It’s been almost a year since I could stand to write about the American political scene. I have become very disillusioned by a system which ensures that only a select few have a chance for electoral success through the application of massive amounts of corporate money. I’m tired of being disappointed by American voters too timid to stand up for the changes they insist they want. I was worn out from attempting to raise a discussion on what might be done about these things. I had to take a break.
Here’s one of the last comments I made at that time:
“The devil is about to collect Obama’s political soul (assuming he wins) and the Red Shoes are about to be put on his feet so he can dance to the neocon tunes he seems to like so much.”
Obama did win election, something that wasn’t a sure thing for far too long against a lame candidate who thinks 47 percent of us are moochers. With the fiscal cliff “deal” and now the sequester, the Red Shoes are obviously on Obama’s feet and he’s dancing to the GOP tune; and can’t stop.
Since the election, the Republicans are working on ensuring that the lamest of them can win, no matter the strength of any future Democratic candidate by changing the way Electoral College votes are awarded. A very reasoned and balanced objection to this plan has been offered by Sam Hirsch for the Michigan Law Review.
But reason and balance aren’t attributes of the Republican party. A mindless drive to achieve victory and power by any means is. Hence the efforts to suppress voters’ rights in many Republican-dominated states, and the likely elimination of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act by the radical reactionary judicial activists pretending to be Supreme Court Justices. The stakes are high in 2014, with the Senate just waiting for a Republican takeover. Nate Silver, who showed up the big polling firms with his predictions of the 2012 presidential outcome- recently predicted that while the Republicans are likely to show gains in the Senate, they aren’t going to take control. What they will do is ensure that there won’t be enough votes for cloture, making Harry Reid’s dive to the mat regarding the filibuster rules that much more important.
The House is where the real battle will be waged, and the Republicans are seriously divided. It isn’t yet clear who has the advantage, but the Democrats currently come in third after the Tea Baggers and the rest of the GOP. Much is going to change, depending on how long the fiscal wars go on, and whose pork ration gets slashed by sequestration. Who ends up being the top dog will determine what the House pushes as their agenda, and the mere human citizens can be damned.
Meanwhile, back on Main Street, never in recent times has it been more clear that those at the top are doing abundantly well while the rest make do with the crumbs falling off the table. The Dow Jones has, at the time of writing, more than recovered to the level it reached when the Bush Great Recession broke out and almost collapsed the entire global economy. The perpetrators of the collapse are doing just fine, in no small part due to the bailout taken from the pockets of the working class through their taxes to cover the bad bets made by Wall Street gamblers. And the floating crap game is again underway, secure that the chief law enforcement officer of the US government is too much of a coward to do his job. And if one listens to “news” radio, speculator ads are again appearing, seeking to suck in the greedy to convert them to needy.
So instead of bread, Main Street gets circuses, the latest of which shouts to the rafters that new jobs are to be had. But looking through the tent to where the clowns line up prior to entering the show reveals the ugly truth:
While the economy is not likely to fall into a recession and send the unemployment rate soaring, the economy is not growing fast enough to meet the need for jobs from a growing labor force. As a result, unemployment will be going in the wrong direction for the rest of the year.
I am in the middle of reading a book entitled “Traitor To His Class” about Franklin Roosevelt. Repeatedly, I read about situations which I swear could have been culled from current-day news reports, complete with quotes from Republicans of up to 100 years ago which could have been uttered by today’s conservative radicals without changing a single word. If I were an Obama adviser, I’d have him put down the books about Reagan and Lincoln and read up on a Democratic president who successfully dealt with the very problems now facing the Oval Office.
But we can’t expect that of a 1985 moderate Reagan Republican, can we? (You can watch Obama say this about himself.) He firmly believes that austerity is the way to go, even if the portents don’t advise the pain this course will inflict.
Instead, while Wall Street wallows in wealth, Obama works to take it away from Main Street. Defenders of the president continuously ignore how he does this. Richard Eskow points out how Democrats are fooling themselves:
“This is shaping up to be quite a victory for the GOP. Unless something changes, they’re about to see a core Democratic program cut – and the Democrats will take the heat for it! The only thing that can stop that outcome is concerted public pressure from the Democratic base.”
“The president’s “sequester” offer slashes non-defense spending by $830 billion over the next ten years. That happens to be the precise amount we’re implicitly giving Wall Street’s biggest banks over the same time period.”
Hmmmmm . . .
So what is to be done about this cabal of Republicans of today and Republicans from 1985? Rob Hager asks:
“What if progressives and others forming the incipient movement [which] Chris Hedges describes as those “who have as deep a revulsion for Democrats as they do for Republicans,” had in 2012 organized themselves into a small but decisive swing voting bloc to remove the impediment to majority rule: money in politics?”
This is basically the strategy behind what the Tea Baggers did, even if the specific issues differ, so it isn’t far-fetched. And it works. No one can say that Tea Baggers don’t have the rest of the GOP looking over their shoulders.
Some of us tried to get this alternate progressive movement going, advocating voting for third party candidates as the means to gain the attention of the Democrats that they are losing us. We are tired of DLC DINOs taking us for a ride every four years only to see the Republicans get at least 98 percent of their demands met, while we of the Left get more appeals for increasingly scarce money as if politics were a Nigerian email scam. Can it be any wonder the GOP doesn’t give up on their plans, when they know all they need to do is wait long enough and Obama will deliver?
There has been a lot of bragging by Democrats and their media allies about how the Republicans are close to finished, that several currently red states will turn purple if not blue. It isn’t going to matter what gets said. Some out there see this, as evidenced by Ed Kilgore of the Washington Monthly in a discussion with Alternet Radio Hour host Joshua Holland on February 23, 2013. Beginning about 24:15, Kilgore talks about how conservatives are patient, that they can wait 50 years to gain total political power, as [paraphrasing] “it only takes a short while to completely eliminate the social safety net.” Or anything else that progressives value.
Considering how nothing is being done by the Obama administration about re-regulating the banks in a meaningful and effective way, about voter suppression efforts underway in several states, about changes in state laws regarding Electoral College votes, about how the Democrats are barely going to hold on to the Senate in 2014 (assuming current conditions hold), and it is no wonder that the Republicans shrug off any defeats they suffer. The long game is what they see, and they see a path to that moment of total control, when they can ram through all the bills necessary to eliminate the New Deal and achieve a return to the Gilded Age they so long for. Wisconsin and Michigan are but the opening warmup acts.
As a person looking for any hope that I might get to retire, I’m not pleased with Obama’s sorry sellout performance. I was hoping not to have to work until I drop. The longer that 1985 moderate Reagan Republican continues to ignore Main Street, the less likely I can avoid this fate. The portents aren’t favorable. Richard Eskow closes his article with the observation that “…the Republicans will be laughing all the ways to the polls in 2014.”
“There is no effort by the Democratic leadership to question the failed strategies of 2010 and 2012….What all this presages is another loss in 2014—unless the Republican party takes an even more extremist stand for the rich and powerful and saves the Democrats from their own unprecedented stagnation.”
Margaret Kimberley, who writes the Freedom Rider column for the Black Agenda Report, asks the question more progressives and liberals should be asking right now:
“The question is how do leftists disentangle themselves from useless and untrustworthy people who show time and time again that they are not worthy of their votes and their support.”
For the 99 percent, Life’s a bitch and then you die. The Democrats talk and the Republicans walk away with the prizes. How do you like them apples?