“Howie on Warren’s House of Lies” shouted the front page on Sunday’s Boston Herald, and “house of lies” did duty as a heavy-handed pun: Howie Carr’s column featured a comparison (and photos) of Warren’s and Republican Senator Scott Brown’s houses.
He opens the column by writing that Warren “is now portraying herself as the tribune of the middle class,” and, in the next paragraph, that she “is not middle class. She is a snob’s snob, a 1-percenter from way back. There is only one Scrooge McDuck-like plutocrat in this fight, and it’s not Scott Brown.”
He ends the column by asking: “Does Massachusetts really need a senator who’s even phonier than John Kerry?”
Mocking Warren for being a “phony” because she puts herself forward as “a tribune for the middle class” is a sophisticated metaphor: The Free Online Dictionary defines “tribune” as “an officer of ancient Rome elected by the plebeians to protect their rights from arbitrary acts of the patrician magistrates.”
Carr is a smart man (he got his education at the boarding school Deerfield Academy and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was Phi Beta Kappa) and, in “tribune,” Carr found the perfect word for his argument against Warren.
I follow his logic: If you’re rich, you can’t be a tribune for the middle class, and if you say you are, you’re a phony.
Follow his logic a little further, and what Carr is asserting is that all of the following very wealthy people are phonies: Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, Al Gore, George H.W. Bush, Keith Olbermann, and Rush Limbaugh.
I’m sure you can come up with more wealthy, phony tribunes for the middle class if you dig into your memory for a moment. Here’s another politician Carr’s logic insists was a phony: Ronald Reagan.
Oh, wait, I just though of another phony tribune for the middle class: Howie Carr, the man who has spent a career presenting himself in print and on talk radio as the defender of the middle class, protecting working people from today’s patrician magistrates in the government. (Well, the Democratic ones anyway.)
In his Sunday column, Carr tells us that Warren lives in a house in Cambridge with an assessed value of $1,749,000 and Scott Brown lives in a house in Wrentham that is assessed at $511,000. Carr’s house in Wellesley, assessed at $1,843,000, is worth more than Warren’s. He owns a $558,900 condo in Cambridge too.
Carr’s annual income trumps Warren’s. WRKO-AM just picked up the option on his contract, which, if it matches the contract Carr was offered five years ago when WTTK-FM tired to lure him away, pays him more than $650,000 a year — close to double Warren’s much criticized annual Harvard Law School salary of $375,000.
Then there is Carr's salary from the Herald. Carr is one of the paper’s star columnists, has been at the paper for more than 30 years, and appears capable of negotiating big money for himself. A good guess, then, is that Carr earns close to $1 million a year.
Carr loves to mock as Warren as “1-percenter,” but he makes far more than the minimum membership requirement for the 1-Percenter Club.
He’s probably an officer.
Full Disclosure and Note to Howie Carr: I am a college professor who lives in Brookline and doesn’t own a bicycle, the house my wife and I live in is worth a lot less than Carr’s or Warren’s but more than Scott Brown’s, I went to a public high school and a public university, I do not work for and am not paid by The Boston Globe, I have not worn or owned a bow-tie since I was six years old, I do not have a trust fund and am not entirely sure how a trust fund works, I never came within a half-dozen blocks of Occupy Boston, and I loathe brie.
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