Posts Tagged ‘romney

05
Feb
09

Politicians: Corporatocracy Whores

It seems most politicians are members of three clubs: former big biz, lawyers, and academics. Of course, there are exceptions. Ron Paul, Bill Frist, Howard Dean, and Tom Coburn were also doctors. California offers up actors from time to time, and Jesus give us his peeps:  Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Mike Huckabee. Sarah Palin crawled out from under a rock in White Trashville, as will have Joe The Plumber when he undoubtedly attempts to run for some public office.

Maybe we need to take a closer look at where our politicians come from and what type of background offers the most successful selections. By successful, I don’t mean longest-serving or highest-ranking. I mean most effective, the politicians that benefited the American people the most.

In pondering this topic, the most pessimistic observation regarding the state of our government is that there is an undeniable rotating door between government and big business. As I’ve said, this is not a democracy, but a corporatocracy. Lobbyists and politicians are one and the same and this is true of both Republicans and Democrats.

Sure, this is a well-known reality. So, what could have triggered my need to blog on the topic today? Well…

On Morning Joe this a.m. Joe Scarborough, in his usual pithy tone of egotistical disgust and certitude, derided Obama who, just like Bernanke, Joe said, is a professor. They’re just professors. And this is true. But maybe, just maybe, it’s not a bad thing.

Yesterday, Robert Scheer pointed out in his Huffpo blog entry, Runaway Wallstreet, that Geithner’s choice for top aide is Mark Peterson, Goldman Sachs VP and lobbyist. “It was confirmation that Goldman Sachs runs the Treasury Department–no matter which party is in power.” He also sites The NYTimes’ “The Guys From ‘Government Sachs'”, which details Goldman alumni in the government – Paulson, of course, but also Joshua B. Bolten, Neel T. Kashkari, Robert Rubin, World Bank Pres. Robert Zoellick, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and a BUNCH, bunch more.

Goldman Sachs is one of the many Wall Street, financial institutions with a revolving door between itself and the Treasury Dept., the Fed, the SEC and more. What about Rahm Emanuel and Michael Bloomberg? And, most recently John McCain was greatly considering naming shamed former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain – you know the one who spent $1.2 million redecorating his office – for his Treasury Secretary. How can our government be expected to enact the best policy when they are all big biz wankers who have no priority over increasing wealth among their ranks?

The financial industry isn’t the only extreme conflict of interest in the government. Remember Dick Cheney? Yes, that ex-Halliburton CEO called in major energy execs to help write the government’s energy policy. No wonder Bush thought Kyoto was a bad idea. No wonder Bush wouldn’t let California set high fuel emissions standards. No wonder Detroit refused to acknowledge the growing demand for greener autos. No wonder Halliburton, its subsidiaries, and other companies close to Bush & Cheney received no-bid contracts in Iraq worth billions while our underfunded military continued to fight wars on two fronts. Nothing new – former head of Enron Ken Lay would trip over himself licking the heals of Bush I, leaving little surprise that the company was able to get away with manipulating the California energy market before its bubble collapsed.

Where do you think Tom Daschle went after his senate career? Yeah, a lobbying firm with clients in the health care sector. He would have made a great health care secretary. No conflict there. And you know how recruited him? Bob Dole. Even Bill Frist went to work for a health care investment firm after leaving the senate.

And there’s always a new crop of big biz lackeys knocking at the door all the time: Mitt Romney, Carly Fiorina, and  Meg Whitman are biding their time, waiting to make their big break on the national circuit. But it’s not just the politicians – it’s their spouses, their children, congressional aides, government inspectors for the FDA, SEC, CDC and more – everyone around these politicians are in bed with lobbying firms and corporations. Lower level government employees, eying big dollar jobs in the private sector, push their bosses toward pro-biz legislation and deregulation. The mainstream media, dependent on sponsor dollar, rarely publicize the siamese twins our government and big business have become.

