Knock! Knock! Knock!
“Yes, who is it?”
“Sen. Loeffler, there is a little man in a bow tie here to see you. He says his name is Figby.”
“Oh, yes. Send him in, please. He is with the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, Georgia. I asked my friend, Junior E. Lee, the general manager and one of the world’s most renowned media experts as well as a pest control professional to help me better explain to all the little people out there how the rich and powerful operate. Bless their dull little lives. Junior recommended Figby, their image expert.”
“Good morning, Sen. Loeffler. My name is Figby.”
“Please, Figby, let’s not be so formal. Just call me plain ol’ senator. Now, how can we show voters I am one of them, even though I own a professional women’s basketball team, million-dollar mansions, a private jet and am worth somewhere north of $500 million. So I made a few stock transactions, so what? Doesn’t everybody? Can I get you a latte macchiato?”
“Senator, I think the problem is that a lot of Georgians can’t identify with that kind of lifestyle. For example, nobody I know in Greater Garfield drinks latte macchiatos. They drink sweet tea.”
“Anybody in Greater Garfield own a profession basketball team?”
“No, ma’am. You see, that is the problem. Gov. Kemp supposedly selected you to appeal to suburban women, but your lifestyle is — well — kind of different. I don’t think the average Georgian, including suburban women, can relate to you.”
“My goodness! Have they even seen my television ads? I grew up on a farm in Illinois, Figby. Life was hard. I had to walk uphill going to school and uphill coming home. We ate soybeans three times a day. I rode a cow to church. Don’t tell me I don’t relate!”
“That is all well and good, Senator. But you aren’t down on the farm anymore. Your image problem stems from you and your husband buying and selling stock right after you attended a supposedly secret meeting of senators to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am afraid many Georgians aren’t buying your explanation that it was a coincidence. The perception is that you were privy to information that other people did not have and your explanation strikes many people as — to use a farm term — so much bull poot.”
“Aha! I’ve got you there, Figby. What the public doesn’t understand is that we didn’t buy and sell any stock personally. That was done by third-party advisers. They make the decisions on what stocks to buy and sell based on an investment strategy that was set a long time ago. What do you think about that, buster?”
“I think your investment advisers have the political acumen of a tree frog. They should have known that the timing of those sales would cause a public and political blowback and they did it anyway. Maybe you didn’t know what they were doing — assuming they did – but guess what? You are the one having to take the heat for those decisions.”
“Hmm. So, you think I have a problem, Figby?”
“Yes, Senator, I think you do. Playing on the farm-girl image is not going to undo the stock trade controversy. There is widespread fear and uncertainty among the average Georgian because of the coronavirus pandemic and reading about their ultra-rich senator making multi-million dollar stock trades while they worry if they are going to have a job isn’t helping your image.”
“Goodness! What do you suggest I do?”
“First, you are a United States senator. No more buying and selling stock like you are a run-of-the-mill gazillionaire. You are in the rarefied air of politics now, Senator, and everything you do will be subject to extreme scrutiny. Tell your advisers to refrain from buying and selling stocks in any individual companies. That way there could be no question.”
“Figby, thank you so much for your advice. Before I let you go, is there anything else you suggest I do to repair my image with the voters before the November elections?”
“Well, senator, it won’t be easy but if all else fails, you could always let them see you riding a cow uphill to work. Thanks for your time.”
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb.