NOW THAT’S FUNNY
Newt Gingrich, candidate for President, enjoys a comfortable $250-500,000 revolving charge account with Tiffany & Co. This revelation has been the cause of some ridicule, because Mr. Gingrich proudly states that he is a small business owner and is fiscally conservative.
When I picture a fiscally conservative small business owner, I usually visualize a guy who owns a couple of hardware stores. He’s careful with a dollar, good to his employees, and doesn’t drive anything too flashy, because he doesn’t want his customers to think he is getting rich off of them. Obviously, though, the world has room for many types of fiscally conservative small business owners, and we shouldn’t judge people just because they like a nice ruby now and then.
Mr. Gingrich’s wife, Callista, is usually impeccably dressed and coiffed. I frankly don’t know how she gets her hair whipped into that swirly marshmallow confection, but I suppose with the right amount of commitment, anything is possible. In any case, you just know she is a woman who cares deeply about how she presents herself, and I respect that, because I’m pretty tired of seeing people in pajama pants and clogs at the CVS in the middle of the day.
Newt has not been forthcoming about what he has been purchasing at Tiffany’s, so we don’t really know what he is spending his small business earnings on. Tiffany’s sells other things besides jewelry: beautiful vases, silver place settings and crystal bowls to die for. Perhaps the Gingrichs’ have an unholy addiction to engraved stationery and it’s draining their resources.
Chances are, though, that the money is going to jewelry for Callista. It would be easy to criticize a $45,000 necklace or a $22,000 bracelet because, let’s face it, it does sound absurdly shallow to wear stuff like that when most of us will never even own a car worth $45,000. I’ve never even owned a car worth $22,000, but then, I’m just not a car person.
But Newt has made his money honestly, and deserves to spend it the way he likes. He is a TV commentator and a bestselling author. And, by the way, a small business owner.
Now, as he runs for President, his wife will need to make endless personal appearances, and no doubt she will be taking extra care with her presentation. All that jewelry can come in pretty handy when it comes time to accent her look. For instance, when her husband addresses the steelworkers in the heartland, she could wear a Tiffany Filigree Heart Pendant ($8,500). When she speaks to the military wives about their unique sacrifices, she can scale back with a simple pair of Schlumberger Twenty Stone hoop earrings ($14,300). And when the two of them sit down with Barbara Walters for a closer look at Gingrich — The Man, Callista will want to look at-home casual with an armful of Tiffany Metro bangles (18k rose gold with round brilliant diamonds, $5,900 each).