Senator Billy Ray Valentine

In the movie Trading Places, two old rich guys make a wager over the debate regarding nature versus nurture. Randolph, played by Don Ameche takes the side of nature, while Mortimer, played by Ralph Bellamy, takes the side of nurture. They decide to settle it by switching the lives of their managing director, Louis Winthorpe III, with the life of Billy Ray Valentine, a black street hustler played by Eddie Murphy.

It’s a classic comedy so this is not new material. It is another version of Pygmalion. That was made into the musical My Fair Lady, which is probably what most people would recognize as the classic of this genre. I have not seen Trading Places in many years, but my recollection is it was very funny. It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when Eddie Murphy was hilarious.

Watching Ricky Rubio talk butch about Donald Trump the other day made me think of this movie. Rubio, like Billy Ray Valentine in the movie, is a creation of some rich patrons, who found him useful. Normal Brahman is a gazillionaire in Florida and he was Rubio’s rabbi in politics. It is a common arrangement in state politics, particularly in the South. Bill Clinton was a creation of the same system.

Rubio has charm and enough sense to not start thinking for himself. Like a good actor, he knows how to internalize his lines so they come out sounding off-the-cuff. He understands his role and that is to make the audience believe. It is the job of other people to write the lines, figure out the policy positions and setup the political fights. Rubio’s job is to show up, say his lines with conviction and win the crowd.

Barak Obama is exactly the same guy. Former Weathermen Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers sponsored Obama in Chicago as their dream boat, a black radical who can charm middle-class white people. After some time in local politics, billionaire progressives backed Obama all the way to the White House. There’s a reason the man does not order lunch without his teleprompter. Obama is smart enough to know his words are never his own.

Kept men are nothing new in politics. Local politics across the Anglosphere have been dominated by this arrangement for centuries. The local rich people pay men to represent their interests in parliaments, town councils, city government and so forth. In America, state government is loaded with these guys. They lobby the other members on behalf of their employers.

What’s new is that the global rich now look at national parliaments in the same way wealthy planters or industrialists used to look at state government. The result is Congress is packed with kept men, who play the role written for them by their handlers. That’s how Obama and Rubio made it to Washington. Their handlers were prepping them for presidential runs. That was the plan for Marco Rubio.

Some things don’t scale up very well. The kept men in politics get away with it in low-profile areas like state government or town councils. In a mass media culture, it’s really hard to pull this off at the national level, at least for very long. That’s why Americans want to seal up Washington and burn the place to the ground right now. They’ve figured out that it is just theater, a sophisticated long con.

There’s also the problem that some gags work just once. Americans have had seven years to watch Obama strut about on stage, doing his version of Hamlet. They know how to spot guys like him now, which is why Rubio went nowhere, despite having the entire conservative media ecosystem coordinating their efforts for him. It turns out that Lincoln was right, even in our mass media culture.

Anyway, watching poor Rubio flail about in the final days of his campaign, I can’t help but feel some sympathy for the guy. He is penniless and now his political career is over. He chose not to run for re-election to his Senate seat so he could focus on his presidential run. His other source of income is his wife’s no-show job at a fake charity run by Norman Braman. Now that Marco is no longer of any use to Norman, that no-show job goes away.

Unlike Billy Ray Valentine, Rubio lacks the moxie and cleverness to turn the tables on his masters. Instead, he is running around the country calling Donald Trump a doo-doo head. The hope is he can earn some sympathy from the party and maybe they can hook him up in a no-show job at a bank. John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Eric Cantor got rich playing that game so Rubio probably thinks he can get a similar deal.

Right now, this is the scene Biltmore in Miami.




20 thoughts on “Senator Billy Ray Valentine

  1. It worked for 0bama, but it isn’t working for ruby, because the Republican voters, having been back-stabbed so many times by Republican politicians, have developed a better BS detector than the dims. The dim voters would gladly eat a dog turd if you shaped it into a square and called it a brownie.

  2. Nice summation of the Rubio phenomenon. What puzzles me are those ‘conservative’ pundits who really believe their narrative. Members of the Salem and Fox families talk up Rubio so earnestly that it forces me to question their bona fides: are they really so dumb or is this just a pantomime for the rubes?

