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    • The Attack In Ottawa will be used to justify losing more rights
      Prime Minister Harper pretty much confirmed it: ‘Our laws and police powers need to be strengthened’ Yup.  Never let a crisis go to waste. I’m very sad that MPs and their staff were scared, and I’m sadder that a soldier lost his life.  But one attack does not justify increasing the police state.  However, if [...]
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Chris Christie: Faux Outrage or Genuine Distress?

I’ve read a lot of skepticism about Chris Christie’s harsh words for his party.  Even the NYTimes is jumping into the speculation frenzy by pointing out that Christie’s harshest words were for Speaker Boehner while he was rather conciliatory towards Eric Cantor.  So, is Chris Christie just trying to score some political points for his future presidential campaign by contrasting himself against his own party or is he genuinely frustrated?

I’m going to go with the latter and here’s why.  First, everyone in Congress expected a vote on Tuesday for Hurricane Sandy funds.  Chris Christie and Peter King were not the only people who were surprised that the Sandy vote was pulled at the last minute.  We can debate whether it was personal ire towards Christie from the Republicans or some bigger strategy.  I lean towards a bigger strategy.  Republicans are not stupid.  They’re like zombies who think.  You can never turn your back on them. Pulling the Sandy bill serves some purpose of theirs.  We don’t know what yet but they’re going to use Sandy and New Jersey for something.  Count on it.

Secondly, the shore businesses that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy need to be at least partially up and running by Memorial Day.  That’s only 5 months away.  People tend to forget that New Jersey’s economy relies heavily on shore business during the summer.  We’re not all trashy, spangly Guidos and Guidettes.  The shore money usually comes from families renting houses for 1-2 weeks in the summer in places like Avalon and Lavalette.

Time is of the essence.  Christie’s re-election will definitely hinge on whether or not he can deliver the funds in time or not.  Getting people all fired up against Republican House members isn’t going to help him *this* year.  It might have an impact in 2014 but Christie might be gone by then.

Now, is it possible that Christie is playing a part in some elaborate game where he blusters and storms about Sandy relief and the Republicans wring their hands and say, “All that money will increase the deficit.  We can’t afford it without some skin in the game from every American in the form of cuts to Social Security and Medicare.”  Well, I hate to be tin-foily but anything is possible with this bunch.  But if this all hinges on the debt ceiling crisis that’s coming up in March, then I think Christie doesn’t give himself enough time to get the job done at the shore by going along with it, something I’m sure he has reiterated to Boehner’s office.

So, I’m going with genuine distress.  That doesn’t mean I like Christie (I don’t) or think he’s secretly a nice guy (as if) or that he’s undergoing a character building experience (dream on).  I think he’s as self-interested as any other governor who’s running for re-election.  Sandy might be Christie’s Waterloo and he knows it.

The latest news is that Boehner is scheduling the Hurricane Sandy vote for Friday.  It’s very interesting timing.  The bill includes money for fisheries in Alaska and the Gulf coast that were also damaged by Sandy.

huh?

Also, the funds would be split into two parts.  $27 billion now and $33 billion for later projects.  If we assume that the Republicans know they can’t get around passing *some* kind of Sandy relief, splitting the bill into two parts still gives them leverage to get what they want later.

 The new Congress is sworn in today.  So, one of the first things they will vote on is a spending increase, which Republicans will use next year against their opponents when they run for their seats.  Sweeeet.  Can’t you just hear the campaign stump speeches now?  “My opponent was sworn in only a year ago and the very first thing he/she did was vote to increase the deficit by $27 BILLION dollars.  We’ll be working for the Chinese before you know it.  The world will end, dogs and cats will be living together…”

Life in Post-Apocalyptic New Jersey: Was it something I said?

