OBLABLA or MITTENS for President in 2012? Here’s how I’m going to choose…
I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to how I’m going to decide whether to vote for OBLABLA or MITTENS this coming November and I believe I’ve finally come up with a plan that will work for me. It’s balanced and decisive… it’s informed, while not being oppressively analytical. It is, however, a two-person job, so I will need some help as Election Day 2012 approaches. If anyone can lend a hand, I sure would appreciate it.
Here’s my plan…
Okay… first, blindfold me and put a dart in my right hand… spin me around three times… jam the business end of the dart into my left ear… and then hit me in the back of the head with a shovel. Should I come to, just assure me that Lyndon Johnson is still in the Oval Office, and don’t let me watch anything but, “Car 54 Where Are You,” re-runs for at least a year.
Look, I’m sorry to start like this, but see… NO… that’s not what I wanted to… you see, the real issue here is… wait… I’m getting off-track and… but what I want to start with is… and only if that’s where we, but… WHO THE… stop it… all I can do is consider the… but I’m not… I’m just not, because it wouldn’t… so I won’t… and most people can’t until… hang on… look… if I were to tell you that… no, that isn’t the proper framing of the… what about? Does anyone think that we… not just we, I mean it more in the sense that… unless things change… many wouldn’t tell you… so I won’t, but I will say this… unconvincingly perhaps, but…
But, that’s not what I’m writing about anyway, so just let it go.
The reason I’m writing this at this decidedly inopportune moment… it’s 2:24 AM… is because of Matt Stoller.
I met Matt last year while in New York City attending a Max Gardner symposium on the potential impact of the Uniform Commercial Code on foreclosure defense. It’s all sort of a blur to me now, but for some number of days I sat in a class room at New York University Law School with many of the top foreclosure defense lawyers in the country, alongside some of the rock star celebrity bloggers as we listened to and debated the nuances of UCC – 3 as contrasted with UCC – 9 when attempting to convince a judge in Tallahassee why the fact that someone who hadn’t made a mortgage payment in 47 months didn’t matter when held up next to the Uniform Commercial Codeeeeee, andddd nffffghhttt, dxxxcsssssssssss Htttrrrffdssw…
Oh, my… I’m sorry about that. That subject continues to have that same effect on me, I just can’t help it. It was my third such symposium on the topic and I still can’t tell you which one is better, 3 or 9. I do love Max Gardner, but the UCC is like the melatonin of foreclosure defense strategies for me, what else can I say?
Anyway, I met Matt Stoller there and I have to tell you… he’s a very impressive guy. Sharp as a whip, as they say, and when I first came upon him, he and Yves Smith were out in the hallway talking about something political with Abigail Field… so with the alternative being the UCC… I was glued.
Matt’s the kind of guy who you quickly realize is so smart that that he’s capable jumping from the Florida politics of “The Waffle House,” to French poet Guillaume Apollinaire’s boldness as a trailblazer fighting the battle between tradition and invention while proclaiming the primacy of the spirit of adventure over the sterility of well-worn ways. In other words, you really have stay on the ball or you’ll find yourself making a comment that was so 22 seconds ago.
The boy’s just wicked smart, that’s all there is to it. He’s even a “fellow at the Roosevelt Institute,” and although I’ve never really been sure how much that is when converted into American money, it still sounds grand to me.
So, I was just about to head off to bed when an email from Matt sent earlier the previous day with the following headline caught my eye:
Barney Frank: Obama Rejected Bush Administration Concession to Write Down Mortgages
Shut the front door. Oh no he didn’t…
I had to know more, and it was a short piece so I figured it couldn’t cause too much harm to have a gander. Here’s how Matt kicked off the news…
“Here’s Barney Frank, in an exit interview recently in New York Magazine, revealing unwittingly that Obama during the transition rejected a Bush administration concession to write down mortgages. Here’s what Barney said.”
The mortgage crisis was worsened this past time because critical decisions were made during the transition between Bush and Obama. We voted the TARP out. The TARP was basically being administered by Hank Paulson as the last man home in a lame duck, and I was disappointed. I tried to get them to use the TARP to put some leverage on the banks to do more about mortgages, and Paulson at first resisted that, he just wanted to get the money out. And after he got the first chunk of money out, he would have had to ask for a second chunk, he said, all right, I’ll tell you what, I’ll ask for that second chunk and I’ll use some of that as leverage on mortgages, but I’m not going to do that unless Obama asks for it. This is now December, so we tried to get the Obama people to ask him and they wouldn’t do it.