And the American people suffer for it. In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry mandated the vaccination of teenage girls with Gardasil – interesting because of his ties to Gardasil’s maker, Merck. The governor thinks he can issue executive orders regarding the health of our children, ordering them to take a new drug with multiple questions regarding its side effects. The man should be jailed. He also tried to rush the building of coal plants before new “clean coal” (cough, cough lie) regulations were put in place. Yeah, we got a winner down here in Texas. Hey Perry – this isn’t a fucking autocracy! Asshole.

Now, sure most of the Democratic politicians are lawyers  – funny how they want to study law before becoming professional legislators. And many other government participants are academics. The main attack line against these people – and we heard it quite a bit this last election – is that they never ran anything. Somehow the recent big biz execs are winning elections to become today’s politicians on platforms that they were in charge in the business sector. And the last eight years have been the most pro-biz in recent history. Do you see what I’m getting at?

Maybe before we jump to criticize these professors and lawyers, we should take a look at how well the big biz peeps fared. Last I looked, our civil liberties were greatly reduced, we spent far more on a war sold with lies than we did on education the children of our country, a credit bubble formed and popped, health care costs became astronomical, unaffordable and the leading cause of bankruptcy, speculation drove oil & gas prices sky high and unemployment reached record levels.

At least the top 400 richest people doubled their wealth while Bush was president. The poverty sector grew by leaps and bounds, but who cares about those people? We have a corporatocracy on our hands and until we establish policy on data, information, evidence and reality and leave ideology and theory in the books where they belong, we will continue to suffocate the middle class. And without a healthy middle class, a healthy American economy cannot exist. The idea of a free market has become a joke, a myth. There’s nothing free about our market. It’s very, very expensive. And it’s not the rich who are paying for it.

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24
Sep
08

Who Thinks Obama Is Going To Win The Sept. 26 Debate?

I’ve seen a lot of certitude from the Democrat side that Obama is going present USC-OU 2004 National Championship-style smackdown on McCain this Friday at the first presidential debate. And while if I were christian, I’d get on my knees every night till they bleed begging baby jesus for such an outcome.

But I don’t think it’s going to happen. And here’s why.

McCain has morphed into a desperate tall-tale-teller allowing his ambition to parasitically leach the soul from our once honorable and happier warrior. All that’s left is a shell of political expediency that clings to the life-force of a five-year POW who existed forty years ago.

Given the current situation of McCain’s character – or lack thereof – how many times do you think those of us watching will want to call bullshit Friday night? How many times do you think Romney tried to call bullshit during the primaries? Probably never. My experience with Mormons is that they don’t curse.

Still, the level of untruth perpertrated by McCain and his campaign has reached atmospheric levels. They wouldn’t know reality if it bitch-slapped them in the face and called them “man-whore.”

The worse part about it is not McCain’s lying – despite it’s unprecedented levels – it’s that the type of people who would vote for McCain do not care.

Jonathan Chait offers a compelling profile of McCain’s whoppers in today’s (LEFT-LEANING) The New Republican and I’ve pulled the significant paragraphs from his 6-page report. It’s long because McCain’s told a lot of lies. Here’s what I found extremely interesting from his piece, entitled, “Liar’s Poker” (bear with me – I know it’s a long – but it’s definitely worth the read):

Here we have the distilled essence of the McCain campaign’s ethos: Perception is reality. Facts don’t matter. McCain has presented himself as the grizzled champion of timeworn values. But the defining trait of his candidacy turns out to be a postmodern disdain for truth. How could McCain–a man widely regarded, not so long ago, as one of the country’s most honor-bound politicians, and therefore an unusually honest one–have descended to this ignominious low? Part of the answer is that McCain is simply doing what works–and there is good reason to believe that his campaign’s strategy of persistent dishonesty will pay dividends come November 4. But part of the explanation for all this recent dishonesty may lie, oddly enough, in McCain’s legendary sense of honor.

If this is McCain’s strategy, then a bunch of news reports debunking his claims isn’t going to hurt. Indeed it may even help. Last February, political scientists Brendan Nyhan of Duke and Jason Reifler of Georgia State published the results of an experiment designed to test the effects of political untruths. The results would unsettle any idealist. The first conclusion they found was that lies work. When subjects were confronted with an untrue political claim (President Bush banned stem-cell research; weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq) respondents naturally moved toward those positions. When the lie was corrected, however, the effect of the untruth in moving opinions largely remained. The truth, in other words, is no antidote for a lie.

