Point of View Columns

Taken for a Ride

The G.O.Tea Party debatathon barrels along, coming to a city near you, no doubt. There is a basketful of silly, stupid and mean items of interest. Part of the reason is that presidential politics has turned into the silly season in the land of the G.O.Tea Party as the frantic search for the A.B.O. (Anybody But Obama) candidate reaches a fever pitch.

In the rush to unseat President Obama, the Republican Party has jettisoned all sense of reason, logic or facts. Any ABO candidate is a credible candidate. The only qualification is meeting the ABO test. That rather flimsy bit of litmus paper has produced a political clown show that would put Barnum & Bailey out of business if it ran more than once every 4 years.

The G.O.Tea Party abandonment of reality and common sense has led to some rather bizarre results. Take, for example, the recent Republican debate in Michigan. And keep in mind that if you don’t know anything else about the state of Michigan, you probably know that it has been heavily reliant upon the automobile industry for over one hundred years.

According to the Center for Automotive Research (“CAR”), if the automobile industry had collapsed in 2009 approximately 3,000,000 jobs would have been lost – including direct and indirect jobs as well as spin off employment. In a state as reliant upon the auto industry as Michigan the results would have been beyond brutal.

Of course the automobile industry did not collapse due in large part to a bill that was signed into law by President Barack Obama that pumped billions of dollars into the automobile industry in the form of a massive bailout. That bailout dragged General Motors from the brink of bankruptcy and allowed Chrysler the opportunity to have an orderly merger with Fiat, thereby saving that company.

While Ford Motor Company did not directly participate in the bailout, it certainly benefited from the fact that the surrounding economy did not simply implode. No one wants to own the last house standing after a firestorm.

The bailout that saved the automobile industry saved millions of jobs, millions of families, thousands of communities and a major component of the American economy. Arguing about saving the largest building on the block while it was on fire didn’t make much sense. Arguing that the building never should have been saved once the fire is extinguished sounds pretty stupid.

Yet, during the G.O.Tea Party debatathons we have heard candidate after candidate decry the bailouts as contrary to American ideals. Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rodeo Rick Perry, Jon Hunstman, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have all pledged to stand by and watch the next American economic building burn to the ground if they are faced with a similar crisis as president.

Incredibly, these Republican presidential candidates went to Michigan – Michigan!!!!! – And stuck to the party line. They stated that the bailout of the auto industry was wrong and that they would never support that course of action in support of the auto industry or any other American industry – or the people who worked in that industry.

Incredibly, the Republican citizens of Michigan who were in attendance at the debate did not hurl rotten tomatoes or walk out in protest. Even if there were no autoworkers in the room I have to believe that most reasonably intelligent residents of the state of Michigan understand the importance of the auto industry to their own livelihoods as bankers, lawyers, barbers or plumbers.

Instead, the G.O.Tea Party zealots in attendance drank the Kool-Aid and asked for more. Whether it is tax cuts for the wealth and the reduction of health and social services for 99% of this country, it seems that these zealots cannot help but vote and campaign against their own interests.

It is amazing that the Koch Brothers and their billionaire cohorts have funded fake grassroots movements like Americans for Prosperity in order to hoodwink and bamboozle a reasonably literate and reputedly intelligent American populace. Today many self-labeled liberals and progressives agree with the Koch-inspired mantra that government must be reduced in size even as the population of this country and its needs grow larger.

If the 2012 election were held today the Koch Brothers and the G.O.Tea Party will have won even if Barack Obama is re-elected. They have already fundamentally rewritten history and erased common sense, compassion and vision from public discourse, replacing these values with self-interest and a warped view of this country that ignores the expectations of the people who live there.

