Mo' Money, Mo' Trouble

It ain't easy being a millionaire businessman and a notorious thug

In any case Puffy is already plotting his next move, one that recognizes the ephemeral nature of the pop charts. During a recent interview with Kulchur, he reiterated his stated goals of becoming a figure with the artistic success of Frank Sinatra and the heavyweight clout of billionaire entertainment mogul David Geffen. Fusing these two icons would create an altogether new breed -- not just a man with friends in high places (Sinatra and JFK) or an insider's influence (Geffen and Bill Clinton) but a playa who wielded true social, economic, and, yes, political clout.

In that light Puffy's recent declarations to the Los Angeles Timesthat he would make a far better president than George W. Bush begin to make sense. If they were intended as merely off-the-cuff remarks, a regally attired Puffy did little to dispel them during a July 17 appearance on the Late Show with Jay Leno. As Puffy sat alongside fellow guest Henry Kissinger, Leno held aloft a copy of the Timescontaining Puffy's presidential feelers. In response Puffy beamed and playfully flashed a vintage Nixon victory sign. He then patted Kissinger's hand and graciously offered him the secretary of state gig in his own administration.

As Kulchur reminded Puffy of that exchange, he initially downplayed both its importance and his headlining status over Kissinger. "Oh, I think Henry held his own," he quipped. "As Jay said, it was an eclectic night." But when offered the example of front-running New York City Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg, whose sole qualifications for office are having built a successful business and being a multimillionaire, Puffy quickly warmed to the subject.

"If I wasrunning for any political office, I'd definitely want to be the president," he asserted, his voice rising with what sounded like his first true burst of emotion after more than an hour of press interviews. "I ain't got time to be mayor. I've got to fix the whole United States. I can't be dilly-dallying with one city." When asked what he'd actually do if elected, he launched into a stump speech that touched on expanded educational opportunities, health care, even paying down the deficit. Then, like a master pitchman, he added with a smile: "I would also give everybody Fridays off and have mandatory partying. You would haveto release yourself at some local nightclub."

So this is all really a joke to you?

Puffy scowled in response. "I don't feel like George Bush cares about black people," he said. "I'm a Democrat, but I know how to switch gears with a Republican presidency." He shook his head in disgust. "What has [Bush] done for me lately?" he asked. "When I say me, I'm talking about the black race, inner-city youths. I challenge him as a president to shake it up! Go into the community, touch people, and make a change.... Spend money in places that aren't benefiting just the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer."

It's easy to dismiss this as mere grandstanding, akin to Donald Trump's own gossip-page flirtation with a presidential run last year. But at least the victims of Puffy's violent behavior have received out-of-court settlements, some sort of financial compensation for their pain and suffering. That's more than can be said for Henry Kissinger, who has yet to cut a check to any surviving family members of the thousands who died as a result of his actions in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Surely if we can recast Kissinger as a cuddly grandpa and place him on the late-night talk circuit instead of on trial at the Hague, we can make room in the power elite for Puff Daddy.

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