Their second conclusion was even more disturbing. Subjects who identified as politically conservative were not only immune to the effects of having a lie corrected, the correction made them even more likely to believe a lie. So, for instance, one group of conservative subjects was presented with a news story that depicted President Bush claiming weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. A second group of conservatives was presented with the same thing, along with a paragraph noting that Bush’s statement was untrue. The second group was more likely than the first to believe that Iraq possessed WMDs. The very fact of the press challenging their beliefs seems to have made conservatives more likely to embrace them. If this finding is broadly correct, then the media’s new found willingness to fact-check McCain will only succeed in rallying the GOP base to his side.

The pattern here is perfectly clear. McCain has contempt for anybody who stands between him and the presidency. McCain views himself as the ultimate patriot. He loves his country so much that he cannot let it fall into the hands of an unworthy rival. (They all turn out to be unworthy.) Viewed in this way, doing whatever it takes to win is not an act of selfishness but an act of patriotism. McCain tells lies every day and authorizes lying on his behalf, and he probably knows it. But I would guess–and, again, guessing is all we can do–that in his mind he is acting honorably. As he might put it, there is a bigger truth out there.

Main point: Conservatives who are told a lie, then told the truth, believe the lie more after they were told the truth! This means, people, that no matter how many times Barack says (with a hint of condescension), “Now, John, you know that’s just not true,” it won’t make a smidgen of difference. Even if Obama presents a coherent, thought-out, truthful rebuttal to McCain’s lies (“He wants to tax the American people,” “He was wrong on the surge,” “He doesn’t put country first,” “Palin has more experience.”), it will not make a difference in the belief conservatives have in McCain words. It truly is a sad commentary.

I must, however, point out that most of these conservatives are evangelical christians and believe the bible is fact, the Earth is 6,000 years old, all life came from the animals Noah could round up, Jesus rose from the dead and you have to believe in him – with no evidence – or their benevolent, all-loving god will send you down to the hellfires for eternity. Critical thinking isn’t their best attribute, to say the least.

I’m not sure how many of these conservatives will be watching Friday night, but seeing as how the main convention speeches drew around 40 million viewers, I’m thinking a lot will be tuned in. These people, however, would be in the bag for the Republican candidate even it was Elmo. I know, I know – there are loads of Dems who would vote for the Cookie Monster if he said he’d end the Iraq War. I get it.

While the debates will be a vital deciding factor in the outcome of the election, I think it will be harder to decide the victor. Palin has already won the VP’s go-round on Oct. 2. The bar is so low for her (perhaps the Devil is holding it up) and there are no rebuttal periods, which means than unless her boob pops out or she says, “I’m changing my mind and voting for Barack Obama,” she’s won. Actually, she’ll probably win big time if her boob pops out. Good luck, Joe B – try to chant, “I am not a political god. I am not a political god,” before heading on stage. That will probably help impede your gaffe-propensity.

What we can conclude here is that the arguments, facts, issues, policies, etc. presented during the debate will not determine the victor. The viewship will. The more informed and analytical the viewership, the more likely Obama will win. The opposite is true for McCain. I plan on watching.

23
Sep
08

Issues Covered On Political Blip (my other blog) 09.23.08

Bill Clinton Losing His FOBs

Romney For VP, Anyone? (i’m particularly proud of my graphic on this one)

Mukasey Gets Something Right

N.Y. Times On McCain Debate Style


29
Aug
08

Sarah Palin for VP? Gimme a break.

The media is going crazy over McCain’s pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for his running mate. Obviously, he’s trying to appeal to the female vote, but when a person voted against the Domestic Violence Act, was absent for the vote on Equal Work for Equal Pay and is pro-life, it wouldn’t matter if he promises a cabinet entirely made of women. McCain has a ZERO record on women’s rights. Congrats to Palin, but my immediate reaction is that this is a losing strategy. If McCain could have somehow channeled Reagon and picked a VP he didn’t get along with, Romney, I’d think we really have a race on our hands. But chosing the largely-unknown female governor from Alaska who is under investigation? Too easy for the Democrats – just another corrupt Republican. That’s not the change we need! haha. Biden’s going to crush her during the debates. It’s almost mean for McCain to do this to her.

