Point of View Columns

The Circus Comes to Iowa

On the third day of the New Year the G.O.Tea Party Traveling Road Show and Clown Cavalcade will get serious – at least as serious as a Clown Cavalcade can ever get. On January 3, 2012 the Iowa Caucus will be held and actual votes will be cast for this sorry manifestation of the A.B.O. (Anybody But Obama) phenomenon.

It is pretty clear that only an irrational tsunami of distaste and disdain for Barack Obama could wash this collection of candidates on the political shores of this country. And it is pretty clear that lurking beneath contentions of opposition to the policies of President Obama is a racial animus that will remains unspoken except for the occasional slip.

We are witness to unprecedented insult and disrespect directed against President Obama and we are supposed to believe it is because he supported a bailout that saved the American automobile industry and millions of American jobs. Within hours of Barack Obama having taken the presidential oath of office Republicans united – not to pledge bipartisan cooperation or adherence to a set of policies that they believed were best for the American people – instead they united around the goal of making him a “one term president”.

This irrational pandemic has caused members of Congress to call President Obama a liar while he was addressing Congress. Apparently this has also liberated the caged racialist impulses of some Americans so that Barack Obama can be portrayed with a bone through his nose at Tea Party rallies and Michelle Obama’s physical features are fair game for public commentary.

This irrational pandemic has brought forth a collection of candidates that is so flawed that the G.O.Tea Party runs the real risk of their nominee being the victim of the A.B.B.U.R. (Anybody But a Republican) vote. In their desire to defeat President Obama because of who he is and what he is, the Republicans have assumed that any alternative will be successful – quality, competency, sanity and coherence be damned.

Consider that as this column is being written Congressman Ron Paul is leading in the Iowa polls and is a serious candidate nationally. The fact that Congressman Paul’s office has published a newsletter with serial racist rants for over twenty years has not damaged his standing as a candidate. The fact that Congressman Paul advocates the dismantling of the Federal Reserve Bank and multiple agencies of the federal government has garnered him the support of a cadre of zealots.

Newt Gingrich remains a leading candidate even though he has referred to Democrats as “Nazis” and claims that Freddie Mac paid him $1.6 million in consulting fees for his services as a “historian”. Newt Gingrich helped to engineer the last major shutdown of the federal government and his list of personal flaws and missteps contrasts with his hypocritical advocacy of “family values”.

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney advocated and passed legislation instituting mandatory universal healthcare for all citizens in that state. Now Mitt Romney claims that this would somehow be a bad thing for the citizens of the other 49 states. Mitt Romney wants you to believe that a career spent buying companies with borrowed money, laying off thousands of employees and bankrupting those companies at a profit somehow has prepared him to manage the largest economy on the planet.

We also have the likes to Michele Bachmann who believes that she was chosen by God to run for president and communes with Him on a regular basis. She claims to be well prepared for the office of president by virtue of her seat on the House Committee on Intelligence – a punch line waiting for a joke if there ever was one.

Rick Perry has been pilloried for his gaffes and flubs during the debate. But we should all be concerned about what he is trying to say about reducing federal services to Americans by closing down federal departments. His suit and tie barely disguises a rhetorical bomb throwing anarchist who would disembowel a system of governmental services upon which most Americans rely.

Rick Santorum would govern this country pursuant to “Christian beliefs” although it is not clear who would be the judge of what constitutes “Christian”. Certainly his opposition to gay marriage indicates a tolerance deficit in his version of Christianity.

Jon Huntsman has distinguished himself by not agreeing to participate in Donald Trump’s hokum debate. He has not espoused the insane agendas advanced by his competitors. But he is certainly no Profile In Courage when it comes to speaking truth to the madness.

And there is your G.O.Tea Party Cavalcade of Clowns. Imagining any one of them as President of the United States makes me miss Herman Cain. After all, anyone who would quote Donna Summer quoting a cartoon character is worth the price of admission.

