DISDAINING THE RUBES: These are a few of our favorite things!

FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2012

Epilogue—The pet dog versus the workers: What do “private equity” companies actually do?

Most people couldn’t much tell you. In yesterday’s New York Times, Julie Creswell marveled at the sheer complexity of the matter.

“The world of private equity is a nuanced, complicated business that will never be fully captured in anybody's ads,” Creswell wrote, near the start of her piece. Soon, she added to this portrait: “[M]ore than three decades after private equity burst onto the scene in the merger mania of the 1980s, the industry remains as mysterious…as ever.”

As Creswell continued, the mystery depended. “The industry has done a terrible job of explaining what it does,” a Dartmouth professor was quoted saying.

Creswell’s own explanation proceeded from there. We found it a bit murky too.

What do “private equity” companies do? Very large numbers of people can’t tell you. But as he opens this morning’s column, Paul Krugman mentions one of the things Mitt Romney’s firm apparently did:
KRUGMAN (5/25/12): In the wake of a devastating financial crisis, President Obama has enacted some modest and obviously needed regulation; he has proposed closing a few outrageous tax loopholes; and he has suggested that Mitt Romney's history of buying and selling companies, often firing workers and gutting their pensions along the way, doesn't make him the right man to run America's economy.
Say what? Mitt Romney often fired workers and “gutted their pensions along the way?”

Romney “gutted” workers’ pensions? (E. J. Dionne has used the word “looted.”) Most people couldn’t explain what that means either. But then, there’s a reason for that.

Consider the way Rachel Maddow opened her program last night. (To watch this segment, click here.)

Good lord! Maddow started her program by reviewing what she called “the strapping the dog to the roof of the car story.” Once again, we were encouraged to weep for one of the liberal world's favorite victims—Seamus, the abused Irish setter.

Just before that, Maddow recalled another favorite story about Mitt Romney’s bad character. She described this story as “the Mitt Romney gay-bullying incident from when he was in high school.”

In truth, the Washington Post presented no evidence that the victim in this case, John Lauber, was bullied because Romney and his friends thought he was gay. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/16/12.

Whatever! At least in this case, there was a real victim. He too is a liberal fave.

In our view, there is no evidence that Romney’s dog was mistreated during that car trip. By way of contrast, it seems clear that Lauber was mistreated—when Romney was in high school, of course.

Whatever! By now, Seamus and Lauber are liberal icons, a few of our favorite things. But even as we re-wept for Seamus last night, another group of Romney’s victims wasn’t permitted to bark.

Maddow wept for Romney’s dog. She wept for a high school kid who almost surely was mistreated. But what about all those working-class people whose pensions got “gutted” or “looted” by Romney?

On Maddow’s program, these victims don’t bark. And such judgments have driven American politics over the past fifty years.

Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo! We’re asked to cry for poor abused Seamus, even though the two adults present on that ancient trip say he enjoyed his rides on the roof of the car. (In his kennel, not “strapped to the roof” and certainly not “in a cage.”)

But how about those steel mill workers, the people whose pensions got gutted or looted? These people have names and personal histories—but Maddow’s viewers aren’t asked to know who they are.

Her viewers aren’t asked to weep for these victims. Why aren’t they a few (hundred) of our favorite things on this often-ridiculous program?

Darlings! Must you ask?

Anyone with eyes to see can see a plain fact about our politics: Modern liberals don’t give a fig about the white working-class. Its members aren’t cuddly like a pet dog; we can’t talk doggy-talk when discussing them. Lofty as we are, we can’t picture our own victimization in their story, as we can do in the case of Lauber.

Darlings! Those workers are adults, of a class we don’t especially care for. They’re yokels, yahoos, rednecks, rubes.

They’re uncomfortably close to being tea-baggers! Are their limbic brains working correctly?

But then, within elite American culture, no one cares a whole lot about such people—no one except the Republican Party, which approaches them, and wins their votes, with various social issues.

As the GOP wins their votes this way, Maddow tells dick jokes at their expense, then weeps about Romney’s pet dog.