Matt points out that Barney’s telling of the tale is consistent with other accounts, and he’s right about that. Most notably, you should read, “Confidence Men,” by Ron Suskind. You’ll likely ball like a newborn through the lighter parts, but real education is never easy.
Matt then summed it up so succinctly that there’s no point in my attempting to do the same…
“There were policy debates within Obama’s economic team about what to do about the mortgage crisis. The choices were to create some sort of legal entity to write down mortgage debt or to allow the write-down of mortgage debt through a massive wave of foreclosures over the next four to six years. His choice the latter. That choice was part of what led to roughly $7 trillion of middle class wealth gone, with financial assets for the elites re-inflated.”
Matt went on to point out that ever since he had pointed out that the growth of income inequality under Oblabla was oh so much worse than under Dubya… a fact that I and many others have also pointed out of late…
“… many people have responded by saying that somehow this is not Obama’s responsibility, that it was an inherited crisis and structural problems that caused a widening of inequality. They simply do not want to accept that policy matters, or, if it does, that Obama had any choice in the policy choices he made.”
Yeah, and to that I can only say… Shut the front door!
But Matt then makes clear the most salient point of the Oblabla presidency…
“In fact, crisis response is the single most significant policy making time imaginable, because all structural barriers are swept away.
Think about it – this was literally a deal offered by Hank Paulson – one guy – to Barack Obama, with a multi-trillion dollar impact. No 60 votes in the Senate. No hearings. No confirmations. Just a handshake, basically. In other words, policy does matter, and Obama had a variety of choices and leverage, and he did what he thought was best. He did not want to write down mortgages, even though he was offered that choice by the Bush administration and Barney Frank. So he didn’t.”
And finally Matt concludes as follows…
“So yes, Barack Obama is worse than George Bush on economic inequality.
While Paulson didn’t want to write down mortgages, the single biggest factor in determining whether the American middle class has any stored wealth, Paulson was willing to do so in response to pressure. Barack Obama was not.”
Shut the front door…
Want to know something here? Matt Stoller is right, but so what? All that does is make me want to douse myself in gasoline and light up a Camel plain end with my Zippo while playing Rosemary Clooney records on my my new 600 gig iPodHATE.
But that brings me back around to how I began this diarrheic diatribe…
WHICH ONE SHOULD I VOTE FOR?
AND WHICH SHOULD I FANTASIZE ABOUT DISEMBOWELING WITH AN ERECTOR SET?
I mean, on one hand there’s OBLABLA who is running on the “Well, sure but look at the crazy f#@ks over there,” platform.
And on the other side is MITTENS, and he’s running on the “Unabashedly Pro-banker & Long-term Austerity” ticket.
Barack Obama… and I’m sorry to say this, really I am… will be going down in history as having made the single worst decision in the history of the modern age, if not all mankind. He makes the guys behind “NEW COKE” look like Steve Jobs.
And Mittens is just doing everything possible to make sure he can’t possibly win in 2012. He went to Nevada and advocated “faster foreclosures.” In Detroit, Michigan, he said he wouldn’t have bailed out GM. Next I suppose he’ll head to Miami as part of his, “I hate old Jews Unplugged” campaign.
And me? Where the hell does that leave me? I want Dubya back… or Cheney even. He could run using the slogan, “Back to Iraq,” and I’d be looking to re-enlist. I’d vote for Snoop Dog over either of these guys, and I’d wake up early to do it.
I’ll take WATERBOARDING for $500, Alex. I have got to find a hobby for the next four years, and program my DVR to loop, “My Mother the Car,” re-runs for the next 48 months, as someone sprinkles Lithium on my Corn Flakes each morning.
And you… YOU… yeah YOU… don’t try changing the channel… sing it along with me… in harmony…
“While Paulson didn’t want to write down mortgages, the single biggest factor in determining whether the American middle class has any stored wealth, Paulson was willing to do so in response to pressure. Barack Obama was not.”
Which, and correct me if I’m wrong, makes Paulson a spineless, flip-flopping, heartless moronic bankrupt capitalist… and Barack Oblabla someone with the capacity for economic judgement roughly equal to that of an asexual carnivorous sponge.
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So, I don’t know why, but I just Google searched for “obama news,” and you want to know what came up top?