Thursday, November 10, 2011

Princess Nancy

Herman Cain took more grief last night from a media intent on pinning him with the donkey tail of "misogynist-black-man-with-white-women-issues."

After the debate, a CNBC reporter questioned Cain about whether his pejorative reference to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as "Princess Nancy" wasn't particularly inapposite given his alleged problems with women.

This was apparently a burning issue among media mavens last night.
"Cain calls Pelosi "Princess Nancy". Maybe not smartest for a guy trying to fight back against harassment allegations?" Tweeted The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza.

The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza added: "Princess Nancy"! That will be really helpful for Cain's reputation as someone who has utmost respect for women."

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post's Sam Stein wrote: "When you're accused of serial sexual harassment, you should probably stay away from calling the top dem official in the house "princess." 
Someone by the Twitter handle of "Princess Pelosi" - who first Tweeted on November 4 - responded to Cain's remark with a sarcastic message: "I love when Herman Cain calls me a #princess it reminds me of my place #cnbcdebate #gopdebate #generalaxelrod". 
According to the Washington Post, Cain said on CNBC later that he regretted the phrase. 
"That was a statement that I probably shouldn't have made, but I was trying to make a point,"he said.

The point--made in reference to a challenging question about the candidates' fall back plans should ObamaCare be repealed--concerned an alternative bill that Speaker Pelosi buried in committee.  Cain's derision was leveled at her imperious exercise of legislative power.

Note the presumptions in the reporters' remarks.  Ryan Lizza thinks it impossible to respect women in general, and not Pelosi in particular.  Does he also think that his media colleagues who disrespected President Bush, for instance, disrespected men generally?  Sam Stein thinks Cain is accused of serial sexual harassment.  Actually, Cain has been serially accused of sexual harassment, a nuance that says more about the smear campaign than it does about the smear victim.

Note also the lack of interest in the questions of whether: Pelosi does indeed act like a princess; or her actions as House Speaker merited the sobriquet; or the actions of a powerful woman should be shielded from derision because she is a woman; or how it came to pass that someone like her could become the top Democratic official in the house?

As always with the press, scrutiny is fixed on the Republican, not the Democrat.

The comments indicate that the reporters' narrative is already settled, as are the rules of engagement.  Once accused of sexual harassment, a man's: (1) every reference to women--even to a public, willful, bossy, tyrannical legislator with a peremptory manner--will be scrutinized for misogyny; (2) your reputation is shot as everyone knows you don't respect women; and (3) snide cracks about top democratic officials are off limits.

Cain's remark recalled to Noman a vignette about Speaker Pelosi in Hank Paulson's financial crisis memoir, "On The Brink."
We were to meet in Nancy Pelosi's conference room, adjacent to her office in the Capitol.  Always smartly turned out, the Speaker of the House maintained an elegant, almost formal atmosphere, with fresh flowers and bowls of chocolates, that was quite removed from the rough-and-tumble of the floor.  Once, when I walked in with a cup of Diet Coke, she said, "Oh, we don't use plastic cups," and an aide promptly handed me a very nice glass for my drink.
Earlier he recounts that after Lehman Brothers' collapse, with AIG tottering on the brink, the global financial system imploding and panic setting into the public psyche, he had difficulty arranging an urgent meeting with the House Speaker and Democrats:
I next had to make arrangements to go to the Hill.  In the afternoon, I'd run into resistance trying to get something scheduled.  Before the PWG (President's Working Group) meeting I had spoken with Nancy Pelosi more than once, telling her that although the Fed hadn't made a final decision yet on the AIG loan, we probably would need to meet with congressional leaders to discuss it. I told her it was an emergency, but she'd replied: "This is difficult to schedule on short notice.  Do we need to do it tonight?"
Later in the crisis, with the automobile manufacturers on the brink of collapse, Paulson recounts his efforts to release $25 billion of funds that Congress had already approved for them:
Meantime the automakers continued to struggle.  The White House's hopes of redirecting the $25 billion in low-interest fuel efficiency loans to bail out the companies had hit a wall.  It couldn't legally be done unless Congress changed the lanuage of its legislation, but Nancy Pelosi refused.  She was unwilling to change the bill's environmental focus.  Instead, she insisted that I had the authority to use TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds to rescue the car companies, which had been pleading their case in Washington with some success.
Pelosi forced Paulson into using resources appropriated for saving the financial system to bail out the automobile makers, by conditioning Congress's release of the last tranche of TARP funds on it.  The money was needed to shore up Citigroup, the systemically important financial behemoth.
[I] had to duck out of the room a few times to take calls, including two from Nancy Pelosi, who told me point-blank that it was politically impossible to rescue Citi and not help the automakers... 
I was worried that we didn't have enough resources to take care of the financial system , much less the automakers, which couldn't seem to come up with a plan for their long-term viability.
"We're going to need more money from TARP," I told her.  "Do you realize what we just escaped with Citi?" 
It's going to be very hard," she said.  "The American People don't support it, and I don't have the votes." 
"[I]t was obvious that the politically astute Speaker ... knew that an auto bailout would depend on the Democrats--the Republicans were lined up against it--and she wanted me to fall on my sword by using TARP money for a very politically unpopular act. 
Paulson, and President Bush, did indeed fall on their swords to bail out a key Democratic Party constituency, the United Auto Worker's union (UAW) that destroyed the Big Three US automakers.

