Not sure if the Mayan Gods are returning any time soon, but I do know neither of our presidential contenders can save America in its current form. What’s the current form, you ask? One hint, Forrest Gump stepped in a pile right outside of this very Flagstaff coffee shop where I’m writing this tripe. That’s deep, Mick, real deep. Yeah, well not as deep as the pile this country stepped in..."It happens."
Years ago I insisted on forming a viable third party. Wouldn’t that be nice right about now? Both Romney and Obama are doomed to fail. Checkmate. Here’s the way things will likely play out:
A 2nd Obama Administration:
An Obama reelection will bring more of the same (as predicted long ago by yours truly here)—generally a competent foreign policy and no movement at all on the economic front. In the immortal words of Buford T. Justice, "They’ve got him boxed in like a turtle’s pecker." Everything under the sun will be filibustered. Obama will never get sixty votes on anything and he’ll become such a huge lame duck, he’ll lose even the Aflac vote. The Republicans will likely begin this ordeal with the He-picked-anti-American-colors-for-the-drapes-again! filibuster.
He probably won’t even pass any Supreme Court appointments in this environment, so it will continue to grow increasingly ideological and unbalanced (irrelevantitis?). Following in the footsteps of our Justice Department, the Supreme Court has become a joke.
Speaking of which, I love how Judge Scalia admitted he couldn’t read the entire healthcare bill. Yeah, just shot it down without reading it. That’s a great idea. Same way it was passed (full circle jerk?). The healthcare law has huge implications for our future. People worked years on this piece of legislation and, whether it’s right or wrong a judge’s job is to decide on its Constitutionality. Would you like to write a letter of apology to each of the 30 million Americans who won’t be covered now because you lost your reading glasses? Why is a joke journalist even explaining job responsibilities to a Supreme Court Justice? Because that’s how bad things have gotten. Speaking of which, I contracted Scalia once. You just have to go to the clinic and get that special ointment...oh, I’m being told it closed due to funding cuts.
Meanwhile, Obama will be locked in mortal combat with both houses and our impotent politicians will allow us to slip into a double dip recession. Republicans will do this out of spite, because they’re so patriotic.
No Bush policies are reversible at this point. Whereas the effectiveness or costs associated with Obamacare are unknowns, Bush’s policies are very known and very unaffordable. They have a half-life that makes uranium look like a Tucson ice sculpture. And no debt deal will pass muster with the delusional Right. This is a foregone conclusion after the failures in July to reach an agreement (my recent take on the New York Times coverage here). The right turned down a very generous taxes v cuts package. Ten to one was a little harsher ratio than advisable, but how long can we really go on avoiding the problem? Well, it does seem to work here at the Discord, but we’re kind of an outlier. But hey, it does increase Obama’s overall spending numbers, which is red meat for the Foxeteers.
A Romney Administration:
Mitt Romney still thinks the Iraq War was a good idea. This should immediately disqualify him for the job of Commander in Chief, but this is 2012: A Space Case Odyssey. Hey, at least Romney will scare off the Mayan Gods, but on the downside the Christian/Mormon Wars will begin in 2014. Kidding! They will occur much sooner than that.
What we will have under a Romney Administration is a very hasty double dip recession. No more of this gradual recovery shit for us. For all their empty rhetoric, the Republicans are simply not capable of making responsible cuts across the board. They won’t touch the defense budget and if they do, they’ll just gut V.A. benefits and the like, creeps. After all, government bureaucracies are all horribly inefficient, except, of course, the biggest most inefficient one. The Right identifies problems about as effectively as the Catholic Church.
So the deep cuts will be concentrated on a few areas they deem unworthy, namely: social services, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Planned Parenthood and the like. Such cuts will...oh. I’ve been through this one too many times. Suffice to say, the misery index in our country will spike like Lindsay Lohan’s BAC after any given parole hearing. And, of course, I will become unemployed, which will allow me to work on the Discord more. Woo hoo! See? a silver lining. Support the Discord, Vote Romney! Hell, there’s always way more material under a Republican administration anyway.
Oh, and a couple more radical Republican judges will enter the scene. These C. Montgomery Burns friendly folks will push the country toward what will eventually be understood as neo-fascism, as the Koch Brothers and Monsantos of the world reign supreme. The already appalling distribution of wealth will sharply increase, if that’s mathematically possible. The Right will dismantle the last unions and further decimate regulations of any kind. But don’t worry, Monsanto has our backs...or they’ll have us on our backs. I’m sure it’s one of the two.
Monsanto: a better life through unregulated, genetically modified goodness. Mmmmm modified.
The name Earth will be changed to Exxon, which, let’s face it, is a way cooler sounding planet name anyway. There will be significant crackdowns on the Occupy Movement as it grows but fails to develop a unified message. These crackdowns will be nothing quite like Assad’s over in Syria, but they’ll be bad enough. Dems may adopt some of the rightwing filibuster tactics to try to stymie the stupid, but either way four more years of gridlock and the fat lady will be singing, or at least clearing her throat.
