Conversation Between a Silicon Valley Mogul and a Republican Fundraiser

Conversation Between a Silicon Valley Mogul and a Republican Fundraiser

Fundraiser: “I hope you will consider giving money to the Republican Party.”

Mogul: “No, I don’t think so.” 

Fundraiser: “Why not?” 

Mogul: “Frankly, I don’t think the Republicans are relevant to my priorities.” 

Fundraiser: “Well, maybe the Party could be made more relevant to your needs. I think that if you knew all that we are doing you’d be pretty impressed.” 

Mogul: “I think that if I knew all that you are doing, I’d be pretty horrified. You know, Cruz, Bachmann, the Tea Party. Everything they say frightens me.” 

Fundraiser: “Yeah, okay. But what about Rand Paul? He’s a Tea Partier, and he opposes NSA surveillance, which of course is hurting your business.” 

Mogul: “Yes, the NSA is hurting us. Badly. We’re supposed to be the hackers, not the hackees.”

Fundraiser: “See…”

Mogul: “But the problem is that Rand Paul is just by himself. It’s not clear to me that your Republican Party joins Paul in opposing the NSA. These spy programs got started, after all, under George W. Bush. And the Republicans didn’t mind at all. The Dick Cheney wing was all for spying then, and they’re all for spying now.” 

Fundraiser: “Yes, the Republican Party is of two minds on this issue. That’s why it’s so important for you to be part of the debate inside the GOP. You can still give money to the Democrats, of course–just please consider giving money to us, too.”

Mogul: “Look, when I hear Republicans talking about ‘traditional family values,’ I not only hear about it with my own two ears, but I also hear about it from my family, from the HR people, everyone. Everyone here in the Valley is against traditional family values. We came here to get away from our family, to get away from tradition. We make apps to help you hide and cheat and hook up. The Valley is like LA, or Vegas–you come here to start afresh. The difference is that we didn’t fail somewhere first and then pull up stakes to LA or Vegas. As soon as we knew our SAT scores, we knew we were headed to the Valley–from anywhere in the world.”

Fundraiser: “Hmm. As I said, the Republican Party is of two minds on all these social issues. The Republicans we’re talking about here are not worried about abortion. They might talk a good game in Arkansas or someplace, but when they’re in elected office, anything social-issues-ish is way down the list of priority. Maybe not even on the list of priorities.”

Mogul: “So you’re swearing to me that you’re insincere. Cool.”

Fundraiser: “It’s my job!”

Mogul: “But look, the Republicans have a problem if they push a vision of retro-America. Our idea of the good old days is Windows 95. Our idea of nostalgia and tradition is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh. That’s about as far back as we go. As we say, we make progress unhindered by custom–that’s the whole idea. We don’t want heritage, we want insanely great!” 

Fundraiser: “But we Republicans will cut your taxes! That’s a prospective promise, not a retrospective one!”

Mogul: “Maybe you will, and maybe you won’t. Maybe ‘cut taxes’ is just an incantation. Maybe it’s just what you say to get elected.”

Fundraiser: “No, we’re sincere! It’s the one thing we all agree on. Especially for people in your bracket!”

Mogul: “My bracket? My theoretical bracket might be high, but my effective rate is lower than the average guy’s. I don’t really pay much in the way of taxes now, not on my asset accumulation.”

Fundraiser: “Yeah, but the rates are so high that you have to go to shelters and lawyers or something. And the Democrats will make the rates even higher.”

Mogul: “Yes, thank God for Ireland. That 12.5 percent corporate rate is cool. And the Irish don’t really care if you pay that, as long as you pay them at least something.”

Fundraiser: “Okay, well, how about this: Republicans will strengthen national defense!”

Mogul: “Oh, like you did in Iraq? The Iraq war really made me feel safer.” 

Fundraiser: “Yeah, we’re not going to do that again. But there’s still the Global War on Terror.”

Mogul: “Okay, anything else?” 

Fundraiser: “Well, how ’bout this: We’ll fight the government on regulation.” 

Mogul: “Yeah, and that can be good, but you’ll do that anyway. You’re a Republican. You fight regulation. That’s what you do on instinct, with muscle memory. So we can free-ride off you.”

Fundraiser: “Okay, but if you’re not, uh, invested in the process, we might not feel inspired to prioritize fighting a particular regulation.”

Mogul: “That’s a point. I’ll keep it in mind. We might be able to do business on an issue or two… Here’s an example of something we might work on together: Immigration. That’s sort of a regulatory issue. And a big regulatory issue we face is H-1B visas. We need to keep wages down–I mean, we need more talent. How are you going to help us on that?”

Fundraiser: “We’re trying. We’re trying to get an immigration bill. It’s hard.”

Mogul: “Look, let me tell you what hard is. Hard is trying to shrink the nodes of a semiconductor down to seven nanometers, or even five. Billions of transistors on a chip. That’s hard.”

Fundraiser: “Look, wrangling people is harder than wrangling electrons. The immigration bill is complicated. We might be able to pull off something in the lame duck, after the election. But we have a lot of important races to win first.”

Mogul: “Here in the Valley, we pay for results, not effort. Call me back if you come up with something we might like.”