Paulson's book contains many such anecdotes, permitting one reasonably to conclude that "princess" is not too harsh a title for Nancy Pelosi, and perhaps even a charitable one.

To underscore the point, Noman posts a revealing montage of Speaker Pelosi that somebody put together last year while she still held power.

Beyond her governance, there is also the issue of how she reveled in her privileges and perquisites, e.g., her travel on a military jet, which was required of the House Speaker after 9/11.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Judicial Watch, which investigates and prosecutes government corruption, show Pelosi incurred expenses of some $2.1 million for her use of Air Force jets for travel over a recent two-year period. 
"Speaker Pelosi has a history of wasting taxpayer funds with her boorish demands for military travel," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time his organization's report came out. "And these documents suggest the speaker's congressional delegations are more about partying than anything else." 
Pelosi recently joined President Obama on a Judicial Watch list of Top 10 corrupt politicians because of her "sense of entitlement," the group said.
On substance, she is as regally detached from reality as any princess because she is permitted by a complicit press to say absolutely any- and everything without serious questioning, or consequence.  

A week ago she alleged that without President Obama's initial stimulus, America would be suffering 15% unemployment rather than its now-chronic 9%.  Note that she almost choked when saying it, indicating that she knew she was blowing smoke, and that God has a sense of humor.  It was, after all, up to him to mock her risible pretensions because the media certainly wouldn't.

It is so commonplace for Democrats to be granted free passes on their outlandish statements that Noman thought she might as well allege 25%, or 40%, or any absurdly high number.  She will never be pressed by the media to support her claims with empirical data or plausible theory.  As credulity was already stretched beyond the limit by 15%, she had nothing to lose.

Since this post concerns Herman Cain's alleged problems disrespecting white women as much as it does Nancy Pelosi's illusions of grandeur, Noman would like to draw to a close with the prose of a black man who really did have a white-woman problem, Liberal icon Eldridge Cleaver.

I love you
Because you're white,
Not because you're charming
Or bright.
Your whiteness
Is a silky thread
Snaking through my thoughts
In redhot patterns
Of lust and desire.

I hate you
Because you're white.
Your white meat
Is nightmare food.
White is
The skin of Evil.
You're my Moby D*ck,
White Witch,
Symbol of the rope and hanging tree,
Of the burning cross.
Loving you thus
And hating you so,
My heart is torn in two.

Cleaver's best seller, "Soul On Ice," contains many such observations on the theme, which were written while serving time for rape.

Curiously, his writings were embraced by white liberals who campaigned to have him released from prison.

Judging from Cain's much-commented-upon and newly rising negatives, the people behind these accusations have tapped into a rich vein of white fear and mistrust.  Some people apparently wonder if Cain is just a manicured Cleaver.

Cain's negatives doubled to 35% after two weeks of ballyhooed yet unsubstantiated accusations.  That is almost as high as the 40% strong disapproval number that it took our first post-racial President nearly three years of opportunism, failure and demagoguery to earn.

Even in the age of Obama, it does not take long for people to jump to the worst conclusions about a black man's character.  Noman wonders if the President takes any credit for that.

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