The G.O.Tea Party zealots are being taken for a ride. Unfortunately they are taking us with them.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – November 25, 2011

Last weekend First Lady Michelle Obama appeared at a NASCAR rally and was booed. Sadly, the rudeness is not a surprise. But who is it on the White House staff that thought that having Mrs. Barack Obama go to a NASCAR rally was a good idea? Meanwhile Newt Gingrich has surged to the lead in the G.O.Tea Party presidential polls. Could Barack Obama be that lucky? Finally, the G.O.Tea Party zealots in the Congress passed a bill overturning an Obama Administration initiative to have whole grain foods and vegetables in federal school lunch programs. A simple of example of how stupid can turn to dangerous.

Hail to the First Lady?

Last week First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden attended a NASCAR rally. They were roundly booed in a display of rudeness that was shocking even in the United States of Stupid. Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden were there to promote support of American troops that are returning to the United States from the seemingly endless wars that this country is waging.

The booing should have been expected, however. If there is anyone on the White House staff who believes that a NASCAR rally is a suitable venue for Mrs. Barack Obama has been working in a soundproof cable-free bubble for the past three years.
The only thing that would elicit a positive response from the NASCAR denizens would be an announcement by Michelle Obama would be an announcement that President Obama had resigned.

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh rushed into the frenzy contending that Michelle Obama should have stayed in Washington instead of going anywhere for any purposed. He went on to say that the First Lady of the United States was “uppity” in presuming to make appearances around the country.

We know by now that Rush Limbaugh is a racist, drug-addled, stupid lout who should thank his lucky Jesus that by some quirk of fate he has been able to make millions spewing hate and ignorance. But does he have to prove it every day?

Newt on Deck

This week we learned that Newt Gingrich has surged to the lead in the G.O.Tea Party presidential polls. Presumable this is because Michele
Bachmann has turned out to be certifiably crazy, Rodeo Rick Perry is a caricature of Rodeo Rick Perry and Herman Cain’s self-inflicted wounds are beyond healing.
It is a testament to the sour taste that Mitt Romney leaves in the mouths of the zealots who occupy the right wing of the right wing in the G.O.Tea Party that damaged goods like Newt Gingrich could be given serious consideration as a presidential candidate.

There may have been other successful presidential candidates who married their high school teacher and then divorced them as they were recovering from cancer surgery. However their names escape me at this time.

There may have been other successful presidential candidates who have engaged this kind of over the top fear mongering – “Barack Obama is a greater danger to this country than fascism during World War II”. However, their names did not come up in my research for this column.

I would have to think that Team Obama would welcome a Gingrich candidacy. Of course, it is useful to remember to be careful what one wishes for.

Bon Appétit

During the 2010 election campaigns, the Tea Party faithful promised real change when their candidates arrived in Washington. Now we have found out what they meant.
Change has meant absolute, wooden-headed obstruction to any and every piece of legislation that does not precisely conform to Tea Party orthodoxy. Change has meant that this country has teetered on the brink of fiscal default and disarray, a potential disaster that the G.O.Tea Party has crazily embraced.

Change has also meant rolling back the Obama Administration initiative that calls for healthier federally funded school lunches. More whole grains, more vegetables and other subversive elements have now been eliminated by the G.O.Tea Party zealots in the House of Representatives.

By the way, pizza and tomato paste as a vegetable are o.k. in the world inhabited by the right wing of the right wing.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Who is This Guy?

The so-called Super Committee of the U.S. Congress, formed in the wreckage of this summer’s budget-deficit crisis, has failed to even come close to meeting its mission of setting a plan for a reasonable deficit reduction plan. “Reasonable”, in Planet Earth terms, would mean some reduction of government spending and a corresponding increase in tax revenues through the elimination of some deductions and selected increases in taxes. But “reasonable” does not translate into the lexicon of the G.O.Tea Party.

It turns out that all six Republican members of the have signed a “pledge” promoted by Americans for Tax Reform. The ATR sole founding principle is to oppose any tax increases –ever. The founder of ATR is one Grover Norquist. Mr. Norquist has managed to get over three hundred members of the United States Congress (House and Senate) to sign his mindless “pledge” effectively paralyzing any serious deliberation related to the budgetary process.

