|Forrest Gump and Bobby Jindal.|
Quite the pair. Fellow Louisianians. Joined at the lip.
Soon after Barack Obama was re-elected president Bobby Jindal called his party the stupid party. To quote him accurately, Stop being the ‘stupid party’ and make a concerted effort to reach a broader swath of voters with an inclusive economic message that pre-empts efforts to caricature the GOP as the party of the rich. The Louisiana governor was calling out his mates to reject anti-intellectualism. At the same time he prompted Republicans to embrace a populist reform strategy to lessen the body blow of Obama’s campaign.
One would have thought that by now Jindal would have learned from his homey, Forrest Gump, that stupid is as stupid does.
Recall Forrest’s mom, resurrecting the old southern adage ‘beauty is as beauty does’ as a way of redirecting her somewhat slow-witted son. She was cautioning Forrest that a person is judged stupid by the stupid acts they commit. That was precisely what Jindal was attempting to do for his slow-witted colleagues.
What Jindal needed to add was that part of the rejoinder that Forrest’s mom was communicating–calling a person stupid doesn’t make him stupid; we know a person by his actions. People should be judged by what they do rather than their appearance.
When we hear Republicans following suit and saying we need to change our message, they continue to miss the point. Americans are savvy enough to know that a party cannot change its message without changing its messengers. No more than a tiger can change its stripes.
To quote philosopher Ron White, You can’t fix stupid.
Jindal had not just made an off-the-cuff remark, a slip of his tongue. The statement highlighted his keynote address at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting.
Interpretation: Until stupid people are no longer in charge of the Republican party and in positions of influence, until people who are members of the party stop listening to the vile miscreants who dominate conservative talk radio and begin thinking for themselves, stupidity will continue to reign supreme within the Republican Party.
Each day it becomes increasingly evident that members of the conservative wing of their party cling to the philosophy that it is better to fall on the sword of principle than achieve incremental victory through compromise.
What better (actually worse) example is the Republican to sequester. The ultra-righties within the party are willing to cut the defense budget, their holy grail, if it means trimming the nation’s budget.
Let’s relate this to a family finding itself in continuing financial difficulty. Both aspects of budget balancing have been considered. Let’s raise family income. Dad will get a second job. Mom will take in ironing and such. The kids will get paper routes and sell lemonade. Easier said than done. Dad is already over-worked and over-stressed from his regular job. Mom is up to her ears in managing the household. The kids have lots of homework and their own chores to keep up with.
Let’s cut expenses. Easy enough if there’s room left to cut. Many families have long ago shed Friday nights at Applebee’s, have dropped out of the bowling league, are biking to and from the train for work, have canceled cable TV and cell phones. What will the next round of cuts be? Take food out of the kids’ mouths? Tell them they will have to drop out of college for a year or two? Stop paying health and life insurance policy premiums? Don’t fix the car or the washing machine or the leak in the roof? How about cutting out mom’s meds that she requires following a bout with cancer?
Just when it seems the only remaining sacrifices have been made, the restoration of payroll tax and the spiking of gasoline place worsening financial demands on the family. What if? What if dad’s employer furloughs him because of sequestration or reduces his hours to part-time to eliminate benefits and pension contributions because it’s good for the share-holders?
Most Republicans know that sequestration is austerity and that austerity is not the answer to the nation’s problems. They need look no further than the European and Asian countries that have tales of woe as a result of choosing austerity. The problem is that they have succumbed to the stupid part of their party and don’t know what to do about it.
Tell ‘em, Forrest: Stupid is as stupid does.
The Republicans will continue to argue that it was President Obama’s idea to vote for sequester in order to reach some compromise in summer 2011. Let’s readily confess it was. Obama focused on the most draconian cuts he could imagine to assure that neither party would allow them to happen. What he did not fully realize is that there is an even more draconian part of the Republican party that knows no other approach to governing.