Point of View Columns

The Weekend Edition – December 23, 2011

The year 2011 meanders and waddles and lurches to its end. True to form, we have gotten revelations that Congressman Ron Paul’s newsletter occasionally launches into racist rants – and he doesn’t know anything about it. Bank of America agrees to pay a $335 million dollar fine for enticing barely creditworthy minority customers into purchasing homes that they couldn’t afford. In addition to precipitating the bursting of the housing bubble, Bank of America has managed to damage and destroy communities all across this country. And finally, a nonentity of a congressman in Wisconsin thought that there was nothing wrong about him referring to the First Lady of the United States in appalling and disrespectful terms. Only in America.

Will the Real Ron Paul Please Stand Up?

Congressman Ron Paul is one of the leading G.O.Tea Party presidential candidates. Indeed, we shouldn’t be surprised if he turns out to be the winner of the Iowa Caucus.

Being a leading candidate has its disadvantages. One of them is that reporters actually take the time to find out what you stand for and believe in. It turns out that Ron Paul has been publishing a newsletter for over 20 years which has had interesting statements such as:

• The Martin Luther King holiday is “Hate Whitey Day”
• The riots in Los Angeles only stopped when blacks had to pick up their welfare checks
• In Washington, D.C. 90%-95% of African American males are criminals or engaged in criminal activity

When questioned about these outlandish and purely racist statements Congressman Paul copped out. He said that he didn’t write (or read) the newsletter and that such scrutiny by the press is unfair.

There are strains and threads of racism all throughout the G.O.Tea Party fabric. Ron Paul missed an excellent opportunity to play to his base by owning up to these statements.

The Un-American Bank of America

This past week Bank of America agreed to pay a $335 million fine in connection with its outrageous practice of enticing minorities who were not credit worthy into purchasing homes with the assistance of so-called sub-prime mortgages.

The collapse of the housing market in 2008 was due in no small part to these piratical banking practices. These predatory lending practices have also resulted in the wholesale evisceration of neighborhoods and communities that had been stable until some executives at Bank of America started to put on their thinking caps.

We might think that $335 million is a lot of money. That is, until we compare it to the cost of destroying homes, lives and communities across this country. Indeed, Bank of America is very un-American.

The Bottomless Pit

The slime that has been directed at the Obama Administration started being hurled on January 20, 2009. Political attacks are part of the process but the partisan vitriol has been extreme. President Obama has been called a socialist, a fascist and a Kenyan anti-colonialist. There are still millions of Americans who will never believe that he was born in the United States and if nothing else, the
G.O.Tea Party has been unified in its dedication to seeing that he “fails” and is reduced to being a one term president.

But this past week a new low has been reached. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, a virtual nonentity from Wisconsin, was quoted as saying that Michelle Obama has a “large posterior” for someone who advocates healthy foods and exercise.
Of course this idiot gave the classic “if I offended anyone” non-apology.

During all the political battles involving Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton – and I am referring to classical wars over policy and vision – I cannot recollect a single word that referred to Lady Bird Johnson or Pat Nixon or Nancy Reagan or Hillary Clinton in such a stunningly disrespectful manner.

Barack Obama is a man possessed of considerable restraint not to respond to this vulgar attack on his wife and the mother of his children. What is incredible is that this disgraceful disrespect is not out of the ordinary in the United States of Stupid.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

United States of Iowa?

In Iowa in January of 2012 the G.O.Tea Party Cavalcade of Clowns gets about a serious as it can get. The Iowa caucus, an arcane series of mini-town meetings, will convene and tell us something about who the Republican Party may nominate as the next president of the United States.

This is so bizarre on so many levels it is hard to know where to start. During the past six months the right wing of the right wing has attempted to entertain us with visions of Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann as president. And just when we are able to catch our breath and stop laughing for a moment, here comes Herman Cain quoting Donna Summer quoting Pokemon – it is impossible to make this stuff up.

Meanwhile, with grim determination and perseverance Mitt Romney seems intent on proving that he can become president by saying anything and everything at anytime. And if that is not enough, while Ron Paul is advocating the virtual dismantling of the federal government, Newt Gingrich continues to try to convince someone other than himself that he really is the smartest person in the room.

The Republican Party will begin to sort out the winners from this bag of losers in Iowa. And that is, to be honest quite amazing. Iowa is about as representative of the United States as Disney World. The urban population of the United States is in excess of 75%; the urban population of Iowa is barely 60%. The minority population of the United States is estimated to be 37%, in Iowa the number is 10%.