Since the critical function of the Congress relates to the budget, Mr. Norquist has effectively paralyzed the governmental process. If you want to know the father of last summer’s budget-deficit crisis, the DNA process would come up positive for Grover Norquist.

Grover Norquist is someone that most Americans have never heard of, who somehow wields incredible power in what used to be a democratic process. To be fair, Mr. Norquist has been honest in stating that his no tax pledge is a key element in a strategy to “shrink government to the point that it could be drowned in a bath tub”. One has to give him credit for particularly colorful terminology.

The goal of Grover Norquist is to actually, literally and really change the fundamental nature of this country. In the world of Mr. Norquist, there is no need for a robust federal government that would protect the poor, the weak, the environment or the future. In the Darwinian future that he envisions, it will be every rugged individual on his/her own, with losers being consigned to the American trash heap.

The ignorant aspect of the world according to Norquist is that these United States would not have achieved any level of real progress without a robust governmental structure – the Erie Canal, the transcontinental railroad, the Panama Canal, the W.P.A., the G.I. Bill, NASA and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are just a glimpse of the transformative actions of government that have provided an economy, society and nation that has produced a high standard of living for so many of its citizens.

The no tax pledge is the succulent apple offered by the serpent. Paying no taxes while being able to live in a functioning society is a pipe dream typically dreamt in an opium den. Grover Norquist would have you believe that no tax increases in a growing and expanding nation would be a good thing.

In point of fact, Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “Taxes is the price I pay for civilization”. Grover Norquist would have the American people believe that reducing the size and scope of government by strangling its revenue windpipe will make this country a better place.

Biting the apple full of worms and lies, members of Congress have signed on to a pledge that, taken to its logical extreme, will virtually eviscerate governmental processes leaving police, fire and minimal health and educational structures. The safety of the food supply, highways and airways and the arts will be left to “market forces”. The health, education and welfare of the American people will be left to those who have the resources to provide for themselves and whatever crumbs of charitable largesse that might be left over.

What is most interesting is that the G.O.Tea Party members of Congress who have signed Mr. Norquist’s “pledge” have seemingly let that “pledge” override the oath of office that was taken when they were sworn in as members of the House of Representatives or the Senate. Indeed that oath of office calls upon members of Congress to support the Constitution of the United States which, interestingly enough, does not contain a no tax pledge and does indeed call for Congress to impose taxes as may be necessary to provide for the defense and welfare of the country.

Mr. Norquist is the Wizard of Oz, hiding behind a curtain of not for profit secrecy (who funds his organization? Could the Koch brothers be far behind?). His vision of a country that would be bereft of progressive thought and an achievable future is dark and desolate yet the G.O.Tea Party members have boarded this ship to nowhere.

In November of 2012 Americans will have the opportunity to decide if this country should really be governed by single minded principles that have no relation to reality. Next year we can decide if someone died and left Grover Norquist in charge.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – November 18, 2011

WEEKEND EDITION – November 18, 2011
It appears that Rodeo Rick Perry’s brain freeze is contagious as the pizza baron, Herman Cain displayed symptoms while trying to remember what he knew or didn’t know about Libya. But after the laughter is anyone paying attention to what they are trying to say? Mitt Romney continues to preach the gospel of “job creation”, citing his own record as a job “creator”. However, his record as a “creator” of jobs is sketchy at best. Meanwhile Newt Gingrich is continues to tell us not to believe our lying eyes. He claims to be an anti-establishment candidate even though he had a disastrous tenure as Speaker of the House and has hauled down millions of dollars as a D.C. lobbyist/consultant. What a guy!

Brain Freeze as Head Fake

During a recent interview Herman Cain went through an incredible brain freeze that made Rodeo Rick Perry seem statesmanlike in comparison. As he tried to come to grips with a softball question about Libya he commented that a lot of things were “swirling around” in his head. Late night comics and political commentators had a field day. After all, Herman Cain is the gift that keeps on giving right along with the rest of the G.O.Tea Party presidential clown cavalcade.

