LOS ANGELES, December 30, 2014 — As 2014 comes to a close as every year does, one truism outlasts even Father Time: When a political crisis rages out of control, find a PBWG.
PBWGs (Powerful Bald White Guys) run the world. We should all know who they are; hence this list of the Top Ten PBWGs of 2014.
To get a feel for what we’re dealing with, note that PBWGs are often found on various “Law and Order” franchises. The seriousness of the crime is determined by the number of PBWGs barking orders. Forget whether these bosses know what they are talking about. What matters is that they look like they are in complete command.
In honor of that phenomenon, this list, as always, is dedicated to Dann Florek, who played Captain Donald Cragen on “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”
People trust PBWGs because they look like reassuring, competent people who can handle things. The original PBWG as Reassurer-in-Chief was probably President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
President George W. Bush needed to convince America that a stimulus package was necessary to solve a financial crisis. Enter Hank Paulson.
President Barack Obama needed to handle insurance claims after an oil spill. He found Ken Feinberg, who looked like a claims adjuster and is hero to technocrats everywhere.
Obama’s campaign manager David Alexlrod was a PBWG hero in 2012, but his retirement removed him from current consideration. The same goes for former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, a perennial contender for the top spot. His successor, Janet Yellen, clearly does not qualify for at least two intuitively obvious reasons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not on the list because only people with a death wish would mock him. He is handsome, and the Sochi 2014 Olympics were successful because he said they were.
Lloyd Blankfein is exempt from the list because Goldman Sachs runs the world and he, Hank Paulson and Jon Corzine might actually be the same person.
With that out of the way, here are the Top Ten PBWGs of 2014.
10. Grant and Julian Bell — Most people have never heard of this father and his son, but they deserve to be famous for causing confusion. They claimed to be PWGBs, not PBWGs. PWGBs are members of the Prince William Brewer’s Guild. The Bells won the championship this and last year, making them the only people worldwide to be PWGBs and PBWGs.
9. Dick Vitale — Anyone who has ever watched college basketball either loves or loathes Dickie V. Many of us never want to hear him say the word “baby” ever again. Nevertheless, many detractors may be converted to supporters for reasons having nothing to do with his grating basketball announcer voice. The guy raises money for children with cancer. He is a better person than most and deserves his due, even from those who mute the television when he calls games.
8. Jason Statham — As Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone and Bruce Willis get older, Statham represents the newer breed of ass-kicking alpha male action hero. From martial arts to skill with knives, he was a major reason the Expendables trilogy embodies everything guys love about movies for guys.
7. Adam Silver — When former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was caught on audiotape making racist remarks, Silver came to the podium. Most Americans asked, “Who is this dork?” Turns out this dork is the new NBA Commissioner and a thoughtful man. He banned Sterling for life and affirmed bigotry has no place in professional sports. With funnier ears than the president, Silver could also win many Vulcan look-alike contests.
6. Jerry Brown/Rick Scott — The governors of California and Florida are not the same person. They have very different views. They both won re-election in 2014 and they both have a friendly legislature that should implement most of their respective agendas. Brown is a liberal and Scott is a conservative, giving Americans a clear contrast as to which governing strategy works.
5. Dick Cheney — Loved by conservatives and despised by liberals and Islamists, the former Vice President is as relevant and influential as ever. Current foreign policy disasters show that the Neocons were right all along about everything from invading Iraq to waterboarding. While his boss stays silent under never-ending, withering attacks, Cheney hits back hard. He could easily win the 2016 GOP nomination if he came out of retirement.
4. Roger Ailes — While Rupert Murdoch writes the checks, Ailes runs Fox News. While he had the number one news network for years, he refused to get complacent. He saw Megyn Kelly was pure star power, resulting in a major shift in the prime time lineup for the first time in over a decade. Ratings are higher than ever, and Ailes’s knack for recognizing top talent is a major reason why.
3. John Koskinen — The IRS Commissioner testified at some very contentious hearings related to IRS abuses begun under Lois Lerner. A lifelong partisan Democrat, Koskinen’s testimony came across as smug and designed to obstruct Congress. He will rise or fall on this list next year depending on whether his coverup of IRS wrongdoing succeeds.
2. Karl Rove – Despised by liberals and even many conservatives, Rove again showed why he is a force to be reckoned with. He demanded that GOP Senate candidates in 2014 be normal, polished and free of scandal. Whether they were moderate or conservative was irrelevant. They just had to be electable. From 2000 and 2004 to 2014, all Rove does is win. Rather than bash him, conservative critics may want to seek his advice.
1. Pope Francis — This man could save the Catholic Church after years of declining membership due to church scandals and European secularism. Francis is the real deal. He carries his own bags, is the most humble powerful man in the world, and even tweets and uses Facebook. He has focused more on helping the poor than divisive social issues, endearing him to many people who saw the church as political. The old guard is not comfortable with change, but the status quo never is. He has the potential to be one of the great religious leaders of all time. The Pope just helped the Catholic Church have one of the most successful Christmas midnight masses in a long time. Even Jews took time from Hanukkah to tell him, “Good Yontiff, Pontiff!”
This man of honor deserves one more honor, which is why he is the Top Powerful Bald White Guy of 2014.