Iowa is a state where 25.4% of its citizens classify themselves as white Evangelicals. Black Protestants account for barely 2% of the population of the Hawkeye state. This is hardly what America looks like in the 21st century.

That a state that is so out of synch with the rest of the country would have such a disproportionate impact on the 2012 presidential election would be ludicrous if it wasn’t true. But it is true.

As a result, the G.O.Tea Party virtually commands any viable Republican candidate to veer towards the right wing of the right wing to have any opportunity to be successful. Calling Barack Obama a “secular socialist” actually gets votes in Iowa. Referring to the federal government as “the enemy” can be a guarantee of support and endorsements.

Suggesting that a national health care system might be a compassionate solution to the wreckage of the current system of caring for the ill would be the equivalent of political suicide in Iowa. Proposing a bi-partisan approach to budgetary reform would only benefit the competition when campaigning in Iowa.

Of course Iowa is only one small state out of fifty, but it has an influence on the future of this country that is all out of proportion to its reflection of American opinions, ideals and perspectives. And, given that the next two primaries are in New Hampshire and South Carolina, it is clear that whatever common sense might have existed among the Cavalcade of Clowns will be squeezed out and washed away by the time February of 2012 rolls around.

Democrats will probably rejoice at the notion of pure, distilled, right wing ideologue being the eventual nominee of the Republican Party. On the other hand, we should all be concerned that, in the process of this train wreck of a presidential selection no good can arise.

Republicans, Democrats and Independents should be concerned that the views of the minority of the minority will have so much influence on the selection of a person who could be the next president of the United States. The Obama election team probably welcomes the imbalance – a more nuanced opponent would be troublesome.

However, as citizens we are disadvantaged by the lack of reasonable choices and the elevation of the bizarre and the radical to mainstream consideration.
It is difficult to imagine Ron Paul – he’s the one who would get rid of the Federal Reserve Bank (causing a global economic meltdown) and dismantle the
departments of Energy, Education and Commerce – is the leading candidate in Iowa.

Newt Gingrich, the sincerely damaged and personally compromised combination of bombast and self-promotion was the leading candidate last week. Mitt Romney, who never met a right wing idea that he couldn’t embrace because he has no moral compass is always there as a competitor.

Is this really the best that the G.O.Tea Party can do? Democrats may rejoice but the country as a whole can only be dismayed.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011 marked the end of the Iraq War. A war born of foolish choice and outright lies produced catastrophe, death and an uncertain future for at least two countries. Now Mitt Romney thinks that Newt Gingrich is “zany” and it turns out that the Republican pot may be calling the Tea Party kettle black. And finally, the United States Congress averted a total shutdown of the federal government for the eighth time this year. This is what passes for an accomplishment in the United States of Stupid.

War is Hell

On Thursday President Obama announced the end of the United States military involvement in Iraq. The Iraq War was a misbegotten war of poor choice that resulted in over 4500 deaths and over 30,000 injuries suffered by men and women of the American military. The war has cost the United States over $800 billion (there is no doubt that the number will exceed a trillion dollars by the time of any final accounting). Conservative estimates conclude that over 100,000 Iraqi citizens have died in the charnel house built by the Bush/Cheney regime.

Incredibly Senator John McCain has gone on record criticizing President Obama for consummating the agreement for the departure of American troops that was signed by President George Bush. That anyone would consider it reasonable for one more soldier to die in a military misadventure born of lies and deception is unthinkable. It provides one more reason that we should be thankful that Barack Obama defeated John McCain in 2008.

How do George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell sleep at night knowing that they conspired to create a war to protect America from a threat that they knew didn’t exist? Do the ghosts of the dead and the visions of the wounded haunt them?
Probably not.

It’s a Zany Zany Zany World

This past week Mitt Romney referred to Newt Gingrich as “zany”. We can be certain that Newt Gingrich took the comment as a compliment as he feels that anytime anyone mentions his name in any sentence it is a confirmation of his greatness.

It is interesting however, that Mr. Romney would refer to Newt as “zany” when he is the one trying to be the leader of a party dominated by evangelical Christians even though he is a Mormon – a faith despised by the evangelicals. Mitt Romney further channels his inner zaniness by veering from a pro-choice to a pro-life position on abortion and thinking that somehow, someway, no one will notice.