But there is a real danger of dismissing the message that is being conveyed, no matter its mangled condition. On the matter of foreign policy, the pizza baron was looking to mention that he had invited the 88-year old Henry Kissinger to be his Secretary of State. He is obviously willing to dismiss the sketchier aspects of Dr. Kissinger’s past as they relate to Vietnam and Cambodia.

Mr. Cain’s brain freeze also precluded him from elaborating on his comment regarding the possibility of China becoming a nuclear power. A “possibility” that has been a fact for over forty years.

Meanwhile, Rodeo Rick Perry’s brain attack distracted everyone from his passionate call to dismantle the Departments of Education, Energy and Commerce. This neo-anarchist approach to governance got only passing notice amidst the guffaws, hoots and catcalls. But not one of the other Republican candidates disavowed the idea that tearing down the federal government would do very little to help the people of the United States.

Perhaps the G.O.Tea Party strategy is to distract us with their big noses and floppy pants while they follow a strategy that will spell gloom and doom for most of us when the laughter stops.

Present at the Creation?

Mitt Romney is passionate in presenting his record as a job creator during his time as the head of Bain Capital, a private equity firm. What Mr. Romney neglects to mention is that the business model that he pursued at Bain had a lot more to do with wealth creation, as in wealth for his partners and himself.

Bain Capital engaged in acquiring companies, mostly with borrowed money, selling off assets of these companies and collecting huge fees that the acquired companies would pay by borrowing to the extent of their credit limits. When these companies were depleted of every available dime they would then be sold to another firm.

Ask the employees of some of the Bain companies how many jobs Mitt Romney created while they were laid off. Ask the employees of Bain companies how they liked their pensions being transformed into thinly capitalized retirement funds all to the benefit of the greater glory (and profit) of Bain. And ask the residents of towns that saw key businesses evaporate once the tentacles of Bain (and Romney) were affixed.

Certainly some companies acquired by Bain did grow and prosper. Certainly Bain grew and Romney prospered. But the Good Ship Romney left a lot of shattered lives and broken dreams in its wake.

The New Newt

Newt Gingrich has been suffering from a full-blown identity crisis. He has claimed to be a champion of family values. The fact that he divorced his first wife as she was recovering from cancer surgery is conveniently overlooked by Newt. The fact that he castigated President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky spectacle while participating in an extramarital affair is seemingly of no account to Newt Gingrich.

Now Mr. Gingrich is presenting himself as a Washington outsider. A neat Newt trick since his resume includes a disastrous stint as Speaker of the House of Representatives in……Washington. And now it turns out that Newt Gingrich has been paid millions of dollars as a lobbyist and consultant for FNMA, Freddie Mac and the United States Chamber of Commerce in…………..Washington.

Presumably, Mr. Gingrich can claim to have reinvented himself because he says so. In Newt World, the facts clearly don’t matter.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

All Guns, No Roses

While the G.O.Tea Party presidential circus careens across America spreading lies, misinformation and worn out comedy routines, black and brown America is killing itself. This is not a metaphorical observation. I mean it literally.

The latest New York City crime statistics indicate that even though 30% of the city’s population is African American, fully 60% of all homicide victims are black and 60% of the suspects in these crimes are black. If you add in members of the Hispanic community, fully 90% of all homicide victims in New York are black and Hispanic and 90% of the suspects are black and Hispanic.

Aside from reaffirming that the world is going crazy, these statistics tell a very interesting story. Most of these murders are committed with guns. It would be fair to say that there are too many guns that are too easily available.

But it is also about culture. For the past thirty years popular music, movies and literature have glorified violence, “gangster” ethos and disregard for human life. This cannot be disputed.

Consider the latest video game miscreation, “Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 3”, sold hundreds of thousands of games as soon as it was released. This game modernizes, romanticizes and glorifies warfare – basically the wholesale slaughter of the “enemy”. While the “enemy” might be mythical in the video game, an impressionable youngster who plays the game incessantly can easily translate the ethic and mindset to the streets on which he lives.

