Tag Archives: Herman Cain

“Oops”


In the 2008 election, 122 million people voted, 65 million for Obama and 57 million for McCain. Seven million people decided the election. In 2011, 50 million voters are unemployed or underemployed or are voting spouses that are directly affected. Quite simply, 2012 will be overwhelming about one issue, JOBS! It will not be about the important issues of debt reduction, tax fairness, or business environment restructuring, although those are critical issues to America’s future. It will not be about social issues, moral issues, or fringe issues. It will simply be about putting America back to work. If this is obviously the case, why isn’t political dialogue focused like a laser on this topic?

Words sway elections and shift the nation’s path. In the throes of the Great Depression during the 1932 presidential campaign, Herbert Hoover attempted to shift America’s focus from his handling of political affairs by discoloring Franklin D. Roosevelt’s proposals. Nonetheless his own words defeated him as Roosevelt went on to win a landslide victory with 57.4 percent of the popular vote and 90 percent of the Electoral College. From Hoover, America heard a lack of hope, vision, and backbone and concluded that Hoover would not lead us out of the depression. In his own words:

Lack of hope:

“The depression has been deepened by events from abroad which are beyond the control either of our citizens or our government.”

Lack of vision:

“I am able to propose an American plan to you. . . . We plan more leisure for men and women and better opportunities for its enjoyment. We plan not only to provide for all the new generation, but we shall, by scientific research and invention, lift the standard of living and security of diffusion of wealth, a decrease in poverty and a great reduction in crime. And this Plan will be carried out if we just keep on giving the American people a chance.”

Lack of backbone:

“I requested the governors of the Federal Reserve banks to endeavor to secure the co-operation of the bankers of their territory to make some advances on the security of the assets of closed banks or to take over some of these assets, in order that the receivers of those banks may pay some dividends to their depositors in advance of what would otherwise be the case pending liquidation. Such a measure will contribute to free many business activities and to relieve many families from hardship over the forthcoming winter, and in a measure reverse the process of deflation involved in the tying up of deposits.”

President Hoover’s words sealed his fate. And now after 40 years of Post Gold Standard Fiat Currency and Globalization, America is in the midst of another Hooveresque moment. Will our candidates’ words lead them to victory in 2012 or will they join the ranks of Hoover in the junk heap of failed elections. History shows that when candidates foretell their lack of vision, display their lack of character, or demonstrate their lack of desire to fulfill the true needs of America’s citizenry, their candidacies end well short of their life’s aspiration. During the last 40 years of campaigns in their own words:

1972 George McGovern

“Listen, you son-of-a-bitch, why don’t you kiss my ass?” George McGovern to a heckler late in the campaign

“The people don’t know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion and legalization of pot. Once Middle America – Catholic Middle America, in particular – finds this out, he’s dead.” – Senator Thomas Eagleton stated off the record about McGovern, his running mate for 18 days.

1976 Gerald Ford

”There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” —President Gerald Ford, in a 1976 presidential debate with Jimmy Carter

1980 Jimmy Carter

“I had a discussion with my Daughter Amy before I came here what the most important issue was. She said she thought it was nuclear weaponry” – Jimmy Carter / Ronald Reagan debate answer before slipping 10 points in the poles the following day

1984 Walter Mondale

”Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.” – Walter Mondale, accepting the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination

1988 Michael Dukakis

“I think you know that I have opposed the death penalty during all of my life, uh, and I don’t see any evidence that it is a deterrent and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime. We’ve done so in my own state. It’s one of the reasons why we have, uh, had the biggest drop in crime in any state in America.” – Dukakis showing both his aloofness and his opposition to gun control when asked if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered would he favor the death penalty?

1992 George H. W. Bush

“Read my lips. No New Taxes” – Campaign promise made in 1988 that was used against President Bush in 1992

“I did it, and I regret it” – President Bush responding to raising taxes during 1992 campaign

1996 Bob Dole

“Something is wrong with America. I wonder sometimes what people are thinking about or if they’re thinking at all.”

You know, a better man for a better America. That’s sort of our slogan.

2000 Al Gore

“During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” – Al Gore in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when asked to cite accomplishments that separated him from another Democratic presidential hopeful, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey.

2004 John Kerry

“You bet we might have.” – Sen. John Kerry when asked if he would have gone to war against Saddam Hussein if he refused to disarm.

