Saturday, January 23, 2010
The People Are Revolting
It should be no surprise that the party that elected George Murphy, Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono, and Arnold Schwarzenegger to public office would look for another face out of Central Casting to put a handsome smile on obstructionism. The GOP always thinks that a pretty boy (or in the case of Palin; girl) is going to attract the young voters. Witness Mitt Romney, or Dan Quayle, or any of the frozen-haired fellows like Vitter and Ensign, currently embroiled in sex scandals while still remaining in office. Even Karl Rove's infatuation with George W. Bush falls into the category of first finding the head and then filling it with facts, as he similarly did with his latest creation; Texas Governor Rick Perry. So, good for the Massachusetts voters for finding another stud-hoss to send to Washington. It used to be said that "Politics is show business for ugly people." Now, it's just plain, old, show biz.
I know Ted Williams' head is somewhere up there in Boston, (except for that chip off the old block), in a cryogenics lab, and it was there that the original Tea Party took place, all hoping that one day, in some unforeseeable society, they might find the cure for death and taxes. So the only thing for certain anymore in this life is change. I understand that change produces anxiety, which in turn provokes strong responses, but attempting to resist inevitable societal change is as fruitless as trying to hold back the turning of the seasons. Sending one more "no man" to Congress will not affect any solutions, but putting him in Ted Kennedy's seat was most definitely a shot across the bow, both for the undisciplined and unprincipled Democrats, who continue to knit one, pearl one, on health care reform, and the president as well. There are some pissed-off people out there, but the wake-up call should be for progressives to realize that this is a philosophical war, and their opposite numbers are highly motivated. It will take equal motivation to protect the hard-earned gains already won and prevent a slippage back into Bushism.
The anger directed toward Obama after one year in office is baffling to me. The conservatives scream, "Slow down, you're doing too much." And the liberals cry, "You haven't done enough. Your campaign promises weren't accomplished in the projected time frame." I understood, and wrote, that Obama would spend a full half-term extricating us from the Bush-era political quicksand, but if electing more far-right, cultural conservatives (except for that centerfold business), is supposed to punish the president for arrogance or aloofness, or whatever you wish to call it, it's a losing strategy. Obama tackled health care reform first because it was the most difficult issue and required the most political capital. It has dragged on much too long with far too much drama, partly Obama's fault, and as a result, he has spent a good deal of that capital. People are frustrated that only now is attention being focused on job programs and they are angry at the perception that the White House is coddling Wall Street.
In the propaganda wars, the Obama administration is losing to the point where perception has overtaken reality. The Republican "NO" Chorus, assisted and abetted by Fox News, has successfully painted the president as culturally removed from mainstream America, if not outright attempting to subvert the capitalist system. They claim Obama has no accomplishments, despite their protestations that he's "trying to do too much." In reality, Obama has pulled this country back from the brink of Depression, and the government's deficit spending was necessary to save entire industries. Criticism was heaped upon him for the takeover of General Motors and the firing of the Chief Executive, but after six months, look what has happened. GM has retooled, begun manufacturing the vehicles that Americans want, and paid back the TARP money loaned by the government. We are finally at the dawning of the mass produced electric car. Do you think the auto industry would have made the shift on their own without governmental assistance and insistence on stricter CAFE standards?
Obama has in actuality been warring with corporate America, and the corporatocracy is fighting back with foot soldiers from the disgruntled Tea Party protesters, who don't even realize they're being used. In his first full year, the president has announced the prospective closing of offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands; forced restrictions on credit card rate increases; provided mortgage assistance to millions of people; re-regulated the banks so they can't gamble with your money; introduced new infrastructure repair and high-speed rail programs; moved a shitload of new cars; and is on the verge of passing health care reform so people like me don't have to be afraid to go to the doctor because of the potential expenses that the insured need not fear. I'm a realist. We survived eight years of the most dangerously radical era in American politics. If it takes another year to correct our course, that is how wide was our detour. The election of one more beefcake, cretin Republican to the Senate does not deter my confidence in the president, only in the people of Massachusetts. There are still three years remaining in Obama's first term, and in the words of the old gospel song by Reverend James Cleveland: "Please be patient with me. God is not through with me yet."