Stupid Is As Stupid Runs (For President)

Upon reading Thomas Frank’s “The Wrecking Crew” it becomes crystal clear why the current slate of Republican candidates—with the exceptions of Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich—are either politically incompetent, stupid, or both.  It all started with the election of Ronald Reagan, a moderately intelligent fellow, as President. He had been told he had won the lead in a new TV show about the White House called “The West Wing”–18 years before the show was actually brought to TV by Aaron Sorkin.  All the Republicans needed to do was surround him with professional political operatives and D.C. insiders and he was a lock for eight years.

Then the Republicans made the fatal error of getting a real brainiac professional political operative and D.C. insider, George H.W. Bush, elected President but he crashed and burned after just one term and was followed by a pseudo-Democratic president into office.  The Republicans said, “Whoa, we’ll never do THAT again!” and set about looking for a suitably stupid political incompetent who they could surround with professional political operatives and D.C. insiders. Voila–George W. Bush.  Along the way they learned how to steal elections by rigging state election results in Florida in 2000 and then getting their hand-picked  U.S. Supreme Court justices majority to appoint their candidate President. Refining the election rigging techniques they learned in 2000, they perfected it in Oho in 2004 to retain Bush in office. Boom—eight years of Georgie boy and the process was patented.

As Ronald Reagan once said from a line written for him, “The best minds are not in government.  If any were, business would steal them away.” And therein lies the core Republican philosophy of governing: you install incompetents and partisan shills in all agency and department head positions on down to the lowest filing clerk and janitor. (And President Newt Gingrich would give those graveyard shift janitor jobs to elementary school children).  In order to get a job in the Reagan administration, you only needed to do two things: wear a “I’m a neo-conny for Ronnie” button, and send your resume through the Koch-owned Heritage Foundation.  As Lyn Nofziger, Reagan’s political affairs director said in 1981, “We have told members of the Cabinet we expect them to help us place people who are competent.  As far as we are concerned, anyone who supported Reagan is competent.”

Young Grover Norquist was more overtly partisan when he said in 1984: “First, we want to remove liberal personnel form the political process. Then we want to capture those positions of power and influence for conservatives.” So, no liberals allowed at all in government, no matter how well they did their jobs.

In 2007 under the George W. Bush Administration, Monica Goodling, fresh out of Pat Robertson Regent University Law School, was installed into the Justice Department and helped fire nine highly experienced U.S. attorneys and blocked other federal hires purely on the basis that they weren’t Bush “men” (or women), so to speak. In fact, anyone who displayed the slightest tendency towards competency was banished to “the hall of zombies” where, according to Hugh Kaufman of the Environmental Protection Agency, “…you’re at a desk, and you don’t do anything of substance. Most of the career bureaucrats in Washington in [the Bush] administration are in the hall of zombies.”  Fills you full of confidence in your federal government, don’t it?

You see, Republicans like ‘em partisan and stupid because experienced, competent people in government get things done, which makes the populace like their government getting things done. And Republicans don’t like government getting things done.   This explains why Michael Powell, son of Colin, was promoted by G.W. Bush to chairman of the FCC, and why Michael Brown, a lawyer and ex-Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association, was also placed in charge by Bush of FEMA.  Brown was forced out of his job with the IAHA and we all know he resigned in ignominy from FEMA for his incompetence in handling aid and assistance to Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005.  Hmmm, Michael Powell also resigned in 2005 and fell out of the FCC (eventually) into the waiting arms of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association as their president.  Wonder if some underground mass RNC communication was sent to all Bush administration agency heads saying, “The jig is up! Amscray!”

The title of of a 1928 article that appeared in Nation’s Business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce magazine said it all: “A Plea for Inefficiency in Government”.  If you keep government dumbed down, that opens the door to outsourcing and privatizing federal services to the private sector, which means big profits for the private sector. Big profits for the private sector is what makes the Republican world go ‘round. This is why Paul Ryan and his handlers want to privatize the Social Security and Medicare programs. This is why Ron Paul wants to eliminate all federal health insurance programs so that you either pay to play or you die.  This is why Rick Perry wants to privatize all oil drilling because it would make big profits for the oil companies who keep him in the Texas governor’s chair. Of course none of this explains Herman Cain’s or Michele Bachmann’s stands on the issues because even they don’t understand what they stand for if it hasn’t been explained to them.  Even Huntsman appears to be throwing in a couple of “er’s” and “uh’s” before he speaks in an effort to dumb himself down in the eyes of the Republican National Committee.

