Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kochclintopia, Inc.

As I wrote this weekend in yet another comment to yet another New York Times article about the never-ending saga of the Hillary Clinton email scandal:

Just so we're perfectly clear: in the upcoming Neoliberal Death Match the choice will be which dynastic brand we proles would prefer to serve the uber-wealthy. Because while the rich and the well-connected have their personal servers, both internet and human, the public itself is not being served at all. Widespread poverty and racial/social injustice in the richest country on earth, underemployment, the creeping military/spy/police state, "trade" deals -- they're all being conveniently ignored in favor of the personal corruption of emperors and empresses in waiting. As Bernie Sanders notes, Hillary's emails are not being widely discussed in the town square. People have too much else on their (empty) plates.

What else is new in the New Abnormal?

Our post-Citizens United political system is so dirty that the elites of the two big business legacy parties no longer even pretend there's much difference between them. As a matter of fact, they gleefully rub our noses in their perfidy.They brag about how chummy they all are, slithering as they do within the same exclusive exalted circles.

Vote Democrat lest the Koch Brothers take over the place? You have got to be kidding me. The Clintons and the Kochs are buddies. They hang out at the same places and toast each other at galas. They brag about their philanthropies, which in brave neoliberal world aim to replace taxation of the rich and  government-mandated social safety nets. Money trumps ideology and the common good in what Gore Vidal called one political party with two right wings.

This incestuous corruption is hiding in plain sight in the New York Times Style section:
In a cocktail area in the front of the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center, guests primped and posed in floor-length gowns. Hair was sprayed to perfection, and many of the faces did not appear to move. A young crowd this was not.
But perhaps the most surprising thing about the evening was that while David H. Koch and his wife, Julia, held court in one area of the lobby, Chelsea Clinton was in another.

Ballet apparently makes for strange bedfellows. Mr. Koch, the conservative billionaire who oversees a well-funded political network, said he has met the Clintons before, including at a benefit last year for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“Toward the end, this U.N. ambassador asked if I wanted to meet the Clintons,” said Mr. Koch, who on this night wore a blue velvet tuxedo jacket and bow tie. “I said ‘sure.’ So I walked over to the next table, and Bill Clinton was there with Hillary and Chelsea. I started talking to them, and within three or four minutes, there must have been 30 people gathered around the table trying to hear my conversation with three Clintons.”
 Moments later, Ms. Clinton returned the compliment. “I have tremendous respect for the Kochs’ support of the arts,” said Ms. Clinton, who was wearing a black dress from Chanel and arrived with her husband, Marc Mezvinsky. “We’re standing in the Koch Theater, and I’m thrilled Julia Koch is a fellow board member. She joined the board a couple of years ago, so I’ve had the privilege of getting to know her.”
And then they all dined on caviar and boogied together on the dance floor amidst their fluttering $1 million checks. I am sure that whether it's D or whether it's R, there's a seat waiting at the White House table for Julia Koch for some greed-washing public-private "initiative." 

If Hillary wins, I think it's a safe bet that Bill Clinton as First Dude will not be relegated to an office in the East Wing. It's very possible that Chelsea Clinton will be the de facto First Lady, just as Julie Eisenhower filled that role for her parent in the corrupt final days of the Nixon Administration.

If you still don't believe that Democrats and Republicans aren't joined at the hip, there was last night's incestuous Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington. This annual affair is restricted to the most insidery media-political complex insiders.  Journalists whose job description used to be affliction of the comfortable had to pledge a solemn oath not to write about the coziness that transpired. But according to controlled leaks, Barack Obama yucked it up big time with his frenemy, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and they all guffawed uproariously over the very serious national trauma that is the Clinton email scandal.