  3. The Republicans really are the Stupid Party. They looked at Obama and said, “dang it, we need a handsome, youthful, metrosexual/bisexual/homosexual POC of international parentage just like that guy”. So they found Rubio, which on the surface looked like a good choice. What they forgot was the most important piece: Obama’s almost preternatural skill at delivering neuro-linguistic programming. Somebody not only took a lot of time to train Obama in these techniques, but– just as importantly– they hired speechwriters skilled in NLP to craft the content that Obama delivered. It’s why Obama is completely useless without a teleprompter: he is trained at delivering NLP content, but completely incapable of producing it himself. Rubio has clearly had neither the training, nor the speechwriters. And he is a lousy off-the-cuff speaker. He’s like Obama without a teleprompter, but even worse.

    Trump, on the other hand, has also adopted NLP and hypnosis techniques. But instead of delivering canned NLP content, Trump starts with a basic framework and then improvises as he goes along. If Obama is like a highly-trained Violin soloist following a conductor with a symphony behind him, then Trump is like a jazz saxophonist, riffing and reacting to what is happening in the moment. It’s why he doesn’t bother with canned speeches– that would be like giving Charlie Parker sheet music. Meanwhile, it’s no wonder the Republicans are helpless– they didn’t even learn anything from getting beaten by Obama, much less anticipate that Trump would take what Obama did to the next level.

  4. If they could find a job for Michelle Obama, I’m sure they can come up with something for Marco.

  5. It was kind of refreshing listening to Mortemor call Billy Ray Valentine a “Nigger”.
    Refreshes my spirit and moral obligation as a Dirt Person as to my duty to resist and defy the sonofabitches trying to enrich themselves on the destruction of my country with everything I have.

  6. Eddie Murphy actually becomes a Congressman in the smelly 1992 movie, “The Distinguished Gentleman.”

    • And, in “Coming to America,” he played a love-sick tribal Prince who travels to New York City to escape the cloying royal trappings, and to search for less submissive women-folk to snuggle with.

  7. “Now that Marco is no longer of any use to Norman, that no-show job goes away.”

    Nope. Dems are loyal to their apparatchiks, unlike Rpubs who are treacherous pricks.

    Rubio will be given a nice job somewhere and effectively pensioned off.

    • Yeh – I’m not too worried about Marco. As former high-profile Senator with a JD he’ll be making the big bucks next year helping parasites feed.

    • Well of COURSE Dem puppet masters are loyal to their apparatchiks, if they produce, they continue to get paid by their masters, if they don’t, they STILL get paid, with OTHER peoples money.
      Isn’t that how Socialism, and Social Justice, works?

    • I wonder. Cantor is a smart guy with a ton of connections in the ruling class. He was a consigliere, while Rubio has been a street hustler. There’s not a lot of value to keeping Rubio around as he has no pull in DC and he burned his bridges in Florida. Maybe he can sell cars at one of Braman’s dealerships.

      • Rubio will be seriously used merchandise. Weak and malleable, only connections have been with those using him. That “Opportunist” in neon on his forehead won’t help.

  8. “They’ve figured out that it is just theater, a sophisticated long con.” You hit the nail on the head.

  9. I think they’ll find a no-show job for Rubio. He is young enough, and has eagerness to perform, he’ll land somewhere. It will be interesting to see where Perry and Jindal go. Surely to a think tank or something, right? Both were heavily tied to GWB and that wing of the GOP… the wing that is getting clobbered. What will happen to dear Karl and his white board? Hmmm.

    • Perry to a think tank? I wonder. He now reminds me of the attractive boy in high school who did not bear close scrutiny. What we used to call a “sosh” for Social. But Not. Too. Bright.

    • Rubio could return to state politics, which as the post implied he is much more suited for anyway. Or maybe he runs for mayor of Miami-Dade, where he would still be useful to his benefactors, though that job probably requires some executive ability.

      In the UK in the eighteenth century they had House of Commons constituencies where no one lived, except for a few employees and tenants of some wealthy person. These “rotten” boroughs were available to guarantee retainers of the influential seats in Parliament. One motivation behind the Americans leaving the empire was to get away from that. However, the campaign finance system has developed to do something similar, instead of providing a district, your wealthy benefactor can providing the funding and staff for a campaign.

  10. Barnum, not Lincoln. Anyway, it has to be updated. You can fool most of the people most of the time.

    Sailor sure busted Limbaugh today, although that wasn’t the point of the post. Funny thing is, most of his fans already know his faults, they just have no where else to go, sort of like many Trump voters.

    • Limbaugh is the political version of the old radio preachers. Instead of selling a dashboard Jesus he sells ties, books, hats, etc. I think most people just assume he is smart enough to avoid crossing some lines. What Fox has done is pretty much treason. They rigged their news coverage to sell amnesty, knowing their viewers hate amnesty. If Trump starts pounding that NYTimes story, Fox is in very deep doo-doo.

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