Thursday, January 28, 2010

What We Learned Today is “That We Have A Broken Legislative Body That Will Cause The Country Problems For A Long Time”

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 28th, 2010


1) That is a real quote above from Mort Zuckerman in the normally fluffy “What Did We Learn Today” segment of the show. When an absolute captain of industry is that depressed at the state of things, it has to be a front and center concern for all of us. Joe Scarborough claims that the rules of the legislative body prevent it from swinging wildly, but that doesn’t seem to be the problem. Paralysis seems to be the problem, the ‘broken’ in Mort’s statement.

Look at the Republicans during the state of the union address. They had all of the posture of an invading army just out of reach of the cannons. They had the confident look of ‘we will be in charge this time next year’. I am the first to admit that the claims of obstruction go both ways. But the motivations of those parallel actions are so vastly different that we have to take a second to understand them before we can digest what we’re seeing.

The Republicans are lockstep to a mantra of anti-big government. They obstruct because they feel like Democrats are giving away the store via new unfundable mandates and entitlements. Government run health care, government established pollution policy. They say let the free market take care of itself or you will inhibit business beyond it’s ability to grow the economy.

The Democrats when in a similar situation in 2004 made similarly desperate obstructions a daily occurrence and hissed at President Bush’s address. They felt the Bush administration had made calculated, disengenuious claims that took us into an unnecessary war, but that also the war and the prescription drug overhaul and the tax cuts and the actions by the EPA were all mechanisms to transfer power and wealth to a small elite segment of the private sector.

Halliburton was Dick Cheney’s first taste of real wealth in this world. He got that job because he was a Defense Secretary. Once installed as a CEO there, he was an interested party in their well being forever. The magnitude of their enrichment by the Iraq war is still not fully understood. The fact that they profited to a far greater extent because Cheney and Rumsfeld did such a lousy job prosecuting the first 90 days of post invasion occupation has never really been examined as a potential strategy for the greatest war profiteering scheme in human history.

Yea, Democrats were obstructing in congress in 2004. this has nothing to do with the size of government. Yea the Republicans are bent on a zero outcome for 2010, until they think they can regain power and possibly move the 2012 presidential election towards Mitt Romney. This also has nothing to do with the size of government. Ladies and gentlemen, the ‘broken’ in Mort Zuckerman’s statement is that the two parties are on either side of the transfer of wealth issue, and that sneering, arms crossed group of 41 Senators and 178 Congressmen will have a tough time explaining why a smaller government will help you keep your money away from their clients Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, Eli Lilly, CIGNA, Exxon Mobil, and Comcast. Do your job as a voter and make them explain that before you put them back in power.

2) Katrina Vanden Heuvel had a spot at the table when Tim Kaine was on the show today and really missed a great opportunity. It is so crucial, and was literally set up for her by a fantastic grenade by Mika when she asked the DNC chairman if he was sucking up in his state of the union analysis and made Kaine explain himself on a reality check basis.

We all want to know where Kaine was in the Massachusetts election. There he was, there was Katrina, and nothing. Everyone on the set at that time is responsible for this misstep, you’ve as a cast setback your journalistic goals, but Katrina, cmon!

Kaine should have spent the entire time squirming out of his role in the Massachusetts debacle and been asked to compare and contrast his contribution to the DNC chairmanship to Howard Dean’s, and then he should’ve been asked if he should still be getting paid for that job, or was he actually being paid by CIGNA. Kaine should literally be fighting for his life right now and I’m shocked by the softballs.

3) I am impressed by the Joe Scarborough stand on the Justice Alito issue. I’m not taking sides, I think the campaign finance issue is horrible, the Supreme Court decision makes it worse, but it does us no good to argue from a distorted platform. As an optimist, I feel like the Supreme Court may have paved the way to get campaign finance reformed fully and finally. Our sister nations don’t allow paid television advertising and strictly limit the nature of campaign funding. We have to look at the equation of campaign finance and conflict of interest. We can’t keep putting loophole creators in with doublespeak names claiming to be campaign finance reform. We also can’t violate free speech. We also can’t deny market and profit impact of elections.

Just like healthcare reform is a lot simpler than 2600 pages. Campaign finance reform is a lot simpler than McCain Feingold. When it gets complicated, you’re being wagged.

McCain Feingold could be best described as a finger in the dike. Eventually it and everything else that only halfway accomplishes reform will be eroded away fully by a lawsuit or a planted loophole. That concept is not limited to this singular issue. It extends fully across our broken legislative and executive branches of government.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow

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