I’m not even upset that no one is talking about Obama’s speech. The Palin pick will bring the Democrats more votes than Obama’s triumphant address.

Isn’t the first priority of picking a VP that they can be president? And McCain is so old, he could drop any minute. So, McCain thinks Palin is ready to be president and not Obama?! She was mayor of a town smaller than my high school before she became governor of that far away state. This is PROOF McCain’s judgment is deeply flawed. Poor Republicans. This is a major malfunction on their part. It’s like Christmas for Democrats – or more like Hannukkah because Palin is going to be the gift that keeps on giving. Talk about on-the-job training.

They keep playing clips of McCain from Palin’s coming out party and even he doesn’t seem that excited about her.

25
Jul
08

McCain ’08 Campaign Obituary

In 3 1/2 months, the 24-hour cable news channels, the major newspapers, the sea of blog-happy political junkies and basically every Republican voter will be speculating ceaselessly over “what went wrong” with the McCain Campaign. Remember the week of rehash after rehash of Rudy Giuliani’s failed primary strategy skipping Iowa and New Hampshire? Remember all the talk of Hillary hitting her stride too little, too late? That’s what we’ll be going through just as soon as the election returns present a modicum of decisiveness on that first Tuesday in November. This time, the focus of all the pity, all the shoulda-woulda-couldas, all the tsk-tsks will be McCain and the campaign managers he bet his lot on.

Presently, the McCain campaign is ridiculously painful to watch – he has become the Britney Spears of presidential nominee trainwrecks, complete with a tawdry adulterous past the press and leftie-527’s have graciously left outside of their coverage – if for no other reason than that they haven’t needed it. In much the same way Britney chomped on her gum and cried over her treatment by the paparazzi (despite having courted those very photographers while in search of Madonna-esque pop fame), McCain – through his surrogates – stomps his feet and shamelessly whines over a media lack of concern that is only seen by those who want to see it.

It is already clear this Grand Old Candidate and his crippled elephants will lay the blame at the feet of everyone but those with scarlet “M”s on their chests. The question, however, of the day seems to be “Is McCain even capable of presenting the political passion and potential even us lefties once worried would challenge our chosen candidate?” Well, that’s my question.

To be clear, despite his Mav reputation, his presidential hopes seemed DOA last year. And, yet, miraculously enough – he pulled off a primary victory; though it is still unclear whether he would be representing the Right had Giuliani not perpetrated one of the worst political fumbles in recent history.

In truth, I was hoping McCain would bring it home on that side of the aisle. Of all the Repub candidates, McCain – incorrectly or not – seemed to have a shred of character the other front runners lacked. My husband and I gave serious consideration to moving abroad if Romney or Huckabee clenched any shadow of success.

Perhaps I was being naive, but I truly thought he would give the Democratic nominee a run for their money. Sure, with this political atmosphere, almost ANY Democrat could beat a Republican – Hell, I’d put my 7 year-old Quaker nephew up against any of those pretend “limited government” schmoes – but this ain’t McCain’s first rodeo. And despite the fact that he’s separated from much of the team he worked with in the past, I thought the septuagenarian would be primed for this contest. But, it is unendingly surprising what a terrible candidate John McCain has turned out to be for the Republicans.

And, dammit, I’ll say it: Romney would have been an exponentially better candidate (speaking in a politically scientific manner). Even with all of Romney’s hollowness and cheap mix of flip-flopping and pandering, he would have been new, hopeful and, at the very least, coherent.

But here we are and, face it, Republicans, you have hit the motherload of crappy campaign candidates.

They would have lost in November anyway, but at least Republican hopes would still be alive at this point in the game. With McCan’t, all the Republicans in my vicinity (which is quite a bit, being in Fort Worth) reluctantly sigh that it looks like Obama’s gonna win. And they’re right.

