Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


I once worked on a presidential campaign (not in the US) and got a call from a journalist.

"How much does it take to get a candidate elected?" came the question.

I tried to explain that money, whatever people might think, doesn't play quite as big a role as it appears. It depends on the candidate. No amount of money can mask an incompetent, a fool or a (bad) liar.

"Just give me a number," hissed the journalist. He, like so many of his profession knew what he wanted the answer to be. He just needed someone else to confirm it.

However much billionaires might want to get you elected, if you say something eternally stupid or you drop your pants in public place and get photographed doing so, the people won't vote for you.

Which doesn't stop billionaires believing that their money can carry the day.

Warren Buffett has generally risen above grubby political purchases.

He might have assisted in raising funds for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but he hasn't played the Sheldon Adelson Let-Me-Anoint-You-With-My-Cash game.

Things might be a little different now.

As Time magazine has it, Buffett's been campaigning for the former Secretary of State and endorsing her.

Not only did he sing her praises, he also contrasted her abilities with those of current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

He said in Omaha that Clinton "is very very smart. And there are plenty of other candidates, well, not too many others, who are probably as smart."

Whom might he have been thinking of?

He continued: "In fact, one talks about every five minutes how smart he is."

Some might have imagined that he was referring to Ted Cruz. However, Cruz doesn't talk about how smart he is every five minutes. It's more like eight minutes.

Which means that Buffett must have been suggesting that Donald J. Trump isn't as smart as he claims.

Buffett's next words supported this theory: "And incidentally I went to Wharton too and I left after two years to go to the University of Nebraska."

Buffett was not too impressed by Tuesday's Republican debate -- the fifth of a scheduled 4,220. (That's what it feels like, anyway.)

He mused: "I've listened to all Republican debates. I used to love Abbott and Costello. I mean, I'm reliving my youth. Vaudeville was never this good."

Sadly, though, politics is largely vaudeville, presidential campaigns even more so -- which is something Clinton isn't comfortable accepting.

The presidential game is all about childish characters such as Flip and Flop. It's about knockabout humor and pratfalls. It's about name-calling and, in Trump's case, making piggy little faces that would embarrass a ham actor.

Buffett's endorsement of Clinton might seem remarkable to those on the inside of political theater.

But even if he's ten times (or more) richer than Trump, it doesn't mean his political judgment carries ten times the weight.

Buffett says he's endorsing Clinton because she understands how the masses have been left behind in the manic chase for wealth. (And who can forget that when the Clintons left the White House they were allegedly "dead broke"?)

But a certain sector of the masses believes that Trump speaks for them.

Which billionaire knows the people best?