Seamus yes, looted steel workers no! This rather obvious cultural preference has been a major part of our politics—and of our journalism—over the past fifty years.

It isn’t just a newbie like Maddow who is skipping their victimization. The looting of those pension funds is largely being ignored in the traditional upper-end press corps too.

This “gutting” is so mysterious, so nuanced, that Creswell chose to skip right past it in yesterday’s report. The pensions were “underfunded,” she said. Underfunded by whom?

No idea!

It’s more depressing to see this issue passed over by TV liberals like Maddow. But then, Maddow and her upper-end type think nothing of trashing folk like these. For much of the past two months, her colleagues slandered a bunch of cops in astonishing ways, making ugly misstatements about them (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/23/12).

There is no sign that Maddow’s colleagues will ever correct these misstatements—slanders they aimed at working-class cops who were white, black and Hispanic.

For Maddow, it was bad when Romney mistreated his dog. Those steel mill workers count for much less.

For fifty years, American politics has turned on the judgment displayed last night—on the bad political judgment of a corporate-paid millionaire.


  1. Suppose you've been hired to try to save a nearly bankrupt company. You discover that the pension plan is funded too optimistically. Would you move working capital into the pension plan? Of course not. Taking away that capital might drive the company into immediate insolvency. It would certainly make the company less likely to overcome its difficulties.

    The whining about Bain laying off employees is just silly. If the company isn't saved, all the employees will lose their job.

    E.g., Hewlett Packard just announced plans to lay off 27,000 employees. I don't know whether that's a good business decision, but it's hardly a scandal. When income is down, it's unfortunately appropriate and necessary to cut staff. I'd love to see a President Romney use his experience to shrink some overstaffed federal agencies!

    1. What about Bain walking away with a handsome profit by taking the pensions and severance pay away from laid off steelworkers and sticking Uncle Sam with the tab? No big deal, right?

    2. Bain wasn't "hired."

      Bain smelled profit.

      Bain profited.

  2. Typical tedious, unsubstantiated nonsense. For decades, liberals have advanced policies that would directly benefit the white working class, and liberal pols have tried to persuade that class of those benefits. But the white working class has generally migrated to the GOP since the days of Nixon, and surely, as LBJ predicted of the South, in the post civil rights era. Liberal efforts continue nonetheless, especially in places like Ohio and PA.

    At what point do we perhaps hold voters responsible for their own actions and judgments, particularly when they consistently, empirically and for decades, vote against their own economic interests? And why exactly might they be doing that? Hmmm...sometimes it's impossible to see what's right in front of one's nose (paraphrasing Orwell).

    This is also a typical Bob post: Lament that the media does a terrible job of explaining something, then almost comically, make no effort to explain the thing himself.

    Like others, I am finding this site to be getting lazier and lazier, and more predictable over time. And tribal in its own way, though the tribe appears to be shrinking down to a couple of guys named Anonymous, only one of whom makes much sense.

    1. Yep, "lazier and lazier."

      Can't wait for today's installment of "What MSNBC did wrong two months ago in the Trayvon Martin Case."

    2. At what point do we perhaps hold voters responsible for their own actions and judgments, particularly when they consistently, empirically and for decades, vote against their own economic interests? And why exactly might they be doing that? Hmmm...sometimes it's impossible to see what's right in front of one's nose (paraphrasing Orwell).

      I think this is a perfect example of the contempt that liberals have for their perceived inferiors. "They get what they deserve..." Please understand that your inferiors will spend their working lives toiling away in meaningless and frustrating jobs, and will enjoy retirements that may barely keep them above the poverty line. But I guess they got what they deserved...

    3. I should have typed "some liberals" in my first sentence above...

    4. They have? Name some.

      My observation now is that neither party represents the bottom 60%.

      Take the accursed payroll tax cut (please). Because it was traded for the making work pay credit - taxes for the poorest 30% actually went up. But the richest 5% - they got another $16 billion in tax cuts from it - this "middle class tax cut" which seems destined to be permanent. Which provides 23% of its benefits to the bottom 60%, and 46% of its benefits to the top 20%.

