Friday, September 17, 2010

Texas Tea Shakes, Rattles, Rolls Out of Big D

"Refudiation" Of The GOP Started On The North Dallas 40, Remember?

Taking yourself a little too seriously lately? Still having fun?

Hey, don't look at me. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you still remember the hand grenade with the funny haircut.

You know who I'm talking about.

Long before Rush was right, Ross was even more right.

Still got that frown on your face? No trace of a quick smile?

Gimme a break.

I know better.

Now go back to some old video and watch H. Ross Perot in action. Let's start with the “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving America, that most famous phrase of the Presidential debates, circa 1992.

Yeah, the bit about shipping American jobs overseas, NAFTA, and the b-flat blues.

Notice how the two other guys are standing around on one foot, then the other with those supercilious little smirks on their faces?

Ross Perot wiped those smirks away two years later when he had captured 19% of the electorate, split the conservative vote and ran Daddy Bush out of politics, then engineered a conservative takeover of Congress because he decided Slick Willie was a little too spendthrift with the purse strings.

This guy was scary, no two ways about it. Listen to the figures trip off his tongue in chirpy little sound bytes that make perfect sense.

How did he know these things? Well, for one thing he had been providing the electronic bookkeeping service to the world's largest corporations for decades – including the U.S. Government. After all, he is one of 15 billionaires who hang their hats in Big D.

He was talking directly to “some of you people in business,” he said.

These are the people who know. He emphasized that.

Health care. It's your biggest single cost of doing business if you are an American employer, said Ross Perot.

That is, “if you have a mature work force.”

So, you move the plant to Mexico where you have $0 in health care cost, a dollar-an-hour labor bill and no EPA or OSHA to worry you and your insurance carrier.

Sound familiar?

You got it. That Tea Party started in Dallas in 1992 and it's never gone away. Ross Perot told America that if the economic engine doesn't seem to be running so hot, seems a little sluggish, then you lift the hood and find out what's gone wrong. What did Ross find?

Government spending with no possibility of paying back the debt was his first clue.

Guy knows how to meet a payroll, pay taxes, keep investors satisfied. To whom does he listen?

He listens to H. Ross Perot.

Wag dog. Move muscle. Change thought.

But there's more. Foreign auto manufacturers couldn't afford to park their ships at American ports, much less unload and dump tiny little cars with little bitty engines. They couldn't have afforded it had it not been for you know who. Yeah, the guys in the pin-striped suits who get their tickets punched in Congress, make all the right connections and then go to work as foreign lobbyists for five, six times the money – to start. Just wait until they make them partners.

Still having fun?

Oh, yeah, then there was the part about prosperity coming a manufacturer's way with his new plants in Mexico, Indonesia and Honduras, his outsourcing in India and the Philippines. Let's say he raises his people to $6 an hour, tops. Does that mean the average American will see his pay cut to $6 an hour?

Look around yourself. I don't have to tell you. Check it out.

Health benefits? Fugeddaboudit.

The first I heard of NAFTA was in 1970. Maurice Stans was Richard M. Nixon's Secretary of Commerce and he flew in to San Francisco to make a speech about this brilliant new idea of removing all the trade barriers from the North American continent, doing away with those fuddy duddy old ideas about disallowing a true intermodal freight rate on a single bill of lading, and eliminating the restrictions that would keep a Japanese manufacturer from bringing in a fully assembled pickup just big enough to haul a load of groceries – at a greatly reduced import tariff.

I know. I covered the speech, then beat it back to the newsroom to write the story before deadline.

Free up the markets; let the economic engine make the adjustments.

Go, team, go. Yeah.

Then there was the Executive Vice President for Foreign Operations of the Bank of America – kind of sounds like fee fi fo fum - who made the speech about how the new currency would not be the dollar, but the common stock certificate.

That one wound up in a movie named “Network,” a little number written by Paddy Chayefsky, when Arthur Jensen, CEO of the conglomerate that owned the television network, lectures Howard Beale, long-time news anchor who threatened suicide on the air when they told him they were letting him go.

The gag? They turned the news division over to a bottom line-minded lady played by Faye Dunaway, a real barracude in a skirt who in the end had Howard Beale assassinated on camera when his ratings went down in an irreversible trend.

Television news then became an entertainment more than a source of reliable information...Uh, well, now. Where is all this going?

The conclusion. None of this is new. It's just another verse to that same old song.

Run the rascals out. Remember Ross.

Drink your tea, but don't forget old Ross. I don't think he's forgotten you.

Consider this news analysis by Robert W. Merry, former Wall Street “Journal” Washington correspondent and publisher of Stratfor, the Austin-based on-line private intelligence service.

His headline. "The Tea Party And Insurgency Politics."

You got it. Insurgency. Kind of has a beat. You could dance to it.

“The political lesson, worth pondering in these times of Tea Party rumbling, is that serious protest movements such as the Perot phenomenon or today's Tea Party revolt never just fade away. They linger in American politics, sometimes largely unseen but sometimes quite overt, and exert a continuing tug on the course of electoral decision-making. Eventually they get absorbed into one party or the other. In the process, they often tilt the balance of political power in the country, occasionally for substantial periods of time.”

Amen, brother.

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