Sunday, November 13, 2011

Team Toon

Okay, so maybe it wasn't such a good idea for CBS to broadcast Saturday's South Carolina Republican presidential debate after "Horseland," an animated TV show for children, especially a debate that purported to focus on the president as commander-in-chief.

Watching the last few minutes of "Team Toon" made it exceedingly difficult for me to see this bevy of wanna be presidential nominees as anything more than cartoon characters meant to appeal to developing minds. For me, Team Toon quickly became Team Looney Tunes.

But, where on the evolutionary scale are we when one candidate, Herman Cain, deliberately engages in euphemistic jargon to hide the obvious, his egregious lack of knowledge about what's going on in Afghanistan. When asked how he would approach the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Cain said only, "There is a lot of clarity missing."

Is it a mistake for a future president to confuse clarity with information? I think so. Oh, and by the way, how much clarity is there in the way Cain is handling allegations of sexual misconduct made against him?

Cain is right. There is a lot of clarity missing. Voters, no doubt, would also like to know what he means when, according to the Associated Press, he says that God was behind his decision to enter the presidential race. We also need more clarity about why he would say, "You've got the wrong man, Lord?"

Oh, and don't think God is the only one. The day before this latest debate, when told by one of his supporters that Anita Hill would be coming to see him, as The Ticket reports, Cain quipped "Is she coming to endorse me?" Yes, this is funny, but is it appropriate?

Cain quickly morphs into a cartoon character when he uses awkward humor as a shield against serious allegations. Only those under 20 would miss his allusion to Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, and for him to make light of Anita Hill's claims shows just how out of touch Herman Cain is not only with reality, but with the realities everyday Americans face.

Of course, he was joking, just as he was joking about talking to God, right? Surely, a sense of humor is an asset, but would we find a joke like that funny coming from the president? Why should we find it funny coming from someone running for president?

Cain isn't joking when he says he will "trust the judgment of our commanders on what is, or is not, torture." Has he heard of a little thing called the Army Manual, international and domestic law that call waterboarding torture, and prohibit its use?

Cain and Bachmann both strongly support "enhanced interrogation techniques." Every prospective Republican nominee at the debate on Saturday night in South Carolina affirmed the use of waterboarding. The only ones to express disagreement or contempt for torture were Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, neither of whom has a snowball's shot in hell of being their Party's nominee.

And, what planet is Michele Bachmann on when she says the U.S. should be more like China. Is she not aware that, while healthy, China's economy has also been affected by the global downturn, and that, as the Guardian reports, China's growth was down in the last quarter? Or, will she demonstrate, as she has in the past, that she's not going to let a little thing like fact stand in her way.

Clearly, Rep. Bachmann has never heard about the massacre at Tiananmen Square, and is so out of touch with Occupy Wall Street, as well as the cries of the 99% movement that she belongs on Sesame Street not the ballot. At least Rick Perry couldn't remember the three government programs he'd like to cut. Bachmann can, and they include Medicaid, Department of Education, National Endowment for the Arts, Environmental Protection Agency, various consumer agencies. If given her way, she'd abolish not just Roe v. Wade, but the Civil Rights Act and, like Perry, her motto would be "let's back up."

Bachmann also said that the American Civil Liberties Union is running the Central Intelligence Agency. Guess she hasn't heard that General Petraeus, also known as general surge, is running the CIA.

Scared yet? Consider this, too. Perry, Cain, and Gingrich called for stepping up covert operations in Iran to take down the current leadership. What do they think has been going on there? Don't any of them read Seymour Hersh?

Well, Cain and Bachmann may have missed the mark, Rick Perry did a superb job with his answers this time. Trouble is, they were to the wrong questions. Gov. Perry's repeated requests to "back up" to the previous question work well as a metaphor for the Republican Party which is itself most adept when going in reverse.
Rick Perry's artful dodging may be a smart strategy for the governor of a state that has a budget deficit, and nearly 20% of its population surviving on food stamps, a rise of 3% over previous years. Highlighting this fact certainly does nothing for Perry's claim to be a job creator.

Republicans have their fingers firmly planted on the "fast rewind" button, that's for sure. Just think back to every time Romney went up against a Democrat and lost. Yes, of course, Romney went up against Democrats and won, but why did he fail to secure the presidential nomination back in 2008? Why would it be any different this time? Is his money any greener in D.C. now, a city with nearly 23% of its inhabitants on food stamps? How can Romney use the phrase "Obamacare" with a straight face. I'm sure it took a lot of practice in front of the mirror for that one.

Yes, you read right, at a time when 14% of the population is collecting food stamps, 44 million Americans, Romney says he'd turn over programs like Medicaid and food stamps to the states which means that states like Nevada, California, Florida, and Wisconsin would be hardest hit. Romney isn't that far off from Bachmann only instead of eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts, the former Massachusetts governor would instead reduce federal funding to NEA, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. What he would eliminate are programs that he claims benefit "abortion groups," thus implicitly seeking to gut Planned Parenthood.

Those who claim Romney's business acumen is just what this country needs right now don't understand the notion of leveraged buyouts. They don't understand that the last thing we need is a mindset that promotes downsizing in the name of boosting profits.

Italy and Greece have just handed over the reins of their governments to bankers. Are we prepared to do the same? And, if we do, who will pay for it? Not business, but workers and bankers. Make no mistake. Italy and Greece have a debt crisis. We have a jobs crisis. There is a big difference. Anyone who thinks that by keeping wealth in the hands of 1%, we will see job creation should be watching animated TV cartoons on Saturdays, and not running for political office.