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The Something Missing

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You have doubtless had the experience that something is missing and you don’t know what that something is. You would know instantly if you came across the missing something and I am not referring to Governor Rick Perry’s much discussed television lapse, although I could. Because it was the surplus of televised debates that had been on my mind and something about them was missing. Then it occurred to me out of the thin television air. It was as if someone had snuck up behind me and popped a paper bag full of air. Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich used the words “public servant.”  The missing concept revealed.

“My view is when people speak like this in a campaign referendum,” Mr. Kasich said, “you have to listen if you’re a public servant.” Ohio overwhelmingly rejected a law that restricted the collective-bargaining power of some 350-thousand government workers. Now, that law that Kasich championed will never take effect.the 8 Republican debaters: it's all about them

But it is the idea of public service that has been missing in the Republican debates because it is all about them and not about us.

In the last decade, US television audiences began their affair with so-called reality TV shows. Suspending the notion that such shows have production requisites, such as cameras, lights, audio, make-up, direction, catering, transportation and lots of folks behind the scenes, reality is just an abstraction. The sponsored GOP debates are also such an abstraction in addition to being a relatively cheap shoot. They are to professional politics what wrestling is to professional sports.

It’s like watching a reality version of Gilligan’s Island as an elimination game show. Just look at the cast. Seven contestants are or have been elected public officials and one has never held public office. Three candidates are from the House of Representatives and one is from the Senate. Two are former governors and one is a sitting governor. There is a white woman, a black man, two white seniors and four middle-aged white men. Republicans call this diversity.

100% divided by 8 equals 12.5%. Polls only make the television event dubious.

Here is what is apparent. Gallup shows that Huntsman, Santorum and Paul do not register among likely Republican voters. What that means is that the money is not there. Gallup also reports that Romney, who has been running for president for five years, is the most likely to make it to the finals of the contest to win the Republican nomination. He is dull. So is the contest. There is no debating. Except for Perry’s lapse, debate moderator John Harwood said on PBS Washington Week, the television show would have only been about people only reciting lines. The Perry gaffe made it interesting.

Only interesting.Bachmann and Cain

The Tea Party stains Bachmann and Cain: Bachmann, who thinks US default on its debt is good and Cain, who thinks sexual harassment is an acceptable management style. Age dims Paul and Gingrich: the Libertarian and the former speaker could be a formidable tag-team for one presidential term, as US comic relief in a troubled world. Texas dung sticks to Perry’s pointed-toe boots, by his admission, and it stinks.

By the way, Romney and Perry may have the campaign money, but their support of US military intervention in Iran lacks money. They have not said how they would have the US pay for yet another war. Neither did George W. Bush, the former Republican president, who paid for two wars by deficit spending.

So, what about public service? There isn’t any. Romney knows what it is but won’t admit it. Huntsman and Santorum know what it is but lack the money to demonstrate it. Bachmann and Cain do not comprehend what it is. Paul and Gingrich are just there for the show. And none of them mention public service – that something missing in their television show.

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About Tommy Mack

Tommy Mack began his career in broadcasting and is a US Army graduate of the Defense Information School. He worked in Army Public and Command Information and earned a BS in Liberal Studies from the State University of New York, Albany. A marketing communications executive, Tommy became a business management consultant for a major international consulting company and its affiliates before establishing Tommy Mack Organization, a business consulting practice specializing in organization and communications management. A professional writer and blogger, he writes about politics, business, and culture.
  • Wait for Romney-Gingrich.


  • zingzing

    huntsman also reps for captain beefheart. a republican with musical taste? what next?

  • Gingrich is a pompous ass! The only thing bigger than his head is his ego. He refers to his work on behalf of Freddie Mac “strategic advice.” Most others would consider it lobbying.

    The only Rep candidate I give any props to is Huntsman. I know he has no chance in hell of surviving the primaries owing to his connections to Obama, his being a Mormon, his being a moderate, his belief in science and evolution, and his displaying at least a modicum of intelligence: all unforgivable sins to tea baggers. Those people call Gingrich the intellectual. jesus fucking christ!

