[Gramm] calls for "ruthlessly" slashing government spending - but only focuses on spending on the poor. When he was told paying for healthcare plunged many 80-year-olds into poverty, he said: "Most of us don't have the luxury of living to be 80 years old, so it's hard for me to feel sorry for them."
Later, one of those very 80-year-olds approached him because she was terrified she wouldn't be able to pay her medical bills. Gramm laughed and told her to find herself a rich husband. He chuckled: "People say I don't have a heart. I do. I keep it in a quart jar on my desk."
Oh, it gets better:
Gramm says government regulation of the economy is "akin to communism", and must be destroyed. His first great step towards this goal came in the 1990s, when he championed and pushed through the law that exempted Enron from both government regulation and public disclosure, on the grounds these were "unacceptable fetters on the free market". Enron was his biggest campaign contributor, and employing his wife to the tune of a million bucks.
So thanks to Gramm, nobody was watching over Enron any more. As a result, they embarked on a massive programme of fraud and pillage. After taking over the electricity market in California, they deliberately engineered blackouts in entire cities to drive up the price for power. In a surreal move, Gramm blamed "environmental extremists" - the nearest bogeyman to hand - even after it was proven Enron execs had paid the power plants to "get creative" in turning out the lights.
If you read last night's Texas-themed installment you would have learned Bush was behind Texas' current electricity woes. Can't seem to lift a rock these days without uncovering another Texas conservative cockroach literally behind just about every bad thing that has happened in America since about 1980. Maybe tomorrow we'll learn how Gonzales lost the Alamo or perhaps Rove caused stagflation.
As for Texas' electricity problems, I can't see how a Texas powerbroker like Gramm couldn't have been involved in that one too. He managed to hurt 30 million Californians with his sociopathy, why not his own 20M Texans? I'm reminded of what Kurt Vonnegut said:
What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d'etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka "Christians," and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or "PPs."
To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable medical diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete's foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr. Hervey Cleckley. Read it! PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!
And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country, and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And so many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick.
What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next. Simply can't. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody's telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!
And for Gramm, I don't care if it would benefit Obama to have Gramm remain a part of McCain's campaign. No cynically laying low or holding fire in hopes of Gramm continuing to haunt McCain in months to come. We have a chance to defang an epic poisonous viper here, and yet despite this track record of economic atrocity, Gramm being pushed aside is still a matter of doubt. If McCain keeps this guy around, it should not be because any progressives with a voice held their fire in some unprincipled calculus.