Herman Cain’s Whining Point by Point

Herman Cain caught some well deserved flak for telling the Occupy Wall Street movement to “stop whining”.  He attempted to defend his statement during a debate (TPM via Digby):

“I still stand by my statement and here’s why. They might be frustrated with Wall Street and the bankers,” Cain continued, “but they’re directing that anger at the wrong place. Wall Street didn’t put in failed economic policies. Wall Street didn’t spend a trillion dollars that didn’t do any good. Wall Street isn’t going around the country trying to sell another $450 billion.”

Point by point:

Wall Street didn’t put in failed economic policies.

Compliant Democrats and Republicans acting at the behest of and in the interests of Wall Street did.  The phrase puppet-masters is often overused.  Here it perfectly describes the situation.

Wall Street didn’t spend a trillion dollars that didn’t do any good.

Wall Street was what that trillion dollars BOUGHT.  We the people paid for their criminal acts, their failure, their greed, with our dollars.  This is like blaming your neighbor for spending $600 to repair the window you broke.

Wall Street isn’t going around the country trying to sell another $450 billion.

While it is true Wall Street isn’t traveling around trying to sell anything – it is because they do not need to.  They have politicians to do that for them.  On top of that sales effort is a larger one, to keep Americans stuck in a socio-economic system where the vast majority of us have no meaningful say in what goes on.  Where money talks, money votes, and money rules.  Wall Street may not be going around the country themselves, but they are trying to sell a lot more than a $450 billion stimulus.

Wall Street is trying to sell off our economic future to indulge their economic present.

Herman Cain is just another stock Republican candidate from Wall Street Inc.

 

Obama the Compassionate Compromiser

August Pollack nails it:

The 2012 Republican nomination race seems to be a battle over which candidate has the most proven record of being horrible to people. Thankfully, the president feels that we can reach a compromise and only kick people in the head instead of the balls. I am so ready to win the future.

Make the compassionate choice: concussions over nut-kicks.  Just as Bush was dubbed a “Compassionate Conservative”, Obama has proven himself a “Compassionate Compromiser”, a tool of corporate interests and no friend to privacy rights.  He’s up against what is looking like a truly horrifying Republican field with the two most likely candidates, Bachman and Perry – full on psychotic theocrats hell bent on a Ultra Conservative Christian Nation.

Here is our choice in 2012:

Fun With Rhetoric, Communism and the Far Right

Its been far too long since we’ve checked in with SPLC’s Hate Watch, and there’s a wealth of new stories (quite the uptick in insane sovereign citizen stories).  But today I want to talk about an extraordinary piece of ultra conservative insanity.

Anti-Muslim crazy from SPLC (emphasis mine):

Frank Gaffney, an anti-Muslim activist who in April told conservatives that “Shariah is communism with a God,” has called on Congress in a Washington Times column to bring back the McCarthy-era House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). This time around, the infamous panel’s job will be to root out the Islamist operatives who, he claims, are well on their way to replacing America’s democracy with a Shariah-based caliphate.

This is brilliant.  Why?  Because it combines two feared and hated subjects, makes no sense, and is short memorable and catchy.  One could surely stretch the imagination to find similarities, just as easily as one could claim Jesus was a Communist on account of his well known views on the wealthy.  But that doesn’t end any real credibility to it, which works in Gaffney’s favor.  The more insane and clearly untrue the slogan, the more the increasingly schizoid right seems to embrace their loony leaders.  They seem to get just as much pleasure from seeing the left bang their heads against the wall in frustration as they do in having yet another “reason” to hate on their favorite targets.

Why not hit back with more of the same?  Can you come up with any good ones?  Off the top of my head, here’s two:

  1. Conservatism is Corporate Communism.
  2. The Religious Right is Shariah with Jesus.

What do you think?  Most important of all, will it piss off the far right?

Obama on the Debt: Weaker Than Weak

Boehner walked away from debt talks with Obama.  Given how insanely far Obama has bent, this is madness.  Or maybe just good strategy.

Obama has ruled out the simple answer, the constitutional option.  However that, coupled with how this damning quote (emphasis mine), slams home the reality that our President wants to sabotage his own efforts:

“Essentially what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending. Both domestic and defense,” Obama told reporters in a hastily-arranged White House press conference.

“It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal and frankly, if you look at the commentary out there, there are a lot of Republicans puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done.”

He said the American people were “fed up” with political posturing, and said he was willing “to sign an extension of the debt ceiling which takes us through 2013.”

The nation needed to do more, Obama added, though adding that he would accept a fallback option if that was the best deal lawmakers could strike.

That’s a fallback that would go beyond the already overly conciliatory and generous offer the President made.  This is not the first time this kabuki dance has taken place on the national stage, but it is strikingly naked.

Wisconsin’s Fight is Our Fight

I cannot think of a better fight to take part in than Wisconsin.  Republicans need to learn that when they crassly take aim at the unions and workers – going so far as to invent/create a budget crisis to do so – they will pay the steepest political cost.  These recall elections represent hope, and we can play a part by donating.

How Desperate is the National Republican Congressional Committee?

Desperate enough to pretend a Tea Party candidate is a Democrat in disguise?  YES:

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions said in a statement that Corwin had to battle “two well-funded Democrats, including one masquerading under the Tea Party name.” The Tea Party is a conservative activist movement.

