“Screaming in the Roosevelt Room”
Posted by voidmanufacturing on October 1, 2008
The New and Improved Wall Street Journal
One of the key actors now absent from the scene in the financial and political opera currently being acted in Washington and New York is John Mc Cain. There is only one brief mention of the Republican Presidential candidate in the Wall Street Journal article entitled “Bailout Plan Rejected, Markets Plunge, Forcing New Scramble to Solve Crisis” and published September 30, 2008.
The article published today marks a significant political change from the position taken in the Weekend Edition of Rupert Murdoch’s new and improved Wall Street Journal. Journal readers on the weekend were treated to a wild and funny story that featured “screaming in the Roosevelt Room” (in Bush’s Whitehouse). According to “Monday Meltdown” story in the leading capitalist newspaper in the US it would appear that the misinformation machine of monopoly capital would like to forget John McCain for a while, but why?
The reason for this is, most probably, because the “maverick” Senator from Arizona (a “maverick”, by the way, is an unbranded steer) Mc Cain totally blew up the bi-partisan White House discussions of the “bailout package” late last week. Once again, why? Why would the Republican candidate for the Presidency of the United States throw the proverbial spanner in the works? The answer is suggested in the Journal article by one of the best pieces of photojournalism that this newspaper (now inspired to operate in Murdoch mode) ever printed.
“Screaming in the Roosevelt Room”
The photograph published in the Wall Street Journal’s “Weekend Edition” showed the viewer the back of the (small round) head of the Senator from Arizona. Looking at Mc Cain with a mixture of rage and disbelief on his usually dull normal features was an amazed and furious George W. Bush. If looks could be printed, this one would say “What the (“f-word”) Hell is wrong with you…do you want the country to go broke?! Beyond President Bush at the other end of the table Barak Obama is looking “presidential” and severe, but also somewhat surprised. What was Mc Cain up to now?
Apparently, when Bush asked Mc Cain to comment on the bailout package, the President expected a few supportive and helpful remarks. Instead, Mc Cain handed the mike to the Leader of the House Republicans who proceeded to blast the proposed “bailout package” in the fiery Biblical terms still very much in use in the American South. In the new and exciting diction now allowed in Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, the next line of the story read: “Then all Hell broke loose.” Mc Cain was quoted as saying: I just sat back and let them scream at me.” What McCain had just done may have been to make public the second big rupture in the Republican party in as many years. This was what led to “screaming in the Roosevelt Room.”
The last time the GOP was split like this the issue was undocumented workers. The small town Republicans who make up the base of the Republican party all wanted to build a fence to keep the Mexican workers in Mexico. Big sturdy White men wearing various small arms sat in deck chairs with their binoculars pointed at the border for a while as the small town press thundered about the need to build a fence. The Republican employers and Wall Street mandarins in the party were not so sure about that this was a pressing need. After all, the big money in the Republican party needed the cheap labor that undocumented workers provide in the fields of states like Idaho, Colorado, and California, not to mention in the chicken packing plants of Arkansas and nearby middle American states. President Bush clubbed with the big money in his party on this one, and the problem went away, mostly thanks to a sudden lack of interest on the part of the monopoly capitalist misinformation media.
The Republican rupture is much bigger this time. The point of John Mc Cain’s political maneuver in siding with the anti-bailout House Republicans is to pit the small town Republicans (ie “Main Street”) against the titans of capital currently facing massive difficulties due to their own greed and stupidity (“Wall Street”). Yes, as many commentators have already noticed, Mc Cain’s strategic gambit is populism at its most calculated. It also might work.
By playing the populist card (Mc Cain is a life long gambling addict) he hopes to welcome masses and masses of unemployed workers in “swing states” like Michigan and Ohio into the warm and friendly ranks of the Republican party. The “swing state” is a creature of America’s up-to-date 18th Century Constitution in which “electors” rather than the people at large choose the President. The peculiar and anti-democratic outcomes of the electoral college has turned certain American states into “battleground states.” By coincidence some of these states (Michigan, Ohio) are also home to increasingly unemployed and increasingly angry workers many of whom are of European ancestry and who don’t particularly look forward to seeing their present unenviable social status become further devalued by the election of a President with African ancestors. The second big population group that Mc Cain is going after is known as the “hockey moms.”
In a deliberately provocative video published yesterday in the New York Times, a reporter visited ice skating rinks in the state of Michigan to talk to hockey moms. About 7 out of 8 such moms voiced solid support for Palin on the grounds of her gender and her Christian morality. One of these also said, with evident urging from a friend off camera: “I don’t want to sound racist, but I don’t think that America is ready for a Black President.”
The really impressive footage in the “hockey mom” video, however, is of burned out houses and apartment blocks and shuttered factories all across the state of Michigan. If the unemployed and angry workers of this and similar states (Ohio?) decide to vote in their traditional they will vote for Obama. However, getting back to the “bailout” mess, one wonders how they feel about the Democratic party and its loyal stewardship of big capital. This takes place not only in the form of obvious Democratic backing of the plan to rescue the the rich wall street bankers, but also in the form of allowing the small stockholder or suddenly impoverished homeowner to sink beneath the waves.
This would include the many US workers whose life savings remain marooned in pension plans which they were vigorously encouraged (or forced) to join by their former employers. We shall soon see which way this potentially volatile stratum of American workers will go. It could be to follow Mc Cain and /or to listen to the darker voices that issue from much farther to the Right.