Obama Vows to Protect Big Bird, U.S. Ambassadors Not So Much

FireDogLake's David Dayen objects to the lack of recently convicted CEOs in President Obama's new anti-Romney ad: 

There’s only one thing that sticks out to me about this ad, though the casual viewer probably won’t notice it. Let’s look at that litany of Wall Street “criminals” and “gluttons of greed,” which later get juxtaposed with Big Bird. You have Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay and Dennis Kozlowski. So two CEOs prosecuted and convicted by George W. Bush’s Justice Department, and Madoff, whose son turned him in before Obama took office, in December 2008, and who pleaded guilty.

So the Obama campaign could not fill a list of three Wall Street criminals that the Obama Justice Department actually sent to jail. Heck, they couldn’t fill a list of one!

This is despite Eric Holder telling students at Columbia University in February of this year that his Justice Department’s record of success on fighting financial fraud crimes “has been nothing less than historic.” But not historic enough that his boss could point to, well, one Wall Street criminal behind bars as a result of DoJ’s actions.

That’s painfully telling. Nobody from Bank of America or Wells Fargo or Citigroup or JPMorgan Chase or Goldman Sachs or Bear Stearns or Morgan Stanley or Merrill Lynch or even Countrywide or Ameriquest was available to stand in as a “glutton of greed” in this advertisement. Literally no major figure responsible for the financial crisis has gone to jail.

Actually, there has been a big Wall Street bust under Holder's DoJ: the 11-year sentence for "insider trading" of Raj Rajaratnam last year. Invonveniently, Rajaratnam (whose case began under the Bush administration) was a major Democratic donor, and his name probably isn't as familiar as Ken Lay's or Bernie Madoff's.

I have a different issue with this ad. The Obama State Department is either unable or unwilling to come clean about the circumstances of Ambassador Chris Stevens' death, and the president considers the obvious surge in Islamist terrorism a mere "bump in the road" unrelated to his policies. The economy is in a shambles and the debt is $16 trillion. Yet Big Bird is apparently going to be the main line of attack for an incumbent who said in 2008, "If you don't have a record to run on...you make a big election about small things." 

Granted, Mitt Romney may have invited this kind of japery by singling out such petty ideas for budget cuts while ignoring the landslide of entitlement and defense spending. And come to think of it, Big Bird is by definition not a small thing: It says so right in his name. 

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  • Ryan60657||

    Sesame Street tells Obama to take down ad

    Sesame Workshop Response to Campaign Ads
    Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.
    http://www.sesameworkshop.org/.....9c.twitter

  • Nephi||

    Big Bird prefers to fly under the radar.

  • Rich||

    The Obama administration supports free speech, so they won't back down.

  • Ryan60657||

    Big Bird bitch-slaps Obama Campaign after ad released without approval?

  • ||

    That came mind after about a nanosecond of hearing about this. Holy shit are there some Class A idjits in politics.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Good luck with that injunction, CTW. Cause that's what it will take (and they'll probably ignore it).

  • SugarFree||

    Obama Vows to Protect Big Bird, U.S. Ambassadors Not So Much

    Damn, Tim. Nice barb.

  • Drake||

    What about Jon Corzine? Nevermind, he's still bundling donors for Obama.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Ah, you beat me to it - a name that should be hung about with infamy, and most of the left would say "who"?

  • Rich||

    "Wasn't he that steroids guy?"

  • PapayaSF||

    Corzine is a former senator and governor, so he's hardly an unknown. I would love for Romney to bring him up, but he probably wants to stay polite. Maybe Ryan will mention him.

  • Raven Nation||

    Countrywide = Chris Dodd? Not to mention Tony Rezko, etc.

  • Rich||

    This is despite Eric Holder telling students at Columbia University in February of this year that his Justice Department’s record of success on fighting financial fraud crimes has been nothing less than historic."

    "Historic", I suppose, because two BLACK. Top. Men. were in charge.