Meanwhile, for the past thirty years popular music and music videos have promoted, popularized and glorified violence – all in the name of “keeping it real”. Fifty Cents might be wearing a coat and tie now, but he made his money rapping about killing other people. The same is true for Jay-Z, BET and too many others.

The argument that these performers and entertainment networks are just “keeping it real” and “giving people what they want” is facile and baseless and virtually unworthy of serious consideration. The bodies of men, women and children pile up on the streets of New York and across this country while the beneficiaries retire to their mansions while riding in their Maybachs.

Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association and promoters of the “rights” of gun owners pervert the Constitution to somehow support the notion that everyone has the right to own as many automatic weapons as they can afford. States’ rights advocates in Virginia and South Carolina falsely claim that they have no responsibility for the carnage in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York even as they profit from the sale of weapons that have only one purpose – the wholesale slaughter of other people.

The combination of this country’s gun culture and the gangster culture promoted in communities of color has produced a lethal cocktail. If the Ku Klux Klan or Posse Comitatus or the Tea Party was killing blacks and Latinos at the rate that blacks and Latinos are killing blacks and Latinos, national outrage would rock this country to its very foundation.

The NAACP and the Urban League and the Congressional Black Caucus would be demanding Congressional investigations and the intervention of the United Nations. If white people were killing people of color at the current levels of homicide being perpetrated by people of color it would be an international disgrace.

Somehow, a black man killing a black woman or a Latino boy killing a Latino girl does not provoke the same level of outrage and concern. The combination of the gun culture and the gangster culture has turned every inner city street into a potential killing zone. And when the bodies fall there are the obligatory candle light vigils and marches and then it’s back to business as usual.

The problem is that “business as usual” shields the men and women who are responsible for creating this toxic atmosphere from any responsibility. The men and women who are responsible for the blood and gore and death never touch the rotten fruits of their labor while vacationing in St. Bart’s or taking private jets to Paris.

The numbers simply don’t lie. “Business as usual” means death on the streets of the cities of America. And the purveyors of this lethal, toxic and poisonous culture are able to escape any blame or responsibility.

The problem is that “business as usual” means another black girl or Latino boy will die before the end of the week. The rap potentates and music producers and gun advocates sleep easily in their beds of luxury.

The victims of their vicious “business sleep” forever.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – November 11, 2011

Rodeo Rick Perry suffered through the mother of all meltdowns during the latest G.O.Tea Party debate. Unfortunately his brain freeze has distracted attention from the mindless policies that he incoherently articulated. In College Station, Pennsylvania Penn State students actually rioted because the football coach was fired for being implicated in a child sex abuse scandal. Question – where have these students been? Finally, today being Veterans Day, we would do well to remember the service rendered by so many millions of men and women over the years. It is simply too bad that Senator Jim DeMint actually went on the floor of the Senate to say that veterans are not worthy of special recognition.

In Search of Rodeo Rick Perry’s Brain

During the most recent Republican debate, Rodeo Rick Perry suffered a 53 second brain freeze right in the middle of his rant about the government agencies that he would close down if he was elected president. Predictably, most of the news media focused on the sheer absurdity of the seeming disappearance of all conscious thought experienced by the Texas governor.

It was painful to watch as Rodeo Rick desperately searched the clearly empty corners of his mind for some kind of answer. Mitt Romney, acting like the smarmy smart kid in high school who teases his slower classmate, even gave Rodeo Rick the wrong answer.

Lost in the post-debate autopsy is the fact that what Rick Perry was trying to say was that as President of the United States he would dismantle the departments of Education, Commerce and Energy. Really?

Currently this country is ranked 26th globally with respect to the academic achievement of its K-12 students. International competition is greater than at any point in history. Could this really be the time to shut down the United States Department of Education and its efforts to establish an effective national education policy?

It is estimated that over 60% of all jobs in this country are provided by small businesses. The Small Business Administration resides in the United States Department of Commerce.

Most economists agree that increasing international business opportunities is a great strategy for improving this country’s economy. That effort is led by the — you guessed it – United States Department of Commerce. Could this possibly be the right time to shutter that department?