      I tore up the latest flyer Obama sent me with his latest request for money, but most of it was about Lilly Ledbetter, Matthew Shepard, two women (and one a (wise) Latina!!) on the Supreme Court, ending DADT, etc. Like Romney, the poor are not Obama's main focus.

      No, the voter's choice, such as it is, is between the pro-abortion party (which doesn't care about the working class) and the anti-abortion party (which doesn't care about the working class). The bottom 60% is a solid majority, so, in theory, BOTH parties should be representing us. But they don't a) because our turnout sucks (with some logic, why should we run to the polls to decide which person won't represent us in this term?), and b) most of the campaign money, by far, comes from the top 20%.

    5. No, here's the problem. If it has to be carefully explained to middle-class voters why electing the worst plutocrat ever to win a major party nomination might not be such a good idea, then we are in big trouble indeed.

      And as much as Somerby wants to pretend otherwise, if Mitt Romney happens to win this November, you won't be able to make an easy scapegoat out of Rachel Maddow.

    6. Anon above:

      Working people do better under democratic administrations than republican ones by a number of measures. Please see this book for supporting data http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8664.html . I would think that the Lilly Ledbetter Act would help a lot of poor women, would it not?

      A lot of liberals I talk to seem to just not like poor white people, in their words trailer trash, hillbilly rednecks, "retarded people to stupid or inbred or racist to get an education." You can hear these thoughts expressed if you listen to enough liberal talk radio, or read enough liberal blogs.

    7. "This is also a typical Bob post: Lament that the media does a terrible job of explaining something, then almost comically, make no effort to explain the thing himself."

      He does, in fact, recognize those who explain and frame issues well. Hence the kudos he's given to Paul Krugman, Michael Moore, OWS, and many others, and his plea that liberals in the media should do as they do.

    8. "the pro-abortion party . . . and the anti-abortion party"

      You are a flat-out liar, Anonymous 12:26. The Democratic Party is not "pro-abortion," and you know it. Believing that you have no right to decide for the pregnant woman -- who may or may not, and likely does not, share your view of the immorality of abortion -- and believing that the government acting on your behalf and on behalf of particular (and minority) religions in a religiously pluralistic country similarly has no right to interject itself and decide what she can or cannot do with her own body, does not make anyone "pro-abortion."

      The big question is why so many people cannot grow up enough to understand this. Of course, you do understand the distinction, and you say it anyway because you know how many people do not get it, which makes you a particularly malevolent liar. Kind of the opposite of being Christian, don't you think, or does your brand of Christianity allow for lying if it advances your political preferences?

    9. Tsk, tsk, tsk, Urban Legend. Ad hominem arguments?

      Clearly you have personally shown yourself to be "pro abortion" because when a slight mis-statement was made about abortion, you jumped into the argument with your guns blazing. Somebody stepped on the toe of your sacred cow.

      See how much more abortion matters than the working class to the modern liberal? And the party follows the lead of its fiery activists.

      You have illustrated my point perfectly. Thank you.

    10. Of course, one can be pro-abortion rights and pro-working class. One can even be personally opposed to abortion and still favor abortion rights for others (as many Catholics in the Democratic party do). Of course, one can also be pro-working class and anti-abortion rights (as some Catholics and evangelicals in the Democratic party are). One can also be pro-abortion rights and have (in my opinion) dismal opinions regarding economics, as a few Republicans do today.

  3. Well, I certainly hope that your readers do click onto the way Maddow opened her show last night. Perhaps they can see that the point she was making was not quite what you have spun it into, Bob.

    And her point was, Romney himself found new ways to remind voters of two rather unflattering stories about him, pointing to his grandson's "Crazy Hair," and coming up with "Dogs drive Douglas dizzy" as a classroom exercise in alliteration.

    DUMB! And that is all that Maddow said about them. She even said that the dog on the roof and the high school bullying may or may not be big stories. But she said those stories are out there, and the Romney campaign should do nothing to remind voters of them.

