First Round: Rubenstein and inglorious Congress

Where would First Round – nay, the whole of private equity – be without the wit and wisdom of David Rubenstein? The Carlyle co-founder excelled himself again recently at the Credit Suisse Financial Services forum, when he compared the US Congress to one of his favourite things: giant pandas who aren’t very good at mating.

The issue with pandas, he explained (according to The Hill), is that because they don’t get much practice at … you know … “their parts don’t go where they are supposed to go”. And it’s a similar story with Congress, he said. “They know what they are supposed to do [but] they don’t quite know how to do it.” 

(Ruby added that when he made this analogy to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently, she suggested that the comparison was a bit unfair to pandas.)

Rubenstein is, as First Round has previously noted, a big supporter of giant pandas – or, to be more precise, of getting giant pandas to make little pandas. He sponsors a programme at the National Zoo, which looks to encourage these famously fumbling fornicators to procreate by, inter alia, showing them panda porn. 

So by extension, perhaps his next philanthropic effort should involve an equivalent programme for politicians. Wall-to-wall episodes of ‘The West Wing’ on Capitol Hill, perhaps?

P.S. Speaking of Carlyle … At the BVCA’s 30th year anniversary dinner recently, current chairman Robert Easton (a Carlyle MD) was emphasising the importance of growth policies. 

“Back in 2011,” he proclaimed, “I clicked into Google and typed the words ‘UK government growth agenda’ in the search field. Astoundingly I got a blank screen – and the words ‘no matches found’.” 

Now First Round hates to be a cynic about such matters. But seriously? The world’s most intrusive search engine failed to come up with even a single suggestion? In First Round’s experience, Google tends to offer a plethora of suggestions – on everything from new jumpers to esoteric dating sites (look, 2011 was a tough year) – without you even asking for them. 

Either way, the good news is that the same search now yields 22,400 results. Problem solved, then?