The first sign that McCain wasn’t up to snuff was his failure to take advantage of the lengthy Democratic primary. Instead of presenting a litany of hopeful ideas, solutions and alternatives to the reality presented to the American people by Bush, he cozied up to our failed leader in a predictably bungled effort to curry favor with evangelists and Bush family donors.

Though it was difficult to compete with the press and voter obsession of the duke-out between Hillary and Obama, McCain didn’t even try to be a transcendent page-turner. With a plethora of problems assaulting the assumed American way of life – housing crisis, decreasing dollar, increasing gas prices, attack on civil liberties, growing concern for the environment, disapproval of the Iraq War – McCain’s answer was nada, nada, nada, nada AND nada. Without exaggeration, McCain had every opportunity in the world to own the forefront of the presidential race.

Instead, his focus was in the rear view mirror – the 2000 loss to Bush (sign Rove up even after all his evil shenanigans), the lack of command of the evangelical base (even with his pro-life stance) and his stubborn refusal to cede national security to the economy as the most important issue of the campaign.

This past week, more than any other before it, has brought to the surface McCain’s inefficacy and inability to present a galvanizing and motivating political force. The obvious geographical and historical gaffes need no explanation. Certain realities should be so inherent in a presidential nominee’s subconscious, one should NOT say “Iraq/Pakistan border.” Nor should they mistake the chronology of the single subject upon which they are basing their credentials.

And, worst of all, at a time when his opponent is out of the country and he has been served on a silver platter an unchallenged opening to present a unique, original and energizing plan to take this country beyond the reality before us and heal the deep wounds wrought by Bush and Cheney, he and his campaign resort to nitpicking at Obama’s heels and pettily chant “I was right. He was wrong.” about a topic Americans relegated to “who cares?” a long time ago.

At this point, surge, surge, surge is to McCain as 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 was to Giuliani. And none of us believe – including the least informed of Repubs – that he authored the surge; so his incessant claiming of credibility for the strategy is old, stale and distasteful. At least he’s off the teleprompters that just ruin any ability for the audience to perceive McCain as vibrant and presidential.

McCain is over. So over a VP announcement can’t save this clusterfuck. Even if it is Old Spice Romney. Ain’t nothin gonna help this political Titanic. The Convention in LarryCraigSexInABathroom Headquarters of Minnesota won’t even provide a blip on the electoral poll radar. And, let me let you in on a little secret. When polls routinely suggest that Obama is only 6 points ahead of McCain, they are not polling just REGISTERED VOTERS or those likely to vote. Merely polling Americans of voting age does not provide a proper sample upon which to base candidates’ likelihood of success. It’s easy to SAY you’d vote for McCain, but to actually do it is a different thing altogether. He’s done. I’d say stick a fork in him, but I don’t know that he’d survive it.

The bottom line is that, as a presidential nominee, you have to give Americans a reason to get off the couch, walk through the rain, wait in line and deal with the volunteers from the old folks’ home to practice a voting power they have long taken for granted. All told, this is not an easy feat. I would suggest $50 gift certificates to Wal-Mart, but I believe that may violate some obscure ethics laws.

My main concern now is the potential development of a new vocabulary of verbs, nicknames and childish titles referring to the McCain campaign failure. Political junkies well know “Willie Horton” and “Swiftboated” without any context whatsoever. Gaffe-gate? Gaffe-o-rama? Gaffe-a-rusky? The Night the Lights Went Out in Old Timersville? Smackdown of the Septuagenarian? Obama’s Octagon of Hurt on the Old Man?

I have no idea. We’ll probably have to leave it to the results of a top-secret meeting between the nude, bald leaders of cable news in an intensely foggy steam room of some exclusive health club in Manhattan. Apparently, their most recent meeting yielded an abdication of any mention of Sunni payoffs by the American government. Good times.

Perhaps this obituary is presumptuous. I don’t care. This is reality blogging, baby, and I’m through retching over “reputable” news agencies failing to acknowledge the current state of this election. It’s time we realize which direction our future is headed and start holding Obama’s feet to the fire of political righteousness. And let’s start with a rethink of the FISA vote. The clean-up of W. will call into question many Constitutional breaches and Obama needs to remember that we are through with unaccountable Executives.