“I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.” – Sen. John Kerry, on voting against a military funding bill for U.S. troops in Iraq

2008 John McCain

“The fundamentals of our economy are strong.” – John McCain’s remark at a rally in Florida on Sept. 15, as Lehman Brothers was filing for bankruptcy

“Make it a hundred…That would be fine with me.” – John McCain to a questioner who asked if he supported President Bush’s vision for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for 50 years

“We have sort of become a nation of whiners.” – McCain economic adviser Phil Gramm, on worries about the slumping economy, adding that the current downturn is a “mental recession,”

2010 Tea Party Rise

“But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
– Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking March 9 to the 2010 Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties.

Now in 2011, our field of Republican and Democratic hopefuls have the opportunity to wisely use words to sway Americans toward their vision, an America that hopes of returning quickly to productivity. Have our potential leaders demonstrated vision, fortitude, and alignment with the needs of Middle America or have they already condemned themselves to the sidelines of history with their words. You decide.

Rick Perry

”Oops”

Mitt Romney

“Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings, my friend.”

Herman Cain

“Go home and get a job and get a life!…Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself. It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed,”

Newt Gingrich

“I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time [my grandchildren are] my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

Ron Paul

“A lot of people will say, ‘well cutting a trillion dollars in one year is radical.’ Well, I operate under the assumption that the radicals have been in charge for way too long….They’re going to raise the debt limit, and then they’re going to print the money, and then they’ll default by inflation, and that’s much more dangerous than facing up to the facts of what’s happening today.”

President Obama

“We can no longer wait for Congress to do its job. So where Congress won’t act, I will.”

“You should pass it right away.”

Harry Reid

“It’s very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it’s the public-sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation is all about.”

John Boehner

“As I read the Constitution, the Congress writes the laws and you [Obama] get to decide what you want to sign.”

Eric Cantor

“If you read the newspapers today, I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country. And believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans….”

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Tea Partiers and Wall Street Occupiers are America’s “Odd Couple”

In 1968 at the height of the Viet Nam War, the idiosyncrasies of the left and the right were highlighted in a bromance movie, The Odd Couple, about two divorced men who learned to live together after divorces. Felix, the prim, compulsive cleaner, who invested Oscar’s money and who wrote the song “Let’s Hit Hitler Where He Lives” while in the army, was suicidal after his wife left him. He was saved by his prior schoolboy chum, Oscar, a gruff but fun loving slob of a beer drinking, poker playing sportswriter, who convinced him not to take his life but to share his apartment until life got better.

After America embraced the movie, these two characters moved onto television where for five years, they taught us how to tolerate each other as we watched Felix and Oscar humorously survive each other’s weekly differences. The Odd Couple soothed America’s mistrust of each other’s views. If Felix could clean up after Oscar’s carelessness and Oscar could live with Felix’s uptight attitudes, perhaps America could get back to living in peace and tolerance.

By 1975 however, America began to tire of the Odd Couple as we moved past Viet Nam and buried our feelings underground. Hippies and war heroes entered the baby boomer workforce and uncomfortably coexisted. As the left built the Great Society and the right escalated the Cold War, both seemed oblivious to the impact of their refusal to work together on America’s careening federal budget. America had failed to apply the tolerance of Felix and Oscar to our growing mess.

As the decades rolled past, our hippies and heroes grew old, sending their representative fisticuffs to Washington to stalemate each other’s view of the world. Neither backed down from their simultaneous wars against poverty and Marxist-Leninist economies. Yet glaringly obvious looking back, neither rose up to defend America from escalating government debt or globalization. Blinded by their competing ideologies, they fought each other instead of fighting together on behalf of all Americans.

Today, America’s right and left are once again facing off, this time in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, New York, as a band of demonstrators has taken up residency in the park to draw attention to their malaise. Gone are the feel good “Odd Couple” days of tolerance. Rather than embrace our democracy’s freedom of assembly, America’s financial and political elite instead have publicly knee jerked their indignant dismay at a rebellious and ungrateful new generation.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced the mobs. Presidential candidate Cain called them Un-American. Media elite Ann Coulter compared their message to the Nazis. Michael Bloomberg, the 13th richest person in America with $18 billion dollars, as mayor of New York, attempted to enforce a peaceful disbandment of what he hoped was Occupy Wall Street’s leaderless disarray by declaring Zuccotti Park off limits for a thorough, Felix-like cleaning.