    And then she used the classroom photo op to launch into Romney's new statements on education -- something Somerby has proclaimed himself an expert on.

    In fact, the very day of the classroom photo op in the very same school, Romney said that perhaps the sizes of classes should be bigger. After all, he said, he knew of no studies that linked smaller class sizes and lower student-teacher ratios to improved performance.

    And that was an utterly stunning statement that Somerby, the education expert, doesn't seem to want to waste much time on. After all, he's too busy bashing Rachel to pay attention to such trivial matters as a major party's candidate for president understanding of the issues facing public education.

    1. Incidentally, Maddow and Chris Hayes ended that opening segment by talking about how George W. Bush used public education to advance his image as a "compassionate conservative" and as a president who could work across party lines.

      And now we have Mitt Romney saying larger classes (and, logically, fewer teachers required to teach those larger classes) might be a good idea.

  4. And as a result: today's WAPO headline "Obama fares worse among struggling whites".

  5. I confess: I've never watched Rachel Maddow, and probably never will.

    And yet this post, even taking everything Mr. Somerby has represented as accurate, remains puzzling.

    Has it not occurred to Mr. Somerby that MSNBC's parent companies are unlikely to permit any sustained inquiry into American capitalism? That Ms. Maddow can talk all she wants about mistreated dogs and individuals, but not about American business?

    Is Mr. Somerby simply being coy? Is he, in fact, well aware of this obvious constraint at MSNBC, but is actually, subtly, trying to reveal corporate malfeasance, in the vile person of MSNBC?

    Given the daily slogging Maddow & Co. receive at this site, that strategy would seem implausible. By now, Mr. Bob would doubtless have mentioned General Electric, if corporate America and media control by corporate America, were his target.

    So what the hell IS Mr. Somerby's target? Rachel Maddow? Is Ms. Maddow the prime obstacle to intelligent liberal governance in America? Or might that be General Electric & Friends?

    1. Well, you are really not missing much. All these cable opinion shows are doing is searching for a niche audience among people who already have their minds made up and want their biases validated.

      But Bob is apparently under some sort of notion that they are more important than that.

    2. Anonymous 11:34,

      Go to the old site (http://dailyhowler.com/) and search for General Electric. You'll get six pages of results.

    3. Go to the old site and you'll find lots of things Bob used to write about but no longer does since his shark-jumping over the "sixteen words."

    4. @cacambo

      Though media criticism here has always been intensely personal, the references to GE were indeed common in the days when MSNBC was the nemesis of Clinton/Gore.

      But since MSNBC started shilling from the Dems, Mr. Somerby appears to not only hold the hosts directly responsible, but believes those hosts are symptomatic of liberal pathology, despite the fact that nobody elected them. No doubt Bob considers that Rachel Maddow is widely admired, but he didn't say by whom.

      And while Chris Matthews was Jack Welch's puppet at The Howler when Matthews was thrilling to Bush's jumpsuit, he's apparently his own man now -- at least for all the mention Bob makes of his employer.

      Strange, no? According to the Howler, corporate media was pulling the strings when media anti Gore/Clinton, but now, suddenly, its full of dastardly liberals spewing lies on their own initiative. Strange!

  6. hell yes that is exactly the thing that burns my bum. Rachel never shuts up about seamus and gay issues but people who lost their jobs and had their pensions gutted nary a word.

    I'll tell you how gutting the pension works. companies like Bain do not take the whole pie thes leave enough crumbs so the workers get something but it is a lot less than they were supposed to get, but it's ok because they are getting their pensions. mitt Rommeny thinks because he puts on a pair of blue jeans he has connected with the common man.

    1. No, Mensa, neither one of your paragraphs bears any resemblance to reality as it is know on Planet Earth.

      Now I can't blame you if you think that Maddow has never said anything about people losing their jobs and gutted pension funds if your only source of information about Rachel Maddow is Bob Somerby. But she does talk about both things. Frequently.

      Second, no that is not how gutting a pension fund works.