Actually, the entire G.O.Tea Party cavalcade is “zany”, from Rick Perry rocking his Tim Tebow imitation to Michele Bachmann stamping her foot a la Shirley Temple as she declares that she is “a serious candidate for president”. Ron Paul want to dismantle the governmental apparatus that has created the way of life that has assured American ascendancy and………..well, the list goes on.

“Zany” may be the best word to use – it remains to be seen how “zany” the American electorate really is.

Death of a Thousand Cuts

Seemingly minutes after President Obama was inaugurated Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that the mission of the Republican Party was to insure that he would be a “one term president”. The mush mouth master of right wing idiocy, Rush Limbaugh, waddled to the microphone to declare that he wanted President Obama to “fail” – and we can assume that he realized that President Obama’s “failure” would mean misery and heartbreak for millions of Americans excluding his cash swaddled fat self.

With the ascendancy of the G.O.Tea Party zealots in Congress, the wish for the failure of the Obama Administration has morphed into a nihilist strategy that simply negates any and every policy, proposal or strategy endorsed by President Obama. Even the least contentious issues, like funding for the operations of the military and the national parks become the focal point of “High Noon” showdowns.

As a result, eight times this year the federal government has come within 24 hours of shutting down for lack of funding. The most recent episode of the “Perils of Pauline” occurred this week and the aversion of disaster was greeted with applause.

Only in America can the avoidance of self-inflicted catastrophe be considered an accomplishment.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Bury My Heart at Wounded Wing

The right wing of the right wing of the G.O.Tea Party has a spectacular capacity to produce shock, if not awe. In a little less than three years these pseudo-patriotic zealots have managed to change the parameters of public debate as it pertains to this country.

No longer is there a question regarding how much can be done to help those in need – which pretty takes into account a huge percentage of Americans. The issue at hand pertains to the extent to which government services can be reduced.

Since the establishment of a national income tax in 1916, most discussion regarding this tax has focused on insuring its intended progressive characteristics. Now the major focus is on reducing the historically low tax rates of the wealthiest Americans. No one else needs to apply for such special treatment.

Establishing and maintaining high standards of healthcare is now a radical notion. Protection the environment (that would include the air we breathe and the water we drink) is sacrificed on the altar of profits for the energy industry and the science of global warming is likened to witchcraft. Indeed, just about all scientific inquiry, research and derived knowledge is now suspected. Indeed, in the brave new world of the right wing of the right wing vaccines and food inspection or unnecessary trappings of an overindulgent society.

During the past year, the dismal G.O.Tea Party Clown Cavalcade of Candidates has provided unwelcome diversion and more than a little unintended humor. Even the harshest critics of the right wing of the right wing could not believe that the bizarre gaggle parading from debate to endless debate could be considered a serious alternative to Barack Obama, or George W. Bush or Millard Fillmore.

Extremism in the defense of a destructive and dismal vision is a vice indeed.
Nevertheless we have been victimized by the sight of clear incompetents like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann posing as possible Oval Office residents. We have have seen brazen self-promoters like Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump and Herman Cain using their campaigns as a platform to peddle their books and set up their next television deal. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum play the role of right wing of the right wing bomb throwers who are taken seriously only by the true zealots.

In this unfortunate array of wannabe’s Jon Hunstmann and Mitt Romney actually seem reasonable. But Mr. Romney seems intent on polishing his right wing of the right wing trophies at the expense of common sense and reason. Mr. Huntsman seems to believe that being in the presence of bizarre and virulent rhetoric is not contagious.

This Republican campaign process has offered us numerous nightmare scenarios depending upon who has surged to a temporary lead. From President Bachmann to President Perry to President Trump to President Cain, the blood runs cold at the mere thought of these people actually residing at the White House. And now ladies and gentlemen, get ready for President Newt Gingrich.

