Friday, January 11, 2013

Scary Jack Lew

By Frank Moraes 

Let us give a little thought to Jack Lew. Obama has nominated him to replace Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary. The Republicans are afraid -- very afraid. How can Obama choose Jack Lew?! 

And he is a scary guy, I can tell you that. Last year, Eric Cantor told Politico, "No one was more prepared and more in tune with the numbers than Jack Lew." This was in an article titled, "Jack Lew: A Liberal GOP Says It Trusts." So you know: this is Freddy Krueger scary. No. Wait. Not Freddy Krueger scary; Kermit the Frog scary. When it comes to Obama nominees, it doesn't take much to scare the Republicans. 

Jonathan Bernstein over at The Plum Line tells us that Jeff Sessions (fucktard from Alabama) is against Lew becoming Treasury Secretary. But not because Lew is a drunk or a philanderer. No, Sessions thinks he doesn't have the "gavitas" for the job. What this means is just that he's against him because that's what you do to all the nominations of a Democratic president -- especialla un oo's a colored. Bernstein is nicer: "Or, as Kevin Drum figures, it's just that Lew insists on using real math during budget negotiations." That's even worse: a edacated colored's nominee.

Bernstein argues that the real problem is that congressional Republicans have abandoned norms. Until Obama was elected, it was accepted that the president should be allowed to have the cabinet that he chose. But no longer. 

This is what I call the Republicans becoming a revolutionary party. As I wrote before:

In the introduction to The Great Unraveling, Paul Krugman discusses Henry Kissinger's PhD dissertation. In it, Kissinger deconstructs revolutionary movements. One thing that defines these movements is their rejection of political norms. Krugman talks about it in relation to the Bush Administration. He notes that after scandals where earlier administrations -- both Democrat and Republican -- would have forced a resignation, Bush did nothing.

I'm not sure what we are to do about this other than try to get out the vote and generally make these people pay for their reactionary governing. For the time being we pretty much have to accept this madness and the fact that it is based on nothing except obstruction for the sake of obstruction.

Massimo Calabresi over at Time has a different take. His article is chalked full of apologetics, but he does paint a compelling picture of Lew. I don't think the right's opposition to him is based upon facts, but Lew is a progressive. I think that conservatives could find anyone this side of Hitler and Stalin's satanic love child wanting. But you can see how a man like this would be poison to them:

Beneath his nerdy exterior, Lew is a passionate progressive on the issue of wealth disparity and programs for the poor. In the original Gramm-Rudman-Hollings "sequestration" talks in the mid-1980s, Lew negotiated the exemptions from automatic budget cuts for Medicaid and other low-income programs. In the 1990s, he again defended Medicaid from the budget ax as President Clinton tacked to the center. And his speakerphone outburst in 2011 was in response to the Republican staffer's suggestion that Medicaid cuts be added to the revivified sequestration process to avoid debt default.

Bottom line: We should support Lew for Treasury Secretary.

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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