  • RightNut||

    That’s painfully telling. Nobody from Bank of America or Wells Fargo or Citigroup or JPMorgan Chase or Goldman Sachs or Bear Stearns or Morgan Stanley or Merrill Lynch or even Countrywide or Ameriquest was available to stand in as a “glutton of greed” in this advertisement. Literally no major figure responsible for the financial crisis has gone to jail.

    Of course not, many of those companies are big Obama backers, why would Obama send them to jail?

    Also, Big Bird is apparently now to big to fail.

  • Rich||

    And, Sesame Street *is* why the U.S. leads the world in education.

  • Paul.||

    So the Obama campaign could not fill a list of three Wall Street criminals that the Obama Justice Department actually sent to jail. Heck, they couldn’t fill a list of one!

    Jesus, this is easy to grok. The reason that the Obama justice department hasn't prosecuted any Wall St. Bigwigs is because there hasn't been any need to prosecute them. Y'see, once you have the proper regulatory schemes in place and right people in charge, criminal behavior passes quietly into that good night.

  • Paul.||

    and the president considers the obvious surge in Islamist terrorism a mere "bump in the road" unrelated to his policies

    Interesting, so do Obama's supporters... and the media... and...

  • Rich||

    Hey, maybe *that's* where Jimmy Hoffa's buried!

  • Proprietist||

    I hate this particular debate with a severe, burning passion. We're arguing about 2% of NPR's operating budget. Republicans use this piddly pocket change to "prove" that they are the truly fiscally responsible party and are deeply, deeply serious about balancing the budget, and the Democrats act like cutting this 2% is equivalent to taking Big Bird outside and drawing and quartering him in the public square. NPR and Sesame Street should survive just fine without this federal funding, but, like other forms of pork adn waste, this isn't really that significant on the overall scale of what's causing our national debt. It's a diversion to take attention off the real problems.

  • Rich||

    It's a diversion to take attention off the real problems.

    Yep. But it's possible that this blatant foolishness will wake up a few O supporters.

  • Paul.||

    Republicans use this piddly pocket change to "prove" that they are the truly fiscally responsible party and are deeply, deeply serious about balancing the budget

    No they don't. They use it to give props to a deeply conservative base who has a visceral hatred of reliably left-wing media.

  • Proprietist||

    It has just always seemed to me that Republican "limited government" always means going after the pocket change stuff on the peripheries like this, avoiding politically unpopular, real entitlement reform at the core of the problem, and then exploding military spending.

    It's not that the small stuff shouldn't be cut. It's that only cutting the small stuff won't get me to take you seriously as a limited government advocate, especially when any "savings" gets cancelled out by increased subsidies to Raytheon, Blackwater and Northrop Grumman.

  • aelhues||

    It is...because our country has embraced government handouts. There are enough of us making enough noise, that they need to do something, but most politicians clearly feel like if they cut too much, or the wrong things, and they'll be voted out.

    I wish it were otherwise, but unfortunately, that is where we're at.

  • free2booze||

    NPR is not PBS.

    These dollars are particularly important to smaller stations. While the appropriation equals about 15% of our system's revenue, this is an aggregate number. For many stations, the appropriation counts for as much as 40-50% of their budget.
  • Calidissident||

    And if those stations can't survive without that money, then they should go out of business. Obviously there's not enough people who actually want to listen to justify it. Supply/demand such a complex subject

  • free2booze||

    Exactly. Each individual PBS affiliate either has a small niche audience, in which case there is no reason for the station to exist, or each affiliate has enough of an audience to draw enough advertisement dollars to make up for the loss of federal funding.

  • R C Dean||

    Not to mention that PBS has a satellite channel, so you can listen to it anywhere in the country regardless of whether there is a local affiliate.

    They should have a free internet channel as well. Maybe they do; I couldn't say.