    However, if some miracle happened and he somehow emerged at the nominee, I would say that Huntsman is the ONLY Rep who could give Obama a run for his money in a general election.

    Romney is the likely nominee, but listening to him makes watching the grocery truck unload seem like base jumping. And as Huntsman (or somebody)recently said: Rommey is a perfectly lubricated weather vane. He has NO ideology.

  • Igor

    18-Maurice: “The government can do nothing to augment laissez faire capitalism. If they do get involved (like GSE (Fannie Mae)) it screws up the curve and causes economic problems.”

    Who the hell wants laissez faire capitalism, which inevitably devolves into oppressive feudalism? You’d have to be nuts! That’s as bad as communism, maybe even worse.

    FNMA was formed to serve an essential financial function by creating a secondary market in mortgages so that bank lenders funds aren’t tied up for 20 years. And it was a function that commercial financial interests refused to create and it was only when FDR showed that it would work in the 30s and it established a slightly profitable record for 20 years that commercial finance became interested and sought to buy stock. Their insistence on retaining access to public funds (“Public funds for private pelf” as the opposition said) while getting private profit and then when they took over management in 1968, is what doomed FNMA. Even so it took 40 years of abuse by greedy private financiers and republican-sponsored neglect of proper regulation for that inconsistency to fully manifest itself, thus attesting to the soundness of the ORIGINAL creation of FNMA.

    Our economic problems are caused by UNREGULATED Private financiers. The proper fix is to send crooked financiers (who committed widespread fraud) to JAIL! After the Reagan-era S&L fiasco we sent over 1000 bankers to jail for their crimes, but so far no one for even greater crimes.

  • Zedd

    Of all of the Rep candidates I would much rather have Newt, happily.

    Newt knows how to compromise. He also knows how this mess started. He created it. He is the architect for the Republican rise and the religious, drone like fervor that is plaguing us right now. He know how things got out of control and has expressed some regret. It was propaganda that went really bad. The rest of the candidates came after the Contract With America and are a result of the stupid glazed over minds that voted after its effective initiation. They themselves (the candidates) are weird because they are the physical embodiment of a made up idea that was based on a false foundation that was designed just to get votes, which resulted in this bizarre Alice in Wonderland climate and these Alice in Wonderland candidates.

    Newt broke it, only he can fix it, in the bunch. The rest don’t know that they are an aberration; a mere invention by an evil genius.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Maurice, spoken like a true evangelist. There’s no changing your mind, you have faith in the free market’s mythological ability to “sort itself out” and shall not be deterred.

    I envy you in a way.


    I agree with Jack Abramoff, that 1) Gingrich used his public service and accesses to make money; 2) his engagement in lobbying practices with Freddie Mac was corrupt; and 3) he (Gingrich) is lying about the $1.6 million he earned was for being an “historian.”

  • Maurice

    #8 – I believe the politicians can solve the problems with our economy by getting the hell out of the way.

    The government can do nothing to augment laissez faire capitalism. If they do get involved (like GSE (Fannie Mae)) it screws up the curve and causes economic problems.

    “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”


    Michelle Bachmann on Gingrich schilling for Freddie Mac:

    “Fannie and Freddie, as you know, have been the epicenter of the financial meltdown in this country. And whether former Speaker Gingrich made $300,000 or whether he made $2 million, the point is that he took money to influence senior Republicans to be favorable toward Fannie and Freddie. While he was taking that money I was fighting against Fannie and Freddie.”


    “Which of course is irrelevant, nobody else’s business…”
    Except for the conservative Right Wing’s claim of moral superiority.

    “Standard politics.”
    Except for the conservative Right Wing’s claim of moral superiority.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Precisely, Clavos, “standard politics.” Which is to say, as I noted in my comment, that ALL politicians flat-out suck.