From the Washington Post's account:
The dinner is a love letter to a Washington that never really existed — a romanticized place where politicians, despite all the squabbling, share an abiding respect for each other, the press and the political process. If it was ever true, it’s certainly not now — but it must be nice to pretend for a few hours....
 With a guest list of 650 — a fraction the size of the much-hyped White House Correspondents’ Association dinner — Gridiron is arguably a far more coveted ticket within Beltway circles. Gridiron is also the most insular of the city’s press dinners. None of the speakers have to play to C-SPAN or CNN cameras, so they keep it for Washington, by Washington, with insider jokes designed for VIP political junkies who breathlessly parse every off-hand aside for hidden meaning....
 The skits are a mixture of hokey and slick, the journalists dressed in elaborate costumes but often bolstered by strong-voiced ringers for the song parodies. There were male reporters playing Colombian prostitutes in a Secret Service skit. There were puns and bad jokes but nothing damning: The same reporters who appear on Sunday morning talk shows decrying the letter GOP senators sent to Iran had nothing to say about it on stage.
It's all an act, folks. The press conferences, the Sunday shows, the corporate newspaper op-eds. Acting in the private interest disguised as the public interest is such a hard job, but somebody's got to do it. I'm sure the liberals cackled as much as the conservatives over a misogynistic skit ridiculing Latin American sex workers.

No word whether the Koch Brothers were in attendance, or whether they hobnobbed with Obama. But there was a ditty (sung to the tune of an old Coke commercial) about them, composed and performed just for the special occasion. It's exploding into the public domain like a bottle of sugary soda left in the freezer too long:
“We’d like to buy the world for Koch
There’s a billion we will spend
We pay to play in the USA
So freedom doesn’t end.”
As Ken Vogel has revealed, the top 100 political donors gave as much money as nearly five million small donors in the last election cycle. This doesn't even take into account all the anonymous dark money being channeled through Pacs and SuperPacs and 501(c)s. Not only do our votes not count, our combined dollars don't count for much either. 

Welcome to the American oligarchy.


Denis Neville said...

The culture of excessive privilege, immoral greed, and self-delusional narcissism amongst the ruling elite in Washington …

“And God just loves Washington; of that we are certain. His presence is indeed potent at the Kennedy Center, although everyone keeps looking around for someone more important to talk to.” - Mark Leibovich, This Town

Frank Rich, “The Stench of the Potomac,” wrote that Leibovich’s “book is as much an indictment of the Democratic Establishment as it is of the Washington Establishment. And the two are often synonymous. That’s why the book is funny only up to a point. Delicious as it is to watch preening boldface names make asses of themselves as they network at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the Aspen Ideas Festival, talk-show greenrooms, and the incessant book parties for books no one will open, what lingers from This Town is what will linger in Washington well after its current dinosaurs are extinct: the political culture owned by big money, Wall Street and otherwise, that the Democrats, no less than the Republicans, have done their best to perpetuate over the past two decades. At least Mitt Romney didn’t pretend to care about the hoi polloi below. Democrats once did.”

When Rich writes, “This crowd is as intractable as it is incorrigible. There are no term limits, because Washington amnesia perennially wipes the slate clean,” I am reminded of my recent pleasure watching “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia,” and all the hypocrisy, pomposity and mendacity that were Vidal’s targets.

“We do not yet have justice, equal and practical, for the poor, for the members of minority groups, for the criminally accused, for the displaced persons of the technological revolution, for alienated youth, for the urban masses. Ugly inequities continue to mar the face of the nation. We are surely nearer the beginning than the end of the struggle.” - former Supreme Court Justice William Brennan

“The abuse of buying and selling votes crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections. Later on, this process of corruption spread in the law courts and to the army, and finally, when even the sword became enslaved by the power of gold, the republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.” – Plutarch

"The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so." - Gore Vidal

annenigma said...

Speaking of money, I wrote this comment for an article in the NYT called 'CIA Cash Ended Up In Al Qaeda Coffers':

"The U.S. Government refuses to allow ransoms to be paid for the release of innocent kids like Kayla Mueller or James Foley, but they will generously give billions of our money to warlords, crooked politicians, 'freedom fighters', and other militants and terrorists all over the world.

Every week we hear our government announce a bribery of a few billion here and a few billion there for various countries. How about domestic policy by bribery? To quell domestic unrest, will they pour money into communities to improve and uplift them? No! They only pay for fighting unrest, not resolving it, because there is no money in Peace. In bi-partisan agreement, they will increase funding for the security/surveillance/police state to crack down. Peace is like taxes - a scourge and impediment to profit.

Our country is a corporate-military regime, masquerading as a Democracy by the theatrics of holding phony elections. The Military-Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned us about has expanded to include corporate Intelligence, Surveillance, and the Prison industries.

