When You’re Rich . . .

The Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell’s first pop-culture reference in her January 4 piece about the expanding role of wealth in politics is the well-known wooden icon of human yearning: “. . . Donald Trump entered the presidential race, boasting that he had already been puppeteering politicians for years and was ready to star as a no-strings-attached Pinocchio himself,” she writes, explaining how more and more “three-comma” dough-rollers (that is, folks with 10-digit net worth) are concluding that wealth itself qualifies them to hold public office. Kanye West, Mark Cuban, and John McAfee are all making noises about political campaigns, she notes. But Rampell gives our beloved Tevye the last word, borrowing his irony as she quotes Sheldon Harnick’s great lyric, “When you’re rich, they think you really know.” Of course, Tevye is hardly offering a political model in  “If I Were a Rich Man,” certainly not for future candidates – and much less, for voters. His eye-rolling remark suggests that he doesn’t really need Perchik to tell him that (too much) money is a curse — or, as Paul Krugman put it in his recent column that privilege can be a pathology.  And given the show’s sympathy for exiles and refuges – especially highlighted in the current Broadway revival directed by Bart Sher – Fiddler might offer immigrant-bashing Trump the same blessing it has for the czar: “May God keep him — far away from us!” Pinocchio is the far better avatar for the bouffant blusterer: It’s a wonder his nose isn’t a mile long by now. Not for nothing has factcheck.org crowned Trump as The King of Whoppers.