    Glenn, I appreciate that the story may or may not be true. I don’t think it’s an overly unlikely tale, though, given his general approach to said female. And, as the story you linked to points out, the story will haunt him as long as he noses around in politics.

    Can’t say I feel at all bad about that.

  • Clavos

    Then there’s the personality issues, pressing his first wife for a divorce while she was in hospital and saying “She isn’t young enough or pretty enough to be the President’s wife.”

    Which of course is irrelevant, nobody else’s business, and of no more significance than Michelle Obama’s line about her consort’s election being the first time in her life she was proud to be an american.

    Or his trying to put Clinton on the hook for adultery when Newt was diddling around too.

    Standard politics.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jordan –

    It seems the story about Newt serving his wife divorce papers while she was on her deathbed may not be entirely true. While it MIGHT be true, there’s no real proof and it might be a particularly vicious urban legend.

    I still think Newt’s a dishonorable sleazebag, but I can’t stand by and let him be accused of something he didn’t do.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ummm…Maurice –

    Did you know who the VERY FIRST big supporter of a National Health Care Individual Mandate was?

    Newt Gingrich.

    Here’s what may well be the first thing that Michelle Bachmann EVER said that was absolutely true:

    BACHMANN: Our candidate can’t be compromised. We have candidates that are compromised on the individual health care mandate, which is Obamacare. It was Newt Gingrich’s idea, and Mitt Romney implemented it.

    The concept of the individual mandate actually originated at the conservative Heritage Foundation, but Gingrich was an early and strong supporter. “I am for people, individuals – exactly like automobile insurance – individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance,” Gingrich said on Meet the Press in 1993. He supported it as recently as 2007, writing in a Des Moines Register op-ed, “Personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance. Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance.”

    And Maurice – do you really, truly know WHY any modern-day Republican of note is against the Individual Mandate? The answer is that they’re AGAINST it simply because the Democrats are FOR it. As soon as the idea made its way into Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, the Individual Mandate made an incredible overnight transformation from Republican ideal to Republican kryptonite.

    I know this thread isn’t about the Individual Mandate – I just wanted to show you just how incredibly unprincipled Newt Gingrich really is since he was cheating on his wife while he was busying trying to politically impale Clinton for doing the same thing.

  • Zingzing

    ‘I may not be Nostradamus but I saw this before anyone else.”

    Delusion, pt II: first!!

  • jamminsue

    Jordan, #5. Thank you for posting Newt’s lovely track record. Saved me some time.

    El, #9. Very good.

    Where’s discussion about labor unions, especially government labor unions?

    Unions brought us the 40-hour work-week, most of our safety laws, retirement plans, vacations. Stuff you-all that are lucky enough to have such a job, take for granted, that was paid for with blood, broken bones, and ruined lives.
    Like the elevator operator union, sometimes good things get too strong. It seems to me, from what I have read the myopic vision of the elevator operator union is no longer happening, unions understand and accept there are times to dial back and compromise.

  • “I was the first person to say Obama was exactly like Carter but worse.”

    of course you did. no need for any evidence.

    “My prediction is Newt is the new Reagan.”

    Great. We need someone to raise taxes, make deals with terrorists, run from our enemies, and prop up dictators.

    I watched the video. Newt spoke a lot and said nothing about how he would lead on economic issues. If you think you saw some concrete plans, I would agree that the delusion is real.

    And as for your link, what evidence is there that anyone who participated in the poll knows anything about Carter’s economic plans?

    On the same Internet, Serenity was voted the best science fiction movie of all time, so you’ll have to understand if I don’t care what an Internet poll reveals. They can all be rigged

  • Jordan Richardson

    Maurice, if you really have that much faith in politicians and their ability to dig your country out of its issues with some simple number crunching, tax cuts and fiddling around, more power to you.

    Because I know better and because I come from a country with absolutely ZERO faith in ANY politicians from ANY party, I can’t help but chuckle.


