Thursday, February 5, 2009

Republican Senators Enforce Nominee Tax Purity?

The Republican Senators "strike back" against stimulus spending waste! Right. The quiet words of the "new Sheriff" in town. The latest from the meanmesa "Hypocrisy Hunters" series. 80

In the last couple of weeks the television news watching crowd -- I’m one of them -- has watched as Obama nominations “crashed and burned” on revelations about tax audits. There seem to be some interesting details worthy of a touch of “Common Sense from the Desert’s” treatment.

Daschle was by far the most unlikely of these nominating victims. For another administration at another time, this man would have survived the usual Senatorial meat grinder, suffered a little “road rash,” and finally been sworn in as H.S.S. Secretary. This time, however, Daschle, the nominee, encountered a cruel twist of fate, at least a cruel fateful moment.

Our first inclination, possibly one powered forward with an unbending admiration for the Mr. Clean approach of our new President, is to assume that Mr. Daschle was simply too injured to ever meet the “purity” test which we all like to think Barack Obama promised us during his campaign. Those who accept this nice, simple explanation of the nomination’s failure are gobbling up a very lazy account of the reasons driving the affair.

That may be both convenient and comfortable, perhaps even something abstract which can inspire material hope, but it may also miss the more important fact mushing around a few inches below the surface of the Earth like some political gopher.

Although President Obama is quietly rehabilitating his implied character of being permanently above the filth of Washington’s “business as usual crowd,” this retraction of the Daschle nomination carries an even more interesting message. The President’s striking admission of poor judgment, repeated an embarrassing number of times as he “danced the week away” with every pundit who could still walk after the election, presents an impressive reinforcement of that alternate explanation.

The alternate explanation?

It has everything to do with the momentary political climate. To quote Mark Shields (PBS: Jim Lehrer News Hour), “The voters of this country are furious.” In the past, such a comment would have required a following phrase, a specific insult or mismanaged calamity of some sort, that is, “furious about -- something or other...” Mr. Shield’s remark, however, stopped cold. No contemporary target was offered to explain the “fury.”

His view, and mine, is simply what he said. “The voters of this country are furious.”

The hackneyed pundits charged with selling their expertise on such matters cosmetically disguised as “commercial media news” are stumbling all over themselves. Each one of these high paid, allegedly believable celebrity news hawkers has trotted out one explanation after another for the astonishing nihilistic monster loose out here in the hinterlands of public opinion.

The single conclusion they have either overlooked or disregarded as “not salable as important breaking news” is that all the folks on this end of the national 1040’s are furious. We have been lied to, tricked, insulted, ignored and, finally, financially gang raped by a group of previously unknown nobodies who managed to constipate every seat of power in the country under the cover of a President just as crooked as they were. Thanks to the surreptitious hijacking of the main media by this same bunch, we still have no idea what is actually going on.

We only know it hurts. We only know it gets worse from here.

Obama has accurately evaluated this phenomenon as it revealed itself day by day in the start of his Presidency. Folks in the heartland of this country have their quivering fingers on the trigger. They may not know who exactly they should aim at, but they are damned ready to “kick ass and take names.” This political climate cannot be explained away with deliciously attractive narcotic cause and effect drivel by any pundit presently in front of a microphone. (The News Hour has, very judiciously, simply declined that risky editorial adventure, instead concentrating on its typical good quality news reporting.)

Of course Daschle’s tax problem ejected him from his moment of glory. Of course Nancy Killefer, the nominee for the new post of Chief Performance Officer, withdrew from nomination over a $1,000 tax error. $1,000? Low level Bush cronies wouldn’t have missed a $1,000 lost in a weekday booze binge! The voters in this country are at the point of lynching someone for kicking a dog.

The thread of this thought runs even further into our national psyche. Obama stands before us fully armed with sufficient facts to incite a riot (Romanian revolution style: “Drag the smoldering corpse behind the truck, comrade!”) outside the gates of the new Bush mansion in Dallas, but he carefully skirts much direct comment. He doesn’t need to say much more than he is saying now. Everyone here knows. Even the guy who is still trying to watch the commercial media news knows. Everyone.

The President’s comments are designed to calm us down a bit. Not even his political genius, although formidable, has any foolish appetite to harness the whirlwind of where this state of mind could lead. There are no allocations for guillotines in the stimulus bill.

So, the nominations will have to be cleaned, purified. He’s done that.

But when he responded to the gigantic $18 billion for bonuses, the $800,000 super bowl tent and the $40 million dollar corporate jet, all paid for with bail out money, he crept an inch or two closer to where the rest of us already are. We saw only one, lightening quick glimpse -- probably revealed only by his premeditation -- in his comments, then his stoic magnanimity resurfaced.

He was communicating. He was communicating at a high level we are not accustomed to seeing.

I assume half the looters on Wall street, the more clever ones of the bunch, burped in their martinis at that moment. The IRS audits have been so much fun so far, why not the Captains of Industry who are signing those bail out checks? Why not the ultra-smug Republican Senators who were "just outraged" by these dirty tax dodgers? Have we forgotten that neo-cons are allergic to leadership?

Yeah. Let's add a nice big auditing allocation to that stimulus bill. These hypocritical parasites extract all their comforts from us anyway, why not care for them in a nice, warm Federal Prison?

Google News offers a comprehensive account of the withdrawn nominations:

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