Everyone Hates Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Now & It's Wonderful!
Lucy McBath was inspired to run for Congress to honor the memory of her son, an innocent victim of gun violence. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is considering a presidential run to protect his billions from threats both foreign and domestic. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Elizabeth Warren are storming the castle with pitchforks and torches -- actually, just reasonable progressive tax proposals -- and Schultz is your average billionaire fighting back.
Schultz describes himself as a "centrist independent," which is as dull as one of those Christian rock bands from the 1980s. Schultz is the Stryper candidate. He has conducted a charmless offensive since announcing his potential candidacy on "60 Minutes" Sunday and tweeting for the first time ever like your grandpa. So far, everyone thinks he sucks.
Hecklers greeted Schultz on the first day of a nationwide tour to promote his new book, which we won't link to because we don't want you to buy it. Heckling is generally pretty mean, except in cases like this one when it's hilarious.
Yeah, he's off to a great start. Ainsley Earhardt on "Fox & Friends" was appalled that someone would publicly use the "b" word: Huh? "Billionaire" was just the meat in the insult sandwich. Calm down, lady. America still loves the put-upon billionaires with their $40 million apartments.
Another heckler removed from the Barnes & Noble event shouted, "Health care is a human right!" This was likely in response to Schultz's tone-deaf comment on "60 Minutes" that America can't afford to provide health care for all its citizens. It can only afford rich guys spending $500 million of their own money on a vanity campaign.
Warren came out swinging this morning after Schultz called her tax plan "ridiculous" on NPR's "Morning Edition." Warren's mad dream involves a two percent tax on wealth over the $50 million threshold, and a three percent tax on those with assets over a billion dollars. If Warren had her way, Schultz could only afford several self-funded presidential campaigns, maybe even just one a year. This would ruin the private campaign jet industry.
That NPR interview didn't help Schultz turn things around on a day when people came forward to share stories about what a cheap bastard he is. He just said more dumb stuff, but hey, it got Warren some well-deserved press after Senator Kamala Harris's kickass town hall.
"I can't think of anything that is a more quintessential expression of our democracy than providing the American people with a choice that doesn't have to be binary between the Republican and the Democrat," Schultz said. "Why should the American people not have the choice of someone who is saying, 'I'm not embedded with either party'?"
Because, Mr. Coffee, presidents are selected through the winner-take-all electoral college system. We don't have ranked choice voting, so Donald Trump could win re-election with a smaller percentage of the popular vote than in 2016. Also, politics isn't a boardroom. Even if an independent managed to win, they'd face organized opposition from both parties and would accomplish little.
However, despite what "Fox & Friends" claims, it's not clear that Schultz is an "independent" at all. He comes across like any number of Washington state Republicans we've met who hate paying taxes but don't hate the gay. He's spent more time deriding hypothetical tax increases for his billionaire brethren than attacking Republican corruption and rampant bigotry.
"I think lifelong Democrats and many, many more lifelong Republicans than Democrats realize are looking for a home," Schultz said. "If there is a choice between President Trump and a progressive liberal-minded person on the Democratic side, it would kill me to see President Trump be re-elected, and I believe that is what would take place."
Schultz thinks liberalism sucks. So do Republicans, but they're crazy and racist right now. This embarrasses guys like Schultz at cocktail parties. Schultz would happily vote for Democrats if they'd just find the "center" and basically become the "good" Republicans from Aaron Sorkin dramas.
During an interview with CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin Monday, Schultz claimed he's no longer "affiliated" with the Democratic Party because of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposals. She hasn't been in Congress a whole month. Bernie Sanders has caucused with Democrats for decades and ran for president as one. She's an evolution of existing progressivism within the party -- not some shocking disruption. Is Schultz just scared of brown women? Does he fear they might actually get shit done?
That's his problem, though. Democrats don't really need rich white guys to beat Trump. Democrats have won the popular vote in three consecutive elections without white men. Pissed off soccer moms from the suburbs helped Democrats flip key districts last year and gave badass grandma Nancy Pelosi her speaker's gavel. Schultz and other white guys who are "very concerned" can go take several seats. The earth spins forward without them.
We would never tell someone not to run for president. It's still mostly a free country, especially for people like Schultz. But what does he think he has to offer voters? Why not just buy a gently used Jeff Flake or Nikki Haley at the next Koch Brothers auction and run them in a primary challenge against Trump or even as "independents" themselves? For the right price, Marco Rubio would even wear the Starbucks barista uniform.
Oh, and if you feel motivated now to try real coffee again, here's a link for you.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).