We Come Not To Praise Howard Schultz But To Bury Him Because That Guy Sucks
Howard Schultz, a person of no interest in the 2020 presidential race, announced yesterday that he's pausing his vanity campaign. The former Starbucks CEO's health started to suffer while he was in Arizona, which is the risk you take when you visit Arizona.
SCHULTZ: I unfortunately experienced acute back pain that required me to cut my travels short. Over the following two months, I underwent three separate back surgeries. Today, I am feeling much better, and my doctors foresee a full recovery so long as I rest and rehabilitate. I have decided to take the summer to do just that.
It's the summer of Howard! He's gonna eat a big hunk of cheese like an apple! Schultz is fortunate that he can take months away from whatever it was he was doing to recuperate. Most Americans can't, and would suffer serious financial hardship if they tried. They could end up living in their car while some asshole on Twitter judges them. Millions can't even afford the back surgeries or even have health care that would allow them to identify the source of their chronic pain. Candidates who don't suck would mention all this, but Schultz remained true to brand.
We still wish Schultz a speedy recovery, because we're not petty, and hope he spends enough quality time with his family and polling data to never return. But we're not completely rid of him yet. He says his concern for our country and focus-group-tested ideals remain strong. Civility and honesty are important to him. You can tell because they're featured in his Twitter cover photo.
He's demonstrated these traits frequently on the campaign trail. He called Elizabeth Warren's economic plans "ridiculous" and claimed she only puts together highly detailed plans to "get a good headline." The woman's dropping policy, not sex tapes. This is neither honest nor civil. Sliming Warren also didn't deliver the results he might've wanted. She's surging in the polls while he's sinking like a sack of wet platitudes.
Schultz dismissed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal for a 70 percent top marginal tax rate as "punitive" to "people of means" like himself who are "living proof of the American dream." (Yes, he really described himself this way.) He might desire the sitcom morality of the 1950s but he's less enthused about the decade's tax rates.
Most of Schultz's campaign staff were let go, except for senior leadership. That's very corporate of him. His strategist Steve Schmidt will still draw a paycheck. The worst part of Schultz's campaign strategy is the candidate, and you can't really blame Schmidt for that. Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post reports that Schultz might come back like shingles if Joe Biden isn't the presumptive Democratic nominee by Super Tuesday. This is the best argument for Biden so far. No sacrifice is too great to make Schultz go away forever.
But why would Schultz offer a clear path for Biden? He has nothing positive to say about Democrats. He rejects the notion that his possible independent run could "spoil" the election and help re-elect Trump. He sounded like a common Tyler Durden when discussing this at his CNN town hall.
SCHULTZ: First off, the issue of being a spoiler, how can you spoil a system that is already broken? It's just not working? So it's not -- it's not the right word.
This is a stark contrast from Biden's rhetoric. He's a big believer in the two-party system. He even defended the GOP as a political party during the height of Watergate. Schultz's Twitter profile proclaims via hashtag that he wants to "#fixthesystem." Biden thinks the system is swell and once Trump is out of office, we can go back to loving each other.
Schultz presented himself as a "disruptive force," which is laughable because he's wanted to preserve the "status quo" all along. Like many right-leaning, so-called "independents" and "centrists," he finds Trump personally vile but he prefers his economic agenda to any Democrat running ... except for Biden. He must think he'll prove a pushover to Republicans and special interests. We're not sure how he got that idea.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He recently fled Seattle, where he did theatre work for Book-It Rep and Cafe Nordo.