Hoboken Path train station flooding during Sandy

Back on December 19, 2012, I wrote:

On to Sandy.  I got an email from Senator Menendez about the negotiations for Hurricane Sandy funds and it has occurred to me that if Menendez and Lautenberg concede on the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations, it could be that they’re being pressured to give in or the funds will be much, much smaller than we need or non-existent.  Would the Republicans screw business owners in New Jersey who have been footing the bill for their states for decades by getting the least amount of federal funds back for every dollar they send to Washington?  Sure they would.  They’re not concerned with the fate of New Jersey, the shore communities that make their livings in the summer or the fact that the Northeast Corridor trains from DC to New York cut through this state or that New Jersey towns are really suburbs of either New York City or Philadelphia.  No, all that matters is that the Republican donors get to sit on as much wealth as they can possibly accumulate under them.  I’d like to hear what is going on with the Sandy reconstruction funds and be reassured that they aren’t being held hostage to the Republican terrorist threat but I am not hopeful.

Ooooo, so close.

But I was wrong.  Yes, you heard me say it.  I was wrong to think that Republicans were going to use Sandy as a threat on the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations.

I’m betting they’re going to use this for the next hurdle, the debt ceiling.  “Nice little state you got there, Senator Menendez.  Be a shame if something *happened* to it.”  Or it might be something in the interim.  They’ll make helping New Jerseyans and Lawnguylanders into a bad thing.

Would Republicans do it?  Oh ,heck yeah they would.  There’s nothing they like so much as to make people feel good about kicking the next person down on the totem pole.  Except that’s not the direction where all the money is.

Chris Christie got a little exorcised (as opposed to exercised, a word with which he appears to be unfamiliar) today when he said this:

“There is only one group to blame,” Christie said. “The House Majority and John Boehner.”

“Last night, the House Majority failed the basic test of leadership and they did so with callous disregard to the people of my state,” he said. “It was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”

“Shame on you, shame on Congress.”

Following his remarks, Christie doubled down on his criticism in a lengthy — and incredibly candid — press conference in which he laid into House Republicans for putting “palace intrigue” ahead of their actual jobs.

“Our people were played last night as a pawn…and that’s why people hate Washington, D.C.,” Christie said later. “They forget that we’re the ones who sent them there.”

Asked who he thought was responsible on the holdup over Sandy aid, Christie laid the blame entirely on Boehner.

“It was the Speaker’s decision — his alone,” Christie said, adding that he tried to reach Boehner four times, but that the Speaker did not take his calls until this morning.

“I won’t get into my conversation with [Boehner], but I will tell you there is no reason to believe anything they tell me.”

If I hadn’t watched Christie throw his weight around here in NJ for the past three years, yelling at teachers, maligning union workers and giving our two Democratic Senators the silent treatment, I might feel a little sorry for the predicament he’s in.  Here’s a Republican governor pissed as hell with his party for good reason.  If human behavior were susceptible to selective pressure, this is the time when Christie would begin to experience empathy for the Sandy stricken victims in his state and evolve away from the hard hearted, “fend-for-yourself” political tactics of his party.

Well, a girl can dream.

On the other hand, I have read somewhere that political revolutions happen when the pain intensifies on the middle and upper stratum of society and the Haves start feeling betrayed by the Have-Mores.  We might be at that point now. So, maybe the House Republicans should continue to act like f^&*ing assholes.  In fact, the assholier the better.  Get it all out there.  Let’s see how low they can go.

I’m more than a little incensed right now that the Republicans have decided to hold New Jersey hostage.  Unemployment here is pretty bad since the big pharmas picked Massachusetts as their new Bug Out Location.  And it’s only going to get worse in the summer if the shore properties and businesses are still under water, metaphorically or not.  The money would have been a much needed stimulus package as well as a way to fix our deteriorating infrastructure.

But the Republicans are the majority in the House and they’ve decided to do nothing.  This is why we can’t have nice things.

Not sure what Christie can do at this stage.  He’s made a career out of nastiness to Democrats and while they’ll do the right thing, his own party is never going to forgive him for sashaying around the shore with Obama a few days before the election.  Of course, that’s just the excuse they’ll give for being sociopathic bastards who are bent on killing the social safety net.  They don’t really need a reason but their gullible public will probably demand one so they feel justified in piling on poor Ortley Beach and Hoboken.  Christie’s in a tight spot.

