While it is patently obvious that both Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli can be had rather cheaply, there are other matters that concern your family more than the people of the Commonwealth. Ken is a horrible judge of character. He’s an even worse investor. We’re talking your children’s futures here.
I am afraid you may not comprehend that for a time Ken’s entire investment portfolio consisted of a single position in a rather murky business venture that was certainly high risk. That’s not the kind of investment philosophy a more business savvy person with seven children would employ. It is certainly not the kind of philosophy a Governor should operationalize, say with investments made by the Virginia Retirement System (VRS). It’s probably not a coincidence that at almost the same time Bob’s pals were risking the future of the VRS investing in high risk derivatives (we should demand a report on specific outcomes from those investments. It is quite possible they did very well; but we usually hear about such things). Ken may just have wanted to have some of that action too. But you really want someone in charge of the family treasure who knows something about business and investments.
You see, with Star Scientific, Ken was disqualified on two fronts when he let emotion rule his decision to invest. First, Ken has a history of misjudging people. Maybe you remember Bobby Thompson who gave your husband a lot of money stolen from veterans. Ken bought the whole scheme, hook, line, and sinker. This also speaks to his ability to critically think, something a lawyer should be able to demonstrate; worrisome. But that’s not the second issue. No, the second is Ken’s casual approach to science. When investing in a company with the word “scientific” in its name, it might pay to actually be able to discern how science works. We already know that Ken would rather deny something he does not want to believe rather than analyze the evidence. Of course, he’s burned his bridges with a significant portion of the scientific community, so the people from whom he is likely get advice are probably only those who are “like-minded.” Not being a good judge of character, maybe he shouldn’t be allowed to choose an investment advisor either. He might reach out to his pal Bob Purkey, who, self-proclaimed investment genius that he is, let that whole VRS derivatives position blow right by him.
This Star Scientific investment underscores what one of my favorite finance professors loved to tell stories about: the schemes doctors and lawyers get sucked into. Star Scientific has a beautifully crafted sales story: create an alternative addictive product from tobacco (a literal pipe dream) whose current addictive end product is falling out of favor; patent the product and corner the market for tobacco…or something like that. Failing that, use that unwanted tobacco to produce a by-product that can be widely used in pharmaceuticals. Entrepreneurial and financial alchemy! Just don’t mention that the compound derived from tobacco is common, can be produced from less harmful produce, tomatoes for instance, and is already being researched by real pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer. In the end, we are reduced to an investment in a scheme to corner the tobacco market. Ken loves to claim he is a businessman. He has a law firm and considers that a business. Problem is, even the tax code recognizes that this, like being a doctor, is not really a business, it is a profession that is treated completely differently from true entrepreneurial endeavor. The judgment exercised in the Star Scientific investment decision is damning evidence that Ken is typical of the unsophisticated characters we heard about in so many reveries.
Ken’s bravado has also placed him in a position where he has been critical of the performance of his predecessor, our current Governor. It seems that Bob just didn’t have what it takes to ferret out the obvious Medicare fraud Ken found everywhere he looked in Virginia. There was so much work to do after Bob left office that he has had to hire on dozens, creating more jobs than the job Governor could ever hope for. All, the while, I might add, growing government. Ironic, no? I guess the market didn’t self-regulate. But I digress.
Your worry now should be how you can provide your family financial stewardship. Step up and take the helm immediately. Ken is going to walk away from this election with a windfall. There will be the speaking engagements and whatever surplus remains after the outcome in November. Yes, Virginia’s political candidates have a funny way of guiding leftover contributions to their own benefit. This is your shot at making certain there are no more Star Scientifics in your future. Don’t squander it.
But one more caution. Ken strikes me as a fellow who doesn’t deal well with adversity. He just hasn’t had much experience on the losing end. That leaves him a little vulnerable if he fails. That could precipitate a midlife crisis. We know how that goes with tea party Republicans; a hike on the Appalachian trail, so to speak. Keep in mind what that famous friend of Bob has revealed: it is not so bad when your man wanders, after all he put a roof over your head and fed you, didn’t he? Just don’t leave him with unlimited access to the financial accounts if he does go astray.
Here’s a little bonus advice that might help his campaign: tell him to avoid Ollie North like the plague. This actually might help fend off that precipitous situation, seeing Ken’s inability to read character and tendency to believe credentials as a veteran, charade or not, is a pass. No less than former Senator John Warner let Pat Mullins know that Ollie wasn’t much of an officer. With this, Pat should be your ally.
Now, there is an upside if the family finances remain in his hands. With seven children, college tuition is going to be a challenge. The positive trend here is that it is looking like under his hand, the family financial situation will qualify them for substantial tuition assistance. I know, damn it, relying on government is philosophically distasteful, but it is better than leaving your children to fend for themselves.
I wish I had an upside for the people of Virginia in the event you don’t have to worry about that electoral downside. But that is not my purpose here.