  • Jordan Richardson

    You mean the Solution has just been lying around this whole time? Wow! You better elect him now (or at least pass Obama Newt’s magical plan to Save Everything). Who knew it was so easy?

  • Maurice

    Balancing the federal budget
    A key aspect of the Contract with America was the promise of a balanced federal budget. After the end of the government shutdown, Gingrich and other Republican leaders acknowledged that Congress would not be able to draft a balanced budget in 1996. Instead, they opted to approve some small reductions that were already approved by the White House and to wait until the election season.[37]
    By May 1997, Republican congressional leaders reached a compromise with the Democrats and President Clinton on the federal budget. The agreement called for a federal spending plan designed to reduce the federal deficit and achieve a balanced budget by 2002. The plan included a total of $152 billion in Republican sponsored tax cuts over five years. Other major parts of the spending plan called for $115 billion to be saved through a restructuring of Medicare, $24 billion set aside to extend health insurance to children of the working poor, tax credits for college tuition, and a $2 billion welfare-to-work jobs initiative.[38][39]
    President Clinton signed the budget legislation in August 1997. At the signing, Gingrich gave credit to ordinary Americans stating, “It was their political will that brought the two parties together.”[40]
    In early 1998, with the economy performing better than expected, increased tax revenues helped reduce the federal budget deficit to below $25 billion. Gingrich then called upon President Clinton to submit a balanced budget for 1999—three years ahead of schedule—which Clinton did, making it the first time the federal budget had been balanced since 1969.[41]

  • Jordan Richardson

    I challenge you to watch this video and not think this man could lead us out of the economic problems we currently have because of a government that is spending us to death.


    I think if you believe ANY establishment politician can save you, you’re delusional.

    Also, it’s hilarious that various politicians suddenly become “professors” or “doctors” in the big doe eyes of their followers when a little more meat is required on them bones. Sure, Newt was an assistant professor in West Georgia College’s history department. Woopty doo, that must make him extra qualified.

    Nevermind that Newt was Speaker during the 1995/1996 government shutdown and is the ONLY Speaker of the House to be disciplined for ethics violations. Or when Republicans turned against him in 1997 because he had “leadership issues.” Or his role in the House banking scandal, in which his attempts to expose Democrats backfired because of revelations that he had passed 22 overdrawn cheques himself.

    Or his misuse of taxpayer-funded subsidies (GOPAC), his misappropriation of programs designed to help inner city kids (the Abraham Lincoln Opportunity Foundation).

    Then there’s the personality issues, pressing his first wife for a divorce while she was in hospital and saying “She isn’t young enough or pretty enough to be the President’s wife.” Or his trying to put Clinton on the hook for adultery when Newt was diddling around too.

    Newt plays sleazy partisan politics with the best of them and, like ALL politicians, has his best interests in mind before those of the country he’s elected to serve.

    But hey, if the Good Professor warms your heart with visions of his leading your country out of the dark wilderness of debt and “depression,” go right ahead and hitch your wagon to his rather portly ass. Whatever gets you through the day.

  • Maurice

    The delusion is real. I may not be Nostradamus but I saw this before anyone else.

    I challenge you to watch this video and not think this man could lead us out of the economic problems we currently have because of a government that is spending us to death.

    Professor Gingrich could drag us out of this depression.

  • Jordan Richardson

    President Newt? Yeah, you guys go ahead with that…

  • Zingzing

    “Honest to god, I was the first person to say Obama was exactly like Carter but worse. Now years later others are saying the same thing.”

    Quoted for celebrating delusion.

  • Maurice

    Honest to god, I was the first person to say Obama was exactly like Carter but worse. Now years later others are saying the same thing.

    Carter was a wake up call to voting citizens and ushered in Reagan. My prediction is Newt is the new Reagan. Lefties, Righties and moderates like myself realize Obama is rudderless and must be replaced by someone like Reagan. I know Mitt is the current leader but he is too tame to fix the Obama problems.

    Newt might be even better than Ronnie.