Then again, he could just send some men around to break some knees.

*****************************************

Update on the tree situation: It’s going to be a long process cleaning up the trees.  All along the roads, people have stacked tree corpses in neat little pyramids.  But the other day, I was driving through the Duke Estate in Hillsborough and the storm has been devastating there. The estate has lost 2,000 trees.  Brook and her friends wanted to visit the nature center and ride their bikes through the park back in early December.  But when they got there, the caretakers told them the estate was closed because of tree damage.  It’s just too dangerous to ride along the paths.  I could tell that there was substantial damage and had to agree with them.  You just never know.

Then, a wind storm struck right before Christmas.  The wind was really strong and as I was driving through the other day, I noticed that there were a lot more trees down.  The estate now looks like a bomb hit it and more fragile trees that made it through Sandy came down. That might have been where I saw another tree dragging down a power line.  It’s unnerving because cutting through the Duke Estate is the best way to avoid the main drag here.

I’ll try to take pictures tomorrow.

WTF?? Another example of how sexism costs all of us

So, I was reading Elizabeth Drew’s article in the New York Review of Books titled “What Were They Thinking?” that recounts how we got to this messy stage of impasse, political grandstanding and Obama’s inflated self-image when I came to what I think might be a hidden gem on two points:

Finding a solution to reducing the deficit that was agreeable to Boehner, to Cantor, to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and to the President was no small task. The men, who had rudely and unwisely excluded Pelosi, now the minority leader, from their deliberations, could no longer avoid dealing with her. They’d considered Pelosi a bit of a pain, insistent as she was on standing up for liberal principles.

Are you f^&*ing kidding me?  These GUYS excluded the former speaker of the house and now minority leader from the negotiations because she sticks up for liberal principles?  I’ll be the first one to say that Nancy shouldn’t be surprised and is paying royally for the mess she made in Denver in 2008.  But Jeez, it is completely unacceptable that there wasn’t even one woman in the room when these assholes met, not even the House Democrats’ minority leader.  It happens in the business world all of the time.  Women don’t get the email, are conveeeeeniently left off the meeting list, their phone calls are ignored.  And THIS is womens’ issues are never considered in the final bills.  If you’re a liberal woman, you’re doubly screwed.

And Barack Obama was OK with this?

You betcha.

#fuckyouwashingtonguys

Update: Craig Crawford says that Congressional leaders have decided to cut Obama out of future negotiations.  Here’s what he’s been hearing:

It’s no surprise that Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, went out of their way to insult the president but remarkably Democrats also went forward over the weekend with Capitol Hill debt talks that did not even include a symbolic emissary from the White House.

[...]

While the GOP obviously would savor a solution to the debt-ceiling crisis that gives Obama no credit, why are Democratic leaders so willing to cut him out?

The answer might be found in growing concerns among veteran Capitol Hill Democrats that their president is a lousy negotiator.

Although they see him as a talented public communicator, his short time as a senator and painfully slow learning curve as president leads congressional Democrats to think it best to take over and provide cover for him once the deal is done.

Wow, just wow.  Um, would giving him cover really be the best idea?  Maybe they’ve been too permissive.  They provided him with a lot of cover in 2008 and carried him gently over the threshhold of the nomination.  In retrospect, that was a bad idea.  It could explain why he’s painfully slow to learn his job and why he’s so fricking clueless about legislating with Congress. He’s never had to do it before.

After this is all over, the Democrats need to have a heart to heart with President Mashieniblick.  The idea that they can foist him on the rest of us and give us no Democratic alternative is unacceptable when they don’t think he is capable of doing his job.

Monday: The Thot Plickens

Jaguar earlobes, wolf nipple chips, get'em while their hot!

Lot’s of juicy tidbits going on in the News International scandal (did I hear Milliegate?).