Fascism thrives in exactly this stinking morass. The revolving door between government, the Pentagon, and corporations is spinning out of control. It's not producing Peace anywhere. The return we all get for their investments of our money is in the form of trickle-down blood.

We must restore Democracy of, by, and for the people or it will perish from the earth. It's obvious that we are perilously close."

Pearl said...

Denis: Your quote from Plutarch proves that the more things change the more they remain the same. And there is this to add to a similarity to all the chemicals in our food now.
Some scholars believe that rampant lead poisoning may have contributed to
Ancient Rome’s decline. Roman winemakers used lead pots to boil crushed
grapes, the empire’s aqueducts carried water through lead pipes and many
Roman foods were sweetened with lead acetate. Since lead is toxic, some
historians have claimed that its use may have resulted in widespread cases
of gout, low birth rates, anemia and aggressive and erratic behavior among
the Roman citizenry.

Maybe there is a similar explanation for the behavior of our citizenry via chemicals in the environment and food.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen.....without your blog I'd have missed that revelation from the style section. Omg. The D. Koch theater name really offends me as I used to attend City Ballet often for years. So this is a fav topic.

The other day I emailed NYT Patrick Healy, the theater/arts reporter. I saw a political article by him, and that he announced his change of beat to cover national politics. Couldn't resist sending this, re our big money politics, Koch and the State Theater and donor names on arts institutions:

Dear Mr. Healy,
Re the change in your beat from theater to politics---perfect opportunity for a comparison article. Sure campaigns are also theatrical but it’s mainly the financing similarity now. Our candidates are dependent on angels and investors, like new shows are. Guess you have unique familiarity with both.

This dependence soared since Citizens United’s blessing on big money as 1st amendment free speech, removing restrictions now labeled un-American.

But at least in theater, the investors don’t have direct say in the content of the production—they leave that up to the professional creative team. By contrast, in our politics the big backers write the script for the party programs/platform---or at least set the limits-- per their interests, not the voters’.

Plus don’t our candidates need backers’ auditions? See Adelson/Christie in Las Vegas. And lawmakers and judges attend the Koch Brothers retreats. Thus the richest backers/angels can mold political taste, and structure policy for their best ROI.

Crucially, the US seems unique vs most other democracies which set aside public funds to elect their leaders and mandate free media time for all candidates. How do their media make profits without political ad fees? Their lower budget campaigns probably have less theatrical fantasy and audience manipulation vs the our lavishly funded campaign ads.

EU nations also have more publicly funded theater, arts, and public TV/radio. Don’t know the % of private funding. But their govts seem to proudly protect their long arts tradition AND the independence of their hard- won democracies from big money legal corruption.

In NYC, they sold what was proudly called the NY State Theater –‘state’ as in public---to David Koch—so his full name must appear in every Times review. Was Koch able to buy it cheap, after budget cuts? Isn’t this the path to privatization?
Did the European Lords demand their names on their arts institutions? How about the Old Vic, the National Theater, Royal Opera, Paris Opera, La Scala. Bolshoi Theater, Moscow Art Theater?

We could use an article on the historical, proud tradition of NYC in funding its arts—for historical perspective. I read about how city finance official Morton Baum generations ago happened to see a Balanchine performance at the City Center and decided the city should fund the NY City Ballet. Could that happen now? It’s a great story—not the art's patron---Lincoln Kirstein Ballet, or the Joe Papp Theater.

Seems many past rich donors didn’t demand naming. The Frick, Carnegie and Morgan institutions are from way back in the gilded age of greater class divisions.

It’s interesting to trace the ups and downs of that trend, and relate it to society/politics. Why are the Met Museum, Met Opera, MOMA, and the NY Public Library not named after their rich benefactors? Now THAT, would make a great Times article---with comments. Any chance of you or someone writing it? Especially with the Geffen donation at Lincoln Center in the news.

If it has been written, let me know. But still worth an essay by you, since you have familiarity with both fields and their casts of characters.

Meredith NYC said...

Bill Clinton was there with Hillary and Chelsea, meeting the Kochs?
Very depressing. And the enthused Clinton quotes. . What in the world were they doing at that event? Totally insensitive PR for the next US candidate.

