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The suspense isn’t killing me (Updated)

For the past four years, the Republican Party has been doing backflips, trying to prove to America that they care about minorities. They’ve been trying to prove that they are an inclusive party. They’ve been trying to come up with the Republican version of Barack Obama ever since Barack Obama was elected to a Senate in Illinois. As far as I know, Allen West is the only Republican Congressman who’s black (I’m sorry I over looked Tim Scott of SC. My apologies.) and there are no black Republican senators. I don’t think that this is because the Republican Party would not embrace a black figure, because they seemed to be plenty happy with Condoleezza Rice and with Colin Powell, before he endorsed Barack Obama and before he said that torture was not the direction that our country should be going.

Three years ago, the Republican Party picked Michael Steele out of relative obscurity in Maryland politics. Michael Steele had no previous experience in the national spotlight and his inexperience showed. There were many times when it was unclear whether Michael Steele was representing the GOP or simply his own interests. So at their first opportunity the GOP gave Michael Steele the boot.

Finally, the Republicans found the perfect candidate – Herman Cain. His resume looked impressive. He ran a successful company. He made tons of money (almost a prerequisite to run for the Republican nomination). He had a conservative talk show, which had a decent sized audience. He had a personable, almost folksy way of talking at campaign events. The bread-and-butter conservatives really like this. He was the former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. All of this was really cool!! Herman Cain for President!

Problems with Herman Cain surfaced almost from the start. He seems to do well in these rallies where he can talk off the cuff and get the crowd energized. He seems to have problems with interviews. He seemed to have problems during the debates. During his closing statement in the first Republican debate, Herman Cain quoted the song the movie Pokémon. He said, “A poet once said, ‘life can be a challenge, life can seen impossible, it is never easy when there’s so much on the line.'” Personally, I think if you have to stoop to quoting a cartoon (“I’m strong to the finish, ‘cuz I eat my spinach” – Popeye), your candidacy should be over. Then, Herman Cain came out with his 9-9-9 plan. This seems to be directly derived from the 2004 version of SimCity (“It’s clobbing time” – The Thing). He has no economist to stand up and say “I came up with this plan and gave it to Herman Cain.” He has no team of advisers who said that they were knocking around different ideas for flat taxes and came up with this 9-9-9 plan. By itself, it isn’t really all that crazy, but when he added the Pokémon quote, doesn’t that mean that you’re not a serious candidate (“You’re despicable” – Daffy Duck)? So, Herman Cain continues to campaign and try to sell more books (selling items that personally line your pockets seems to be a theme in this Republican race this year – see Newt Gingrich). He then has a softball question tossed at him. What do you think about president Obama’s handling of Libya? I’m not sure what was difficult about this question. Libya has been in the news for more than six months. I think was reasonable for Herman Cain to ask for a point of clarification, just in case the reporter was trying to ask about a specific aspect of the Libyan policy. Yet, even with prompting, he came up with nothing (“I think I should’ve taken that left turn at Albuquerque” – Bugs Bunny). I won’t even going to the Iran nuclear issue question that Herman Cain also fumbled. The bread-and-butter of the Republican Party since Richard Nixon has been foreign-policy. Yet Herman Cain fumbles and bumbles the most basic foreign-policy questions. Republican voters should have been running for the exits.

We must remember that the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan has embraced this idea that they are morally superior to the rest of us. They have courted the religious right. A Republican candidate who seems to have a new woman alleging unwanted sexual advances every week should be nauseating. Then, this week, we have a woman who basically stated that she’s had a 13-year sexual affair with the guy who is running to be the nominee of the “family values” party. Sure, it would be easy to dismiss this woman as Herman Cain has dismissed all of the other accusers. This woman had Herman Cain’s phone number in her cell phone. She sent a text message to that number and only a couple minutes later Herman Cain called back. (“That’s all folks!” – Porky Pig.)

For the last three or four days Herman Cain has been “evaluating” his candidacy. Why? The rest of us have moved on. Sure, some time later on today Herman Cain is supposed to make a big announcement. Do we care? My answer is no. I don’t think that Herman Cain was ever a serious candidate for president. I hope he sold the books that he wanted to sell. I have no animosity or malice towards Herman Cain. He just should not run for president. The thousands and thousands of Americans who were duped into supporting this man should have their money refunded. (Somewhere on my blog, somebody posted a comment telling me that Herman Cain was going to “kick Barack Obama’s butt” in the general election. I wonder what that shortsighted supporter is thinking now.)

Update: Cain has suspended his campaign. (“Are you still here? The movie is over. Go home.” – Ferris Bueller. [I couldn’t think of any more great cartoon quotes. Sorry.])

