Disney CEO Bob Iger... is he going to run for president? Let me answer this question with one of my own: Can Bob Iger and the rest of America’s CEOs take their fawning media enablers and fuck off to Neverland, forever?
Fresh off a sewer-dwelling presidential campaign that left an idiotic real estate CEO as the American president to the shock of the media and political establishment, the same media and political establishment is now trying to make up for their mistake by dragging us all through the excruciating every-four-years process of Talking Up The Magical Potential Outsider Candidates. Because actual election years are so dreary and painful, they tend to be followed in short order by speculation about which potential savior might appear to save us from having to suffer something equally dreary during the next election. Politicians? Meh. What the political media loves to imagine is a dark horse arising from the mythical private sector to seize control of our entrepreneurial nation, in the mold of the guy from the Ayn Rand book, or, uh, the current president.
Why, you may reasonably wonder, would we be discussing the possibility of Disney CEO Bob Iger running for president of the United States in the year 2020, given the fact that Bob Iger has not said or done anything to indicate that he is considering running for president in 2020? Well, because the media just can’t help itself. The media columnist for the dang New York Times dedicates an entire column to Iger’s.... qualifications, which include:
- His “slight New York accent that could help offset his otherwise polished presentation,”
- His willingness to get, quote, “deep in the political mix,” by doing things like resigning from Trump’s farcical CEO council when everyone else was, a step that Iger himself says was done “because of how it affected the company.” And, most especially,
- His bold political courage, as embodied by the fact that he graciously allowed ESPN not to suspend Jemele Hill for calling Trump a white supremacist—a qualification that was erased the very day this column was published, when ESPN did suspend Jemele Hill for having the temerity to question the political actions of the owner of the Dallas Cowboys.
Are you quaking with admiration yet?
And why, given this pathetic list of qualifications, would a columnist for America’s premier news outlet feel the need to write a column floating Iger as a possible presidential candidate? Well, because another columnist for the New York Times had previously floated Iger as a presidential candidate. That floating was based on conversations with unnamed people who had themselves had conversations with the CEOs suggesting they might pursue a political path. By this standard, we must also consider Kanye West and your high school class president as potential candidates to be taken seriously.
And why wouldn’t we? Donald Trump is the fucking president, and there has never been more enthusiasm for a CEO slightly more elegant than him to rule over us all with a benevolent hand. Verily, we are all the shareholders of America, and He is our Chairman. Among the various business types that have been listed by political media outlets as possible future presidents: Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Cuban, Howard Schultz, Sheryl Sandberg, and Oprah.
This is how bad things happen. This is how self-fulfilling prophecies are made. A business type with a huge ego muses about being president. Political journalists, who must every day fill the insatiable news hole with something, put them on their laundry lists of “possible candidates” for an election three years away, which is just as easy to predict as the weather or the stock market three years from now. Then, the inclusion of these people on these made-up lists is itself used as justification to say that “buzz” or “chatter” is present. And it builds on itself. Where do the vast majority of journalists get their source material for predictions like this? From shit that other journalists have written, who were themselves doing the same thing. It’s an enormous self-fueling bullshit machine. It is how the thinnest fictions become reality. And it would be funny to watch, if it didn’t have the potential for inexorably boosting some loud idiot into the field of mainstream presidential candidates by sheer self-reinforcement. If the press is going to create viable candidates out of nothing, they might as well do it for, you know, good people. Activists. Teachers. Saints. Not just people with nice suits and well-paid ghostwriters.
The job of a CEO is to steer a huge algorithm for making profits. The job of a president is, ONE HOPES, to work to realize a moral ideal. They are not the same job. Beware of anyone who says that they are. All that means is that they misunderstand one job or the other. Or that they have no morals. And on a more human scale, the persistent tendency of the press to elevate business people to the status of national demigods reflects a pathetic craving for a Rich Superman Boss to solve all our problems with Bold Leadership, political complexities be damned.
That’s what we have now.