In no particular order:

Scotland Yard’s second in command, John Yates has resigned.

Sean Hoare, the former News of the World reporter who spilled the beans on the hacking has been found dead.  The death is not ruled suspicious, yet, but maybe Scotland Yard doesn’t have time to investigate it thoroughly, what with just about everyone in the police and their brother somehow involved in the scandal.

Rebekah Brooks resigned over the weekend and lo and behold!  Her computer and business papers were dumped in a trash bin by her husband.  I’m sure he was just helping her clean up her office crap.  I have a garage full of office flotsam and jetsom.  But unlike Rebekah, I didn’t take any incriminating work home with me.  Next time, chuck the bloody thing in the river, not the dumpster.

The Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial defending its parent company.  This one will go down in history as the most pathetic “Well, everybody does it but we get blamed for everything we do” set of lame ass excuses ever to grace the editorial page.  It’s a doozy.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, President Obama, John Boehner and Eric Cantor met again over the weekend to figure out how the respective parties could screw the middle class and pin the blame on the other party.  No agreement was reached.  Enough, already.  This is not a game of stratego.  There are real people, real countries at stake here.  Raise the debt ceiling and quit f^&*ing around.

You know, I’ll bet we wouldn’t even be discussing this debt ceiling thing if the Milliegate had broken about 6 weeks ago.  Is there a connection between the obsessive focus on the deficit at the expense of the unemployed and Murdoch’s evil empire?

Damn straight there is.

Note to commenters: The words Sarah, Palin and any combination thereof are trigger words that will get your comment relegated to the moderation bin.  The comment will be released when I get around to determining whether or not you are pushing Palin on us.  This afternoon, I found *12* such comments in the moderation bin and have released only a few.  Don’t get me wrong.  We don’t have anything against her personally but she doesn’t share our political philosophy and we’re sick and tired of having to explain this to Palin supporters.  If she’s your kind of gal, you might be more comfortable commenting elsewhere.  This is non-negotiable.  To paraphrase Douglas Adams, “The internet is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to internet.”  It is difficult to be censored in the blogosphere so we encourage you Palin supporters to find your voice and speak up- vigorously- somewhere else.  Ditto for the Ron Paul supporters and their novel-length manifestos.

Dems may be looking forward to this briar patch

Well, as long as politicians insist on playing games, Boehner and McConnell may have put themselves on the losing end of this one.  Kevin Drum lays out the details of “The Blink” in Mother Jones:

  1. Next month Obama would receive approval to raise the debt ceiling $700 billion.
  2. A “resolution of disapproval” would then be taken up by Congress on an expedited basis (i.e., no filibusters allowed).
  3. If the resolution passes, Obama can veto it.
  4. If he vetoes it, it requires a two-thirds vote of both houses to override.
  5. If there’s no override, the debt limit is increased, but Obama would be required to lay out a “hypothetical” set of budget cuts totalling $700 billion.
  6. This would be repeated (in $900 billion increments) in the fall of 2011 and summer of 2012.
Kevin is dismayed and disappointed at how juvenile this is.  But if I were Dems, I would head for the fainting couch, hysterically weeping at how awful the deal is but they’ll have to do it because they haven’t got a choice.  It’s either this or defaulting and sending the world into a steepest economic descent.
Then, let the Republicans tie everything up, 3 times in the next year.  Let all the legislation that should have been passed be eaten up with time wasting demogoguery on the House floor.  While the rest of the country waits for the Republicans to move on already and do something about unemployment or step aside forgawdssakes and let the Democrats do something about unemployment, we will watch a rerun of Newt Gingrich’s bone headed hostage crisis of 1996 and we’ll get to see it 3 times!
 If the Democrats are smart, and so far, they haven’t demonstrated a surplus of intelligence. they’d propose cuts to military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, or they’ll propose a Millionaire’s tax or they’ll let the Bush tax cuts expire on anyone making more than $250,ooo.  It would be the responsible thing to do when so many people are out of work and can’t afford to pay their piano teachers or their mortgages (or the piano teachers who can’t pay their mortgages).  Are the Republicans saying they want even MORE people to lose their houses while they tie the Congress up in knots and drag Obama kicking and screaming to their chambers to beg them to be reasonable?  Because, at this point in time, I’m not sure that’s a calculation the Republicans should think they will profit by.  Fox News doesn’t look quite as reliable as a propaganda organ as it did a few weeks ago. And many of us are ready to ditch Obama in 2012 anyway.  If the Republicans want to play Red Rover, we’ll send Obama over in a heartbeat.  I mean, if it’s going to be only marginally less bad with him there anyway, why not just bite the bullet and vote for a truly nutty Republican like Michelle Bachmann and go for a Democratic House?  You know, make Democrats play defense for a change.
And when you think about it, electing Bachmann could have some benefits.  For one thing, a woman on the ticket would be hard to resist.  Sure, she’s a conservative who is ready to kill the New Deal but, as it turns out, so was Obama.  Sure, she’s not a proponent of reproductive rights but Obama isn’t exactly a Sensitive New Age Guy.  (Quelle Surprise!)  Anyway, the sooner we get rid of Roe v. Wade, the sooner we can work on equal rights for women that would restore choice by default and who’s to say that Bachmann wouldn’t be on-board with that?  Think of how the feminist movement would be energized and let’s face it, it’s about as anemic as it comes right now.  Besides, for all we know she’s a secret liberal, she’s just playing a conservative to win.   I’ll bet she’s really a brilliant mathematical genius who can do differential calculus with a blindfold and without a calculator.  (See?  *We* can make nonsensical assertions as well as any Obot in 2008.)
Just a thought {{tongue firmly in cheek}} but think about it, ladies, it’s passed time for us to take the White House and if a historical barrier has to be broken with a conservative, so be it.  It’s not like the concept has never been tried before.  Otherwise, we may never see a female president in our lifetimes and I’m kind of sick of waiting, aren’t you?   We could have had a competent, experienced, DEMOCRATIC female president but that lovable but crrrrazy activist base of ours will have none of it, so, why not the next best thing?  If you’re hoping to hurry the governmental Armageddon that will bring on a millenium of earthly paradise, you can’t go wrong with an Evangelical Christian.
But I digress.
If I were Democrats, I’d jump on this once in a lifetime opportunity to let the Republicans hang themselves.  By the time the election rolls around, they’ll be thoroughly sick of the game and voters will remember the ordeal the pols put them through.
That’ll learn’em.
This one’s for you, John Boehner:

The Ring of Gyges (It’s a post election blog)

Note: This is a post election blog but it has a slow buildup.  It will all make sense by the last paragraph.

Last week, Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) was fined $750 million for failing to clean up a production facility in Puerto Rico.  Here’s a quick summary of how the case went: The plant in PR produces Cidra among other products.  It was cited by the FDA for violations of good manufacturing processes.  The FDA told the plant to clean it up.  GSK sent a woman named Cheryl Eckard, a quality assurance manager, to PR to look into it.  Eckard reported back that the plant was in worse shape than previously thought.  And GSK ignored her.  Repeatedly.  GSK did not address the issues of the PR facility.  I guess what the FDA doesn’t know won’t hurt them.  Eckard got to be a pain in the ass, so GSK fired her.  That’s when Eckard decided to blow the whistle.  As part of the settlement with the government, GSK has to fork over $96 million to Eckard for damages.  She’ll never get another job.

Derek Lowe, who writes the excellent pharmageek blog In the Pipeline has this to say about the suit:

I’ve written about this sort of thing before, and I continue to think that this is a good law. It takes a tremendous amount of nerve to put your own livelihood at stake to report something that’s going wrong (and isn’t being fixed). The incentives need to be there. If we were a perfectly altruistic species, any of us would have no problem sacrificing ourselves immediately for the good of the whole. But the very fact that there’s such bad conduct to take the risk of reporting on tells you that we’re not that sort of species at all.

