Alert! High-Profile Black Woman Living Her Life As If She Had Every Right!
Carol Moseley Braun is starting up an organic food business, because she wants to "expand the availability of healthy foods" to "help people eat healthier." Okay. Presumably she also wants to earn money. Okay.
Anyone see a problem with this?
Apparently someone does. In this Chicago Tribune article, suddenly this bit of news trivia is morphed into a debate over whether it's - what, legitimate? appropriate? acceptable? for Braun to start a business.
It is unusual for former high-level politicians to go into the consumer products business in this way, especially using a government title as a brand name. "Pioneering yet again, here she goes," Braun joked last week. "Where no girl has gone before."
But her latest move provided grist for those who see her political career as a disappointment and Braun herself as someone with promise who proved unequal to the stature of the offices she held.
I'm afraid someone's going to have to spell out the connection for me. Entrepreneurs are lower on the totem pole than politicians now? Quick, somebody tell the Republicans in Congress! Because we need a tax code overhaul to incentivize public service, if this is true.
"If she were a serious politician, then it would be unusual," said Alton Miller, Braun's communications director during her 1992 Senate primary and now an associate dean at Chicago's Columbia College.
Ouch. Her own former communications director. That's gotta hurt. But wait! There's more...
Miller likened Braun's planned new enterprise with the salad dressing popularized by actor Paul Newman. "What he does with salad dressings is what Carol Moseley Braun is doing with organic foods," Miller said. "The difference being that he's a bigger celebrity than Carol Moseley Braun, and probably more politically effective than Carol Moseley Braun ever was."
His former boss' new venture, Miller said, is "very much in keeping with her agility and opportunistic enterprise. She's taken a little bit and made a great deal out of it and never lost a smile and I've got to give her credit for that."
It sounds like this was not an amicable parting of ways. It's a damn good thing we've got old white guys like Alton to warn us about the wily ways of opportunistic black women who aren't as politically effective as white movie actors.
"F. Scott Fitzgerald said in America there's no second act," said Eric Adelstein, a Chicago-based media consultant who worked on Braun's Senate re-election campaign. "It's been proven over and over again to be completely wrong, and I think a former politician, someone with historical significance, going out to do something entrepreneurial is a completely American act in this day and age."
Yeah, you tell 'em, Eric. After all, white guys who happen to be former politicians go out and do this sort of thing all the time! And they don't get hit pieces written about them in major newspapers. But they probably didn't piss off Alton Miller. Yeah, I bet that's the difference.
Added a former top aide, Pat Botterman, a Democratic political consultant in Illinois who worked on Braun's presidential campaign: "She's an adult. She can associate her name with any business she wants to. I think anybody who thinks it's unseemly ought to just pay attention to their own business and stay out of Carol Moseley Braun's. You got nothing nice to say about somebody, don't say anything."
Best advice I've heard all day.
(Hat tip for this entry goes to 54cermak of Peanut Butter Knife, who emailed me the article.)