Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – January 20, 2012

There is now some legroom in the Teapublican Clown Car, better known as the Republican presidential nomination contest. With the departure of John Huntsman and Rodeo Rick Perry the last clowns standing are named Newt, Rick, Mitt and Ron (it is impossible to make this stuff up). What is clear from watching the most recent South Carolina debate is that reality, logic, common sense and decency have been deported from the G.O.Tea Party leaving us to wonder “what now?” every time one of the remaining candidates opens his mouth.

No More Mr. Nice Guy?

During the past year Congressman Ron Paul poll numbers have been at a steady 20% of Republican voters. That means that 20% of the Teapublican Party thinks that it would be a good idea to dismantle the Federal Reserve System collapsing the world economy in the process. It also means that 20% of Teapublicans think that the federal government is the “enemy” and should be dismantled. That would be the same federal government that inspects our food, safeguards the air and waterways, provides border defense and regulates air, rail and highway traffic while supporting education and healthcare.

It also means that 20% of Teapublicans are not appalled, shocked or offended by the fact that Mr. Paul’s weekly newsletter has for over two decades spewed racist rants as a matter of course. Mr. Paul disavowed the newsletters that bear his name which is like a bank robber pleading innocent even though his fingerprints are all over the safe.

That fully a fifth of the G.O.Tea Party stalwarts have no problem with this racially flawed candidate speaks volumes about the Teapublican concept of race relations and equity in the 21st century.

We need to listen.

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’

In the aftermath of the Costa Concordia cruise line disaster in Italy there has been endless analysis and commentary about how such a horrible accident could happen. It appears that there was an avalanche of human error that has brought about death and destruction.

It might be useful to keep in mind that at any point of the day there are hundreds of cruise ships sailing on oceans around the world. That the tens of thousands of passengers arrive safely after enjoyable voyages is not due to luck or good fortune. Rather it is the presence of international and national regulations that serve to protect the passengers and ships.

So the next time a G.O.Tea Party zealot starts to proclaim the sanctity of “market forces” and that there is no need for government regulation of business practices think about how you would feel if your child was riding on an unregulated railroad or your mother was flying in an unregulated airplane. You may also think about how you would feel sitting down to a family meal consisting of uninspected food.

It may give you second thoughts about arguments against government regulation of business practices.

The Business of Government is Business

President Calvin Coolidge is quoted as having said “the business of government is business”. While there is no reason to think that he meant it literally there are many members of the business community, especially G.O.Tea Party zealots who believe that the only thing that government should do is help the wealthy get wealthier.

While wealth is a condition that most would embrace, not everyone is prepared to trample the rights, concerns and conditions of their fellow citizens in its pursuit. Nevertheless, when Mitt Romney contends that he will “not apologize for being successful”; few will question how he came by his enormous wealth. For members of the Teapublican Party success needs no explanation or defense.

It is, therefore, puzzling to say the least, to hear Mr. Romney and his Three Amigos castigate and criticize President Obama for his “bailout” of General Motors which just yesterday regained its position as the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. This is an amazing story since G.M. was pounding on death’s door less than three years ago.

President Obama’s policies saved a great American corporation, saved hundreds of companies that supply G.M. and saved hundreds of thousands of jobs. If indeed the “business of government is business” and President Obama saved a huge business and many more, how could he be wrong?

The answer is that on the Planet Teapublican Barack Obama has never done anything right.

Now that this is clear we can’t wait to ask Mitt, Ron, Rick and Newt – would they really have let G.M. disappear into bankruptcy as president?

Have a great weekend and remember November 6th

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