It is a testament to the ABO (Anybody But Obama) virus run wild that the G.O.Tea Party could consider choosing as president such a spectacularly failed politician as well as a supremely flawed human being. These flaws and failings have been catalogued – divorcing his first wife while she was battling cancer; seeking to impeach President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky affair while he was engaged in (one of many) extramarital relationships; being distinguished as the only Speaker of the House ever to pay a $300,000 fine for ethics violations; collecting $100 million in fees from major corporations and the troubled federal housing finance agency Freddie Mac while working as a quasi-lobbyist.

Lately, Newt Gingrich has once again demonstrated his propensity for clearly demonstrating the poverty of his dismal and despicable thought process. Commenting on the continuing tragedy of entrenched poverty in the inner cities of this country, Mr. Gingrich opined that young boys should be given apprentice jobs as janitors in the schools that they intend so that they can learn the work ethic while gaining marketable job skills. Given that his doctoral thesis was on the Belgian education system in the Congo, we should not be surprised at the bizarre and mindless nature of his proposal.

Not satisfied with such a heartless insult to the hopes and aspirations of millions of young men and women who still believe that there is opportunity in this country, Mr. Gingrich turned his eyes abroad and termed Palestinians “an invented people”. And we can be sure that with Newt Gingrich, there is more where that comes from.

We should be surprised that there are men and women who feel that a man who seriously suggests such appalling strategies is qualified to be president.
News reports indicate that the key strategists at Obama campaign headquarters are salivating at the thought of a Gingrich candidacy. However, there is always the cautionary advisory to be careful what you wish for.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – December 9, 2011

The Republicans seem to relish lies and untruths. Most recent Mitt Romney has falsely claimed that President Obama has engaged in “appeasement” in foreign affairs. The ghost of Osama bin Laden might respectfully disagree. In Syria, Libya, Yemen and Egypt the people have risen to claim their right to freedom and democracy. Here in the United States these freedoms are being taken away while Americans care more about control of the remote than control of the government. Finally, Jon Corzine who was the head of the now bankrupt M.F. Global Holdings has come up with a novel explanation for a billion dollars that has gone missing.

What’s a Little Lie among Candidates?

Mitt Romney, who has a great deal of experience failing at political campaigns has enjoyed success as the CEO of a government subsidized Winter Olympics and as the CEO of a private equity fund that bought and sold companies with borrowed money. To my knowledge, his foreign policy resume is thinner than Rick Perry’s files.

Nevertheless, in a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition Mr. Romney had the audacity to claim that President Obama has engaged in “appeasement” when it comes to foreign policy. Of course this would be the same President Obama who has ordered the successful execution of 22 of the top 30 Al Qaeda leaders including Osama bin Laden. That would be the same Osama bin Laden that the Bush/Cheney team promised to capture “Dead or Alive” and never did.

Whether ordering SEAL sharpshooters to kill Somali pirates who had seized an American ship or supporting regime change in Libya, Barack Obama has not been seen as engaging in “appeasement” by the rest of the world. But Mitt Romney clearly will not let the facts get in the way of a good story.

An old trick that demagogues use is to tell a lie over and over again. Clearly Mr. Romney is not above using such a sordid and dishonest tactic.

The American Winter?

The Arab spring gave rise to the Arab summer and by autumn regime change had taken place in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. The unifying theme in the popular uprisings was a desire for freedom and democracy, including the right to vote.

Meanwhile, in the United States 7 states have already passed laws which have the potential of seriously restricting the ability of American citizens to vote. Another 27 states have similar legislation pending.

These laws will require prospective voters to present various types of photo identification or other requirements that will hit poor and minority citizens the hardest. While we may have thought that the days of literacy test and poll taxes were things of the past, it is the clear and present desire of the right wing of the right wing to restrict the voting rights of citizens who typically do not support their causes.

All of these laws are being presented as protection against “voter fraud” even thought the instances of voter fraud throughout this country are rare and represent a miniscule number of the total votes cast in this country.
Having stolen the presidential election in 2000, the Republicans are now determined to steal the 2012 elections by any means necessary.

Don’t Believe Your Lying Ears

Jon Corzine has quite a resume. The former head of Goldman Sachs, Mr. Corzine has also served as United States Senator and Governor of the State of New Jersey. Most recently he was the Chief Executive of M.F. Global Holdings, a now bankrupt investment fund.

