Friday, August 22, 2008

How many homes make you 'elite'?

Er, just who's the "elitist" again? Looks as if the John McCain supporters trying to depict Democrat Barack Obama as elitist might oughtta change their tune. It turns out McCain didn't know how many homes he and his wife, Cindy, own. The answer, Sen. McCain, is at least eight. asked McCain Wednesday how about the number of homes he and his wife own. McCain said, "I think -- I'll have my staff get back to you."

A Politico analysis of property and tax records and interviews found that the McCain family owns at least eight. (Listen here to the question and response: Download here)

Technically McCain doesn't own any homes. They're all owned by his wife, Cindy, her dependent children and the trusts and companies they control. Cindy McCain inherited control of her father's beer distributorship -- Arizona's largest -- and is worth an estimated $100 million.

Politico found five of the eight McCain properties were purchased between summer 2004 and last February, for a total of $11 million. They're condominiums: Two are near San Diego and three are in Phoenix. One of the Phoenix condos became the couple's primary Phoenix residence after a Cindy McCain family trust in 2006 sold for $3.2 million the house in which they raised their children. It's 6,600 square feet and cost $4.7 million.

The two California condos, in Coronado, cost a total of $4.7 million. Cindy McCain bought them in 2004 and this year, through another family corporation. The other homes are: a ranch outside Sedona, Ariz.; a three-bedroom Arlington, Va., condo; a La Jolla, Calif., condo that's home to Cindy McCain's elderly aunt and on which the family trust recently paid nearly $7,000 in back taxes.

Of course, the Obama campaign created a video ad almost instantly. And McCain's campaign continued to lambaste Obama for having a "mansion" in Chicago. They may want to rethink that strategy. Obama and his wife paid $1.65 million for their home in 2005. And there's only one of it.

Fighting over who's "elite" is silly. Wealth neither confers success nor guarantees failure. Consider elites George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and both Roosevelts. Consider non-elites Richard Nixon and Andrew Johnson -- and Abraham Lincoln. It was ridiculous when George Bush -- scion of a family with generations of wealth -- depicted John Kerry as too "elite."

(Irony noted: Kerry had married an heiress. Wonder what the GOPers who pooh-poohed that in 2004 are saying about Cindy McCain?)

Any voter who's deciding whom to vote for based on who's an elite isn't using enough brain cells.

Posted by Mary Newsom


aftercancernowwhat said...

Generally I'd say more than 1 makes you elite but there are lot's of people who have a summer place or cabin so let's say 2 is still okay. If you have so many you can't remember or simply say something like, "Well we've got a place in D.C. of course, our home in Arizona and the apartment in Bora Bora" without asking your staff either you have too many or you can't remember which means you should not have your finger on the button anyway!

ch20190 said...

this day and age I would say having one would make you elete.

The Fischer's said...

Elitist is not defined by your investments. Give me a break.

JED1013 said...

Barack Obama's 'half-brother discovered in Kenya, living on a dollar a month'
By Nick Pisa
Last updated at 12:24 AM on 21st August 2008

Kenyan roots: Barack Obama
The youngest of Barack Obama’s half siblings has told of his shame about living in a shack and existing on a dollar a month whilst his brother plans to become the most powerful man in the world.
With the Democratic Convention in Denver just days away, Italian Vanity Fair magazine tracked George Hussein Onyango Obama to a 6ft by 9ft wooden shed in Kenya.
The difference in the men's lifestyles could not be more dramatic. Mr Obama, 47, travels the world with an army of bodyguards, whilst his brother defends himself with his own bare hands on the rough streets of Haruma, a Nairobi shanty town.
“If anyone says something about my surname, I say we are not related. I am ashamed,” George told the magazine.
"No-one knows who I am. I live here on less than a dollar a month.
"I live like a recluse, no-one knows I exist."
George, at 25 the youngest of Obama’s father’s seven children, has met his famous big brother just twice.
He was just five when Mr Obama visited Kenya for the first time in 1988 and made a special trip out to his mother Jael’s shanty home.
They met again briefly two years ago when Illinois senator Mr Obama was on a tour of East Africa. George told the magazine that he was homeless at the time.
He said he spent 10 years living on the streets before recently moving into his shack, which he has decorated with Italian football posters and a calendar showing exotic paradise beaches of the world.

I wounder what George thinks makes you elite

jean63 said...

Cindy McCain has an older sister, from her father's first marriage, who is now receiving NOTHING from their father's beer distributorship! Mrs. McCain did not share the inheritance with her, and actually discontinued what her sister had been receiving from their father. Her sister lives right hear in the good ole USA!!!!!

crystalsbass said...

Having a million dollar house that a convicted felon helped you to buy probably makes you into one of those people who shouldn't throw stones.

picasso5 said...

Wealthy and elite are two different things. Elitism has nothing to do with the number of houses one owns, but everything to do with political and academic views. I think you know that. If not, you should not be writing editorials for a major newspaper. If so, you are simply scamming your readers for political purposes!

Fredo said...

Leaping on the fact that McCain is wealthy as an example of elitism is a glittering example of ignorance. As has been pointed out, elitism and wealth are quite distinct: having one home is no bar to being an elitist and having many is not an indication that one is an elitist.

The original opinion piece raises only one question: is Mary, a writer by vocation, so ignorant of her native tongue as to not know the difference between the two concepts, or is she instead sufficiently intellectually dishonest as to willingly distort the meaning of the two things for the sake of her argument.

The latter, I suppose. And that requires that she presume herself to be capable of misleading her readers without detection. One could see THAT as an example of elitism!

whitsmom said...

I especially like the Post's closing line: "...anyone who votes on the basis of this sound-and-fury politics deserves the president he gets."

whitsmom said...

Oops--most of my post was deleted in the previous comment.

The Washington Post today had a much more balanced and sensible editorial on the homes issue:

As usual the bias of The Observer is awfully transparent.