The Rebuttal That Wasn't Wins The Day

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What
are words for, when no one listens anymore?

~
Missing Persons

On
this just past March 3rd, in a column she wrote in response
to John Kerry's crocodile tears over spilt TARP money, Bloomberg's
Caroline Baum did what she always does — she made me laugh. Unlike
far too many of her fellow professionals, though, she wants
me to laugh at her columns, which mostly cover our not so good American
political economy. A combination of uncommon sense and an inability
to know when to pull her punches makes certain of her pieces stand
out like a raised middle finger, held high enough so that her target
notices.

The
above-mentioned March 3rd column, John Kerry Is Last
Guy You Want Helping Banks, made Mr. Kerry notice — and he actually
responded with a column of his own on March 6th. Truth
be told, in a Congress notorious for not bothering to read any of
the laws they flippantly impose, I was initially relieved to think
I'd found an actual Congressmen capable of the act, but my relief
proved short-lived.

Now having
read his shambles of a rebuttal I doubt he even read her column,
as he didn't answer a single one of Ms. Baum's charges. In a sane
world, he would have been better off not writing the thing in the
first place; all he did was produce an effort that would net him
a D– if turned in to your average high school economics teacher
and give proof that he is not the swiftest boat on the sea.

There
is an old saying "rather be thought a fool than to open your
mouth and prove it" and, provoked by Ms. Baum, our grandee
of the Senate just had to go and prove it.

Typing
in Oblivion

Father
McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear.

~
The Beatles

Ms. Baum
accused Mr. Kerry of three things, the main being that John Kerry
— a run-of-the-mill socialist rife with the compulsion to "plan"
innate to the species — has absolutely no experience outside of
government employment and is ignorant regarding how to run a business,
let alone an entire economy, and therefore should not be passing
any legislation at all regarding the matter.

While
some might argue that his membership on the Senate Finance Committee
would answer the charge, it's well known that august body is designed
to teach its members much about feathering their nests and nothing
of economics or marketing – even Mr. Kerry wisely saves himself
from ridicule and never pretends otherwise, not even mentioning
the posting. Actually, he never mentions any of Caroline Baum's
accusations at all.

Second,
she accuses him of not understanding the function of marketing to
the survival of a business. Private companies need to constantly
hustle for new clients, and to keep new ones. "Social outings
foster business relationships," she notes. Yet, when John Kerry
insists that "normal marketing" wouldn't be effected one
iota, what he means by that is anyone's guess, including Mr. Kerry's,
as he never bothers to explain what "normal" is.

Lastly, pointing
out his sputtering indignation over a TARP-stuffed finance company's
un-normal (to him) hiring of Earth, Wind, and Fire for a client
event, Ms. Baum notes "I don't recall much outrage when the
R&B band entertained the nation's governors at the White House
a few days later. And President Obama's guests didn't exactly dine
on mac 'n cheese."

John
Kerry called the finance company's hiring of the band "an idiotic
abuse of taxpayer money while our country is on the brink";
how does he feel about Obama hiring the same band for his
taxpayer-funded shindig? Naturally, Mr. Kerry doesn't touch that
one with a ten-foot pole.

As
a taxpayer forced to invest in these insolvent companies, she invokes
her right to speak up and points out "Kerry has spent his entire
life working for the government" and she'd rather have the
CEOs calling the shots as to the marketing budget, and that while
a failed firm should have new management, "John Kerry is not
what taxpayers had in mind."

I
agree with Ms. Baum that he has neither the experience nor the training
to develop any rational thoughts regarding economics, and in case
you think me cruel: at the end of his rebuttal's fifth paragraph,
John Kerry insists that all that taxpayer money his bankers friends
are giving out to Earth, Wind, and Fire or otherwise wasting "should
be focused on easing the credit crisis by increasing lending."

Now having
established his plan for the banks to issue more debt, that being
the Road Back To Recovery, five paragraphs later he forgets all
about increasing lending because "household debt-to-income
levels are at historic highs," and that's a D– plan if
I ever saw one.

Yet
sadly, in a nation where men such as John Kerry are taken seriously
and the opinion of people who are patently clueless garner respect,
where President Obama can assert without laughter that his actions
have been "entirely consistent with free-market principles,"
and where rebuttals don't even have to rebut, Caroline Baum and
all those who argue for free markets can type madly until Judgment
Day comes and it won't make this Titanic change course.

John Kerry's
ideas and actions are as American mainstream and apple pie as it
gets; he holds to views as popular as they are foolish, we live
under a collective illusion so deep-baked into our intellectual
DNA as to be impervious to any logic, unconquerable by anything
less than the harsh experience of economic catastrophe.

So
while she may be correct and her accusations remain standing tall,
Mr. Kerry wins the day, he better understands that we live in a
world where you don't need to refute your opponent but can simply
ignore them into oblivion, you can just stand back and watch them
go under in a wave of popular madness, secure that democracy will
advance what rational argument cannot.

Mr. Kerry's
refusal to answer the charges combined with a "plan" that
can't stay on track for more than five paragraphs doesn't matter;
he easily bests Caroline Baum here. The race does not always go
to the swift, and the sanity of Caroline Baum is but a drop of rain
falling into the vast madness of America's ocean.

March
9, 2009

C.J. Maloney
[send him mail] lives and
works in New York City.

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