The Republicans had a real problem with Barack Obama because here was a Democrat who was extremely politically competent and intelligent. So, they adapted their primary play and used Fox to frame Obama as one of their own–politically incompetent and stupid. However, this made him qualified to be President until they threw in he was also a Democrat AND a native of Kenya AND a communist socialist which immediately disqualified him and made him the illegally-elected President of the United States (as opposed to George W. Bush who had been the legally appointed President of the United States).

So, there you have it, the reason why the Republican candidates appear to be so abysmally lame and stupid. In some cases, their images are being carefully crafted for them. In others, they’re self-made men (and woman).

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How To Shut Up A Right Winger

The right wing argument against President Obama is that he’s had over three years in office to create jobs, turn the economy around and reduce the budget deficit but he hasn’t done a bloody thing about anyone it.  We liberals respond, “He’s got eight years of Bush economic destruction to reverse, what with the unpaid-for two wars and the tax cuts for the rich that drove up the budget deficit in the first place.”  And the right wing response is always the same: they roll their eyes and derisively say, “That’s right, it’s all Bush’s fault. He did it all himself.” Then we liberals respond, “Actually it all started 30 years ago with Reagan and continued on through Clinton up to Bush, Jr.” That’s when the only bullet left in the right wing gun takes us back full circle to “Well, Obama’s had three years and he hasn’t done anything.”

This is when you can pull out the following quote from Jack Abramhoff, another Republican felon, convicted in 2006 of mail fraud and conspiracy and recently released from prison.  In 2003, he answered liberal charges that years of Republican and conservative (the Clinton years) rule of government hadn’t lowered the size of government a bit. His response was, “I guess the problem is really this, the liberals and Democrats set an ocean liner on a voyage and they had forty great years of running it, and turning it around is very tough.” This answer strikes at the heart of Republican hypocrisy and duplicity.

In March 2003, Bush had been in office for two years. Unemployment had risen to 5.8% from the 4.2% he had inherited from Clinton, and private sector employers had slashed 308,000 jobs nationwide the previous month.  So, using the Republican logic, Bush had had plenty of time in two years to reverse the sins of the Democratic years but if anything, he had made things worse. Bush’s answer to this was to start two wars that he kept off the books for five years, which led to record budget deficits and huge leaps in the unemployment rate.

If the Republicans could not reform government in the 22 years since Reagan took office in 1981, how could Obama be expected to accomplish it in three? According to Republicans, the Democrats had caused all the damage prior to 1981 but they were still at fault for Big Government in 2003. Yet, according to Republicans, although the financial meltdown of 2008, the unpaid-for two wars and tax cuts for the rich skyrocketing the budget deficit and unemployment rate, and federal government being further bloated by the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration had all happened under Bush’s watch, the bad economy was all Obama’s fault since he was the last one to have had it. This makes as much sense as creating a Super Committee comprised of six Democrats and six Republicans to come up with a plan to reduce the budget deficit.

So, when your right wing family, friends, and co-workers try to push the lines of bull that Obama’s had three years to fix the economy and it’s no longer Bush’s fault, just recite that Abramhoff quote and shut them up.

Fiddler On The White House Roof

Did President Obama just play the Republicans like a honky tonk fiddle?  According to Lawrence O’Donnell on his MSNBC show “The Last Word”, Obama is the best budget negotiating president in history.  He allowed John Boehner and Eric Cantor to come up with the monumentally stupid concept of the Super Committee, made up of 3 House Republicans, 3 House Democrats, 3 Senate Republicans, 3 Senate Democrats, and co-chaired by a Republican and a Democrat.  Everyone but the Republicans could see the train wreck deadlock coming: 12 committee members divided equally be political party. 2 equal and opposing teams mandated to cut the budget deficit by $1.5 trillion.  Where was the tie-breaking vote? Because it was obvious there would be a 6-6 deadlock, well maybe not if pseudo Senate Democrat Max Baucus defected to the other side like he was wont to do (which in this case he didn’t). The President wasn’t allowed to sit on the committee nor Vice-President Joe Biden, as he would serve as the tie breaker in his capacity as President of the US Senate. And it could have been Cantor (Boehner was definitely not the brains of the House outfit) or Reid who came up with the poison pill section triggering a $900 billion down payment January 2013 (safely after the 2012 elections) should the committee stalemate on its November 23, 2011 deadline with an additional $1.2 trillion in budget cuts to follow that.