      "Companies like Bain" love to look for under-valued businesses making a tidy, though not huge, profit who also have liquid assets, like a nice little pension fund that doesn't have to be paid out immediately. Then they use those liquid assets to leverage the loans to buy out the company, transferring the debt from "companies like Bain" to the company they just bought, knowing full well there is a government safety net in place for failed pension funds, albeit for pennies on the dollar.

      So for the next few years, the stockholders of Bain make out like bandits off the paper profits of a company that eventually finds itself in default of the debt loan that it was saddled with.

      The company then goes into receivership, exposing its pension fund to creditors, while Bain's executives and stockholders keep the millions they have already banked.

    2. Has The Howler ever explained it so succinctly? How many such instances can be ascribed to Bain, and what proportion of its total activity does that represent? I get the impression Romney's defenders want Bain to be looked at as a venture capital firm: investing in start-ups and helping them grow. But to what extent is that not the case? If The Howler were interested in actually educating rather than attacking his pet enemies, he would explain all that in depth. Instead, he blames his enemies for not doing what he could do.

    3. Here's an analogy that might not be perfect.

      Say you used your brother-in-law's $10,000 savings account to take out a $30,000 loan on a $20,000 car. You get the car and the 10 grand, and you put the note in your brother-in-law's name.

      Then if he can't make the payments and goes bankrupt, you've driven the car for however long and you still got the 10 grand, while they distribute his 10 grand among his creditors.

      And then you can tell how you deserved it becaus you were so wonderful to put your own money into the gas that the car couldn't have run without.

  7. Last night's Charlie Rose show is a perfect example of upper end media explaining the issue. His guest was a manager of a private equity firm. He was there to explain what private equity does and Mitt's actions in regards to the steel mill. Not once was there mention of pension funds being drained. Moral hazard, forget it. They did mention that the criticism of Mitt's dealing were all out there in the press, but then limited the criticism to the laying off steel workers. They presented this as if the steel industry was as archaic as buggy whips makers. Of course steel workers were being let go, the steel industry was dead. Charlie just sat there, agreed, never questioned. The two of them talked about steel workers being fired and the role of private equity coming in with money when no one else would. I think he would generally be tallied as a liberal. He made rich liberals feel good.

  8. Well, as Bob persists in his attempt to portray MSNBC through Maddow as anti-worker and pro-dog, The Ed Show had a very interesting segment in which the GOP has pretty much openly declared war on public employees.

    Nikki Haley made a campaign swing through Wisconsin on Scott Walker's behalf in which she openly bragged about "union-busting" and even used that term.

    I just found it utterly astonishing that we consider ourselves so far removed from when our parents or grandparents escaped poverty through a union job that a leading politician from a major political party would even dare say such a thing -- and think she could score political points by saying it.

    1. And contrary to the impression Somerby is trying to create -- I suppose because of his intense personal dislike of her -- Maddow has done extensive reporting on union-busting in Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. I guess she arched her eyebrows too snarkily for his taste, however, so they don't count. Of course, Ed Schultz has been relentless in his coverage of Wisconsin, but he probably said something silly and ridiculous a few times as well, so I think he's a "clown" too.

    2. By the way, speaking of Somerby's psychotic obsessions, know why we haven't gotten the perfunctory Maureen Dowd post this week?

      It's because Dowd wrote an absolutely brilliant column Sunday about the Catholic Church's and U.S. bishops' hard turn to the Tea Party right.

      I'm no Dowd fan, and I caught that column through a link on National Catholic Reporter. But there was nothing in that column that Somerby could parse into yet another, predictable anti-Dowd rant.

      So we get the sound of silence from The Daily Howler, lest he find himself publicly admitted he agreed with anything the destestible, contemptible Dowd had written.

      Just wouldn't fit the narrative.

    3. "Ed Schultz has been relentless in his coverage of Wisconsin"

      How many times has Schultz hammered the point that the people paying the price for GOP union-busting at the state level have been cops, firefighters and teachers?

