Thursday, October 4, 2012

No Change, Therefore No Hope

I had a feeling it was too early to pronounce Mitt Romney a “dead man walking”.  Of course, the media have been rooting for a second term for Obama ever since his inauguration in 2009, and they have kept up a steady drumbeat of criticism of the Republicans ever since.  And the waters were rising on Romney, with each new day featuring revelations of “gaffes” (definition: statements liberals don’t like), signs of elitism, of being detached from the concerns of normal people, of being too white (well?), too American, too… well, too much like the anti-Obama, which is no more than what one would expect from an opponent in an election.  Heaven knows, the Republicans have spent most of the last few decades standing firmly on the platform of being almost as good as the Democrats -- almost as humane, almost as compassionate, almost as socialistic, etc.  At least with Ryan’s nomination for V.P., they took a bit of a stand on a substantive issue -- not that Ryan is a bona fide budget hawk, but at least he seems less delusional than most in Congress.  Count on it, whatever they come up in the way of a budget over the next few years will be much less reality-based than Ryan’s proposal.

But to get back to the campaign -- I hate to use over-used terms like “hypocrisy” and “double standard”, but what else would you call it?  When Romney tells a group of elite supporters, in a private gathering, that 47% of the voters are in Obama’s pocket because they are tax receivers rather than tax payers, we’re supposed to be scandalized -- even though it’s perfectly true.  But when Obama tells a group of elite supporters, in a private gathering, that too many Americans cling to the Bible and religion, we’re supposed to ignore it and laugh it off -- oh yeah, just an idle jest, of no significance, nothing to worry about.  Well… Obama has had plenty of time to show people precisely what he thinks of guns and the Bible, and it ain’t pretty.  At least Romney would go easy on guns, and the Bible, and the Book of Mormon as well.  (Would he go any easier than Obama on Catholics?  Hard to say. But I suspect the answer is yes. Mormons do have a fairly good memory when it comes to history.)

Last night's debate, however, did seem to breathe new life into Romney's campaign, simply because Obama showed up without a teleprompter, smirked and pouted like some juvenile delinquent hauled in for throwing bricks through windows, and basically acted like the left-wing elitist that he is. He was obviously hurt and offended that he even had to be put through all of this nonsense, when – as everyone knows – he is still The Anointed One, and He Who Is To Come. Obama's act would be hard to beat in a “Sense of Entitlement” Olympics. I mean, OK, you basically have one rich elite type running against another rich elite type... but Obama, even if he has middle-class roots, seems to have shrugged it all off in favor of this grotesque, but familiar, combination of left-wing elitism and lower-class demagoguery. At least Romney is unabashedly a middle-class guy (culturally) with an upper-class income... not unlike the Bushes, come to think about it. (Note that “class” is not only about money, even though that is the conceit here in “democratic” America. It's also about attitudes, habits, and values. When Johnson, Carter and Clinton were in the White House, nothing could quite erase their white-trash vibe. Nixon, Ford, and Reagan were classic middle-class types (“lower middle” even, in Nixon's case). The last true “upper class” president was Kennedy – and even that was, arguably, not “old money”.)

In any case, what's striking about the “spin” on the debate is that even the left – even the radical left! -- seems disappointed in Obama's performance (or non-performance). Suddenly this guy who was supposed to be above the fray, and some sort of secular humanist demigod who could do no wrong, suffered beaucoup “pressures and sacks”, as they say in the NFL. What went wrong? He of the golden tongue seemed struck speechless at times. Was it that he is so certain of victory that he decided it wasn't worth the effort, and just “called it in”? Was he really suffering from an “altitude problem”, as Al Gore claimed? (In which case, let's make Obama the next ambassador to Bolivia, as a retirement present.) Everyone is searching and grasping for answers, when – for the conservative commentariat – the answer is obvious: He has nothing to brag about, and, basically, no defense. His record can't be defended, and he has no plan or program to do things any other way. All true – but then you have to wonder how different – how much better – things would be under Romney, and I say that his victory wouldn't be enough to make any real difference... especially in foreign policy, which is, in my opinion, the driver for everything else. If you don't do anything about the fact that we're a warfare state dominated by the military-industrial-intelligence complex, nothing is going to change on the domestic side either – because we simply don't have the resources to support both empire and domestic prosperity at the same time. The old “guns vs. butter” argument is rearing its head again, but nobody recognizes it except the paleocons and libertarians. The most radical leftist won't mount a protest against war as long as there's a Democrat in office (this is not the 1960s, and no one's getting drafted). And besides, the entire dialogue about war has been altered. We no longer fight countries that can – in theory, at least – be defeated. Now we fight “terrorism”, which is everywhere and therefore can never be defeated. So perpetual war is no longer a dream on the part of the armaments makers; it's a political and diplomatic necessity. And no mainstream politician disagrees with this! The reason it seldom comes up in debates is that they're all on the same page. Oh sure, there will be minor disagreements, like about who screwed up in Benghazi – but overall they are of one mind.

So what do the Republicans do now? Keep up the pressure, keep making the same points, and expand the selection of points. What do the Democrats do? Number one, convince Obama that this is serious, and that he's not automatically entitled to a second term, no matter what they've been telling him for 4 years. But how are they going to argue on the record? They can't. The only pieces of Obama's program that haven't failed yet are the ones that haven't yet had time to fail. But they will, mark my word. On the other hand, even though it's getting mighty shopworn, Obama and his minions do have a point in that Obama inherited a hell of a mess from Bush II. Problem is, he hasn't done a single thing to alleviate it, and most of what he's done has made it worse – not unlike what FDR did with the hand he was dealt by Hoover. But he can always argue – and not without cause – that if we elect Romney, he (Romney) will just pick up where Bush left off... as if the four golden years of Obama had never happened. Well... I don't think that's very likely either – I mean, honestly, how much of “ObamaCare” is really going to be declared null and void if Romney gets in? Little or none, I'd say. Don't forget, Romney's own health care plan in Massachusetts is the “Mini Me” of ObamaCare.