The lack of a coherent energy policy will plague this country until it descends to second rate global status. The United States Department of Energy is the vehicle by which such a policy can be developed, articulated and implemented. Only a fool would think that shutting down this department at this time would make sense.
In the Koch-funded, lemming-like stampede to “reduce government”, the G.O.Tea Party is proposing national suicide. Hopefully, the clownish behavior of its proponents will not distract from the dangerous reality of their proposals.

Who is Penn State?

Pennsylvania State University has been a great educational institution for a very long time. Its academic and athletic achievements are historic and worthy of praise. Its students and alumni proudly proclaim, “We are Penn State!”

It is doubly mystifying that during the past week thousands of Penn State students rioted because legendary football coach Joe Paterno was fired. That he was fired for being implicated in a horrific pedophile scandal that allegedly took place on the Penn State campus for over a decade didn’t seem to matter to the rioting students.

Aside from the shameful disregard for the child victims, the Penn State students invite the question, where have they been? During the past decade a presidential election was stolen with the Supreme Court of the United States driving the getaway car. During the past decade this country has been engaged in two misguided wars, one of which was based upon outright lies. During this past decade corporate greed has created economic disparities unseen in over a century.

And during this past decade Penn State students, and college students all over the country, have been incredibly silent. Swathed in the cocoon of academia and safe in the knowledge that there is no draft to bring them into the bloody maw of war, college students across the country have seemingly lost the will to protest – unless it is in support of a football coach.


This item is not about a new iteration of Herman Cain’s tax plan. Today is Veterans Day and we would do well to remember the men and women who have served this country. The United States Senate passed a bill that would provide tax credits to employers who hire veterans in recognition of the fact that the unemployment rate for veterans who have served in the misbegotten wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is 12%

Only Senator Jim DeMint, a Tea Party demi-god, voted against this legislation. He stated that he did not believe that any American should be given advantages over any other American.

This is only a glimpse into the G.O.Tea Party mindset and the vision for this country that it embraces.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

A Phenomenon But Not Phenomenal

The Herman Cain phenomenon seems to be skidding and slipping into a morass of terminal stupidity and eternal irrelevance. The fact is that even before his current running battle with sexual harassment allegations his campaign was coming apart at the seams as his “9-9-9” fake tax policy was evaporating upon examination.

The idea that Herman Cain is some kind of representative of the best that corporate America can offer for public service was always as flimsy as cheap gossamer bought from the local 99 cents store. When finally experiencing some pressure, Mr. Cain has shown himself to be by turns arrogant, petulant, and self-absorbed and totally tone deaf – and frankly, very weak. The fact that he could have been the chief executive officer of any kind of company is a condemnation of what passes for leadership in some parts of the business community of the United States.

Before the sexual harassment tsunami hit the Cain carnival attention was focused on the flimsiness of his policy proposals and the empty bucket of ideas that he carried around while pretending that he actually had something important to say. In some bizarre way these allegations of misconduct have helped Mr. Cain as they deflected attention away from the fact that he was quoting a Japanese cartoon character (“Pokémon”) during one of the G.O.Tea Party debates and his “9-9-9” tax proposal actual comes from the Sim City computer game.

Without the sexual harassment issues Mr. Cain might be taking time to explain how he could be a paid mouthpiece for the Koch brothers for half a decade while proclaiming to be an independent businessman. He might also have to take a few moments to once again explain how he could deride government service while having served as the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

While he was at it, Herman Cain might want to re-examine his claim that he is not a politician and that his political virginity makes him different from other presidential aspirants. Clearly his memory has failed him once more as he served as a senior political advisor to the Dole-Kemp presidential campaign. Further, the only reason he can form his lips to say that he is not a politician is because he lost his campaign for United States Senator in Georgia. It seems that Herman Cain is definitely a politician – it is just that he has been a failed and unelected politician.