The question was, how will Clinton work out her duty to the US public who need a fighter in their corner, vs her obligations to pay back her donors’ investment in her? This is what voters want to know, and what the Times columnists should be talking about.
Then compare her on that score to other possible candidates.

Now the nation now waits in suspense---how much will Hillary stay tethered to her big money backers? Their attending the Koch ballet gala gives us the likely answer. It should be on the op ed page---with comments.

Sen Warren—plz keep the pressure on. Get out there on he media.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen, i replied to your Dowd comment which gave me a needed laugh.

@Karen.....I'm glad I read comments if only to read these gems of yours:
"she'll likely execute a reverse twisted Tricky Dick and helicopter in to the White House instead of helicoptering out.
"while the rich and the well-connected have their personal servers, both internet and human, the public itself is not being served at all."

Of course! Servants can't be served--the 1 percent would be insulted like any proper aristocrat would.

So this is what the US 'triumphed over Communism' for. To have our own Empress in waiting to mount the throne. But even Russia's Catherine The Great was more progressive than Hillary The Mediocre. At least for her time.

Empress Catherine---(she'd be called Cathy by Dowd)--corresponded with great minds like Voltaire and was influence by the French Age of Enlightenment. HIllary Clinton seems inspired and financed by the American Age of Regression--the biggest rollback in equality and democracy that the modern world has yet seen.

Can we get progress and change with a non violent revolution some day? Just voting won’t be enough.

Pearl said...

Clinton camp issues clarification on deleted emails, claims ‘every’ message
> was reviewed |


>Doublespeak, often called "double talk," is the distortion, changing or switching of words to make an unpleasant, tricky or otherwise negative situation not sound as awful.

Karen Garcia said...


I love Mark Leibovich, I wish he had a regular NYT column. If you have Netflix, they are showing the Gore Vidal film. Another one that was shown (don't know if it's still available)is Lewis Lapham's "The American Ruling Class."

Great comment. I hope they open up comments for the article on Petraeus now running in the NYT. It was very unflattering to Holder.

Luckily for us, Hillary is not as adept at doublespeak as Obama. That's the good news.


Thanks for your stories of life in the Big Apple, wealth inequality capital of the world. I love the picture of "Empress Cathy" in a Dowd column. I noticed Krugman finally mentioned the Gini coefficient, in a column about Israel. I actually got extra early up to leave him my two cents. With K, it's always about the partisanship, and never about the money and corruption and wars and police states.

Pearl said...

AP sues State Department, seeking access to Clinton records

More interesting news about Hillarygate.

Pearl said...

I think this important lawsuit by the Associated Press and possibly others, will haunt Hillary for a long while which will not help her getting her foot in the door of the White House. Having a
Republican win could be no worse and maybe better if a moderate makes it.
Elizabeth and Bernie we are awaiting your debut.

Meredith NYC said...

Right Karen, Krugman the Liberal finally mentions the Gini rankings, but compares us to Israel, not Sweden, Germany, and other nations.

Why does he steer clear of that, when it would help buttress just what he supports---a more equal US? I can't figure it.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen, I really must post this. Nobel Krugman is in extreme kvetching mode today, about other economists’ ignorance and their delusions of knowledge---re what they “apparently can’t even conceive of”.

Then he actually brings up a rant against him from way back in 2009. He must have saved it on his computer. It ACCUSED him of failing to understand...yada yada. He's transferring his personal rivalries to the Times blog.

So my post was this—hope it’s posted at least before tomorrow:

If Mr. Krugman wants blog about his rivalries and arguments with other pundits, fine. But academic and media fights aren’t the 1st priority with readers.

Of course, citing rants against him from 7 years ago—well, I guess that’s his privilege in our free press USA. The Times gives him a platform for this, but how does an excess of this serve readers? Every time he has a gotcha against a competitor, he takes to his blog about it. Should we be keeping score?

In his column today he finally cites a GINI COEFFICIENT ON INEQUALITY---rarely mentioned---but now only to Israel! Not much of a role model. Why does he never cite the Gini rankings of the many more successful, equal countries?

Why does he never mention Adelson/Koch and campaign finance by billionaire, distinguishing the US from all other democracies?

