Thursday, July 7, 2011

That Sinking Feeling

In 2000 I had a sinking feeling reading Molly Ivins' investigative work on George W. Bush, entitled "Shrub."  She detailed criminal behavior but tended to excuse him as a well-meaning slightly ridiculous buffoon.  I had a bad feeling because her description of Bush reminded me of a college roommate.  Like Bush, this roommate had a lot of personal charm, self-deprecating humor, and a bumbling folksy manner.  Like Bush, this roommate came from a rich family, name-dropped incessantly about his connections to the "Eastern Establishment" and yet resented them from southern regional prejudice.   Like Bush, he had never been held responsible for any bad behavior, and he had no concept of risk as a result.  Like Bush, he seemed to resent the system which celebrated his parents, as well as the myths of special American virtue surrounding democracy and capitalism.  By the end of the year, this roommate of mine had engaged in theft, vandalism, drugs, and had hatched a scheme to sell narcotics to high school children that only failed because the hashish he bought turned out to be wax.  He was never reprimanded, arrested, or disciplined for any of it.  He arrived the next year full of apologies for his bad behavior the previous year, and immediately began further crimes. 

In short, I had a sinking feeling that in Bush Molly Ivins had mistaken a bold criminal for the spoiled incompetent he wished her to see.  For example, Harkness Energy had decided to defraud the investing public by an accounting misrepresentation. To boost earnings, Harkness formed a new company consisting of Harken insiders, and sold it Harken's problem assets and liabilities at a highly favorable price.   They recognized a big profit on the sale, which saved their profit results for the year and prevented their stock price from collapsing.  The next year they bought the dogs back, closed the new company, and recognized  losses but only after insider Bush had disposed of his shares.  Molly Ivins duly reported that Bush was on the audit committee, but she did not suggest that he knew what was going on.  She seemed to find it plausible that a company employing a Harvard business graduate (Bush), but no other businessmen of significance, had entered into a significant fraud that would have embarrassed the sitting President of the United States (George H.W. Bush)  if discovered, while George W. Bush was on the Audit Committee, without his knowledge.  Nonsense!  Not only was it implausible he wasn't in on it, it had to be his idea because the same fraud was used repeatedly by Enron in later years and that company had nothing in common with Harkness except Bush.  From then on, "insider trading" became the Democrat theme.  It could be proved that an email was sent to Bush telling him not to sell his shares, but they couldn't prove that he ever read it. The larger story, the original accounting fraud, got lost in the shuffle even though the Bush Administration would compile an amazing record of altering statistics to serve political ends.

Bush, I told my friends, was the most corrupt man ever to seek the presidency.  They scoffed and smiled indulgently and felt I was playing the fool for partisan muckrakers, although not a single muckraker I had ever read had understood the magnitude of Bush's threat to America.

In 2008, people knew Bush was bad news.  They realized he had corrupted the Supreme Court and the electoral process, he had wrecked the economy, eliminated America's moral authority in the world by conducting a seamy unprincipled protection racket in both his foreign and domestic policies, and had destroyed America's freedoms one by one as though it were a personal mission.  Nonetheless, they were prepared to vote for Willard Mitt Romney, one of the few men even more spoiled and unprincipled than Bush, but with a greater intelligence, energy, organization, and capacity for harm.

Fortunately, Mitt Romney was stymied in 2008.  He was not torpedoed by the voters.  Indeed, he told workers in Michigan that they were in a "one state recession" because high gasoline prices had caused a crash in car sales.  He promised he would use his business acumen to help them be better at business, while his personal wealth soared, being partly invested in foreign oil companies that made money from the crisis that was costing Michigan jobs.  The foolish Michigan Republicans voted for him anyway, so blinded were they by the Romney ties to their state.    Romney was instead defeated because the many candidates collapsed too early, leaving only a few choices to compare against him and no chance of his winning.

In 2011 Romney has benefited from the sheer number of candidates in the field, and with his personal wealth, he can encourage more entrants in order to split the opposition and carry the day.  I don't know if he has or will do this, but  it is clear that Mitt Romney must be prevented from gaining the presidency and engaging in an even worse orgy of destruction of American values and the American economy than the lazy Bush was able to accomplish.  This blog will be dedicated to examining Mitt Romney, his non-record, his bold deceptions, and his plans to impoverish and crush America.

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