First of all, my apologies to all the Dan Gilberts in the world. It must be a fairly common name, so if you are a Dan Gilbert and are NOT running for President on the GOP ticket, I’m not writing about you.
As a matter of fact, the Dan Gilbert who IS running for president is a pretty obscure figure. If you Google his name, he doesn’t even show up on the first page of results. It’s not good if you’re running for President and there are two, yes TWO, people with your name that are better known than you.
One is a Harvard Professor of Psychology who has written a book called “Stumbling Upon Happiness.” It promises to “shatter your most deeply held convictions about how your mind works.” No mean feat, considering that you probably don’t have any “deeply held convictions” about how my mind works, but I don’t hold that against Doctor Gilbert. He appears to be an accomplished scientist, and I doubt that he is a complete moron.
Another Dan Gilbert who is better known than the Presidential hopeful is the founder of Rock Financial, now Quicken Loans. Full disclosure here: this Dan Gilbert went to the same law school as I, my sister once worked at Quicken Loans, and both my father and I refinanced our homes through Quicken Loans. Having said that, I don’t know anything about this particular Dan Gilbert. I have no reason to believe, however, that he is a complete moron.
Which brings us to the Dan Gilbert who would lead our great country. This particular Dan Gilbert is so obscure that the only biographical information that I can find about him is from his own campaign website. He says that he is a businessman and lives somewhere in South Carolina. He owns a company that makes electronic drums. Go figure.
So if this guy is so obscure, why am I writing about him? It’s because I happened to catch him on the Tom Hartman show the other day, where I learned that he had placed third on some New Hampshire straw poll for the Republican primary. This turns out to be a complete non-event, but it got Gilbert on Hartman’s show and is the only positive thing that has happened in the guy’s campaign, such as it is. So I got a chance to hear Gilbert talk. And that’s how I learned that he is a complete moron.
I like to hear what a candidate has to say about health care. To me, the question “should the government pay for health care?” is about as difficult as “should the government pay for roads?” And while there’s nothing surprising about a Republican who opposes universal health care (they like toll roads too), Gilbert’s solution for the problem was startling — a person who is uninsured and beaten down by medical bills should be allowed to take on a second job and not pay social security taxes on the wages of his or her second job. The question is not how stupid is that, but how many ways is it stupid? It’s bad policy, it’s illogical, and it’s bad math, just for starters. Considering that Gilbert’s bread and butter issue is “family values” and he bemoans the fact that parents don’t spend enough time with their children, it’s odd that he wants to encourage bread earners to take on second jobs to pay for medical bills.
In fact, it’s when it comes to “family values” that Gilbert’s thinking is the most muddled. Hartman brought up the issue of economic inequality and the erosion of the middle class. Hartman pointed out that before the economic policies of the Republicans took hold during Reagan’s presidency, most households had only one working parent, and the other parent could stay home with the children. Gilbert responded by arguing that the economic difficulties of the middle class were caused by the abandonment of “traditional values,” specifically children being born out of wedlock with the result that households had only one income to support the family. Huh? The reason families can no longer get by on one income is because they don’t have two incomes?
Perhaps the foregoing will come as less of a surprise if you consider that Gilbert is mathematically illiterate. In a recent post in his “blog,” Gilbert cites statistics stating that in the first 17 years of his or her life, the average American child will have spent 63,835 hours on television, movies, videos, video games, the internet, and music, but only 11,000 hours in school and 2,000 hours with their parents. Gilbert cites these statistics without question. Gilbert is an idiot. These numbers are mathematically impossible. They would have the average child spending almost 12 hours a day immersed in “television, movies, videos, video games, the internet, and music,” but only 19.5 minutes per day with their parents, and only 4.5 hours per school day in school. Maybe Dan Gilbert spent only 4.5 hours in school, and maybe that’s the problem. Dan must have skipped a lot of math classes.
The moral of the story: if you’re determined to vote for somebody named Daniel Gilbert for President, make it the Harvard Professor or the guy who started Quicken Loans. The first seems to know a thing or two about happiness, and I have a hunch that the second is pretty good in math.