Yet, the growing band of anti-Wall Streeters drew strength from each display of intolerance. As their chants grew louder and their infantile attempts at pure democracy were broadcast on TV sets across America, some political wizard, unnerved by their foreign culture, must have directed a yet unnamed law enforcement authority to deal with this growing menace by mounting an overbearing New York Police display of intolerance against the demonstrators. In that first police action, NYPD allowed their bravery of 9/11 to be cashed in for the glass Manhattan beads of institutional elite puppetry.

NYPD’s actions, appearing excessive to many Americans, have unwittingly cast them as agents of plutocracy in sometimes scripted and terribly acted plays of demonstrators but at other times real, raw, emotionally charged moments of impropriety. Certainly, many Americans’ sensibilities of the laws of our nation are impinged by the demonstrators’ “lawless” assembly. However, misjudgments of the city’s law enforcement harshly reacting to “minor infractions” is igniting an unlikely martyrdom of a grungy, hippy movement throwback to the 1970s as Americans from all walks of life secretly root on these youthful, yet untrodden, defiants. As this generation of flower children beat their drums, chant down politicians, and defecate on police cars, Wall Streeters haughtily look down from their terraces to witness demonstrators being dragged from their idealistic demonstrations handcuffed in plastic riot cuffs with an occasional whip of a baton for good measure handed out by New York’s finest.

Tea partiers are separating themselves from the Occupy Wall Street movement, much as Felix would look apologetically around as if to say he wasn’t with Oscar after Oscar tossed a half eaten sandwich onto a polished lobby floor. During the past weeks, as others have painted similarities between the two groups, Tea Partiers have insisted that they have little in common, pointing to the Occupiers’ disrespect for law as well as to their unclear ideas influenced by fringe elements of Marxism and Anarchists. Occupy Wall Streeters, having found the Tea Party an equally odd coupling to their views of the world, are just as insistent that the two movements are “different”, pointing to media sensationalized representations of racist overtones some have claimed of the Tea Party as well as claims they are puppets of the financial elite.

Yet whether the uptight, law-abiding Felixes of the right, or the unkempt, law challenging Oscars of the left, both groups are really just the Odd Couple. Both were victimized by an America that divorced and walked out on them. Both found themselves jobless, homeless, swamped in debt, and facing bleak futures. One group lashed out at Republican and Democrat lawmakers who were willing to borrow America’s future to cover tax short falls of a swelling government. The other is lashing out at Wall Street that schemed to manipulate lawmakers into legislating a Rube Goldberg machine to extract America’s wealth, jobs, intellectual capital, and future to China. Both are fixated on broken parts of the same collective mess.

Yet unlike Felix and Oscar, who somehow managed to patch their differences by the end of each weekly sitcom, the two movements have yet to understand each other’s differences and sincere similarities. My guess is that they may never, choosing instead to fight the dragon from their separate camps. The proverbial dragon is so close to them that neither can see that they are clinging to different parts of the same beast.

So the Tea Partiers will continue to grab the dragon’s snout, galvanizing the right toward fiscally conservative lower taxes, lower spending and less regulation, while the Wall Streeters will hang onto its tail of mismanaged debt, credit, banking deregulation, and fair trade, to swell the left toward a populist job creation uprising. However, just as the humanity of Felix and Oscar prevailed over their differences, the cause of both of these two movements will swarm a collective army of social democracy to the gates of financial and political power in America.

How will this latest experiment in democracy end? In the Odd Couple’s last episode that aired in 1975, Felix’s wife took him back! Leaving Oscar’s apartment for the last time, Felix thanked Oscar for saving his life, picked up a soiled trash can and dumped its contents onto the middle of the floor to celebrate letting go. To show his growth, Oscar said that he would clean up the trash after Felix left. They hugged goodbye.

After Felix departed, Oscar looked down at the trash, stepped on it and walked out. Moments later, Felix snuck back in the door saying, “I knew he wouldn’t clean it up”. He neatly tidied up the mess he had deposited on the floor, placing it in the proper receptacle. Looking back on an orderly apartment, he sighed, smiled and exited for his return to a restored marriage and future.

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Filed under American Media, American Politics, Economic Crisis, pre-social media norms, Social Media Democracy, social trajectory