Category Archives: Business

Are Republicans Serious About a Purity Test?

It sure looks like they are. Conservative leaders in the GOP have put together a 10 point checklist they say candidates for office should adhere to. If they don’t follow the leader on at least 7, they’d be denied party funds and endorsements. WHOA!!!

Among the 10 so called “principles” is opposition to abortion, along with opposition to President Obama’s “socialist agenda”. Those aren’t my words, they’re the words of people who obviously long for the days of a senator named McCarthy.

This foolishness is even going to be presented to the Republican National Committee early next year. The inmates are truly running the asylum. What would they do about a Michael Bloomberg, who got the GOP line here in New York for the last mayoral election, but wouldn’t come close to hitting seven of the ten principles.

Suffice to say Mayor Mike wouldn’t have needed Republican money. In fact, they probably need his more. And what about the Republican’s resident homeboy, Michael Steele? Is he really ready to preside over a bunch of conservatives whose political strategy might well bury his party? Does any thinking Republican really want a litmus test?

It seems to me that at least in Congress, even the most moderate of Republicans toe the line, whatever the line is besides “no” on most legislation. Is this the next step for the tea party-ers, birthers, and Glenn Beck adherents? If so, Democrats ought to be licking their chops. That is, if they have the guts to articulate a different vision than a lockstep conservatism that I bet makes George Will cringe.

All this from a group of 10 members of the RNC who believe the Republicans have strayed too far from their conservative roots. It’s amazing they’ve gotten this far with their twisted initiative. But they have, and now it’s the party’s problem to fix, or maybe embrace.

I’m sure most of these folks haven’t read up on actual Republican history. It seems their memories only go back as far as Ronald Reagan. That people like Jacob Javits and Nelson Rockefeller once proudly called themselves Republican must have slipped their notice.

No matter. If this is the true vision of the Republican Party, Michael Steele ought to resign tomorrow and give the reins of the RNC to co-chairs Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. The sad part is that some of the people who follow these folks are under the mistaken illusion these GOP celebrities actually care about them. Many have a right to be angry, but they’re mad at the wrong people.

Obama’s socialist agenda isn’t the issue. Seven figure bonuses for incompetent bankers who won’t lend credit worthy small businesses a dime are the problem. Much of what is presented to them is smoke and mirrors. And now, a purity test.

But you tell me. Are the Republicans far gone enough to actually implement these 10 “principles”?

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How Would You Put Americans Back to Work?

First and foremost, pay no attention to the gyrations of the stock market. The nation is still hurting, and a big reason is that not enough people have been able to find work. Consider this. In December of 2007, just two years ago, there were 1.7 applicants for every available job. Last month, that number jumped to 6.1.

The House is currently trying to figure out what to do about this. Those people who elected Barack Obama and gave both the House and Senate Democratic majorities are getting antsy. That’s not a good place to be with midterm elections on the horizon. But what to do?

There are a number of proposals on the table. Some lawmakers want to see a second stimulus enacted. Trouble is, no one, least of all the White House, sems to know how many jobs were really created or maintained from the last one. You can probably count a second stimulus as DOA, at least for now.

There are calls for some type of incentive for employers to hire new people. They range from a tax credit, to government funding of health benefits, to a straight payment of up to $3000 to any employer who hires new workers. Congress backed away from these incentives when they were brought up before because they worried employers would game the system (who, those capiatins of free enterprise? Never!!!).

Still others want to see some form of government make woprk program similar to the WPA or CCC during the Great Depression. Cost would be a big impediment here. Moderate Democrats would have the same objections they had to healthcare reform. And the Republicans? Suffice to say that anything that they see as hurting President Obama, like high unemployment, is a good thing.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging caution, even in the face of mounting pressure to get something done. To pay for jobs creation, some have argued for using unspent financial bailout money, while others say new fees on securities transactions would make Wall St. foot at least part of the bill.

While out and out jobs creation sounds wonderful, Democrats in both houses of Congress have to be mindful of the political minefield any proposal would have to navigate. So as the House leadership takes its time in coming up with a plan, they must also balance fiscal prudence with an urgent need to act. Fewer and fewer Americans are buying the notion of a recovery, either now or in the near future.

So what would you do to put the unemployed back to work?

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So Where’s Lou Dobbs Going?

He has become CNN’s most controversial anchor, and some say its most divisive. So what made Lou Dobbs ask to be let out of his multi million dollar contract and leave the network, effective immediately? It must have stunned his colleagues and it’s certainly the talk of the cable new universe . The guy who started as the host of a business program, Moneyline, is now saying he wants to go beyond the role of a television jounalist. Gee, I thought he already had.

By way of full disclosure, I guested on Lou Dobbs Tonight a couple of times.

In person I found him genial and courteous, but that was until the camera was turned on. Then he became the dogmatic faux-populist we all know. No matter. The question is, what now for Lou Dobbs? Will he follow Sarah Palin’s lead and become a gadfly, appearing at rallies and tea parties convinced he really matters? Has he ridden the anti immigrant wave as far as he can on television? Will elected office be next?

loudobbs

The mind reels at the possibilities. Remember that Lou Dobbs met with some folks at the Fox News Channel not long ago. He’d be the jewel in the crown for them, probably airing just before Bill O’Reilly.

Maybe, however, he’s serious about staying out of the media limelight for a time. Just last month, he said his home was shot at while he and his wife were outside. The culprit, according to Lou Dobbs? “The national liberal media has chosen sides. And they have decided that they’re going to focus on the liberal view, which is that they will embrace illegal immigration no matter who is harmed, no matter how many laws are broken, or how few consequences there are for breaking those laws. My wife has now been and I have been shot at.”

The New Jersey State Police said it was more likely a hunter’s stray bullet. After all, Lou Dobbs lives in that part of the Garden State that loves its guns. Regardless, no one in their right mind thinks we’ve heard the last of the man. His ego is far too big, and maybe he’ll just goad President Barack Obama into doing more to prove he was actually born in Hawaii. That affiliation with birthers hurt his credibility, though you’d never get him to admit it.

Yet Lou Dobbs, in leaving CNN, joins an already crowded arena of conservative pols, pundits, and wannabees, all of whom have an agenda that could in theory clash with his. Will he still be relevant a year from now? You tell me.

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