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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

One Term President?

I can't see a single possible Presidential candidate in the Republican field who looks electable, and that has made me think Obama is a lock for two terms -- which should mean, if nothing else, a slow rectification of the Supreme Court's reactionary skew and the veto of the worst of the worst the Republicans have on their murderous minds.

But the mid-terms have really given me pause.

Although some of the really high profile crazies went down, with the consequence that Democrats kept control this time around of a Senate they weren't really in control of even with a superficial "super-majority" (filled with enough conservadems that with monolithic GOP obstructionism an atrocity like Ben Nelson came to represent the "Center" around which legislation was negotiated), the fact remains that the Republican field was extraordinarily weak, unaccomplished, ill-qualified, extreme, and made incredible gains in spite of all this.

I begin to wonder if literally nothing matters but the state of the economy, and it seems to me Republicans are hell bent on ensuring that nothing happens to improve the economy.

Facts certainly don't matter. Obama lowers taxes and then voters completely incoherently blame him for raising their taxes anyway. Republicans want to privatize Social Security and secede from Medicare -- and Americans completely incoherently blame "Obamacare" for their distress about the availability of health care.

Many on the left seem to feel they are making more than enough of a political "contribution" simply by complaining in public places that Obama is making too many compromises and then smugly sit out elections enabling incomparable scoundrels and loons to rule their lives -- the cobbled together Obama coalition seems no kind of reliable support.

Democrats themselves seem incapable of explaining either what they are doing or what they believe in, and the resulting vacuum is filled with Republican frames and deceptions mis-educating another generation into senselessness.

The only secure chance for 2012 (not only for the White House, the Senate math is truly grim) seems to be for people's material prospects to have improved, or at any rate to seem to be palpably improving, in which case Americans will likely gurgle contentedly at the status quo and go back to enjoying Obama's presidency at the level of style again.

American public discourse and institutions are simply failing, the county is in conspicuous decline, climate change and resource descent will be pressuring everyday lifestyles even under the rosiest scenarios in unprecedented ways, I am truly worried about my students' prospects.


jollyspaniard said...

The economic situation is a lot grimmer than it was in '94 yet the Tea Party couldn't match what Gingrich did back then. So I think people are making too much of this.

In the end a bunch of blue dogs which weren't voting for progressive causes got replaced with with republicans who won't vote for progressive causes.

However with the hard right the far right seems to have lost it's enthusiasm for blowing the whistle on the culture war (things like abortion and gay marriage) which may have helped them pick up a lot of independents. This could mean that the republican party may effectively be abandoning these issues in the future although it's definitely too soon to tell.

If so is that really a defeat?

There's also a lot of tea partiers (remember the Rand Paulians?) who want to _cut_ military spending. I'm not sure that represents a defeat or setback for progressive values either.

Dale Carrico said...

Voters voted on the basis of palpably false beliefs -- that their taxes were raised when they were lowered, that the congress was unusually unproductive legislatively when it was the most productive in generations, that the deficit grew when it shrank, that the bailouts were a disaster when they outperformed expectations. Voters voted for candidates who ran against things voters claim to want, to punish those who tried to do more of what they wanted, often rewarding those who were directly responsible for them not getting the things they were dissatisfied about. We elected plainly unqualified Republicans who are on record advocating the most extreme anti-abortion positions, climate-change denialism, theocratic triumphalism, anti-governmentalism imaginable. When facts fail to have force, yes, it is a defeat. The Senate math for 2012 is incredibly grim for Dems, expect a second Obama term with Republican majorities in both houses -- that means six years we don't have anymore without any serious address of real problems on terms equal to their stakes.

You do know, surely, that the Tea Partiers are just the same stupid bullying greedy hateful Republicans as ever (silent majority, moral majority, nascar dads, value voters, blah blah blah blah). They re-package the reactionary goods every four years or so and everybody falls for the bullshit over and over again. Republicans "hate" Big Brother right up until they gain control over it, at which point they start dismantling civil liberties and playing out their authoritarian fantasies. They rail against "tax and spend" until they get a hand in the game and then they start with the borrowing and looting and spending. The tea party is the same bomb and bullet loving crowd of white racist pricks as always. Corporate-militarism is American capitalism -- anti-war libertopians are a contradiction in terms, however earnestly their pitch. These are, recall, the "idea guys" who peddle wage slavery as the utopia of nonviolence. Caveat emptor.

jollyspaniard said...

I am under no illusions about them but I hope you're wrong about 2012.

I'm hoping that over the next two years these people embarass themselves and progressives in the USA get riled up like they're starting to do in Europe.

They're climate change deniers even Christine O'Donnell wouldn't go on record as saying climate change wasn't happening (please correct me if I'm wrong). Which leaves me a bit curious and cautiously optimistic that the right might be leaving itself room to maneuver for a U turn on the issue in the future.

Alan2102 said...

"Democrats...seem incapable of explaining either what they are doing or what they believe in"

Bwaaahahaha! Right. I wonder why?

Dale Carrico said...

We all eagerly await your considered analysis, Alan.