By |2011-12-03T15:29:55-04:00December 3rd, 2011|Elections|7 Comments

What happened? Is Wall Street Reform on?

With Republicans and Democrats digging in, I thought we were in for a long hard slog, but something might have happened.

From Political Animal:

After some unpleasant chest-pounding last week, the fate of Wall Street reform looked shaky as recently as Monday afternoon. Yesterday, however, there was evidence of real progress, and today Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a leading negotiator on the bill, acknowledged, “We’re very close to a deal and there will be a substantial number of Republicans that go along with it.”

So, what’s behind all this progress? Brian Beutler and Christina Bellantoni explained that Republican senators weren’t prepared to walk off a cliff on this one.

Key Republicans, sincere about passing new rules for Wall Street, but intimidated by the notion of blocking financial regulatory reform, let it be known to their leadership that, at some point, they would side with Democrats to break a filibuster. Maybe not on round one, or even round two. But eventually.

“Folks on our side of the aisle want a bill,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) told me and a few other reporters Monday night. “I know that. I just [had a] discussion with some of our leadership on the floor. You know, we want a bill.”

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) made it equally clear: if top-level negotiations broke down, she and other members would find a solution. “I think it’s important to continue between the two principals on the committee, because that’s where it’s likely to happen,” Snowe told reporters yesterday afternoon. “But if not then we’ll take things as they come. We’ll take the next step.”

This afternoon, entering a Republican caucus meeting, the Republican Deputy Whip John Thune candidly acknowledged that the politics just aren’t playing out for the GOP, and that members don’t want to take a tough vote against regulating Wall Street.

In other words, Dems’ expectations were actually correct on this one.

Evidence that the GOP is “softening its opposition” to financial regulatory reform is apparent in more than just rhetoric and renewed negotiations.

By |2010-04-21T23:31:09-04:00April 21st, 2010|Economy, Party Politics|Comments Off on What happened? Is Wall Street Reform on?

Financial reform: Déjà vu all over again

It seems at times that Americans have the collective memory of a gnat. We can remember how to work our iPods and how to start our cars, but not much else. Just a few months ago, health-care reform was dead. The Democrats went out of their way to try and appease Senator Susan Collins (Republican — Maine). The Democrats danced and tried to sing in tune in order to woo Susan Collins. (Was she the football of bipartisanship or was she Lucy?) I know the Democrats are Charlie Brown in this analogy. Every time the Dems got close to some sort of agreement on health care reform, Susan Collins would say she was not satisfied (and pull the football away so that the Dems would land flat on our backs) . This went on for weeks. The Dems finally wised up and passed Healthcare Reform without Senator Collins.

Now we have financial reform. Wall Street is showing very nice and healthy profits with the money that we’ve infused into these huge corporations. As far as I can tell, nothing has changed. The conditions that caused the meltdown have not been fixed. There are still subprime mortgages. There are still mortgage derivatives. There are still mortgage-based credit default swaps and credit debt obligations (CDOs). All the ingredients are still there to make wildly insane profits based on unsustainable formulas. So to remedy the problem on Wall Street, Senator Chris Dodd has introduced a bill which has been passed by the Senate Finance Committee. The vote, of course, was extremely partisan. The Republicans are saying exactly the same thing about this bill that they said about health-care reform. They’re stating that reform is needed. They’re stating that they support reform but oppose this bill. A letter from the Senate Republicans has been drafted to the Democratic Senate leadership. 40 Republican senators have signed the letter… but not Susan Collins. She is the lone holdout. She stated that she wants reform and is still open to negotiation. Does this sound familiar?

The Republicans are not pleased that they lost the last battle. I suspect that they will dig in and stand up against anything that the Dems propose for financial reform. They will attack Democrats on multiple different levels. They will claim that the bill supports the big banks. They will claim that there is too much regulation in the bill which will stifle innovation, profits and job growth. We’ve heard all this before. We do need better and smarter regulation. We do need appropriate regulation in order to prevent another meltdown. I think when we look back from 1945 through 1980, we have to ask ourselves why weren’t there meltdowns during this time period? The answer is simple. Regulations separated banks from other types of financial institutions. Regulations dictated that financial institutions had to have a certain amount of capital to balance out their debt obligations. Finally, during this time period, we never had banks that were “too big to fail.”

Democrats need to look to the past in order to give Americans a better future. We need not change anything to please Susan Collins. She has proven before that the cost of her vote is too high. The Dems need to let the dream of kicking that football go. Democrats need to do what’s right for the American people. That is all that I ask.

By |2010-04-16T00:26:02-04:00April 16th, 2010|Economy|Comments Off on Financial reform: Déjà vu all over again
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