How do you plan to repair the economy and put Americans back to work? Fire Pelosi?
That is about as much of a plan as has been articulated by the GOP, now drooling over the portent of a slaughter of the incumbent Democrats they challenge. But behind their sound bites and wicked attack ads, there are GOP leaders working away at whom to blame for the implosion of their reckless rhetoric on the midterm campaign results. My bet is that the impending Republican election debacle will be laid at the feet of Michael Steele and of Sarah Palin, since neither of them is in government.
I doubt if the independents will bother to vote. Why should they? Taking them at their word, they are independent because they do not affiliate themselves with either of the lame-stream parties – the ones with historical animal mascots. The tea party is part of the Republican brand, as Mr. Steele professes. Independents seem to have misgivings about the democratic administration, even though it does have an agenda and policy objective. The alternative party has nothing to offer, except firing Speaker Pelosi.
The only winner of the midterm elections is television – the prime medium of sit-on-your- butt consumerism. Sure, there is print advertising, kind of. But, print advertizing requires action. It has to be read and, because of that, print is easier to ignore. Television does all the reading for its audience, already conditioned to hear and retain the key elements that so many test marketing groups and statistical models have predigested for their consumption.
Under the guise of the oxymoron “television news,” celebrities have been made of previously little known amateur politicians such as O’Donnell, Whitman, Fiorina, McMahon, Paul, Rubio, Miller and the like, as if to solely prove that anyone can be elected to high public office. The constitution says nothing more than a candidate has to be born here and attained the age of thirty. It does not say that a candidate has to be credible other than to take an oath to defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign or domestic. More on that in a moment.
After all the money is spent, after jerking off with attack ads, and no modicum of interest in public service or relevant experience, this election cycle has trivialized US politics to the point where it resembles a student council election. Say no to homework. Say yes to smoking in the classroom. End the five day school week. Stop study hall forever. None of that can happen, but saying it can you get elected. Now what?
The elected newbies will discover that they are in entry level positions. They can speak only when they are spoken to. They will not chair any committees. Their petty bills will be buried in committee, as will they. The only television coverage they can expect will be C-Span, unless they get busted for a statutory crime or for cheating on their spouse. And, oh by the way, their constituents will hate them every bit as much as the person they replaced.
Punditry has it that the Republicans are going to win big – the ubiquitous big. They said the same thing in 1998, too. Remember 1998? No? Here is the NYT short version. “Democrats surprised everyone: no net losses in the Senate and a net gain of five seats in the House — the best showing for the incumbent president’s party in a midterm election since 1934. [House Speaker] Newt Gingrich resigned.”
Being mad as hell and not going to take it anymore is great, but it does not accomplish anything other than to elevate blood pressure. Americans want to know “what’s in it for me?” The Republicans offer no cogent answer. What are they going to do about unemployment? How are they going to get started? When can we expect to see some results?
There is only so much Republican disinformation that Americans will take. Sooner or later the truth will show itself. Deception will be revealed. Remember the weapons of mass destruction? Remember how well the market regulated Wall Street? Remember Enron? It is futile, therefore, for me to bring up the TARP, the stimulus and the bank bailouts of the Bush administration since Republicans say they are all of President Obama’s doing.
What I can bring up is the cost of war. Are you ready for a huge number? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been allocated $1.09 trillion dollars to date, according to the National Priorities Project. That is just the money. The grand standing national defense Republicans have no plan to end those wars, which have nothing to do with defending this country. Talk about reckless spending, if I were looking for cost savings, there is the first place I would look.
Back to the candidate carping about the Constitution that Republicans seem so anxious to rewrite, as if that is going to happen. It is impossible to know what the framers had in mind. But here are a couple of things they did not have in mind. For one, racial equality. Slave ownership was legal. Washington and Jefferson owned slaves. For another, women’s rights. Women could not vote and, therefore, could not hold public office. And no one thought anything about immigration.
The relentlessness of mean speech and attack ad carpet-bombing are the two things that have yet to be quantified and cannot be until all of the votes are counted, disputed and recounted. Surely, Americans would like some relative immediate gratification – a turnaround of the US and world economies in less than two years. Who wouldn’t? It is just that kind of rationale and hatefulness that may well keep the independents from voting and leave the undecided still undecided.
The only questions to be answered, then, will be who the Republicans can blame for their failure at the polls and how much crow will the pundits have to eat.