Mr. Cain has worn his woeful ignorance of foreign affairs as a badge of honor. He dismisses the need to know about “insignificant” countries and has expressed concern about China becoming a nuclear power (someone needs to tell the pizza chieftain that he is about 45 years too late). Rather than retire with some semblance of honor and decency Mr. Cain continues to insult the intelligence of the American public – a herculean task these days that he seems to accomplish with preternatural ease.

The sexual harassment issues will make themselves known over time. Those who are prepared to dismiss them as “smears” should recall that the charges date back over a decade when Herman Cain was famous only for being a successful peddler of pizzas making it virtually impossible that these charges were politically motivated (a very necessary element for any kind of smear campaign).

Claims of “high tech lynching” are sad and offensive. Lynching has a very special and awful place in African American history. The men, women and children who were lynched over a period of century and a half in this country did not have the protective cloak of the Koch brothers and did not have the Fox News network as the their guardians. I would refer Mr. Cain and his defenders to the book “Without Sanctuary” to get an idea as to what true lynching was all about.
For someone who claims that racism is no longer an obstacle for black Americans,

Mr. Cain seems to have misplaced his big boy pants the first time he comes under serious attack. Rather than respond in some reasonable and rational fashion when the sexual misconduct allegations surfaced, Herman Cain played the race card.
We can only surmise that Mr. Cain forgot that when he decided to run for president he was playing in the big leagues and all aspects of his life are fair game, whether it is fair or not. As far as sexual misconduct charges being directed against him because he is a “strong black conservative”, Herman Cain supporters should ask Gary Hart, John Edwards, Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich whether a white skin served as useful armor when those particular slings and arrows start flying.

Just as the Sarah Palin star crashed burned and died, Mr. Cain’s time in the spotlight will come to an end as it becomes clear that the pizza emperor has no clothes and not much in the way of original thought either.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – November 4, 2011

Looking at this past week, one would think that Halloween would be a pretty apolitical event – but not in Loudon County, Virginia where the county Republican Party circulated a Halloween poster showing Barack Obama with a bullet hole in his head and half of his skull missing. It’s nothing but fun and games in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Herman Cain has had a heck of a week “misremembering” sexual harassment charges and illustrating pure ignorance when it comes to foreign policy. And, paraphrasing Mr. Cain, Greece, an unimportant country on the Planet Cain (I bet he can’t spell “Papandreou” if you spotted him the 2 “p’s” and a “d”), almost brought the entire Planet Earth to the brink of financial cataclysm.

All Tricks and No Treat

This past Halloween the Republican Party of Louden County, Virginia thought that it would be a real fun thing to post a picture of President Obama as a zombie, complete with a bullet hole in his head and half of his skull missing. This is what passes for humor in parts of these United States.

The Virginia Republican Party denounced and disowned the offending posting and the Louden Company Republican Party apologized to “anyone who might have been offended”. But this disgusting display points out the toxicity of the political atmosphere where, in a country with a sad and unfortunate history of presidential assassinations and assassination attempts, serious political operatives would post photographs of the president as a dead man – all in the name of humor.

Very sad.

The Cain Spin Cycle

In a recent interview regarding his views on foreign policy, Herman Cain expressed his concern about China becoming a nuclear power. This might have been a useful observation in 1963, but China became a nuclear power in 1964 – 47 years ago! Even on the Planet Cain the news has to travel faster than this.

Perhaps Herman Cain was distracted by the slip sliding facts regarding sexual harassment charges that he remembers and the disremembers. And then he blames Rick Perry who blames Mitt Romney who blames Rick Perry.

The G.O.Tea Party is slipping into a cool, thick pool of stupid by the moment.

“Unimportant” Countries

Herman Cain famously said a few weeks ago that he didn’t have time to worry about “unimportant” countries as president – that’s why he would have advisors.
Given his lead in G.O.Tea Party polls, there are many members of the right wing of the right wing who think that dumb and dumber translates into useful foreign policy.
On that point, this past week, Greece, an “unimportant” country, brought Europe and by extension the whole world, to the brink of financial panic by wavering over a bailout strategy authored by the European Union. Greece has agreed to go along with the strategy, but not without a lot of drama.