  • Proprietist||

    Seriously, reverting to internet and satellite radio only would save immense amounts of money in the event the stations can't survive the cuts. I'm also still surprised all television channels haven't fully adapted to internet streaming. If I could buy AMC, Comedy Central and HBO via internet stream directly without paying for all the rest of cable, I'd probably do that instead of finding unauthorized streams of their shows. I don't have a TV.

  • PapayaSF||

    I think it's 12%, but I understand your point. Still, every little bit counts, and it's the principle of the thing. It's corporate welfare, the sort that Democrats and Republicans complain about in other cases. Romney should take a clear stand about ending it all.

  • Randian||

    It doesn't matter if the Republicans are doing it out of hypocrisy or as a sop to their base or to burnish bona-fides that should rightly not exist.

    The important part is They. Are. Right.

  • Paul.||

    Of course they're right. But by continuously picking on only one small corner, they continue to be the desperately fucked up party that they are.

    Instead, they need to be making the larger case about subsidies writ large.

    Unfortunately, that doesn't get you elected.

  • Proprietist||

    I agree they're right, but all things considered (pun intended) this is pretty low priority. It's like throwing a deck chair off the Titanic in the hopes that the reduced weight will make it sink slower.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    So what do you think Romney should have proposed cutting, O Great Libertarian One? Medicare? Social Security? Food stamps?

  • Proprietist||

    He mentioned Obamacare and public radio/tv as his two proposed "cuts." The $445M subsidy allocated to CPB is less than 1/10000th of the federal budget. If a household spends $50,000 a year, much of that via credit card debt, Romney is like a financial advisor proposing cutting the $5 spent on an ice cream treat as the centerpiece of his plan to get them back to living within their means. And he charges $100 an hour to tell them this.

  • Paul.||

    So what do you think Romney should have proposed cutting, O Great Libertarian One? Medicare? Social Security? Food stamps?

    All of it.

  • ||

    What exactly is your point?

  • PapayaSF||

    Put PBS in the category it belongs: corporate welfare. If Romney comes out against all corporate welfare, "even for corporations we may like," he undercuts a huge chunk of the Democratic narrative.

  • Proprietist||

    If he'd extend the rule to the military-industrial complex, I'd start to be a little more impressed.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Mitt Romney may have invited this kind of japery by singling out such petty ideas for budget cuts while ignoring the landslide of entitlement and defense spending.

    RIIIIIGHHHHHTTTT. If Romney came out and said we need to cut Medicare and Social Security, BO would not have been able to demagogue that. No way, no how.

    Anything Romney says is going to be turned against him by these people. It's how they operate.

  • Proprietist||

    Until he does, why should we have any confidence that he has any intention to do that? All I've heard from his mouth is about how he plans to fully restore all spending to Medicare while preserving Part D and letting young workers opt out and still promising fully benefits to the about-to-retire baby boomers funded by sales of magickal beans grown out of his rectum. While cutting the deficit.

  • Paul.||

    Anything Romney says is going to be turned against him by these people. It's how they operate.

    Precisely, so why waste precious election time getting demagogued on Big Bird when you could get demagogued on something with some substance?

    If you're gonna get demagogued no matter what, get demagogued on something meaningful.

  • elkh1||

    Can the Big yellow Bird save Obama?

    Btw, the Big yellow guy is making north of $300k a year.

  • Proprietist||

    Seriously, if Romney is elected, Snuffleupagus will become a homeless wino, Cookie Monster will starve to death and Oscar the Grouch will have to downsize to a smaller garbage can.

  • Mike M.||

    He'll probably pass an executive order annulling Bert and Ernie's marriage!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I like Big Bird and I cannot lie
    His calls for subsidy I can't deny
    And if Romney comes up with just a little bitty cut
    It means he wants kids to die!

  • elkh1||

    Big Bird, our next Ambassador to Libya.

  • Al the Plumber||

    Among other lunacies in the Democrats' Big Bird ad, Bernard Madoff was a lifelong DEMOCRAT and a DEMOCRAT donor!

    Al, The Plumber of the Depths of Lunacy!

  • EBL||

  • شات عراقنا||

    thank you

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