So, while all of us liberals were wringing our hands and cursing Obama’s name for agreeing to this budget compromise in return for the Republicans voting to lift the debt ceiling last August, we missed the secret smile on his face as he signed the bill into law saying, “Bring it” and then sat back and played the waiting game.  And the committee did not disappoint him. It crashed and burned.  Half of the $1.2 trillion in the budget deficit reduction would come from defense spending cuts. Republicans despise defense spending cuts as much as they despise tax increases. So, the Republicans immediately started making noises of rescinding some of the automatic cuts.  Obama’s response was firm and swift: “My message to them is simple: No. There will be no easy offramps on this one.”  I was surprised he was able to stifle the giggle and maintain his stoneface.  Obama said he will veto all bills that would reverse the cuts. And then, he plays his hole card: he’s going to give Congress another chance to pass his American Jobs Act. This after Boehner has gone public with barely discernible grunts about possibly maybe seeing the necessity to increase tax revenues somehow. The AJA just happens to include modest tax increases on the wealthy.

So despite the attempted spin by Fox and Congressional Republicans to blame it all on Obama and the Democrats, America can plainly see that once again it was the Republicans who dragged their feet and brought the merry-go-round to a stop by refusing to raise taxes on their 2% masters. American liberals will remember through clenched teeth that Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid program cuts were on the table—but perhaps unclench them upon learning that the automatic trigger and the AJA spare those programs.

So, chalk up another victory for Obama, to stand beside the killings of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, and the liberation of Libya from Muammar Gaddafi. But no time to take a victory lap because next month both the payroll tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits expire and opposing their extensions if the Bush tax cuts aren’t also extended will be the next line in the sand the Republicans draw. So, Obama will be returning to the poker table, and we’ll see if he still knows how to hold ‘em or if he’ll fold ‘em.

Herman Cain’s Hail Mary Pass

Seems like Herman Cain is going long and going deep. He’s making a Hail Mary pass. He’s betting the entire game on one sudden death, make or break, all or nothing desperate play. He’s claiming he never saw Sharon Bialek before in his life until he saw her on TV yesterday with her attorney. Either Cain is supremely confident absolutely without question no photos exist of them together at the NRA or out to dinner, totally and completely confident that no one will emerge from the past confirming they saw the two together once or on several occasions, or the man is now showing signs of a serious mental disability which is being further enabled by his campaign staff and legal counsel. We will know within 2-3 days what the truth is. Meanwhile, Karen Kraushaar, one of the women Cain paid off, will speak publicly tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Shooting The Messenger

Regarding Sharon Bialek, Cain’s 4th accuser and the first to make her name public, the right wing media are shooting the messenger so that they don’t have to deal with her message. They are gleefully attacking her personal and financial problems, and her attorney’s liberal pedigree. This is how the right wing works: if you can’t discredit the message, discredit the messenger. Only this time, the strategy backfired. Cain is the one going down (tee hee) and the right wing media are looking transparently partisan and ridiculous.

Cain enable Romney? Don’t Think So!

The corporate-controlled and right wing media are fond of predicting that Obama’s base will desert him in 2012. Well, let’s look at the truth: Only 25% of Republicans support Willard Mitt Romney; Herman Cain has about 27% currently. Cain’s supporters favor Cain because they hate Willard. So, what will the Cain fans do when Cain either quits the race or fails to capture the Republican nomination and they’re left with…Willard? They’ll be the ones to sit out the election because they may hate Obama but they hate Willard more. Obama’s base hates Willard more than they’re angry at Obama. Obama wins in a walk in 2012. This is what the corporate-controlled and right wing media are not telling you.