“Why don’t you guys use your brains like I do.”
— George Bancroft as mob boss Mac Keefer in “Angels with Dirty Faces” (1938).
1. Looks like impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was right. He said as soon as the Powers-That-Be in state capital Springfield got rid of him they’d raise taxes, and now new Gov. Pat Quinn has announced he’s planning to do just that. (Taxes on a carton of cigarettes, for instance, have already gone up ten dollars in IL.) Quinn’s not a bad guy, but he was installed in office by House Speaker Mike Madigan, the same corrupt Machine politician that masterminded Blago’s removal. BTW, when does the other Pat, prosecutor Fitzgerald, indict Blago for his ‘crime spree’? It’s been four months and we’re still waiting, and Fitzy’s 90-day extension is coming to an end. Could it be he doesn’t have a case?
2. Word is, some GOP insiders are privately conceding more seats to the Dems in 2010 and the presidency in 2012. They know that short of a highly unlikely major blunder or meltdown on Obama’s part, the Republicans have no one who can beat him; current frontrunners Romney, Gingrich, Jindal, Huckabee, Sanford and (shudder) Palin just don’t have the heat. But this works to the advantage of the top party heads who would like to purge the Christian crazies, bigoted Dittoheads and nattering neocons from the ranks. (Keep them as voters and ground troops, of course, but well away from the levers of power.) Losing big in four consecutive elections just might accomplish that.
3. Speaking of the GOP, daffy duckster Michael Steele, the RNC Chair who has been hip-hopping all over the place, has turned out to be not so good at organizing much of anything he still hasn’t even fully staffed his office. In fact, it’s been noticed that his only true talent seems to be in babbling baloney in front of cameras and microphones — not that all Republicans don’t, but Mike’s brand of urban twaddle confuses the party’s base of rural white rabble down in Dixie. They want God, guns and gays and Mike’s offering rap, pap and mall rats instead. The money’s drying up over distrust of Steele and he’s on a greased rail, the end of which should be reached before summer begins.
4. So is Obama’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on a greased rail, that is — only he’s on a shorter trajectory to oblivion. He’s managed to inspire confidence in exactly no one (except, supposedly, Obama), and his secretly playing point man for the tainted AIG bonuses and then dissembling about it has left him damaged goods in a government touting virtuous transparency. Watch for ‘Geit’ to regretfully resign for the good of the administration sometime on or about May Day.
5. Watch for the next AIG to be Bank of America, with a twist. BoA has assumed a boatload of debt buying up other failing banks and is now swimming in red ink. The chickens are nearing the roost, and soon the over-extended BoA could very well bankrupt the FDIC (unlike AIG, it’s a real bank), as the feds scramble to cover millions of depositors. The alternative would be to split up BoA into smaller companies and sever the gangrenous investments while retaining the profitable accounts. Obama would have to pull a Jimmy Stewart and encourage depositors not to withdraw their money, just until the crisis passes. Unfortunately, as it stands now with the boneheaded Larry Summers and ineffectual Geithner on the bridge, they’d probably break the treasury trying to save BoA from being split up, which means we’d be a nation of rag pickers by this time next year.