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Works and Days

From Herman Cain to Blue Wall Street—the News Behind the News

November 10th, 2011 - 7:45 am

3) Where there is smoke, there is fire? Is Cain a serial womanizer like the Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy or Newt Gingrich of yesterday? But if so, do we have any proof that he, Berlusconi-style, consummated a number of relationships? Have any women yet come forward claiming to be girlfriends or mistresses? And if some do, does that disqualify Cain in the manner that it did not disqualify FDR, JFK, LBJ, or Bill Clinton? Or have things changed in this age? Do conservatives suffer the additional wage of moral hypocrisy and so the mere suggestion, not the act itself, is the problem? Or did Cain use his office/money/influence to seek out “consensual” relationships otherwise impossible? And if so, is that uncommon in life? (I think half my former colleagues married their former students). So far we have only innuendo that Cain was either a harasser, adulterer, or frustrated married man, who liked to go to the edge of titillation. For now, he is guilty only of being guilty of what Obama, Romney, Perry, Paul, Bachman are not guilty of: having anyone charge them with having a bothersome sexual imagination outside of marriage. There are so many subtexts to the sexual harassment charges — the proposed upcoming group accusation press conference, the denial of a publicity/financial angle by those who seem to thrive on their fifteen-minutes of fame, the long passing of time — that it will never be resolved and only fade when Cain himself does from the race.

Blue Wall Street

Do we recall a Peter Orszag gliding in and out of government and Wall Street, parlaying his Clinton-administration appointments and more recent post at OMB, to make tons of money back home in high-finance at Sebago and Citigroup? In some sense, the epitome of this most recent miasma is former Democratic Governor Jon Corzine, a Goldman Sachs grandee, and now disgraced CEO of bankrupt MR Global. There is zero chance that the caring Corzine will use his prior millions to cover the losses he helped incur at Global. After all, the losers are just anonymous investment funds that the teacher and small businessman put money into through their 401(k]s. Who cares if the 5K they put in this year is all gone?

A Robert Rubin, George Soros, Franklin Rains or Jim Johnson can find insider ways to make tens of millions, regardless of the health of their corporation or the ethics of their conduct — and apparently expect to face little popular scrutiny, given their liberal fides. None of their pictures will show up on placards at Occupy Wall Street protests. You see, we live in an age where the biggest recipient of Goldman Sachs and BP cash, indeed the most successful Wall Street fundraiser in presidential history, who alone renounced public financing of presidential general election campaigns, can himself politick as an anti-Wall Street, anti-corporate jet, anti-“millionaires and billionaires” man of the people. What does Barack Obama do when he meets his own targets at the back nine on Martha’s Vineyard? Smile and say, “Nothing personal,” as he invites them over to a $50,000 a plate fundraiser?

The charge that many financial institutions are amoral may be true, but the charge that they are logical reflections of conservative greed is often a lie. Indeed, Wall Street is more deeply embedded within the Ivy League, and within the New York-Washington liberal nexus, than among the sorts who show up at a Tea Party rally. Exactly what financial brilliance earned Jamie Gorelick, a Clinton apparatchik, a $26 million take at Fannie Mae, as it imploded and nearly wrecked the country? Did she give back to the Fed any of her lucre? What sort of populist was a Sen. Chris Dodd (of Dodd-Frank reform fame) who used his office for low-interest personal loans? How in the world did Rahm Emanuel end up making $16 million as a “banker”—what financial genius had he previously shown, what Harvard MBA did he earn? How did Barney Frank go from a demagogue demanding no-background loans for the supposedly underprivileged overnight to a concerned legislator pontificating, after the fall, that renting for some might be preferable?

So until I see posters of a Gorelick or Rains in Oakland, I don’t put much stock in the Occupy protests.

Illegal Immigration

Another imponderable is the role of race and tribe in the matter of illegal immigration. As far I can fathom it, spokespeople in the Latino hierarchy claim they represent their own communities in demanding de facto amnesty. But for whom else? The wayward Somali student? The Chinese engineer who overstayed his visa? A future 10,000 from Haiti who should win exemption from federal law?

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