Well, I watched all the news shows Sunday and read all the editorials including Paul Krugman this morning and I think we are headed for a big crash. But then I didn’t think the Giants had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting to the World Series and I was proven wrong by a scrappy team that showed some real spunk winning the big game in the lions den. Maybe the Democrats will do the same. But there were some pearls of wisdom out there and I will try to capture them.
Meet the Press proved to provide some insight into our problems and misunderstandings. A.J. Dionne fairly well summed up the Democrats shortcomings when he pointed out that those that are surging are running not only on what they accomplished, but what they hope to do in the future. As he put it, it is not enough to point out the other guy is loony, but what is the plan forward. This approach has a real downside for the Republicans because they have no plan.
One of the things that was truly bothering me was Harold Ford, who mostly agreed with A.J., but said that he thought the Democrats would keep the Senate, but lose the House, and that President Obama and the Democrats should be more “accommodating”. He exact words were “push the reset button and be more accommodating.” Well I could agree with pushing the reset button, but accommodating is what they were and is why their policies were too small. As I have said before in this blog, accommodating with failure is not an option. Republicans weren’t in the mood to negotiate and the next crop will be worse. So by all means lets push the reset button, and then let’s go down fighting for what is right and will work, not what might get passed and then fail abysmally (see Paul Krugman below).
I actually agreed with the Republicans on the show, at least in part. They wanted to see the nation face the sacrifices needed to deal with the deficit by letting the tax cuts expire for everyone which I think is a fine idea. They also wanted a real discussion about cutting government where the real spending is. But they saw no role for government in stimulating the economy and I guess all those Americans out of a job and losing their homes is okay with them when the real culprits are the bankers. At least this crew of Republicans were real conservatives and were not offering tax cuts and balanced budgets understanding that these two together are an oxymoron.
Frank Rich had an enlightening editorial on Sunday (What Happened to Change We can Believe In) and he put his finger on what I think angers most Americans with the Democrats. Well there is the obvious fact that economy is not getting better so you could draw the false conclusion, failed policies. But he identified the real thorn and that was that Wall Street and the Bankers got off scot-free. To sum up, the average American is suffering and these guys are earning record profits. Obama certainly prevented a catastrophe, but when it came to righting the ship, all the mutineers walked. Same can be said for the bankers and the latest mortgage fiasco and once again the Administration appears to be operating as business as usual. When it comes to finding culprits, the Administration is a coward. I could extend this to the Iraq war, our treatment of detainees, and the loss of our privacy, but that is for another day. The point Frank was making was Americans see business as usual and they may just vote for fruit loops if it will bring them change, any change.
But the way forward looks bleak if the Republicans gain power and that was demonstrated in three op-eds. Paul Krugman this morning in his op-ed in the New York Times, Falling into the Chasm, made the point that the pundits are arriving at the conclusion that the Obama policies failed when in fact what history tells us is that they were the right policies, just way too small. We are in this mess because we failed to learn from history that tells us that unemployment will take a long time to recover, and the policies put in place by the Obama administration were anemic. Even sadder is that the Republicans who will gain by this failure of leadership have policies that will only make things worse.
Thomas Friedman, in The Election that Wasn’t, laid out what we need to do. To wit, “In the short run, we’ll probably need more stimulus to get the economy moving again so people have the confidence to buy and invest. Ultimately, though, good jobs at scale come only when we create more products and services that make people’s lives more healthy, more productive, more secure, more comfortable or more entertained — and then sell them to more people around the world. And in a global economy, we have to create those products and services with a work force that is so well trained and productive that it can leverage modern technology so that one American can do the work of 20 Chinese and, therefore, get paid the same as 20 Chinese. There is no other way.” He concluded with, “Government’s job is to help inspire, educate, enable and protect that work force. This election should have been about how.” Once again it would seem that we are about to elect people who believe just the opposite.
Finally I could not leave out Maureen Dowd’s Supremely Bad Judgment. She describes how the whack job, Ginni Thomas, reopened the whole Clarence Thomas sex addict thing, with corroborating evidence from one of Thomas’s girl friends and had we known this, we would not have this conservative nut job on the Supreme Court. Remember all the Republicans who lied through their teeth defending him with their moral outrage? How could Anita Hill stand before them and tarnish their righteous Clarence by having the audacity to tell the truth? But the bigger conclusion is that we now have a Supreme Court that is populated by very conservative political operatives and the Citizens United decision is just the tip of the iceberg. This is what conservative ideology will bring you, the final breakdown of the separation of powers and a complete loss of respect for the independence of the Supreme Court. Remember Gore versus Bush?
So I would say the reality has been laid out for us. We know what Democrats need to do to recover in the last week. We know what they need to do if they hold on to power, and we know what we are going to get if they fail. Does any of that make any difference? Only if the rest of you get out and vote. And oh by the way, call your kids and make sure they get their friends out also. Otherwise we are going to be the United States of Corporations.