[…[

I’m not enough of a libertarian to think that the market will take care of all such behavior without an extra possibility of punishment backing it up. I think that we really do need regulatory authorities (although we can argue the details after that statement!), in the same way that we really do need police forces. Both of those groups can (and do) abuse their authority at times, but both of them also provide a much-needed function, human nature being what it is.

And the nature of big organizations being what it is, too. “Never explain by malice what can be explained by stupidity” is a pretty good rule, and in a large company, you can add inertia, backside-covering, careerism, and deciding that a given mess is someone else’s problem. The bigger a company, the more chances there are for these things to happen. Perhaps the possibility of a $750 million dollar fine will help to concentrate attention in such cases – and if not, well, how about a billion? Try for two?

The FDA busts production facilities all of the time but most companies suck it up and fix the problem or shut the facility down, as happened with the makers of the Today Sponge.  Remember Seinfeld’s Elaine Benis who picked her lovers based on whether they were Spongeworthy?  The company that made the sponge couldn’t get rid of bacteria in the manufacturing step and they couldn’t identify and fix the problem so no more sponges.  That’s the way it should work.

So, we see that regulation of what goes into our bodies is working.  And no one would argue that that is a bad thing.

But when it comes to the financial industry that handles our money, it’s a fricking free for all.  What we have is like a never ending season of Deadwood.  There’s very little regulation, no one agency that’s minding the store, financial entities who choose their own regulators, trillions of dollars gambled away, young hotshot assholes who think they are smarter than the rest of us and deserve whopping bonuses, and companies who should be paying massive fines for fraud instead receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout money instead of being shut down for failing to clean up their act.

No one is accountable for any of their actions in the financial industry.  They get away with anything and everything.  Their actions have brought the world economy to the brink of catastrophe and we were spared that by a hasty and ill structured financial bailout package that hasn’t fixed anything.  Not only have the financials learned nothing, but they turn out to be the biggest terrorists we face.  All they have to do is threaten to send the stock market plunging and presidents and legislatures give in to their demands for more chips to gamble on the world economy.

The result of letting the financials off the hook is misery for millions of workers from Ireland and Iceland to America and Greece.  It is simply inexcusable for these people to continue to operate unchecked.

So, before Speaker Boehner decides to slash taxes for many of his buddies with a cent or two for the rest of us and before he decides to make it almost impossible for me and my buddies to retire, the very first thing I expect him to do is hold the financials accountable. The people have spoken.  They want change.  But if we want real change, we can’t put the cart before the horse.  No one should get a tax break while the fox is still guarding the hen house.  I want to see takeovers of failing banks by the FDIC, no matter how big they are.  I want to see banks fined heavily for fraudulent foreclosures.  I want to see a real mortgage program so that people can stay in their houses and pay a reasonable amount to the investors who stupidly got themselves and us into this mess.

No presents until someone pays for the party. Don’t look to taxpayers to pick up the tab or sacrifice even one more cent.

That is what I want Speaker Boehner to concentrate all of his efforts on in the next two years.  Everything else is superfluous.  He’s got a lot on his plate holding the people who got us into this mess responsible for their actions and accountable for the high deficit spending that was necessary to keep us from teetering on the edge of insolvency.  There is no greater responsibility he has to the rest of us than making the financial industry solvent again without any additional sacrifice from us and I expect him to take this job seriously this time and forego stupid Republican slogans and grandstanding.  The last thing I want to see is Speaker Boehner blaming the victims, ordinary American citizens, for this catastrophe.

Human nature has not changed in the more than two thousand years since Plato wrote his story about The Ring of Gyges.  The magical ring was found in a cave by a poor shepherd.  The ring gives its wearer the ability to become invisible.  With that invisibility, the shepherd was able to sneak into the palace, seduce the king’s wife, kill the king and take over the kingdom and all of its riches.  The moral of the story is that morals themselves are not innate.  Society has a role in correcting misbehavior.  If a person can operate invisibly, they can get away with murder.  We shouldn’t assume that anyone can resist the temptation to take advantage of an opportunity if they think they won’t be held accountable.

