Monday, September 20, 2010
I Want the “SH”
The Tea Party, The Best of Times and…
The Tea Party is the best thing—near term—that could happen to Democrats. It’s the worst thing—near term—for the Republican Party.
But, the Democratic Party ignores the Tea Party at its own peril, since the TP is not going away and--with better leaders and the experience of the 2010 elections--it will form a better conservative base to challenge Democrats in the 2012 elections.
The likely effect this November, where TP candidates run, is some TP victories. But, I suspect that its agenda will keep many Republican and independent voters home and bring out fervent D voters, who are not happy with congressional Democrats and actions of the Obama Administration, but cannot abide by the TP’s agenda.
The net will be to allow the Democrats to continue to control the Congress—with smaller numbers--giving both the Congress and the White House a chance to rehabilitate themselves before the fast approaching 2012 elections.
The extreme and not very mainstream positions taken by some Tea Party candidates may not be a consumable cup of tea for many old line GOP members. This is the group which just stays home.
Have all seen Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell—who beat former Governor and current Congressman Mike Castle--discuss her partying on a cemetery alter with a male witch and O’Donnell’s views on sex? How does a "country club Republican" get comfortable with O’Donnell’s belief, captured on television, that most Americans are sinners?
Or, how does it weigh in the GOP suburbs that Ms. O’Donnell—at various times—welshed on loans to her college, didn’t pay her mortgage or landlord, owed or owes the IRS back taxes, and has generated massive confusion over her townhouse which she also claims is her campaign office. You can’t use campaign funds to pay for personal shelter?
She has not declared any income sources and the conservative group which once had retained her for representational work--at very small dollars--recently disavowed O’Donnell.
You Snooze, You Lose
But, there are too many creative, angry and cunning GOP operatives, who angst for political power, to not figure out a way—over time--to align themselves with the TP or just try and marry it.
If the Democrats don’t strategize, fortify, and align their presidential and congressional agendas—with their voters’ interests--then the TP assault, augmented by the remnants of the GOP, will be geometrically higher in 2012 than the one they face this November.
The TP’s core issues have a surface appeal, which could blind voters to the lack of policy substance behind them.
“Cut federal spending” sounds good, but where and who gets whacked when more than 50% of the nation relies on some form of direct federal assistance? And, once again, nobody should think that the “private sector” is somehow immune from nursing at Uncle’s breast. I won’t bore you with the list of industries which do, but the large commercial banks and their investment banks subsidiaries are very prominent on that list.
Democrats and the GOP—if it wants to survive tthrough the 2012 races--require tactical actions, now, to head off wholesale voter entrancement by a simplistic Tea Party manifesto.
How serious is the Tea Party threat?
Delawareans knew about O’Donnell’s foibles and outrageous public comments for years, because had run before for the Senate GOP nod.
Ms. O’Donnell—despite all of her “flaws” and the knowing smiles she generates--whipped a wonderfully able and smart Republican public official in their Senate primary.
Since her last week’s primary win, the Washington Post reports that O’Donnell has raised $1.8 million in campaign contributions and most of it is not from Delaware.
That’s a lot of “serious.”
“The Boys Are Back in Town"
Washington got a major jolt of good news last week (no, not Mayor Adrian Fenty’s defeat, which DC will rue), but the info that Tom Nides is coming back and will work at the State Department for Secretary Hillary Clinton, succeeding the incomparable Jack Lew. Mr. Lew reportedly is going over to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Both are good appointments.
Tom is a super likeable young guy, barely 50, who worked admirably for years in Democratic political circles. Five years ago, he went off to work on Wall Street, marched smartly up the corporate ladder and ended up as Morgan Stanley’s Chief Operating Officer, plus owned a gaggle of other titles and responsibilities.
His early resume is filled with Democratic political action, including as an aide to former House Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash); chief of staff to US Trade Representative Mickey Cantor; and chief of staff to VP candidate Joe Lieberman during the 2000 presidential campaign.
But Nides re-emergence on the Capitol scene confirms for me a rumor that I’ve been hearing for weeks about “it,” a piece of space age trickery that assaults the simple minds of common old folks like me.
(Reader warning: Maloni’s barbed and twisted humor to follow.)
The “it’ is the “Sani-history” or “SH.” Its creators claim that,” the "SH" can turn “chicken s*** into chicken salad!”
It is super practical for any job seeker, since the “SH” apparently can wipe from a candidate’s career history any heinous or embarrassing experiences, like being an active cannibal, a member of the Nazi party, an experienced commercial pilot with Al Queda tendencies, or having a top post Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
This is where Nides comes in. You see, he was my colleague and friend at Fannie Mae for a few years, before he left for New York.
I noted last week two other Fannie veterans, one a former senior employee and a the other a valued company consultant, are being considered for a major White House vacancy soon to open.
I couldn’t figure out how those guys had managed to breach the “Maginot Line” employment obstacles, erected early by the Obama Administration, reportedly to fence out candidates who worked at/for Fannie or Freddie.
The historical absence of any Democrats at Freddie Mac, except for the legendary “Harvey”—Leland Brendsel’s former one armed driver, who only could make right turns---eased these concerns at the Virginia company.
Nides and the others must be proof positive that the “SH” exists and works!