It’s a child throwing a tantrum. It’s Khruschev banging his fist at the U.N. It’s Jindal governing: During his five years as governor, he has cut funds to education and health care, played games with the state ethics code, avoided transparency in his administration, alienated teachers and state employees, made a concerted effort to reduce the overall quality of life of the poor and elderly, and thrown up roadblocks to scrutiny by the timid local media that has been remiss in holding him accountable for his actions.
Tell ‘em Gov. Bobby: Stupid is as stupid does.
In that same keynote address Jindal assured the GOP that his vision of modernizing the Republican Party does not mean “moderating” its policies in any way.
And Americans are paying the price for such stupidity.
|Greedy Is as Greedy Does|
Not enough e’s in greedy. There should be at least four or eight or some multiple of that.
I contend the Republican Party’s acronym should be GREEDYOP.
What’s put me in such a foul mood? Not this beautiful weather pattern that has kept me indoors far longer than I’d prefer. I attribute my cranky disposition to none other than Jamie Dimon. Just listening to him makes my head blow up. Thankfully I use this newsletter to vent and maintain some level of sanity.
Here’s the story.
To wish their employees a happy, 2013 JP Morgan Chase began the year by firing five hundred or so employees. This group had been working on foreclosures for individual homeowners. When they realized the number of foreclosures was decreasing–happy new year and good-bye. An additional three hundred plus were soon after given pink slips. The bank’s rationale is that a program intended to identify and compensate borrowers done harm by foreclosures was being eliminated.
Chase: Fewer homeowners are falling behind on their mortgages so we need fewer employees to assist those who are struggling.
Enter Michael Mayo, director of a major brokerage firm, who has been a frequent critic of Wall Street. He seems to straddle the fence, at times sounding almost sympathetic to the Occupymovement: The intersection between Occupy Wall Street protesters and Wall Street analysts is bigger than anyone realizes.
His sense evolves from a lengthy tenure in the financial field. He believes in free markets–but failed incentives, accountability and the role of government in the world of finance is corrupting them.
Mayo has also been quoted, The CEOs of SunTrust and KeyCorp each made more than $20 million from 2008 through 2010, while their companies lost hundreds of millions of dollars.
That’s not capitalism; that’s entitlement.
Continuing: If we don’t get it right in the free markets, there’s going to be more regulation. The choice has been ours to lose. Allow free markets to operate as they should or have additional regulation and other outsiders determine the course of the conversation.
Furthering his disdain for business as usual, Mayo added, Companies should not be allowed to settle charges by the S.E.C. so easily, which he equates to just a slap on the wrist without admitting wrongdoing.
Not so hard to see why this guy is not Wall Street’s favorite analyst.
Encountering Jamie Dimon recently, Mayo posed a simple question: Why affluent customers would not pick UBS over JPMorgan Chase due to a mismatch in capital ratios. (Truth is I have no sense of the meaning of this question, let alone a reply. But Mayo does and Dimon does and the latter did not like being asked to respond to that question.)
Dimon’s response? That’s why I’m richer than you. (Seeing red?)
I would love to cull a list of those who find Dimon’s reply acceptable. I can just see Gordon Gecko jumping out of his seat and planting a big on Dimon’s lips. For Jammie and his pals there is but one reason to see the sun rise each morning–another day to add to existing enormous wealth and another opportunity to fire more people.
It’s all about greeeeeeeeeeeeed. (Not enough e’s to suit you? Add them as you may wish)
Footnote: Dimon contributes to the Democratic Party but has described himself as barely a Democrat.
He is among the harshest critics on Wall Street of Dodd-Frank, the financial regulation reform packaged pushed and passed by Democrats last year. So far this cycle his donations are more divided – he has given $6,800 to Democratic candidates and $4,500 to Republicans.
He has not given to President Obama’s re-election campaign.
His reasoning was laid out last year: I’ve gotten disturbed at some of the Democrats anti-business behavior, the attacks on work ethic and successful people…I think it’s very counterproductive. It doesn’t mean I don’t have their values. I want jobs. I want a more equitable society. I don’t mind paying higher taxes…I do think we’re our brother’s keeper but I think that attacking that which creates all things, is not the right way to go about it.
Gimme a break. Give us all a break. Especially the employees you continue to set adrift.