 Jack Davis, the guy in question, did previously run as a Democrat.  During his most recent attempt to run for office, he ran as a Republican.  Rumors he’s a “fake Tea Party” candidate arose out of a split within the Tea Party organizations of New York, partially over whether to support mainstream Republicans or field their own candidates.

This sort of strategy appears pretty toothless right out of the gate, but one wonders if it would even be allowed out of the attic in a national race.  The split between mainstream Republicans and the Tea Party is deepening, and the likelihood of third party candidates is only going to increase going forward.

How Obama is Working Hard for President Huckabee or Romney

When President Obama was elected he had several key things going for him:

  1. He wasn’t the Republican heir to George W Bush
  2. He represented a party that stood for economic issues near and dear to the vast majority of the voting public
  3. He promised to cut down on lobbying and corruption
  4. He was a brilliant public speaker
  5. He promised to fight bipartisan bickering and give us a functioning government

Based on the combination of his anti-lobbying anti-partisan approach, he framed himself successfully as a new kind of politician.  He was able to excite his party base with his oratory, his youthful energy, and the fact that he wasn’t George W Bush in a nation decidedly sick of the man.  He didn’t just win, Obama enjoyed a telling victory in 2008.

Let’s look at those same points now.

Obama isn’t the Republican heir to George W Bush

Still true, but only because he has become the Democratic heir to George W Bush, and Dick Cheney (Glenn Greenwald @ Salon):

But the crux of Bush/Cheney radicalism — the mindset and policies that caused much of the controversy — continues and has even been strengthened.  Gen. Hayden put it best, as quoted by The Washington Times:

“You’ve got state secrets, targeted killings, indefinite detention, renditions, the opposition to extending the right of habeas corpus to prisoners at Bagram [in Afghanistan],” Mr. Hayden said, listing the continuities. “And although it is slightly different, Obama has been as aggressive as President Bush in defending prerogatives about who he has to inform in Congress for executive covert action.”

And that list, impressive though it is, doesn’t even include the due-process-free assassination hit lists of American citizens, the sweeping executive power and secrecy theories used to justify it, the multi-tiered, “state-always-wins” justice system the Obama DOJ concocted for detainees, the vastly more aggressive war on whistleblowers and press freedoms, or the new presidential immunity doctrines his DOJ has invented.  Critically, this continuity extends beyond specific policies into the underlying sloganeering mentality in which they’re based:  we’re in a Global War; the whole Earth is the Battlefield; the Terrorists want to kill us because they’re intrinsically Evil (not in reaction to anything we do); we’re justified in doing anything and everything to eradicate Them; the President’s overarching obligation (contrary to his Constitutional oath) is to keep us Safe; this should all be kept secret from us; we can’t be bothered with obsolete dogma like Due Process and Warrants, etc. etc.

He’s extended the same Bush Tax cuts he campaigned against.  In fact his rush to compromise and fiscal conservatism masquerading as bipartisan centrism has been so severe that it has crushed the second key thing he had going for him.

Obama represents a party that defends the economic interests of working people

With revenue cut and war/terror spending increasing, there was bound to be a collision.  Couple that with the President’s obsessive need to appear as the bi-partisan philosopher-king, and you get negotiation tactics so inviting to the opposition it makes John Boehner look like a teary Jack Donaghy.

The quaint term “austerity measures” doesn’t capture the human cost of paying for tax cuts and tax evasions for wealthy individuals and large corporations.  Those cuts are already being felt, and will be even more severe when 2012 rolls around.  They aren’t just budget cuts, they are deep cuts into the voting base for Democrats across the country, and those cuts are going to badly injure Obama’s re-election chances.  (John Amato @ Crooks and Liars):

Every poll shows quite clearly that even Republican voters do not want a cut in these benefits.

If Sperling’s argument is about reforming Social Security and Medicare without taking away from them, then OK, but that’s not what I’m reading here. Do these creatures only listen to Villager gasbags who want working-class Americans to be the only people to “share” the sacrifice and suffer in America after Wall Streeters and their partners caused the Great Recession?

Obama is casting himself as the friend of the wealthy and the enemy of the working class at a time he needs to do the opposite.  His hands are tied by his bipartisan image at a time he desperately needs to break free.  But you get the sense he likes it that way.  Obama has become the willing prisoner of a small aspect of his election campaign – unable and unwilling to break free and become true to what he ran for.  This is especially clear when one considers lobbying.

Obama promised to cut down the influence of lobbyists and K-Street

Obama has

All of this casts his much touted ethics reform in such a harsh light the reform isn’t even visible to the voting public anymore.

Where does this leave us?

Obama is still fighting the supposedly good fight on being bipartisan.  As Digby has observed over and over, this is a one sided battle.  The Republicans – down to their votes – don’t give a damn about being bipartisan and compromising.  They care about winning.  That imbalance will surely lead to the Democrats losing.  Obama is still an amazing public speaker but with the way he’s been running things you have to ask – who is going to go hear him speak?

Regardless of whether the religious right, the corporations, or the tea party are able to exert enough influence to secure the Republican nomination in 2012 one thing is clear.  If Obama doesn’t change course they will secure more than just the primary.