As Socrates put it, virtue does not come from money, but from virtue comes money.
That said, one thing is certain as we approach the 2008 presidential election: It won't be the common man — or woman — leading the country, though Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois comes closest.
After examining the personal fortunes of the leading presidential candidates, Money magazine reported yesterday that the top seven contenders are worth a collective $391 million. Here's the rundown of net worth:
Republican Mitt Romney: $202 million
Democrat John Edwards: $55 million
Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani: $50 million
Republican John McCain: $40 million
Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton: $35 million
Republican Fred Thompson: $8 million
Democrat Barack Obama: $1 million
The economy, again Has the "American dream" passed you by?
The dream in this case being that all American workers have a paycheck that can support a family, affordable health care, a secure and dignified retirement and the opportunity for the next generation to be better off.
Today, with less than a month until the first votes are cast in the presidential race, Democratic pollster Celinda Lake and Change to Win Chairwoman Anna Burger will release a memo about the "loss" of the American dream and how they say it could shape behaviors of 2008 swing voters. Mrs. Burger's organization, founded in 2005, is a partnership of seven unions with 6 million members, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and United Farm Workers of America.
Miss Lake, for the record, is considered one of the Democratic Party's top political strategists.
Cabinet and chairs
Samuel R. Berger surfaced yesterday to announce that former Sen. Warren Rudman, New Hampshire Republican, is joining Stonebridge International, the global business firm for which the former Clinton national security adviser is co-chairman.
The former two-term senator, who was offered a Cabinet post by President Clinton, had served as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. As Mr. Berger put it yesterday: "Few have emerged from both public- and private-sector service with more universal respect."
Quick, what's the last name of Dr. Phil?
Actually, nobody is really expected to know, and given the TV psychologist's popular ratings, don't look for his catchy moniker to change any time soon.
The White House, on the other hand, is always careful to include the full names of those whose paths cross with the president's. Take Sunday's "Christmas in Washington" event at the National Building Museum, where the hosts, or so we read in the official White House pool report, were "Dr. Phil and his wife Robin McCraw."
"Earlier pool report misspelled Dr. Phil's last name," came the subsequent report. "The correct spelling is McGraw."
Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and the top Capitol Hill watchdog of all things portending global warming, brings to our attention a proposal in the latest Medical Journal of Australia that families down under pay a $5,000-plus "baby levy" at birth and an annual carbon tax of up to $800 a child.
So-called "medical expert" Barry Walters proposes that "every couple with more than two children should be taxed to pay for enough trees to offset the carbon emissions generated over each child's lifetime," says an Australian news article on the plan.
Mr. Inhofe, on the other hand, doesn't buy into the argument that man is responsible for climate change. He has said that "much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science," and calls the threat of catastrophic warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."
We assume he would now include the Australian people in that assessment.