Thursday, June 28, 2012

...While the Worst are Full of Passionate Intensity

I really don't have any idea what I
think about that...
Consider two facts about the upcoming Presidential election:

1.) It appears that it will be quite a close run thing, with the eventual winner finishing with slim victory in the popular vote and quite likely coming down to another bruising battle for the electoral votes of just one or two key states.

2.) Mitt Romney's campaign is an absurd joke, a ridiculous amalgamation of outright lies and fuzzy half-truths, vague, ambiguous or unstated positions on key policies, a childish mantra of blaming Obama for everything that ever happened and an odd tendency to projection, wherein the Romney campaign does something vile and immediately accuses the Obama campaign of doing that same vile thing.

Now ask yourself:  How can these things both be true?  How can a man running for President who has so blatantly changed his position on EVERYTHING to pander to whatever constituency he happens to be speaking to, who utterly refuses to say what he'll do if elected, who claims that running a private equity firm somehow gives him some special insight that will make him a better elected leader, how can this wealthy white fundamentalist bigot be taken even remotely seriously?  When I see Willard speak on TeeVee, I just keep waiting for the punch line.  He's GOT to be a parody - his entire campaign is an over-the-top sendup of every arrogant, venal, grasping, desperate little candidate for a city council seat we've ever poked fun at.

And yet, somehow, in spite of his massive disapproval ratings, his endless blunders that expose just how out of the American mainstream he is, and his bizarre digressions into everything from trees to donuts he is running a competitive campaign that has a genuine chance to win the election.  The mind reels.  That would seem to indicate that virtually half the American population either supports the current Romney agenda, which is essentially GW Bush with a severe head injury, or has come to hate Barack Obama so deeply that no collateral damage is unacceptable in bringing about his ouster from office.  That hatred for a specific President can be very powerful - I have always believed that it was the loathing and disgust that accrued from 8 years of Bush that delivered the White House to Obama - and is exactly the kind of incentive that can bring otherwise rational people to believe blatantly, demonstrably false things.

Right now, the Ridiculous Romney Roadshow is propped up by the conservative echo chamber of Fox News and the Rush Limbaugh AM Radio, providing support for the lies, cover for the unwillingness to admit to having actual policy positions, vitriolic denunciations of President Obama and a daily dose of outrage, fear and hate that can keep a population energized and motivated.  Alongside that is the unprecedented corporate money behind a Romney administration that is widely expected to serve as a lapdog to unfettered corporate interests - NPR yesterday said the Romney campaign expects to spend in excess of $1.2 Billion, ensuring that while the office of the Presidency is now up for sale, it will only be sold to the "right kind" of people.

But one wonders how well the odd, idiosyncratic Romney candidacy will age as things heat up in the fall.  His history at Bain Capital will never be popular with working people of any ilk, and as more details of how that wealth was generated become known, his professional background, long considered to be one of his biggest strengths, may become something of a liability.  But after the nominating conventions, as we get into debate season, it might very well be his refusal to state what his policy positions actually are, what actions he would take, what budgetary decisions he would make, what his specific legislative goals would be that costs him the most votes.  In this day and age, when everybody has an opinion on everything, a certain strategic ambiguity is desirable, but, if the number one goal of the campaign is to avoid making ANYONE angry rather than advancing a specific political agenda, at some point the campaign starts to look weak and fearful.  And while that won't have much of an impact on the votes of the hardcore Obama Haters, it will certainly cause those trying to make a good faith decision to reconsider their choice.

I don't know.  Ultimately, I have the utmost confidence in Americans to be led like distracted sheep to make the worst possible decisions for themselves and their nation, but at some point you have to believe there are limits to ignorance and hatred.  Eventually, in order to be elected President of the United States, you should have to be something more that "the white guy" -  you should have more to offer the electorate than corporate subsidies, worsening inequality and a profound willingness to heap additional misery on all the usual suspects.  But it seems that in reality, anything beyond race, religion, class and tribe is just too complex for the average American, and simply will not be a factor in choosing a political leadership.  It makes one wonder if the rest of the world is laughing at us or recoiling in horror.


  1. Now ask yourself: How can these things both be true?

    Forget it Jake, it's Americatown.

  2. Right now, the Ridiculous Romney Roadshow is propped up by...

    Don't forget unemployment, mikey.

    Don't be surprised when some people choose Reaganism over Reaganism Lite, and others say, "fuck 'em all, what's the use anyways".

    This shit has been failing most Americans for 3 decades, and here's Obama, pushing it (as a Democrat) just when it's getting really hard not to notice that fact.

  3. Sure, Thunder, but once again, you and I are simply in different camps. I recognize that one of two men, of the entire human race, will be POTUS for the next four years. You (and to be fair, a reasonable number of others) don't seem to see that indisputable fact with the same salience that I do.

    I am not happy with the Obama presidency either, but I MUCH prefer it to Willard's empty vessel for Paul Ryan and the war nuts. So I will actively work to make sure that Obama is elected in order to try to prevent a much worse outcome.

    You and others I talk to who agree with you, are so unhappy and disgusted with Obama that you are willing to endure four years of a Romney Presidency to get rid of him. While I find that impossible to understand, I do understand that it is a heartfelt position and you aren't going to change your mind. But neither am I...