Interestingly enough, as the firm went out of business $1.2 billion dollars simply disappeared. Naturally inquiring minds want to know what happened to the money and Mr. Corzine was asked this question while testifying before a Congressional committee this week.

“I simply do not know where the money went”, was his response. This answer is unique and special for being purely brazen. That the CEO of a multi-billion dollar firm would have no clue as to how a billion dollars could go missing is an indication of sheer incompetence or a clumsy cover up.

It will be interesting to see if Mr. Corzine can get away with this alibi. It is hard to believe that M.F. Global investors or creditors are going to swallow this story.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Circus Maximus

This past weekend Herman Cain “suspended” his campaign for the Republican Party nomination for president. In the special world of Herman Cain “suspend” actually means “terminate”, just like payments to sexual harassment victims were “agreements” not “settlements”.

As Mr. Cain goes raging into the night we are greeted with the resurgence and rebirth of Newt Gingrich. The latest news has Newt surging into the lead of G.O.Tea Party contestants. This is a bizarre occurrence even by the circus standards set by the G.O.Tea Party.

To term Newt Gingrich damaged goods would give damaged goods a bad name. A failed Speaker of the House; a family values advocate who admits to serial extramarital affairs; a self-proclaimed “outsider” who pockets millions from major corporations while engaged in quasi-lobbying, Newt is a sorry piece of work.

Newt fancies himself an intellectual because he has a Ph.D. from West Georgia State College and then dishonors that degree by saying things that are bereft of intelligence, logic or common sense. On the Planet Newt President Obama is a “secular socialist” (whatever that is) whose policies derive from his “Kenyan anti-colonialist” philosophy (whatever that is). These diversions from sanity along with his stint as another deranged passenger on the “birther” bandwagon should automatically disqualify Gingrich as a serious candidate.

But this is 2011 in the United States of Stupid, where the cauldron of animosity and disdain and disrespect for Barack Obama has overflowed. Reasonable public debate and rational discourse has been replaced with sad slogans (“Obama is a failed president”) and lies (“Obama led this country into the current recession”).

It actually shouldn’t be a surprise that Gingrich is now the leading candidate of the G.O.Tea Party given the fact that the entire Republican cavalcade seems to auditioning for the role of Clown in Chief. Ron Paul wants to dismantle the entire federal government – just think, his proposal to get rid of the Federal Reserve Bank would plunge the entire planet into economic chaos.

Mitt Romney is in favor of deporting 11 million men, women and children from a nation founded by immigrants because of their immigration status. Mitt Romney is also against universal health care except that he was in favor of it when he was governor of Massachusetts and signed a bill implementing universal health care in that state.

Mitt Romney calls himself a “job creator” because he has made millions of dollars. He conveniently neglects to mention that he made many of those millions of dollars purchasing companies with borrowed money, eviscerating those companies and then selling off the parts for a profit. How’s that for “job creation”?

Others in the G.O.Tea Party circus include Rodeo Rick Perry who remembers that he would support an Israeli-led war against Iran (which would probably precipitate World War III) but he can’t remember what federal agencies and departments he wants to decimate or abolish. Michele Bachmann claims to be directed by God and

Jon Huntsmann thought enough of President Obama to accept his designation as U.S. Ambassador to China but now he thinks that President Obama is incompetent (we can assume that Mr. Huntsmann thought that President Obama made one good decision in appointing him). Rick Santorum considers the legalization of gay marriage as the first step towards the legalization of bestiality.

All of the Republican candidates have signed Grover Norquist’s no tax “pledge” which would effectively remove a major executive power should any of them actually get elected president. All of the Republican candidates support a “muscular” foreign policy which is exactly the kind of policy that has this country in two wars for over ten years.

We should be clear, however, that the problem is not simply the wackiness of the G.O.Tea Party clown cavalcade. They are vying for the nomination of a party that has been hijacked by the right wing of the right wing. No Republican could be a serious nominee for president if they even hinted that President Obama saving the America auto industry was a good thing.

It would be the kiss of death for any of the G.O.Tea Party candidates to suggest that the reduction of the federal deficit just might have to include increased revenue through increased taxes. Fake family values, kissing the ring of Donald Trump (yet another failed pseudo-politician) and giving voice to the incoherent hate for Barack Obama are clearly qualifications that are more important that intelligence, vision and sanity.