Perhaps someone should let the G.O.Tea Party know that there is no such thing as an “unimportant” country.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Ladies Choice?

In my novel, The Pride, I wrote a story from the perspective of four main characters, one of whom was a woman. I have been told by numerous female readers that my expression of a woman’s point of view was pretty accurate. But I must confess to not having the slightest idea as to how a woman would look at the current crop of G.O.Tea Party presidential candidates.

Assuming that following the tenets of the Party of No made sense – no new taxes, no “unnecessary” government services and no to a second term for Barack Obama – it would seem that a woman would have give a great deal of thought to supporting any of the current cast of characters.

Newt Gingrich is known as the “intellectual” of this bunch, presumably because he somehow managed to get a doctorate from a non-descript school in rural Georgia – a region not previously known as a hotbed of rigorous academic pursuit. In addition to running up a $250,000 tab at Tiffany’s while campaigning as a man of the people, Newt is carrying around some heavy baggage.

When his first wife was recovering from cancer surgery he thought that it was the perfect time to serve her with papers announcing their divorce. While excoriating President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Mr. Gingrich was – you guessed it – engaged in his own extramarital affair. He has excused his hypocrisy by stating that he was so “passionate” about America that his passions somehow led him astray. What a guy!

Herman Cain, in addition to trying to explain the impossible mathematics of his “9-9-9” faux tax plan, is now trying to explain how he was unaware of sexual harassment complaints against him until he was aware of sexual harassment complaints against him. At this point there are not enough facts to make any kind of judgment regarding these complaints, but it is difficult to understand how a senior corporate executive would not remember a sexual harassment complaint, even it was untrue – perhaps especially if it was untrue.

Channeling his inner George W. Bush, Mr. Cain has endeavored to “misremember” whether there were any such complaints, until he remembered such complaints, all in the same day. And then, being versatile enough to give a stunning imitation of Bill Clinton (remember his trying to explain the use of the word “is” during the deposition that led to his impeachment) the former pizza chieftain has tried to provide us with a useful distinction between a “settlement” of these sexual harassment complaints and an “agreement” whereby these complaints went away. What a guy!

Michele Bachmann and her husband ( who runs a clinic “curing” people of their homosexuality) turned foster parenting into a cottage industry. It is not clear whether Ms. Bachmann was padding her bank account or her resume, but having over twenty girls as foster children for relatively short periods of time is certainly a unique concept of motherhood.

As the only female candidate in the G.O.Tea Party presidential candidate cavalcade, Michele Bachmann has demonstrated an amazing capacity to be factually wrong on a consistent basis. Whether it is claiming that the HPV vaccine can cause mental retardation (an awful lie) or that President Obama’s trip to Asia last year cost taxpayers close to a quarter of a billion dollars (a stupid lie), Michele Bachmann has done little to demonstrate competency or base level intelligence. Of course, just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she has to be smart – but that’s no reason to be wrong 24/7. What a gal!

Meanwhile, the of the Republican candidates are lassoed and branded by the social agenda of the right wing of the right wing. On the issue of the right of women to make choices with respect to reproductive health, all of the candidates echo the unrelenting chorus of the Party of No. Their consistent refrain is no – no to abortion – no to contraceptives – no to sex education.

The right of women to choose when it comes to issues of reproductive health and related issues is neither a new nor radical concept. The notion that eight male candidates (and one possibly deranged woman) would think that the G.O.Tea Party can impose their concept of right and wrong on every girl and woman in America should be unthinkable.

Nevertheless, we continue to witness legions of women supporting the Party of No when it comes to the reproductive rights of women. That would be the same party of no that is a staunch opponent of universal health care in this country – even though the primary beneficiaries of universal health care will be women and children.

The point of view of these women is difficult to understand. And I am certainly not prepared to have a female member of the G.O.Tea Party in my next novel just yet.