      But of course, MSNBC cares more for dogs than workers. How do we know this? Somerby says so.

  9. hardindr: "I think this is a perfect example of the contempt that liberals have for their perceived inferiors."

    This is such a tedious point, now well past the point of cliche. I am not superior to anyone. I am just noting the screamingly obvious that many members of the white working class have, empirically and for decades, been voting against their economic interests. Is it somehow condescending to point this out? Or perhaps it's condescending to pat them on the head, talk around this, and find nice little "talking points" that work better. If I tell someone I know, "Look, let me show you how what you're doing is hurting your interests and wellbeing" am I talking down to them? Really?

    What's condescending is both the Southern Strategy (which, sadly, has been a thing of political genius) and the rhetorical gymnastics involved in "trying to communicate with these people." Here's how you communciate: Make your point, listen to the response, counter the response, listen, etc etc etc. This is called CONVERSATION.

    1. IMHO it's unclear whether Democratic policies are really in the economic interest of the white working class. I agree that it's presumably true that the Dems would give them more money via unemployment insurance, health care, etc. OTOH, arguably, Republican policies would lead to more jobs for all, including the white working class. Also, arguably, Dems give special benefits to minorites and to illegal immigrants -- benefitst that come at the expense of the white working class.

    2. Exactly which Republican policies led to more jobs for all during the Bush Administration, even before the economic collapse of September 2008?

      When Bush took office in Jan. 2001, the unemployment rate was 4.2 percent. By August 2008 it was 6.1 percent. By the time Obama took office, it was 7.8 percent. It ballooned to 10.0 by October 2009, and was 8.1 percent last April.

    3. Confused:

      How should "voters [be held] responsible for their own actions and judgments?" Should they lead shittier lives? Will that show them the way to enlightenment?

      It isn't condescending to point out that people often don't vote their economic interests, it is to call them fools and morons as many liberals often do.

    4. And those "many liberals" would be exactly who?

  10. Shorter Comments:

    Bob should use his platform and staff of none to explain to his tens of readers how it works, not expect the news channels and their paltry resources to explain it to just a few million folks.

    Getting real here.

    Rubber. Road.

    1. Shorter comment:

      Bob thinks he can single-handedly change the "american discourse" by berating the all-powerful MSNBC, but is unwilling to do any of the heavy lifting himself.

  11. When leveraged buyouts had been all the rage among the monied class, back in the nineties I was having my car repaired. I struck up a conversation with a definitely older man -- who was there having his car repaired and getting nervous that it was taking too long.

    He had a job delivering auto parts to repair shops and had to use his own car to do his job. He was back in the work force in his mid-70's because the manufacturing company he'd worked for had its pension raided by some Bain-like group, and the amount he was now getting was not enough to cover living expenses for him and his wife in their home. He had to work to pay for prescriptions (this was before any Rx assisance from Medicare), food, and energy.

    Friends of mine in WI had to completely revise their retirement plans when not one but three leveraged buyouts stripped away the husband's retirement pension and health insurance promises. The wife had to stay in the work force long after she could have retired. She considered herself lucky, as they had no idea how they would get along without her salary and health insurance.

    Hard times and mean buyout artistes cause even more misery.


  12. I'm sympathetic to your friends, jawbone. However, a leveraged buyout is nothing like using private equity to try to save a troubled company. In fact, it's almost the opposite.

    Leveraged buyouts make it harder for a company to survive. In a leveraged buyout, the buyer strips capital from the company. The resultant company is always financially weaker, due to the loss of capital.

    OTOH when Bain tries to save a troubled company, all their work is aimed at making the company stronger and helping it to survive. They don't strip the capital. I believe that in some cases Bain actually adds capital to the company. Extra capital helps the company survive and helps Bain make a better profit if the company does survive, since it give Bain partial ownership. Bain naturally gets a fee for their services, but that fee is tiny compared to the amount of capital typically taken out in a leveraged buyout.

