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!