See Business Insider, Nov 12-- “The Sad State of American Inequality in 12 Charts”- only Chile, Mexico, and Turkey have more inequality. Shows list of 30 nations with better equality scores than the US.
That remains undiscussed even when doing so would buttress his advocacy on economic equality.

I would like 1 column sometime explaining this: Just what are these policies of more equal nations, that enable their populations to be more protected from the destructive results of tech advances and globalization that his column mentions-- fleetingly?

That’s what Americans need to know. Liberal Krugman could stand out if he’d undertake this.

Karen Garcia said...


I am beginning to wonder if Hillary will run at all, and if she does, if she'll drop out early. The woman looks exhausted.


Just noticed you got a "Times Pick" for your excellent Krugman comment on Israel. Congratz! Please repost it here if you would like. (This goes for any of you readers who'd like to share your Times comments, esp. if they're buried or censored)

One reason I don't much bother commenting on PK's blog any more is because as you point out, he resorts to churlish and petty back-biting within his own professional clan more often than seems entirely proper or mentally healthy. And then all his fan-boys commiserate with him. It's like watching an all-male remake of "Heathers." OMG!!! Did you hear what Larry S. said about Brad D? I'm smarter than they are -- nonny nonny boo boo! Makes you wonder if Paul got bullied in school. I've noticed he hasn't taken a vacation from his column in over a year, unlike their other bigwigs who are always taking off. Maureen Dowd often goes weeks or months without writing anything. So I wonder if he is just overworked and beginning to snap. It seems that if he isn't chronically jet-lagged after advising one potentate or another, he's at another conference, on a Sunday show, exercising on his treadmill and measuring his heart-rate... does he never sleep?

Meredith NYC said...

Karen....great description of Krugman blog---what apt words ---churlish and petty back-biting. It’s rather embarrassing. You’re right, no vacations, plus he blogs several times every day. I’ve been thinking it’s compulsive. Even with all his teaching, lectures and travels he takes time to do it, and many posts are quite trivial.

There is some mental defense thing going on with him and his ‘competitors’. He wants approval from his “loyal readers’—his phrase.

He even blogs about his FitBit/ heart rate monitor/ diet. Tho that’s a bit interesting with the comments---news we can use!

But still, why is he so compelled to SHARE with his blog readers daily? He wants support against his big bad rw enemies. Yet ironically, he takes more centrist than liberal positions.

He says he’s basically a free trader, tho he admitsTPP is not such a good idea.(but it’s not terrible).
He celebrates ACA without much criticism.
He ignores campaign finance and CU’s affect on all the policies he laments. He parts with Warren, Stiglitz, Reich, and Sanders on various inequality solutions.
So he isn’t really confronting the gop rw all that much, vs what he could be doing. Yet he feels persecuted? Sorry our self-named conscience of a liberal is on this path.

Anyway here’s my comment to his Israel Column:

“Israel is now right up there with America as one of the most unequal societies in the advanced world.”
That the US has less equality than other advanced countries is what we need as a comparison, whether we are similar to Israel or not.

See Business Insider, Nov 12-- “The Sad State of American Inequality in 12 Charts”- shows 3 countries with worse Gini scores, a measure of inequality, than the US.
“In OECD countries, only Chile, Mexico, and Turkey have more inequality by this measure.” Shows list of 30 nations with better equality scores than the US.
“The top 0.01% income has grown by over 600% in last 3 decades. Real incomes for the bottom 90% stagnated per economist E. Saez. “

Surveys show the US public underestimates just how extreme our unequal wealth distribution is. The news media avoids reporting this specifically, so the widening gulf is largely hidden from voters. Gop rw candidates benefit.

If prominent media liberals don’t compare us to other successful democracies, US voters will stay vulnerable to the constant rw Gop messages. Thus our candidates will go unchallenged, doing the bidding of their 1% donors they need to run for office.

Wall St vs Main St is our big issue, yet we wait to find out -how will THE Democratic party candidate come down on it?

Also see NYT past editorial, "What Does Sheldon Adelson Want?" What does he want for Israel, and for America? How are his billions invested to get what he wants? Good topic for a column.

Karen Garcia said...

