysee Palace. Carla Bruni is apparently the woman of many mens’ dreams; she has the reputation for a love ’em and leave ’em kind of social life, including other well-known politicians and rock stars, such as Mick Jagger, among her paramours.

How did a nice girl like that end up in a place like the Elysee Palace? And what does it matter to readers of The Daily Reckoning? A little background: she was born into a family of rich Italian industrialists. Both mother and father were talented musicians too. Then, it emerged that her biological father was a Brazilian (her mother seems to have allowed herself a certain amount of liberty in the swinging ’60s) about whom not much is known. Carla was rich, beautiful, talented and extremely well educated. She speaks four languages…she has been a supermodel…she plays the guitar…she sings…and now she has a hit album in the shops.

Why would a woman like that want to marry a short politician? She didn’t even support Sarkozy in the presidential campaign; she was for his opponent, Segolene Royale.

But we have a new phenomenon in politics – the power couple…and the connubial succession. That, of course, is what Hillary Clinton is banking on. Christina Kirschner pulled it off in Argentina. (Where Juan Peron’s third wife, Isabelita, had blazed a trail years before.)

If Hillary wins, the United States will have suffered under Clintons and Bushes for at least 24 years…and perhaps 28. Nearly three decades in two families…and where’s Chelsea?

Do you see how democracy has evolved…and the world with it? The mob no longer wants ideologues with their ideas and ‘isms.’ Now, it wants celebrities. It wants royals. It wants faces familiar to Oprah and People Magazine.

What is the difference, ideologically, between the Republicans and the Democrats? Does one oppose military adventurism overseas, while the other supports it? Does one favor programs to care for the old and the ill, while the other thinks people should take care of themselves? Is either party willing to let Mr. Market do what he wants, or to put it another way…does either party favor real capitalism? The answer to all these questions is ‘no.’ The voter no longer cares about ideology, and neither do the political parties. Besides, the ideas are too fuzzy for them to grasp anyway…and a bit off-putting. Dr. Ron Paul, quoting from the U.S. Constitution, is regarded as a subversive.

And yet, each party must court the marginal voter – who is as big a nitwit as his leaders. Each must promise more of other people’s money…and more safety from (largely imaginary) enemies. With no real ideas at stake, each party brings out its celebrities…its movie actors…its sons and wives. Each must pretend to care about the poor and downtrodden…and pretend to know how to protect Americans from foreigners…and pretend to have a cure for whatever ails the economy…all while having no real ideas on the subject.

Until tomorrow,

Bill Bonner
The Daily Reckoning Australia

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.
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