Excerpts from Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Presidents’

“Pride and Presidents” excerpts, as retold by Howard Zaharoff

Chapter 1

It is a truth universally acknowledged, at least among pols and party bosses, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife or, if it’s in the billions, must desire to run for President.

Pride and Presidents
Excerpts from Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Presidents.’

However little known the feelings of such a man may be on his first entering a primary state, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of registered voters, that he is considered the Heir Apparent even before formally announcing his candidacy… certainly by himself.

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Bloomberg is here at last?” Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

“But he is,” returned she; “for Mr. Yang has just been here, and he complained to me all about it.”

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

“Why, my dear, you must know. Mr. Yang says that our primary is to be won by a septuagenarian of large fortune and modest stature from the north of Manhattan; that he came down on Monday in an Uber Lux and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Perez immediately to run; that he is to do an enormous ad buy before Super Tuesday; and that some of his staff are to be here by the end of next week. What a fine thing for our party!”

“How so?”

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that if a Socialist, even a Democratic Socialist, wins the nomination, the Democrats will go down to sure defeat.”

“Then I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy.”

“I desire you will do no such thing. Ms. Warren is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Gabbard, nor half so good-humoured as Biden, nor significantly more capitalist than Sanders. But you are always giving her the preference.”

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his voting record. Her politics was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of liberal leanings, little information, and an I’m With Her bumper sticker. When she was discontented, she listened to Pod Save America or Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!  The business of her life was to get a Democrat elected President; its solace was caucusing and CNN.

Chapters 2 – 61

Mr. Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on the former Mayor. He had always intended to canvass for him, though to the last always assuring his wife that he should not; and till the evening after he phone banked for MikeBloomberg2020 (“Mike will get it done!”), she had no knowledge of it…

Mr. Bloomberg was a fit 77-year-old of modest stature but high cholesterol; he had a pleasant countenance albeit gruff, New York manners. His daughters, Georgina and Emma, were fine women, philanthropic yet active on social media; but his campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, soon drew the attention of the electorate with his over-the-top title, “Global Head of Communications, Government Relations and Marketing for Bloomberg LLP” and the report, which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, that he had successfully managed Bloomberg’s three campaigns for Mayor.

Bloomberg himself was looked at with great admiration, till the awareness that he’d changed party affiliations from Democrat, to Republican, to Independent, and then back to Democrat gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, and to support a soda tax.  And not all his large estates on the Upper East Side, London and Bermuda could save him from having defended stop-and-frisk…

Mrs. Bennet was walking about the room, looking grave. “Mr. Bennet,” said she, “are you out of your senses, to be voting for this man? He is rich, to be sure, and you may have more health care options than with Bernie. But will they make you happy?”

“Have you no other objection,” said Mr. Bennet, “than your belief that I would vote based solely on my pre-existing prostate condition and hemorrhoids?”

“None at all. We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man; but this would be nothing if you really liked his public option.”…

The loss of the primary made Mrs. Warren very dull for several days. “I often think,” said she, “that there is nothing so bad as pretending to be Cherokee. One seems so forlorn without 23andMe to back it up.”…

Amy Klobuchar was extremely indignant on the nomination of the Easterner; and as she gave way to all the frankness of her Midwestern character, she sent him language so very abusive it reminded people of her treatment of her Senate staff. But at length, by Elizabeth’s persuasion, he was prevailed to overlook the offense, seek budget reconciliation, and acknowledge, “At least I don’t have to work for her!” And, after a little further resistance, her resentment gave way, too, either to her affection for him, or her hope to become ambassador to Slovenia…

The White House was now Georgina’s and Emma’s home; and the attachment of the sisters was exactly what Bloomberg had hoped to see. They had the highest opinion in the world of their father; though at first they often listened with an astonishment bordering on alarm at the GOP’s lively, abusive manner of taunting him. He, who had always inspired in them a respect which almost overcame their affection, they now saw the object of tweet storms and obstructionist politics. They began to comprehend that Republicans, and even Millennial Democrats, may take liberties with a President several decades their senior, especially if he’s a Jewish billionaire.

Howard Zaharoff
Latest posts by Howard Zaharoff (see all)