And mind you, I don't blame Obama entirely – not even for what happened (or didn't) during his administration. Given, he is an ideologue, a big-city pol, a rabble rouser, and a bit of a “gangsta”... but he never received a realistic job preview before ascending to the presidency; no one does. It's only after taking office that they are given to know who is really in charge – and it ain't them. They then become privy to the true pecking order in the world, and to the consequences of trying to buck it... so they become glorified puppets from then on, basking in adulation and “perks”, treated like royalty (except in debates), and, basically, worshiped by people with nothing better to worship. As long as they tow the line, that is – which most of them do, because they wouldn't have gotten that far if they were otherwise inclined. 

But you know, this is all blowing in the wind, because – think about it – has Obama's base, his core, been at all impacted by the debate? No. He still owns the 47%, and guess what, that's awful close to 50%, and the rest is easily made up by some independents, as well as dead people, felons, illegal immigrants, and outright vote stealing. Romney may have energized his own base, and convinced a handful of “uncommitteds”, but it doesn't matter how energized a minority becomes, it's still a minority – and in our marvelous system, minorities don't count (unless they're willing to start burning things). Romney is, in short, a representative of a dying breed -- “middle Americans”, the middle class, the silent majority, taxpayers, hard workers, normal people... use any term you like. These are the people who are finally (if too late) coming to realize that the government is their worst enemy – that it can do away with their livelihood, make their money worthless, take their stuff, take their property (if some friend of some politician “needs” it more than they do), tax them into oblivion, and wage culture war on all of their values, customs, and traditions – up to and including their religion. And as if that's not enough, it can also continuously expand the definition of “terroristic acts” to include, sooner or later, something that everyone does, no matter the intent. In other words, it can turn us all into criminals without our having to change our behavior one bit... and it is already doing so in many areas. Once anything can be called “terrorism”, and the government has the right to kill “terrorists” anywhere in the world... well, you get the picture. Think of “terrorist” as being the equivalent of “counter-revolutionary” or “reactionary” in a communist society. 

Obama, on the other hand, represents the dissatisfied, the grudge-holding, the payback-wanting, the reparations-wanting, the resentful, the envious, the revolutionary, the “minorities” (actual or self-styled)... the dependent, the welfare junkies, the entitlement junkies... the tax receivers... and so on. Once you add up all of these categories, even allowing for people who fall into more than one (that would be most of them), you get a substantial majority – and all they have to do is be convinced to go out and vote. Or to let someone else vote on their behalf. Or something. 

And, one might ask – in an idle moment – how can a nation, a society, an economy, survive with more takers than givers... more users than producers? Well, it can't... at least not in the long run. (For one possible scenario, see “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand – but that's highly unlikely to be the actual case, as I've discussed previously.) As long as the producers are willing and able to produce, in sufficient quantities to placate the users, the system will survive – especially if government programs are kept afloat by borrowing or printing money. Of course, there is a theoretical limit to both borrowing and printing. In the first case, you stop borrowing when everyone else stops lending. In the second case, you stop printing when people starting using paper money to decorate their tar-paper shacks. But, incredible as it seems, we are not at that point as yet. But how can this be, since everyone but us sees what is going on? Well – why does anyone loan money to anyone? They expect a certain rate of return – which usually means interest, but it can also mean real property, capital property, goods, and services. In other words, you could loan money to a foolish person knowing full well they can never pay it back, but will be forced to turn over other resources which you might want more than cash. I suspect this is what's happening in the case of the U.S. borrowing from other countries (including foreign banks). Of course, we could defeat this scheme by simply printing so much money that we can pay them back in paper; we could do this right away – tomorrow! But there might be a downside to that as well – things like “credibility”, disruption of trade, economic isolation, diplomatic humiliation, and so on. (Not to mention the inability to borrow more next time.) Besides, if the dollar disappears as a standard of value, what's to take it's place? You guessed it -- the Chinese yuan. I'm not sure we're quite ready for that.            

So forget about hyperinflation as a strategy. It would basically turn us into an economic non-player – shunned, despised... and it would mean we couldn't borrow any more money with which to prop up wars and social programs. So yes, a certain level of sanity is required in order to aid and abet the larger insanity. But again, the world can't put up with it forever; there has to be a breaking point. And this will be, in my estimation, when our economy is openly taken over by the European banks – not indirectly, as is the present case. It will be when the U.S. becomes a fully-owned subsidiary of the “Gnomes of Zurich” -- with the full cooperation, I might add, of Wall Street, big business, the two major parties, and whatever administration happens to be in office at the time. And lest this sound paranoid and conspiratorial, let me point out that we are already well down the road to this denouement, with the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department leading the way. All evidence points in this direction, and no evidence points in any other direction. Does this mean it's inevitable? For that answer, you have to ask yourself how much longer the “two-party system” will remain in power. If the answer is “for the foreseeable future” (which it is), then you will know how that future will end.


Anonymous said...

Go,David. We're up over 85% agreement, which is about as good as it gets between any two humans.

Bob A.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, we'll have to get together and talk about that other 15% over some single-malt Scotch. ;-)