The dollar will not be the world standard by the end of either administration. I hope to hell I’m wrong about this. If this is allowed to happen, it will turn our country upside down, which should actually help the Right as they assumed that position long ago. Remember, our bond rating was downgraded for two primary reasons, 1.) we’re broke, and 2.) the bond raters lost faith in the government’s ability to function. They, of course, cited the Tea Party mentality as a primary problem (as does just about everyone outside the bubble). Again, when a group decides to downgrade our bond rating and then explains why they did it, this equates to a talking point. Don’t forget, in their world Facts = Talking Points and Talking Points = Facts.
Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan is calling for an "intellectual conservative renaissance." Whereas that would be swell, I think it’s a little late for that. Let’s face it, the Right has an aversion to all things intellectual and, besides, renaissance sounds way too French. Now if Sullivan had called for a Patriotic Fuck-the-Government Revival BBQ, maybe.
Simpson-Bowels, or even Obama’s final debt proposal last July, had some chance of moving us toward economic stability, but that ship has sailed, along with our solvency.
Political scientist Jonathon Bernstein thinks both sides have become more radical, but believes the main problem points to an unprecedented dysfunction on the Right (thus my near continuous coverage). I agree even I’ve grown more radical over the years, out of disgust. Have you heard about Thomas Mann/Norman Ornstein’s new book It’s Worse than It Looks? These non-partisan, congressional scholar types have historically been more critical of Dems than Republicans...until now. They describe a government as broken as the one prior to the Civil War.
"One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."
Thomas Mann/Norman Ornstein
Wow, who knew I was a congressional scholar? Evidence, science, and facts be damned, or:
And when did our Government die, you ask? For me it came with the realization we are forever locked into all of Bush’s gloriously unfunded policies. I said we would never be the same after Bush. Hmmm. Will I have to retract that someday? I hope so. I did suggest a good compromise recently:
"Let’s only raise taxes to pay for Republican policies. Let’s just pay for the wars and the programs started under Bush—the ones paid for wholly on China’s dime. The rest of any budget plan can be predominately austerity measures."
And, as predicted, each European country is collapsing right on cue. Their demises coincide with their revenue to austerity ratios. This parallels my prediction from over a year ago. The heavier the austerity-only measures, the worse off the country’s recovery. Similar cuts amidst a floundering recovery triggered our own Great Depression. But, according to the right, the lessons of European economic policies don’t matter, because they’re socialist. Europe = Socialism, conversation over. They really simplify things, don’t they? In a Rain Man on crack kind of way.
"More seriously, the talk of "debt crisis" points us to the wrong question. And as I remember from my days grading university exam papers, it's almost impossible to get the answer right if you get the question wrong. The United States does not have a "deficit problem." It has an immediate economic underperformance problem (which depresses revenues) and it has a chronic healthcare overpayment problem (healthcare is the most important driver—at this point you could fairly say the only driver—of U.S. federal spending)."
I can’t believe I’m warming to a former Bush speech writer. Burn off that Karma Frum, burn it off. But how long will Frum be welcome over on Fox News? In the land of the neococoon, if you start to broach the truth on any given issue, it’s bye-bye time.
Obama bought us some time and once again the Republicans squandered it. As for what Fox News economists say, do the opposite. History is not their friend—if it were then they wouldn’t need to spend so much time revising it. But let’s give them some credit; they understand short term, unsustainable gains better than anyone.
As for ignoring science, have you seen the billboards comparing those who believe in Climate Change to Bin Laden, or the Unabomber? As usual, Andrew Sullivan is on it:
"In some ways, this is an almost perfect illustration of what has happened to the `right.’ A refusal to acknowledge scientific reality; and a brutalist style of public propaganda that focuses entirely on guilt by the most extreme association."
This is also the Hannity "strategy." Here’s an example: so the Unabomber believed in Christmas too, so maybe the War on Christmas is justified? Arguing with the Right is kind of like sticking your hand in a garbage disposal: painful and senseless. And, yes, our country has been hijacked by extremists, just not the one’s you thought.
Meanwhile, there’s some leftist Facebook group called Americans Against the Tea Party. Sure the Tea Party epitomizes that all-or-none thinking I’m always harping about, but are they really to blame? The propaganda on the Right is effective. Forty percent of our country buys this shit. Shouldn’t we blame the entities that created this faction? At the end of the day, we need to get as many people on the same page to denounce the abuses by both the government and corporate America.
I always attack the Right, because they tend to turn a blind eye to the worst offenses of government and they aren’t programmed to even comment on corporate abuses. And getting folks on the same page is much less likely than it was just a few short years ago. We can’t ignore the abuses and overreach on either side of this equation. But I just can’t see Occupy and the Tea Party agreeing on anything amidst this polarized climate, which is precisely what those in power intended. They can’t remain in power, or even keep this a two party system, if enough of us got on the same page. And with Fox News as #1, perpetually spewing #2, it’s not going to happen. Since Republicans are having such a hard time connecting the dots, I suggest they borrow a strategy from my friend Ling Carter over at Interesting News Items and "order some larger dots."