Sunday, November 06, 2011

Fake Candidate, Real Threat

You missed it!

If you're like myself and 99.99999999% of the American people, you, too, missed last night's debate between Herman Cain, he of the 69-9-9 plan, and Newt Gingrich, he of the Temple of Newt Gingrich.

Now that we have had Cain vs. Gingrich, televised by CNN, it is only a matter of time before we're entertained by an Obama vs. Biden debate. The Los Angeles Times' Robin Abcarian observed of the face-off in Woodland, Texas "But to call it a debate was a misnomer. The Republican rivals for the presidential nomination are good friends; there was nary a disagreement to be heard." In fact

Cain seemed ill at ease; he deferred frequently to Gingrich on complex aspects of federal programs. When one of the two moderators, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), asked about defined benefits, Cain gave a halting answer. "A defined.... You go first, Newt."

Gingrich seamlessly stepped into the breach, as he did virtually all evening at the Houston-area gathering, a fundraiser for the Texas Tea Party Patriots PAC.

Cain's discomfort in such a forum is hard to understand. The debate between two of the ultra-right contenders- the others were invited, but declined- was to focus on earned benefits (disparaged as "entitlements") with Cain's harassment controversy ruled off-bounds.

Discussion of the sexual harassment charges once lodged against Cain would have been so, well, uncomfortable. And it would not have served the interests of the debate's sponsors, the Tea Party Patriots of Texas, to make either gentleman ill at ease. In August of 2009, Talking Points Memo described an effort made two months earlier by Tea Party Patriots to change its logo in anticipation of an upcoming event in September. However, national coordinator Amy Kremer nixed the idea, noting

Hey All, Not to be a pain, but this is not Tea Party Patriots logo to change. This is FreedomWorks logo and they have said they are keeping the original design. I do not know why this discussion is continuing.

If anyone feels that the logo needs to be changed, then you need to contact FreedomWorks directly. TPP (Jenny Beth) has already conatcted (sic) them and shared their response with everyone.

TPP is not going to contact them again about the issue.

While FreedomWorks chooses not to reveal its corporate sponsors, Phillip Morris is among them and local branches of its sister organization also have taken money from the tobacco industry. That sister organization would be the Koch brothers Americans for Prosperity. The Huffington Post summarized

Cain's campaign manager and a number of aides have worked for Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, the advocacy group founded with support from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, which lobbies for lower taxes and less government regulation and spending. Cain credits a businessman who served on an AFP advisory board with helping devise his "9-9-9" plan to rewrite the nation's tax code. And his years of speaking at AFP events have given the businessman and radio host a network of loyal grassroots fans.

At first glance, it's all a joke to Cain, who at an AFP dinner recently quipped "I am the Koch brothers' brother from another mother," utilizing a phrase lifted from Rush Hour 3, as Rachel Maddow noted (video, below; movie reference beginning at approximately 11:20).

Maddow did not, but should have asked: could Cain have imagined that not one of his devoutly Christian opponents would have pointed out, as Michele Bachmann did at debate, that "9-9-9" is an upside-down "666?" Maddow posits the entire Cain candidacy as performance art" rather than politics but his corporate supporters, at least, are deadly serious. Responding to an article in The New York Times, the candidate at the AFP event continued

I'm proud to know the Koch brothers. I'm very proud to know the Koch brothers. They make it sound like that we have had time to go fishing together, hunting together, skiing together, golfing together. Just so I can clarify this to the media, this may be a new announcement for the media: I am the Koch brothers' brother from another mother. Yes. I am their brother from another mother, and proud of it. You see, the reason that I am running for president, folks, is because I want to unite the United States of America, not divide the United States of America.

Herman Cain, a fully owned subsidiary of Americans for Prosperity, may want to "unite" the United States of America but not for the benefit of the poor, the middle class, or for any one but his billionaire benefactors..

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