Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Remember Newt and Mitt

Newt and Mitt seem to think we are all too young to remember or we are all afflicted with Alzheimer’s. I remember.

I remember Newt Gingrich’s disastrous term as Speaker from 1995 to 1999. I remember that he was disciplined in January 1997 by the House of Representatives for ethics accusations. I also remember that Gingrich resigned from the House on November 5, 1998, under pressure from his Republican colleagues. I remember him being divisive, using extremist language, and closing down the government when he wasn’t given a seat up front in Air Force One. I remember that he not only was against gays in the military but also was against women serving – something about hunting giraffes and our ‘cycles’ being problematic in the trenches. He says he wants to bring us back to Reagan era job creation. Really? I remember the Fed funds rate being over 20% during the Reagan era. There weren’t a lot of jobs being created with that rate. Unemployment reached a high of almost 17% under Reagan and by the end of his term we had only improved to around 8% -- not far from where we are now. No thank you, I don’t want to go back to those good ole days.

Mitt Romney says he learned from his father how to lead. Whoa! I remember George Romney. I remember difficult race relations in Detroit during his term as governor from 1963 to 1969. Race riots, block busting – horrible stuff. I was raised in Detroit so conditions might not be as clear in your memory but Romney was always finding ways for his friends to profit on the misery of others and racial unrest was just another opportunity. He then went on to be Secretary of HUD – what a disaster! He allowed improper behavior with FHA mortgage insurance and Section 235 subsidies and did nothing. There were inflationary appraisals, faulty repairs, and rushed approvals so his friends could make a quick buck. Later the bulldozers had to level the homes and neighborhoods were destroyed by HUD. But George Romney taught his son well as Mitt now spouts idiocy about ‘let the values decline until investors are attracted’. There were a couple books really popular during Romney’s rein in HUD: The Federal Bulldozer by Martin Anderson and The Unheavenly City by Edward Banfield – both highly regarded by Milton Friedman and Mitt often quotes from them when talking about the housing crisis. I remember George Romney’s crowning glory was the dynamiting of the Pruitt Igoe public housing project. HUD under George Romney disbursed millions and millions of tax dollars to his friends supposedly to fix Pruitt Igoe but by the end of Romney’s term it was deemed a failure and dynamited. So why should vacant foreclosed homes be of any concern to Mitt?

Mitt used these lessons of rewarding your friends well when he formed Bain Capital. Andy Kroll (another guy that seems to remember) over at Mother Jones has an excellent article on his ‘job creation’ experience worked at Bain. Dade International is an excellent example. Kroll writes: “Dade International, a medical testing company acquired by Bain and Goldman Sachs in 1994. As Bloomberg reported, Bain cut 1,600 jobs from the company between 1996 and 1999 after merging the company with several others as part of Bain's restructuring plan. In 1999, Bain and Goldman sold Dade International, as it was later called, for a profit, but left the company buried in debt. It filed for bankruptcy in 2002.” Kroll has other examples but be sure that the investment partners at Bain enjoyed wildly lucrative financial benefits while the workers and companies got screwed. Richard Gelard is also someone who seems to remember and writes “Mitt Romney, if elected, would break up America and sell of the pieces to the ever hungry 1%.”

We need to do an intervention to our friends and colleagues who are in their Fox induced dissociative fugue state and are thinking about support Newt or Mitt. They need to hear our witnessing of the realities and our memories of these two dangerous guys.

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