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The Morning Grumpy – 1/17/2012

17 Jan

All the news and views fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. The votes are in, and the big banks have picked their Presidential candidate. Not surprisingly, it’s Mitt Romney.

Employees at the five largest U.S. banks by assets, including Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co., had given Romney about $600,000 through the first three quarters of 2011, according to the most recent filings available from the Federal Election Commission.

The second-largest recipient of bank employee contributions, President Barack Obama, had far less, about $200,000, the analysis showed.

Romney received more from employees of those top five banks than all the other candidates combined, helping make the former Massachusetts governor the best-financed candidate in the Republican nomination battle

Not only have they decided on their horse in the race, they are the dominant dollars so far in the race.

Donations from commercial bank employees and PACs to Republican candidates for president and Congress made up 68 percent of the total so far.


Rick Santorum’s quest to emerge as the chief alternative to Mitt Romney received a boost Saturday from a group of evangelical leaders and social conservatives who voted to back his candidacy in a last-ditch effort to stop the GOP front-runner’s march to the nomination.

About three-quarters of some 150 pastors and Christian conservative political organizers meeting in Texas sided with Santorum over a home-state favorite, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich an outcome that illustrated continuing divisions within the ranks of conservatives who make up the base of the GOP.

The meeting took place over two days at the Texas ranch of former state appeals court Judge Paul Pressler.

Surrogates for each campaign were said to have made presentations and answered questions. The goal was to determine whether conservative leaders could rally behind one alternative candidate to Romney, in hopes of ensuring one of their own wins the nomination instead of someone they consider more moderate. Many conservative leaders fear a repeat of four years ago when, in their view, a divided conservative base led the GOP to nominate McCain.

The establishment money is with Romney, the Evangelicals and neo-teabaggers are with Santorum, the paleo-teabaggers and gold standard fetishists are with Ron Paul, while Gingrich has nailed down the chubby insider blowhard vote. What’s left for Perry? Bupkus. Which one of these guys will appeal to the ethnic, blue-collar Reagan Democrats a Republican badly needs to win a national race?

2. The history of the gay rights movement, told in a very powerful 6 minutes and 52 seconds of film. The film will include segments on the tragedy of the Jamey Rodemeyer suicide as well as the historic marriage equality vote in New York State. The filmmaker is currently seeking funds to turn this preview into a feature length documentary. You can support the project by visiting the Kickstarter page and donating to the effort.

3.Why income inequality and vulture capitalism will become THE issues of the 2012 general election.

Mr. Romney’s image of a country where workers have nothing but admiration for benevolent, job-creating capitalists (and no one is so impolite as to mention jobs destroyed) bears very little relationship to reality. But his suggestion that it is un-American to talk about rising populist resentment is self-serving and hypocritical. Republicans, in particular, have eagerly stoked such resentments against minorities and the poor.

That was the essence of the “Southern strategy” that Republicans, beginning with Richard Nixon, used to urge white voters to defect from a Democratic Party that supported civil rights. It continued for decades with attacks on busing, affirmative action, immigration and welfare, and was sounded most recently by Mr. Gingrich, with his attacks on Mr. Obama as “the food stamp president.”

Fanning resentment of the poor — and deflecting attention from the relentless Republican defense of the rich — is also central to the party’s current political strategy.

With Romney on the ticket, the topic of wealth inequality will be unavoidable as he runs on his record as an alpha dog capitalist. Of course, people can tell that Romney was born on third base thinking he hit a triple and that comes across as pretty disingenuous. President George W. Bush was able to hide his entitled upbringing with a  folksy charm while endlessly clearing brush on a ranch with no cattle. Romney has no such manufactured charm. He’s just the guy who is flying into town to fire your Dad.

4. If you haven’t yet read it, Andrew Sullivan’s defense of President Obama’s centrism and his “long game strategy” is a fantastic read.

To use the terms Obama first employed in his inaugural address: the president begins by extending a hand to his opponents; when they respond by raising a fist, he demonstrates that they are the source of the problem; then, finally, he moves to his preferred position of moderate liberalism and fights for it without being effectively tarred as an ideologue or a divider. This kind of strategy takes time. And it means there are long stretches when Obama seems incapable of defending himself, or willing to let others to define him, or simply weak. I remember those stretches during the campaign against Hillary Clinton. I also remember whose strategy won out in the end.

The story is accompanied by the best troll headlines from a major magazine in recent memory.

Fact Of The Day: The woman who created the original chocolate chip cookie recipe, sold it to Nestle in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate chips.

Bible Verse Of the Day: “And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies…” – Samuel 18:25

Quote Of The Day: “Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

Song Of The Day: “Tell Mama” – Etta James

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