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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fox News to GOP Candidates: 'No More Anti-Bailout Talk'

This video of Rick Perry being interviewed by Fox News' Neil Cavuto has been making the rounds, generally as evidence of how unprepared Perry is for anything in the neighborhood of a tough question. In the clip, Perry's regurgitating the typical GOP mumbo-jumbo about certainty and "investor confidence" being the most important thing for economic and job growth, while completely ignoring the indisputable fact that no one's going to invest in a business that has no customers. Supply and demand is set on its head, as always.

But of course the interesting part is when Perry starts ripping on the bailouts -- previously a fairly typical Republican line. And, until just a few weeks ago, a perfectly acceptable and politically correct one. But after the Occupy movement, it's apparently now verboten.

Yes, Perry's tiny little brain was incapable of processing what had just happened, so he just sat there silent, waiting for the interview to move on. I can't help but fill that silence with the sound of imaginary crickets chirping while rusty gears grind to a halt when I watch it.

But check that video again. Cavuto's crew had that clip loaded and ready to fire. It had previously been a matter of teabagger faith that the bailouts were bad, now it's practically the act of a Communist sympathizer to make that same argument. Cavuto's comment and the clip of Occupy Wall Street was a warning shot across Perry's bow. Perry's not likely to criticize the bailouts on Fox News again -- he obviously has no idea how to deal with the consequence.


Personally, it's my opinion that the bailouts were necessary, but avoidable. They should've come with a heavy price tag for the bailed out corporations and banks -- namely, trust-busting. "Too big to fail" is too big to exist, so these entities should've been broken up into smaller entities. Had this happened before the market crash, there would've been no need to bail them out. No company should get free federal existence insurance based solely on the chunk of the economy they control. Luckily, this is a mistake that can be corrected at any time. There is no window of opportunity here, just a great big, always-open door.

But, to go back to the clip, Cavuto and the people at Fox are no longer interested in the bailouts. When it was the Tea Party complaining about them, that was fine. The 'baggers believe what Fox tells them to believe, so anti-bailout talk need not be anti-corporate talk -- it's anti-Obama talk. Griping about the bailouts is fine, doing something real about them is another thing entirely. And doing something real is what the 99-percenters are demanding.

And that makes the corporate/conservative establishment -- of which Fox News is the press office -- extremely nervous.

Gene Lyons, Salon:

...The populist left, such as it is, has long had the dream of persuading working- and middle-class Americans to ignore the "tribal" differences that divide them -- regional, racial, religious and cultural -- to vote their shared economic self-interest.

Except during times of grave national danger -- the Great Depression, for example -- it's pretty much remained a dream... [T]he ongoing economic crisis created by Wall Street greed and recklessness makes it possible that a new movement taking aim at incestuous political and financial corruption in Washington might have a chance.

Breaking up "too-big-to-fail" banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, for example, might be an issue left and right could coalesce around...

If there's any such thing as an anti-inoculant, a sort of backwards vaccine that makes the subject more susceptible to the infection of anti-Wall Street sentiment, then the Tea Party's anti-bailout rhetoric would be it. Well aware of the risk of a spreading contagion, Fox is taking prophylactic measures. No more anti-bailout talk.

The GOP candidates have been warned.


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