Speaker Boehner now has the opportunity to shed his partisan skin and show the rest of us that he means to make people accountable.  Or he will be the first one tossed out in 2012.

The Republicans have now been warned.  If they don’t make bankers and the financial industry accountable, they will be held accountable instead.

Austerity without accountability will get you fired.  We’re holding Republicans accountable now.  Don’t test us.

Friday: The Treasury Secretary begged Pelosi on his knees?!

According to the NYTimes, the meeting on the financial bailout yesterday at the White House had definitely gone into fiasco territory:

The day began with an agreement that Washington hoped would end the financial crisis that has gripped the nation. It dissolved into a verbal brawl in the Cabinet Room of the White House, urgent warnings from the president and pleas from a Treasury secretary who knelt before the House speaker and appealed for her support.

“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush declared Thursday as he watched the $700 billion bailout package fall apart before his eyes, according to one person in the room.

WTF?!  This “sucker”?  That’s the way *I* talk, but I’m a blogger.  It’s part of my charm.  Shouldn’t we expect the President to behave like this is a very serious matter?  Oh, nevermind.  And what’s with Paulson falling to his knees before Pelosi?  This isn’t public theatre. What’s next?  A slug fest in Congress between the Democrats and Republicans?

Usually, I don’t do the sanctimonious little finger wag at the players in dramas like this when they get a little ‘exercised’ and passions erupt.  But this is so over the top:

In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

Mr. Paulson sighed. “I know. I know.”

The bailout deal looked resolvable until John Boehner pulled the rug out from everyone and said the Republican caucus in the House would not support more government regulation.  Everything is going as Anglachel predicted the other day.  This is a set up and trap by the Republicans to hang the whole stinky mess around the Democrats’ necks:

But a few blocks away, a senior House Republican lawmaker was at a luncheon with reporters, saying his caucus would never go along with the deal. This Republican said Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the chief deputy whip, was circulating an alternative course that would rely on government-backed insurance, not taxpayer-financed purchase of mortgage assets.

He said the recalcitrant Republicans were calculating that Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, would not want to leave her caucus politically exposed in an election season by passing a bailout bill without rank-and-file Republican support.

“You can have all the meetings you want,” this Republican said, referring to the White House session with Mr. Bush, the presidential candidates and Congressional leaders, still hours away. “It comes to the floor and the votes aren’t there. It won’t pass.”

It will also expose Obama’s tender underbelly.  When push comes to shove, he will save his backers on Wall Street over the hardworking American men and women who are going into massive debt on their behalf.  Er, that would be *us*.

If Obama had any core Democratic principles, he would know not to yield.  If he weren’t a lightweight, he could add his critical mass to the Democrats in negotiation.  Hey, here’s his first opportunity to reach across the aisle to get things done with Republicans in a post-partisan fashion and they are about to eat his lunch.  So much for the future leader of the free world who thought it was more important to strut his stuff in Berlin than sit with his advisors and hammer out policies that might work or that he actually believed in.

To be a successful president, and believe me, George W. Bush has been successful beyond expectations, you have to be able to do long term planning.  You have to be able to think several moves in advance.  OR you have to believe in what you *say* you believe and stand your ground.  Obama seems to be lacking in both of these areas.

I hope the Superdelegates are uneasy.  I hope they are regretting what they did last summer when they ignored the woman with the public support, the steely spine and the nasally voice of the policy wonk. SHE wasn’t even invited to the party and had to make her case directly to the American people, talking to bubble headed newsreaders who wanted to know what she thought of Sarah Palin.  I have nothing but contempt for the Superdelegates and it will give me great pleasure to vote against Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine when they run again.

What was their point, exactly?  Why support *this* man at *this* time in our nation’s history?   Someone better start talking.  The grown-ups out here are losing patience and the Democrats are headed for a four year time out.

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