There is a chance that Newt Gingrich will be the G.O.Tea Party presidential nominee. There is a better chance that Newt will self-destruct by saying one more dumb thing after a stupid thing because he is so impressed with Newt Gingrich and believes everyone else should be too.

Democratic Party leaders can be pardoned if they salivate at the notion of a Gingrich candidacy. They are hoping that he won’t pull the pin until September 2012.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – December 2, 2011

The pain will rain on the Cain train. That passes for news these days but by Monday we will know if Herman Cain was ever serious about running for president. Or, like so many of his fellow G.O.Tea Party candidates is this all about self-promotion? Meanwhile, the ridiculous ascension of Newt Gingrich as a serious presidential contender may turn out to be an early Christmas present for Barack Obama. And now that the unemployment rate is at its lowest rate since March of 2009 how will the Republican spinmeisters try to make this seem like another reason to vote against Obama.

The Pain of Cain Falls Mainly on the Train

Herman Cain has been a live streaming cavalcade of hypocrisy, feigned ignorance and simplicity posing as serious policy. The real Herman Cain is a moderately successful midlevel pizza chain executive whose main calling these days is working as a Koch Brothers sock puppet. The real Herman Cain also has some serious challenges when it comes to telling the truth.

Herman Cain has beaten bibles to a pulp while proclaiming his commitment to “family values” and he has attacked the excesses of society with the ardor of an evangelical preacher (and he has preached at numerous churches over the years).
Yet, when hit with this wave of allegations regarding sexual harassment and an extramarital relationship Herman Cain has alternatively attacked the accusers, refused to give a straight answer or simply closed his eyes, clicked his heels and wished that he was in Kansas.

Mr. Cain has now painted himself into a very tight corner and the script for how this will end has already been written. He will decry the pain that these accusations have caused his family and, without ever taking responsibility, he will withdraw from the presidential race “for the sake of his family”.
And then Herman Cain will go back to promoting Herman Cain through books, speeches and media appearances – now at a higher rate.

This seems to be the same Republican playbook used by Fred Thompson, Alan Keyes, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin. The basic strategy is to build a personal brand by campaigning for president and then sit back and reap the rewards in private jets and hotel suites.

I call it the G.O.Tea Party Shuffle.

All I Want for Christmas is …………….Newt?

The latest polls show Newt Gingrich surging to the lead in the G.O.Tea Party presidential race. Clearly there is a madcap desire on the part of the Republican faithful to give President Obama a Christmas present that will keep on giving.
We already know that Newt Gingrich was a failed Speaker of the House of Representatives who carried on extramarital affairs while espousing “family values” and excoriating President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky episode (does the word “hypocrisy” come to mind).

We already know that he married his high school teacher and then served her with divorce papers as she was recovering from cancer surgery earlier in the day. What a guy!

We know that he never met an outrageous idea that he didn’t like – at least when it comes to President Obama. That can be the only explanation for him spewing the thinly veiled racist rant that President Obama employed “Kenyan anti-colonialist philosophy”. A fitting rant from a man whose PhD thesis was on “Belgian Education in the Congo: 1945-1960”.

We are now learning that Newt Gingrich, through his various enterprises, may have earned over $50 million as a corporate advisor (sounds like lobbyist if you close your eyes and listen) for such small businesses as General Electric, Microsoft and…..Freddie Mac. Not exactly the resume of a Washington outsider or advocate of the common man or a small business crusader.

Merry Christmas President Obama!

Good News – Bad News

Just before this column was posted the latest economic reports announced that the national unemployment rate is 8.6%. It is a very high number that fails to mask the real pain suffered by so many Americans.

Nevertheless it is the lowest rate since March of 2009 which was when the newly-inaugurated Barack Obama found himself in the middle of an historic economic tsunami. By any objective analysis this new unemployment figure is good news.
We will leave it to the G.O.Tea Party zealots to explain why a lower unemployment rate is not good news for the United States. While “Point of View” is not a platform for prognostication, I predict that by next week one or more of the G.O.Tea Party candidates will explain why a lowering unemployment rate is not good news. Stay tuned.
Have a great weekend!