  13. Also, good fodder for Bob. I see that Salon finally noticed a problem:


  14. The problem with Schultz, Maddow, etc...is they never talk about Obama's (and also a number of "pro business" union busting "Democratic" governors and mayors around the country) pandering to the same Wall Street types that Romney and the rest of the Republican party does.

    The only Democrats Schultz, Maddow, etc... attack hardcore (and since their Air America days) are Bill and Hillary Clinton. Yet they fawn over those real monsters to the poor and middle class in the 1980's- Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior, especially Reagan! Obama does the same thing... Ronald Reagan pushed union busting, eliminating women's reproductive rights, looted government aid for the poor (including the working poor and children- food stamps, free lunch programs, Pell Grants, etc...) and gave the rich tax breaks. Reagan/Bush also were already talking to the Iranian government to encourage them drag out the hostage situation to insure Carter lost the 1980 election- this was also when it became clear the "news" media had already been bought by the Republicans- loads and loads of fawning puff pieces on Reagan and constant criticism of Carter...

    Contrary to the media myth Reagan wasn't and isn't that well liked amongst working class and poor Democrats. Anglachel tore down that myth with the facts I already knew- it wasn't the blue collar democrats that jumped ship for Reagan, it was the late 1970's-80's professional class Democrats- the upper middle class and lower wealthy class- the class Maddow, Matthews,(and Obama too- he is clearly the product of the majority of his childhood and young adult years spent as a member of the upper middle class) etc... come from. That was the class of Democrats that already was starting to sneer at the working class segment of the FDR Democratic party in the 1970's. Carter, although he became quite prosperous as and adult, was too much an FDR Democrat, too "of the people" for the elites, ditto for Clinton, even though Bill was more pro business than Carter. (still far less pro business/ anti union as the Reagan "Democrat" Obama)

    Hillary Clinton was and is far more popular with the lower middle class and poor Democrats of both genders, crossing most racial lines too (and even amongst poor and lower middle class African American women, a significant number quietly, despite threats and harassment from rabid Obama backers, voted for Hillary in the 2008 primaries. Hillary's popularity amongst those segments has risen even higher, while Obama's has declined...) The reason those people voted for Hillary was because her voting record and history showed she was actually far more liberal than Obama (The website Progressive Punch was an excellent fact checker on voting records- of the 2007-8 candidates that had voting records to check Hillary's was the second most liberal across the board- after Kuchnich, and when broken down on issues, Hillary was actually more liberal than Kuchnich on union rights, women and children's rights and racial equality. (Kuchnich got his overall highest score on GLBT rights (although Hillary had already "evolved" far past Obama and all the other candidates except for Kuchnich by the early 2000's and was beginning to catch up to Kuchnich), antiwar votes, and slightly better on enviromental issue (Hillary was still significantly better than the other candidates on those issues). Hillary showed real respect and concern for the poor and lower middle class, Obama showed sneering classist contempt, just like he showed contempt and misogyny toward the millions of women of all ages and races who were backing Hillary. Guess which Democratic party candidates in 2007-08 had the least progressive voting records- yep, Obama and Biden. Biden was the worst, Obama not much better- on many issues they were down with the least extreme Republicans.... Edwards record was mid range Democrat on most issues.

  15. Right. No difference at all between Obama and Reagan. Except, to name just one, Obama bulled through the nation's first national health insurance plan, flawed as it may be in order to get the job done. Reagan called Medicare a Communist plot to take over the U.S. of A.

    By the way, you do realize that history didn't begin in 1980, don't you?

    Reagan didn't invent "Reagan Democrats." They were actually the rebirth of Nixon's "Great Silent Majority," the blue-collar types who elected him in '68 then re-elected him in a historic landslide because Democrats were too good to blacks by passing the various Civil Rights bills, and too good to the poor with the Great Society programs.

    These were also the blue-collar types who like to use their lunch breaks to beat up dirty hippies protesting the Vietnam War.

    Oops! How "tribal" of me. Never mind that it's true.

    You know, from the dawn of humankind, it's been pretty easy to convince poor, dumb schleps leading miserable lives that "other people" whose virtues are not as sound as theirs are the reason their lives are miserable.

