Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Whoo Hooo, Sex Scandal

(photo Jack Delano, 1941, "Backstage at the Rutland State Fair")

Since I was away from the news and the computer for a few days due to the race, I watched a good deal of MSNBC last night--Matthews, Schultz, Maddow, O'Donnell. The primary focus was the Cain sex story, as it might be described. It's a complex "thing," this story. First, there's the Politico story itself, an assertion that Cain has settled one or possibly two sexual harassment accusations out of court, for cash. Second, there's the story of Cain's changing reactions to this assertion of fact, upon being confronted with it. Third, there's the hard right punditry's knee jerk reaction that it's an attack on a black conservative by the liberal press, a kind of accusation of racism. Fourth, there's the mystery of where Politico got its tips, which led to the story.

And there's the fifth aspect or facet of this story. That as is typical with such stories, it obliterated at least for a time the much more significant story that should be required work for the whole realistic American press--that right wing billionaires are successfully distorting our political process to their own ends, and that one of their smaller efforts in this regard is actually the candidacy of Mr. Herman Cain. For amongst the obliterated features of yesterday's news was the story that Mr. Cain received quite a bit of illegally contributed loot in his Presidential bid from groups directly associated with the Koch Brothers.

With regard to the sex story, seems to me that Mr. Cain's inept reaction to it is yet another proof that he has an extremely minimal campaign team, i.e., his candidacy is not serious, but is more like Gingrich's and the collapsed Palin phenomenon--an effort in self-promotion, a "book tour" so to speak. Had Mr. Cain a body of staffers, likely he would not have been personally surprised by the story, which led to his ever changing reactions to it (a feature of himself which isn't new to this story either, see., e.g., how his 9-9-9 plan is being revised on the fly as he runs into successive questions which reveal problems with it in its simple form--problems which actually go to prove the obvious, that a simple "flat" tax is grossly unfair and would be unpopular with almost everyone). Mr. Cain's lack of a body of staffers is in turn proof that his campaign isn't serious, which is in turn proof that the Republican Party finds itself unable to sift out the cranks from the serious candidates--a disastrous problem for an allegedly major party. And, one might also surmise from Mr. Cain's inability to settle on a truthful answer to the factual question he confronts--namely, did you in fact settle sexual harassment suits out of court for cash--suggests his inability to deal with the most important aspect of the job of President--being able to make firm decisions on important matters in real time. (But of course this inability is in a sense moot in Cain's case, since he isn't "really" running. Cain, like Gingrich, like Bachmann, like Santorum, is (as we say at Martinsville) just another Nemachek.

For a disinterested observer, which only means a person who understands that in the end they have but one vote, and that one vote is tho important, not a big fraction when it comes to Presidents, the question is more and more, how broke can this American system really get, before it actually breaks down. In that regard, my guess would be, on the question of who whispered in Politco's ear, Carl Rove. Certainly Democrats have no interest in derailing Mr. Cain, who derails himself with nearly every public appearance and appeals primarily to the people who ache to be derailed and distracted. Like Palin, Cain would be a candidate of choice for Democrats. Moreover, Politico is not a particularly liberal part of the press.

More generally, it seems to me that the de facto oligarchy is clearly of two minds about the direction the Kochs are trying to steer the country in. Last week the Dow went above 12 thousand. Mr. Buffet's editorial flutters on invisible wires in the air above the whole Congressional Republican delegation, a Mission Accomplished reproach to their patently obvious strategy of derailing any recovery in the hope that they will thereby derail Mr. Obama. Old money, such as the Koch family, brings with it a certain myopic perspective not shared generally by successful players, at least not in toto. While the Kochs imagine a stooge who distracts while the real game is played behind the scenes, the Buffets may consider a President of some capability to be of real value, as long as they still have his ear. It's possible that in the real world, yet another war, such as one with Iran or Pakistan, seems as big a mistake to the oligarchs as it does to everyone else living outside the blinders of "true belief," e.g., al qaeda or Palintot.

Nontheless, wouldn't it be nice if the public weren't distracted so often by the folks who are supposed to be windows to the world. It would help if institutions who are supposedly committed to maintaining those windows didn't collapse in the slightest breeze.

I'll repost the link for that sad remark here:

I have to wonder how NPR is "covering" the big Cain Sex Scandal.

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