Almost forgot, here's mine on Krugman:

Once you realize that billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson owns both Netanyahu and the GOP, the increasing inequality in both countries comes as no surprise. Both Israel and the US are essentially client states of a handful of oligarchs and defense contractors who are becoming richer by the day off the high tech weapons trade and a mutually profitable global surveillance/police state financed by too big to fail banks. The well-being of ordinary people is the least of their concerns. They have perpetual war and endless money on their brains.

Those 47 craven saboteurs wrote their letter to Iran because Adelson has vowed to spend whatever it takes to prevent the reelection of anyone daring to thwart him. He is the big money behind the extremist Club for Growth, which bankrolled the election of Neocon newbie Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

The Neocons, never satisfied with the havoc they have wreaked all over the world, are openly calling for war with Iran. And the corporate media, controlled by the taxpayer-subsidized oil and defense and high finance industries, are only too happy to rev up the plutocratic profits through a nonstop paranoid marketing campaign designed to terrorize the public into submission.

But Adelson and Bibi may finally have overplayed their hands. The corrupt GOP senators are mouthing their mealy regrets, and the people of Israel seem to be fed up with Manichean world views. I only hope we Americans show the same disgust the next time we go to the polls.

Meredith NYC said...

But you know, Karen, if liberals with open eyes don't blog to Krugman with short and sweet retorts, it just leaves his fans, and that just reinforces the bubble he's in.

Pearl said...

From a Progressive with open eyes to Krugman:

An honest overview of Israel's financial situation - mainly, once it was
declared a State,is that it inherited the capitalistic characteristics of its
sponsors. We saw it in the l960's when the Kibbutz leaders were revolting
against the change in direction of their country and the employment of the
military in that change.
Zionism and expansionism added to the mix with dire results is what we now
see. Like the United States, a quick fix is no longer possible and somehow,
in order to survive, both countries will have to reassess their options.
This is a huge challenge which will take a very long time and what the
outcome will be remains to be seen by generations yet to come.
Meanwhile, it is urgent, as the planet needs to be repaired as well.
Not a cheerful picture and I worry about my grandchildren and their
grandchildren's chance at a decent life. We have to start taking giant steps

Zee said...


Terrific reporting and commentary, though it only confirms my already-sinking feeling that nothing will really matter very much come 2016.

Unless Hillbillary stumbles far worse than she already has—or experiences a totally unexpected attack of common sense and decides that another run just isn't worth it—she will be the Democratic nominee for president. Her devotees are far too numerous and stubborn to see her for what she really is.

In all liklihood, Jeb Bush will be her opponent. After all, brand-name recognition seems to be the be-all and end-all these days.

But even supposing Hillbillary and/or Jebba-the-Son falters irretrievably in some unexpected way, we will still be faced with two major-party candidates, the “winner” of which will already be—or will eventually become—owned outright by their major contributors: viz., Wall Street and The ÜberWealthy. And, in the end, the “winner” will differ little from the “loser.” This is the duopoly, after all.

We can play out all sorts of scenarios and “what-ifs” in our heads ré the futures of Hillbillary and Jebba-the-Son and their various “competitors,” but, in the end, it is money that will win out, no matter whom the major party nominees are. The Supreme Court has made sure of that.

The winner will have to have money, money, and mo' money, to win, and that money, in turn, will own the heart and soul of our future president: whomever she/he may be.

Doesn't matter if it's Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, or any one of the so-called conservative dwarves who appeared at CPAC to duel with Jebba. In the end, they will all need oodles of money. And it is money that buys access, and then, influence.

From the innocent mouth of an erstwhile Democratic candidate for House of Representatives from New Mexico District One:

'“I do think you have to be careful about taking large sums of money from lobbyists,” [Patricia] Madrid said at the debate. “But even if you do, it is only to give them access to let you know about what their concerns are. Certainly it’s not to have you vote or rule in any certain way or obligate you in any way.”' --Patricia “Patsy” Madrid (My bold emphasis.)

Yeah. Right.

How much money will you or I have to donate to get “access” to the presidential “winner” in 2016?

Do any of you Progressives out there expect to be invited to a “beer summit” with Warren, Sanders or O'Malley to express your “concerns” should one of them win? Will I have a comparable summit with Jebba or any of his Republican competitors should one of them win?

I didn't think so.

“Money über alles.”