UPDATE: 07.28.08 – Every sound bite the media plays of McCain is McCain criticizing Obama. He went to the gym instead of visiting troops (McCain campaign ad). Obama’s meeting today with economic leaders was just a photo op. Obama doesn’t want to drill. Obama this, Obama that.

Who are the yahoos in McCain’s campaign who think this is helpful? Any political neophyte would know that McCain is allowing Obama to determine the discussion because all McCain does is “respond” to Obama developments. McCain must try and LEAD the discussion. And, yet, every time he’s in front of a microphone, he’s yapping about Obama.

This is a LOSING strategy. He should know this. His surrogates should know this. And his campaign staff sure as hell should know this. Pathetic.

25
Feb
08

In The Words Of Moe, Waaaahh? – Romney’s Kid Says He Might Re-enter The Presidential Race

If McCain’s campaign “falters,” writes the LA Times, Josh Romney said dad could get back in the boat. Fan-effing-tastic!

UPDATE: Flip-Flopper Jr. might run for Congress. Josh says he’s been approached to run for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District and is considering it. At the end of the article, in reference to his dad campaigning for McCain – Josh says probably won’t do the same: “It’s one thing to campaign for my dad, someone whose principles I line up with almost entirely,” he said. “I can’t say the same thing for Sen. McCain.” Which principles are he talking about? The run-for-Mass.-Governor principles Romney held or his run-for-U.S.-pres. principles? Because those varied greatly.

26
Jan
08

The Jan. 24 Repub Debate in Florida

Next Tuesday will be fun. Slowly watching the death knell toll for Giuliani’s presidential campaign will give me a bit of satisfaction. Who knew that McCain and Giuliani would essentially trade positions in the polls between August of last year and now? It amuses me to no end to see inevitability turned on its head – and for campaigns for president proceed without Ben Franklin determining who emerges as the victor. Romney is basically diarrheaing cash into his campaign, but I still think enough voters are smart enough to recognize his severe, late-in-life political 180’s prove he’ll proffer whatever ideals and promises necessary to win an election. Blech. If offends my political senses to no end. And not much offends me. Really, ask anyone I know.

Every pundit said Romney won the debate last night, though, but only because the other candidates weren’t dog-piling on him and he was able to shed his ankle-grabber status of previous debates. Last night was like watching the Teletubbies or a bunch of men massage each other in a steamy Japanese bath. What was that about?

This is what I heard:

  • Oh yeah, right, the downturn of the economy is serious! I mean, everyone, knows that. We just haven’t talked about it before because Tim Russert only wanted to ask about troops or gays or something.
  • Giuliani, you’re so cute and we’re so glad you’ll be getting out of the race soon. Then we won’t have to look at your mistress and wonder how many times you banged her before you actually got divorced.
  • Hillary Clinton is the devil and we will all suffer a severe case of the terrorismitis if she’s elected.
  • I can be funnier than the other guy.
  • Abortion is no longer the big issue (hallelujuah and praise jeebus!).

Republicans wanted to rise above the fray (how many former Republican Congress people are in the pen right now?) and be a little better than thou democrat, but I was unimpressed and would likely forget every word uttered last night if I wasn’t blogging about it.

Listen, maybe the inoffensive, non-confrontational American friendliness that I do enjoy cringes to see Clinton and Obama scrap a bit, but I thought we actually were hearing some substantive conversation. Wolfie should have sat back and popped a beer like the rest of us and revel in the relevance of some actual DISCUSSION about some ISSUES. Yes, at first, the jabs took a little getting used to, but in the end I felt like we were closer to seeing what kind of candidates these people really are. Admittedly, I’m not sure the arguments changed anyone’s mind or rearranged any voting blocs, but us political junkies loved it and you know it!

I’ll continue to watch the debates of both parties and toward the end of the season, they’ll be easier to turn into drinking games. Hopefully, Nader will jump in and maybe Bloomberg and possibly some family values candidate and we’ll witness some Political Ultimate Fighting Champion and philosophies and ideals and characters will emerge from behind those particle-board podiums! Actual political discussion.

One can only hope.




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