    It's not very hard to go back into history to find multiple examples, nor do you have to go back all that far, either.

  16. "Obama bullied through first national health insurance plan" Hardly! Try LBJ, ever heard of Medicare and Medicaid? And unlike Obama LBJ actually did stand up to the Republicans... Obama's program sells out the American public to the health insurance industry even more than we were before, it was straight out of one of Reagan's favorite groups- the Heritage Foundation in the 1980's. Oh and Nixon proposed a far more liberal government health care organization in the early 1970's, guess who fought violently against it- Teddy Kennedy. He did the same with Carter's even more progressive government program in the later 1970's. Yeah it's laughable that the Obama admin was lauding Ted Kennedy as such a bastion of support for health care when he opposed just about every effort to create one. Hillary's 1993 program was a far sight better than Obama's too, as was her 2008 plan to make Medicare our universal health care program- something- something every other industrialized has had for years! Instead Obama's program still leaves us paying twice to quadruple the cost people do in all those other countries for health care that is just as good, and often better than what most Americans get!

    Love how you lump in all those blue collar workers as ignorant racists, yeah oh so typically wrong! Unlike you I am lower middle class (despite a college degree- yeah that's right, plenty of us have college degrees!) and have lived, worked and have friends and relatives that are blue collar workers (and by the way- that group of people isn't just whites but people of all races, religions, ethnicities, genders, physical abilities, and sexual orientations) Frankly, I see a far sight less racism and sexism even amongst white blue collar Democrats than your upper middle class and wealthy Democrats. That along with your sneering classism. Yeah, it was that economic group that defected to and fawned over Reagan in droves, you can pretend it was those "ignorant, racist" blue collar workers, but the truth is it was the Matthews, Markos, Huffington, Dowd, etc... crowd. Bob's archives nicely shows that during the Clinton administration-through the 2007-8 election cycle. They aren't actually racially enlightened, their real racism is right under the surface, and they don't even bother hiding their sexism and classism.


  17. "National" in the sense that it didn't carve out a particular segment of the population to cover, such as the elderly or the poor. And the health insurance industry loved the government taking over the two most health-vulnerable and costly segments of the population off their books.

    Too bad Obama didn't call you up to design the perfect health care plan. I'm sure it would have sailed through Congress.

    And yep, racism is a thing of the pass. Nobody is racist any more. And classism and sexism only exists on the left, especially on MSNBC. Yeah, right. None of the above exists anywhere, and how do you know this? Because "some of my best friends are (complete the sentence)."

    And by the way, have you ever stopped to consider why you, a hard-working joe with a college degree no less are "lower middle class"? Could it possibly be because guys like Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, and the Tea Party clowns now running the GOP have convinced "lower middle class" voters like you to put them in charge while they engineer the greatest transfer of wealth to the super-elite in the history of humankind?

    Heck, and it's not even unprecendented. In the '20s, we had a series of laissez-faire "hands off business, they are the job creators" presidents who even called out troops to quell "disturbances" when workers tried to unionize or soldiers dared protest for the benefits they were promised.

    And it took a catastrophe of epic proportions to wake the voters up. It always does.

  18. [David] Brooks called one ad, which blamed Romney for a steel plant closing, little more than “a whole series of falsehoods.”

    “And, finally, I just think the Obama administration, or the campaign has demeaned itself with a series of falsehoods. They released this ad which had a whole series of falsehoods. The one was that this steel company, GST, was a healthy company until Bain took it over, which the ad suggests — completely untrue.”

    Brooks added that some of these attacks blamed Romney for Bain’s activities long after the former Massachusetts governor had left the company.

    “Second, [the idea] that Romney was part of throwing people out on the street when they finally did have to close this failing company,” he continued. “He was long gone from Bain. And then, finally, that these private equity companies load debt onto businesses. There is a study, though, reported in my newspaper. There is no more debt, no more default in these companies than in other comparable companies. So, it’s this whole series of things which were untrue, which make Obama seem much more like a conventional politician.”