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Archive for August 30th, 2010

Tom Emmer: Bad For Business

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 30, 2010

I don’t know how I missed this stunningly good piece by The Awl’s Abe Sauer, but it’s rather revelatory about the Emmer family’s shortage of genuine business skills, a lack for which shifty dealings have increasingly failed to compensate:

As his fiscal-conservative, less-government rhetoric would suggest, Emmer is a huge proponent of the private sector as a solution to our problems (i.e., government). And he leans on his private industry bona fides to back it up. His official bio states that Tom learned “the value of hard work and the every-day pressures” from his father’s lumber company. That company is a 100-year-old business founded by great-grandpa Emmer, “Emmer Brothers Lumber.” What the bio conveniently glosses over about Emmer Brothers Lumber (actually Emmer Brothers Company), is that it filed for bankruptcy protection in the mid-1980s. In the few press reports that even bother to mention that the business failed, Emmer is conveniently allowed to say the company had “gone upside down” and that his dad was “struggling.” “Bankruptcy protection” is a term that generally gives fiscal conservatives voting booth rictus.

Now, take note, Poli Sci 101 kids, here’s how a right-wing candidate who hangs his coat on his business experiences spins it when that business is a failed one: Take the fact that Emmer Bros. Co. was bought, post bankruptcy, by Forest City Trading Group and renamed Viking Forest Products, which kept his brother Jack on as an employee, and sum it up as so: “Today it’s known as Viking Forest Products, with Tom’s brother Jack continuing in the business.”

Presto, a failed business with a (maybe charitably employed) brother is now a continuing successful family business from which our candidate has learned “first hand the value of hard work and the every-day pressures faced by employers and the families who count on them.”

Also, Marquette National Bank sued Emmer Bros. Co. for fraudulently concealing assets during the course of the bankruptcy proceedings. But whatever.

One could say this kind of slavish dedication to the “free market” is a family tradition. The Emmer family empire once also consisted of Emmer Brothers Dairy in neighboring Wisconsin. “You can whip our cream, but you can’t beat our milk,” went the motto. One might say these Emmers loved the free market too much, finding themselves indicted in a 1950 anti-trust suit which charged the dairy “illegally combined and conspired with intent to restrain competition in the retail and wholesale price of fluid milk in Milwaukee county, and by such combination and conspiracy actually did restrain competition and fixed and controlled the price of such milk.”

For the tea party set accustomed to things written on small signs, that means “price fixing.” Raymond Emmer was specifically named in the charge. Busted, Emmer Bros. cashed in and sold for a small fortune to Golden Guernsey Dairy, which, surprise, was named in the indictment as an Emmer co-conspirator. In a now familiar story that would come to replay itself years later, one of the Emmer founder’s sons was retained at Golden Guernsey for years afterward.

It’s pretty clear here that, if the personal and family history he touts on the campaign trail is a good guide, Tom Emmer couldn’t be trusted to run a lemonade stand, much less a state.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, big money, Minnesota, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Why Catering To Racists Is Rapidly Becoming A Net Negative For Republicans

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 30, 2010

Go ahead, Tom Emmer, Tim Pawlenty and the rest of the GOP. Please.

Go ahead and keep cuddling up to the immigrant-hating Tea Partiers and the twits who gave Arizona SB 1070. Go ahead and assume that the Southern Strategy works just as well using Latinos as the scapegoat as it did when it used African-Americans for the past half-century.

Please, keep it up. You’re helping to flip one of America’s bastions of conservatism into a much more liberal place:

Orange County has been a national symbol of conservatism for more than 50 years: birthplace of President Richard M. Nixon and home to John Wayne, a bastion for the John Birch Society, a land of orange groves and affluence, the region of California where Republican presidential candidates could always count on a friendly audience.

But this iconic county of 3.1 million people passed something of a milestone in June. The percentage of registered Republican voters dropped to 43 percent, the lowest level in 70 years.

This is why Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to buck the national Republican and conservative stance on undocumented workers, even as the base voters and financiers of the GOP, as represented by the Koch-funded Tea Partiers, got more racist and more conservative. But it wasn’t enough.

Posted in immigration, race in America, racism, Republicans | 3 Comments »

 
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