"The average guy is not on the golf course, the tennis court or a speed boat because he doesn't have one," observed the former president. Nixon himself was very adept at making millions while a "public servant," but even top Bush aides now admit that he has a point and they've got a problem.
In an interview with USA Today, Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher put it this way: "We've got to find more people who have a more direct sync or tie or feel for the average-income person."
Where are the Bush people to meet such folks?
Robert Adam Mosbacher himself doesn't know any. He inherited his father's Houston Oil Company. A director of Texas Bankshares and New York life Insurance, he finds no average people there at the directors' gatherings.
Mosbacher had even less luck meeting regular folks when he was chair of the Mid-Continental Oil and Gas Association, or when he was chair of the National Petroleum Council, or when he was on the executive committee of the American Petroleum Institute, or when he was president of the American Association of Petroleum Landsmen.
It's even worse at his private clubs: the Petroleum Club, the River Oaks Country Club, the Corinthian Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. No working stiffs there either.
Obviously Mosbacher will be no help to the president in his quest to meet average-income people. The problem remains.
Perhaps White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray could help. While opposing affirmative action for people of color and women, Gray said he had felt the sting of discrimination himself, for being "a tall man." Perhaps Boyden Gray knows someone who isn't rich. Uh-oh, Boyden is out. Apparently he inherited millions from his daddy.
Where to turn? Perhaps Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady knows someone who makes under $150,000 per year. Brady was optimistic on the NBC News program Meet the Press three weeks ago. Speaking about the loss of millions of jobs, Brady said, "I think that the rush to judgment that this is the end of the Western world as we know it is entirely premature."
Foiled again. Nicholas Brady is a hereditary millionaire, a former chair and chief executive officer of the investment banking firm of Dillon Read and Co.
Can Bush's old friend Secretary of State James Addison Baker III introduce him to someone who worries about paying the bills? No way. Jim's father was even richer than George's.
How about Bush's budget director, Richard Gordon Darman? Does he know anyone struggling to live on a working class budget?
Unfortunately Darman, an inheritor of millions, is a former investment banker and managing director of Shearson Lehman Brothers at the World Financial Center. He was one of those people President Bush was referring to when he explained his poor showing in the 1988 Iowa presidential caucuses. He said all his supporters must have been at coming-out parties.
Let's face it. The president needs help. He cannot assist "average-income" people unless he can meet at least one. And nobody he knows has ever personally encountered such a creature.
If you can help the president find a blue or white collar worker, please call or write him immediately. President Bush's address is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. His phone number is (202) 456-1414.
This article originally appeared in Workers World newspaper. A 10-week trial subscription is available for $2. A year's subscription costs $15. Makes checks payable to Workers World, and send to 46 W. 21 St., New York, NY 10010. Phone (212) 255-0352. You may contact Workers World editors on NY Transfer or PeaceNet at "workers."