Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – January 4, 2013

The New Year has begun full of hope and possibility. And then along comes the Fiscal Cliff and the Teapublicans confirming their infinite capacity to make fools of themselves. In New York City, Rudy Giuliani seems to think that he has some influence over New Yorkers – it must be New Yorkers with severe amnesia. And finally the latest employment figures show that economic growth is tepid. Could this possibly have anything to do with public perception of dysfunction and incompetence in Congress? But don’t believe that the blame should be allocated in a bipartisan fashion.

Ship of Fools

By January 2, 2013 the Congress finally passed a budget bill which meant that the United States would avoid the “fiscal cliff” that was put in place in August of 2011. The whole idea behind the “cliff” was that the severe consequences of “going over the cliff” would mean that Congress would act in a responsible fashion in budget negotiations with President Obama.

As fate would have it, President Obama and his budget proposals won a pretty resounding victory in November 2011. In point of fact 53% of participating voters endorsing the idea of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans while protecting and preserving the social service safety net that has safeguarded Americans for well over half a century. But the Teapublicans in the House simply refused to read the writing on the wall.

Even Republicans like Mitch McConnell in the Senate finally recognized the need to back away from the “cliff” and support a pretty even handed package. But not the G.O.Tea Party in the House – they actually seem to revel in the notion of wreaking financial disaster on the American people and had to be dragged kicking and screaming to vote for the compromise package.

And just for good measure, the crew of the Teapublican ship of fools went home without voting for disaster aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. It was a needlessly cruel and insensitive act which pretty much sums up the Teapublicans.

The Return of Rudy

A few weeks ago Joseph Lhota, the Executive Director of New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) resigned his position, presumably to run for mayor of New York. Subsequent news reports indicate that Mr. Lhota, who served as a Deputy Mayor during the administration of Rudy Giuliani, was strongly encouraged by Mr. Giuliani to run with the promise of his full support.

While it is probably too late for Mr. Lhota to return to the MTA, someone should have told him that the myth of Rudy Giuliani has played to mixed reviews outside of New York. But in New York he is remembered as one of the most racially divisive mayors of New York since Vincent Impelliterri in the 1950’s.

Someone should have also reminded him that on September 10, 2011, then Mayor Giuliani was presiding over an administration that was mired in serial scandals. And that on that same day Rudy Giuliani was sleeping on the couch of friend after blowing up his marriage with careless and reckless personal behavior.

And if it wasn’t for the tragedy of 9/11 where Rudy Giuliani capitalized on undeserved praise for simply doing his job as mayor of the City of New York, he would just be an obscure “Jeopardy” question. Instead he is a wealthy man who has monetized the myth of his heroism and the real accomplishments of others.

Clearly someone told Mr. Lhota that a Giuliani endorsement would be helpful. If he runs he will learn the hard way that New Yorkers don’t forget so easily.

It’s Still the Economy Stupid!

In the aftermath of yet another episode of the Teapublican Krazy Klown Show, the latest economic figures are showing tepid job growth and an unemployment rate of 7.8%, up from 7.7% the previous month.

Every sane and knowledgeable observer of the American economy now realizes that the dysfunction in Congress is a major cause. Simply put, there is no telling what the Teapublican crazies in the Congress may do next.

And it is time to stop apportioning blame on a bipartisan basis. The progressive equivalent of the Teapublican rants might be a call for the nationalization of all major industries. There is nothing like that coming from the Democratic Party.

But the Teapublicans really want to dismantle the federal government, shred the social safety net and arm teachers, principals and students.

See the difference?

Have a great weekend!