When Kristina Keneally and Wayne Swan opened the Forbes conference in Sydney on Wednesday September 19, they were welcoming to Sydney a collection of what were without doubt some of world’s biggest and shiniest knobs. Among them was the man behind the event, billionaire and publisher of the magazine that bears his family name, Steve Forbes.
While in 2010 it is no longer news that Labor leaders are hosting billionaires-only-business-conferences, their smiling association with Forbes is worth a closer look. He has some ideas that are pretty out there and not just the “flat tax” he advocates which would see rich people like him pay the same as everyone else. For a start he was, along with Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, a founding member of the Project for the New American Century. PNAC has since the nineties been advocating for increased military budgets and a policy of unambiguous global military dominance, with a special focus on the Middle East‘s oil supplies. When Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Wolfowitz started – in the very days following the September eleven attacks – to advocate an invasion of Iraq, their arguments would have come strait out of the work produced by PNAC.
It seems Forbes enjoyed having those that shared his views in positions of power, and has had trouble adjusting to the change. Many smell his editorial influence in Forbes’ recent anti-Obama cover “How Obama Thinks”. Forbes has always been a conservative publication, but it has also always had some editorial standards. Those seem to have gone out the window. In the words of Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum, Forbes has “jumped the shark”.
The article, by long time hater of the “Cultural Left” Dinesh D’Souza, is based around the bizarre, not to mention deeply distasteful line of argument that to understand the policies of President Obama, one must look to the writings (as well as the drinking and womanising) of his father the “Luo tribesman”. Rather than using any of Obama’s policies to prove this, he uses the expressions of emotion in Obama’s book Dreams From My Father.
“The climax of Obama’s narrative is when he goes to Kenya and weeps at his father’s grave… ‘I sat at my father’s grave and spoke to him through Africa’s red soil.’” Clearly visiting his father’s grave being an emotional experience for him proves he agreed with every political opinion the man espoused. I know when I go to my mothers grave I’m too busy fuming over what she said about tariff cuts under Keating to be getting all upset that she’s dead.