Yesterday we got our first look at the Clinton’s tax returns, and the top line is a stunner. $109 million over the last seven years. Before that I found Obama’s income from his book, about $1 million, a bit hard to deal with. But the Clintons blow that away.
Here it is in black and white, the books of an ex-President, opened up. Finally, we the people, get an idea of what this job is worth. A lot.
I suspect we’ll never see the tax returns of the current President, seven years after he leaves office, but I supect he’ll be adding another zero or two, as he calls in the chits from his buddies in the oil and defense industries who profited so much from his Presidency. He’ll give speeches too, the fees will be even more obscene than Clinton’s.
I’d love to see a breakdown of the speeches. Who pays $1 million for an after-dinner speaker and why? Maybe I’m missing something, but something doesn’t sound right here.
Anyway, back to the Clintons.
In tech entrepreneurship, repeat success is rare. Not saying it doesn’t happen, it does, but often, the second time an entrepreneur gives it a go, the venture flops. It’s happened to me, and I’ve seen it happen to a number of others, and I understand the reason.
The first time you ran, you had to sacrifice everything to win. Failure was something you visualized around every corner, but something you could never deal with, so you made sure you didn’t have to. You did whatever it took to make it work.
The second time is different. Now you expect success not failure. You’ve mostly forgotten the sacrificing you did the first time, but you remember some of it, the long hours, the lack of sunshine and exercise or a personal life. This time, you want success on your terms. It’s not enough to win, you have to win the way you (feel you) should have the first time.
Problem is, that’s not how success works. If what you seek is worth something, and as we can see from the Clinton returns, this job certainly is worth something, there will be competitors, and if they don’t bring the same conditions you do, if they’re willing to sacrifice the way you once were but aren’t any longer, well, you’ll lose. As the Clintons are losing.
I watched Primary Colors the other night, it served as a reminder of the cult around the Clintons in the early 90s. I didn’t like them, but enough people did, so he won. He cut corners, lied into the camera, but exuded a charm that was compelling. This time, sad to say, the lies and cut corners are still there, but the charm isn’t. And to see where that went, look at the tax returns. The Clintons don’t live on the same plane as you and I. The air they breathe is richer. Their friends are powerful. Once she’s elected that’ll be the last we hear from her till she wants to be re-elected, just like the current president.
She doesn’t offer hope (as Bill did in 1992, and Barack does today). She laughs at the idea of hope. As if you poor wretches are entitled to any of that!
Remember this when you’re plotting a comeback, you’re going to have to deal with this too, everyone does, or so it seems.