Cleaning House!

Arnold & Arianna, happy at last

Trompe l'oeil banners covered the ugly, fluorescent lit convention center walls, showing off views of noble Italian gardens shockingly lacking in butler shrubs. And there were old people and middle-aged people and skinny people and fat people and middle-class people and lower-middle-class people. There were no rich, young people. If the Trading Spaces peeps really were in the house—Commie Mom was hoping it would be Hildy—we saw them not. Just some guys with Ultimate Mops3.

1. Fun With Talking Points. Okay, he hasn't said anything else except on NBC's Today Show, when Matt Lauer asked him, "You talk about the budget deficit. You talk about the energy crisis, the slumping economy, people leaving California. Give me some specifics, Arnold. How are you going to turn it around?" Then Schwarzenegger said, "Well, I think the first and most important thing is to know that it takes leadership, because Gray Davis is saying he has the experience and all of those things. We have seen now what happens. He has sold himself as the man that has experience you cannot buy. What happened with all his experience? Look at the situation we're in right now." Old news, yes, but fun with talking points! 2. Fun With Hypocrisy.Let's spare a footnote for poor Arianna, shall we? You know how she likes attention. Now, I was actually terribly excited about getting to vote for her; over the past several years, I've watched with fascination as she's come to the light side. Everything she's written about the poor and about corporate irresponsibility—especially their deep-seated inability to pay their fair share of taxes, which was the focus of her last book, Pigs at the Trough—has, you know, resonated with me. But there's just that one small problem. That one niggling thing about how she herself has paid $771 in federal taxes (and no state taxes) over the past two years. She didn't break any laws; her $2.67 million in stated losses were perfectly legal. And so are Bermuda post-office drops. Now, I'm a writer too! And I also write off many expenses on my tax returns. For instance, since I'm a nightlife columnist, I write off any drink I buy in a bar. I also write off the mileage to get to that bar. Sometimes I even take people out to dinner and write that off, because they're giving me gossip I can use, or we're checking out a restaurant and I often write about restaurants! Also, I write off my cable bill because I write about television as well. Yet somehow, even with all those write-offs, I still, on my nice little salary at an alternative weekly, managed to pony up—carry the one—oh, 10.3 times the "fair share" Arianna Huffington paid. And that's not counting my payroll taxes, which Arianna would be the first to tell you are what really breaks the backs of the lower- and middle-class workers. Sooo-eeeey!Old news, yes, but fun with hypocrisy! 3. Fun With Ultimate Mops. This doesn't have anything to do with the recall, but I remember about 10 years ago, my best friend Jess' then-boyfriend got a job as a vacuum cleaner salesman. So his parents and Jess and I all sat down for his very first pitch about his ultimate vacuum. He wore a tie and everything. When his father, after the pitch, asked four times how much the vacuum cost, and got back talking points each time about how much this vacuum would save him in the long run, he finally demanded to know how much the damn vacuum cost, and Jess' boyfriend, finally cornered, said, "Four thousand, ninety-nine dollars," and there was this terrible sick hush in the living room as we all realized this was not a job that would be putting food on his family4. But still, the Ultimate Mop looked cool, if you're a person who cares about things like mops, and likes to "clean house"! And it was only, like, $30 or so. I don't know. I wasn't really listening. 4. Fun With the President. George W. Bush in Jacob Weisberg, George W. Bushisms: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President.Old news? Yes.


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