Another theme that I'm encountering with increasing frequency (and at increasing volume) as the mid-term elections loom is what I'll call "Republican nostalgia". Sounds grotesque, no? Might as well talk about "Bush/Cheney nostalgia". And yet what else could you call it? The whole idea is that Obama has been, and is being, a total catastrophe in terms of both domestic and foreign policy... and the only hope for America is to return the Republicans to power.
There are so many things wrong with this argument that I lose count. To start with, when it comes to foreign policy Obama's first term is Bush's third term. The foreign policy hand-off from the one to the other was absolutely seamless -- more so, I'll bet, than the hand-off from FDR to Truman (and they were in the same party). But, I'll admit, the Republicans aren't talking about foreign policy much these days. They have a lot to say about who "the enemy" is -- you know, those "Islamofascists" -- but not much to say about how to deal with them because, in fact, Obama is dealing with them the same way they would, which is to use any excuse to expand the American empire at the expense of Americans and their resources. And even Obama's alleged flirtations with, and alleged kowtowing to, Islam mean absolutely nothing; there has been no change in our policies toward Islam or the Arab world, and no change in our policies with regard to Israel. So on the foreign policy front, it's a complete wash... and yet try to get any Republican or Neocon to admit it.
On the domestic front, on the other hand... well, there is no other hand. The Great Recession got rolling under Bush, and it can be argued that he not only allowed it to happen, but many of the policies of his own administration aggravated the problem. And as to the solutions... well, the bailouts were Bush's idea, and the "economic stimulus program" was definitely in the cards as well. And let's face it, Obama is just as much a friend to the banks and financial conglomerates as Bush ever was... which is a nice way of saying they owned Bush, and they own him as well.
But wait! Didn't Obama come from a "humble background" -- unlike the silver-spoon upbringing Bush enjoyed? And hasn't this made him more sympathetic to the plight of the "little people"? Um... it's hard to say, since he and his wife spend so much time lording it over their subjects it's hard to get them to stop long enough to answer any questions. No -- Obama is the nouveau-ist of the nouveau, yet he acts as if he's the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe. So even in the "adding insult to injury" category Obama is no better than Bush.
The main point is, the Republicans are claiming that all that is needed for the country's recovery (from whatever) is for the voters to return them to power. But nearly all of our current problems either existed throughout or started in Bush's administration -- and how many were solved? Clearly none, because we're still dealing with all of them. In fact, if I try to figure out what Bush did right, other than the appointment of Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court, I can't think of a blessed thing. And that's quite a record to use as the basis for recommending a return of the Republicans to power. Two unwinnable wars... the recession and all of the massive corruption that was behind it and came along with it... the national debt... and, really, nothing substantive done in areas like public education, entitlements, defense contracting... the list of what the Republicans didn't do for 8 years is endless. And yet they expect to present themselves as saviors of the American people from the evil Democrats? Please. The only thing that could save us now would be to put both the Democrats and the Republicans out of office permanently. But how easy is that going to be, considering that the entire system of election was designed by them, for their benefit? This system, that was supposed to represent freedom and democracy, has become one of the principal means by which the two parties hold on to power, and oppress the citizenry. And no plea on either of their parts is going to convince some people that, in fact, the nominal "two major parties" aren't really only one political party -- the two-headed beast we've all grown way too accustomed to. All of the political rhetoric is therefore marginal at best, and most often totally without meaning -- all it represents is hundreds and thousands of individuals each trying to grab their share of the political pie -- and in order to do this they have to fool a certain number of voters. That's really all there is to it; it's all about them, and totally not about the citizenry. And yet the citizenry bite down on the same poisoned apple time after time -- every four years at least, and every two years for the ones who consider themselves "good citizens". And then when the fleeting romance with new or re-elected officeholders is over, indignation arises once again... but true insight? That is the rarest of rare things in our time.