Monday, May 13, 2013

Oh, the Agony of It All!

The self-righteousness, piteous wailing, conspiracy theorizing, and gnashing of teeth being put forth by certain teabagger conservatives in the media and the blogosphere has reached epic proportions.  This agony - of the Obama Presidency - is apparently unbearable to them.

Let me state from the outset that I'm no longer much of supporter of the current President, who has reneged on most of his promises to change the political landscape.  Whatever might have motivated his spineless inability to overturn many of the bad decisions made by his predecessor, the result has been a "business, as usual" administration.  The banking/corporate one-percenters continue to escape prosecution (for the most part) for their crimes and to enrich themselves on the backs of the American workers and middle class.  American constitutional liberties still are being eroded in the name of security.  American warfighters continue to die (and kill) in foreign interventions that can't possibly be ended by a battlefield victory (or loss).  The stock market prospers but the real economy continues to stagger toward potential collapse.  Many serious issues remain unresolved and mostly unconsidered in the political arena - violent crime, a disastrous "war" on drugs, climate change, genetic engineering controversies, intrusion of religion into public institutions, Guantanamo Bay, a crumbling infrastructure, etc.  Rather, we're spinning our wheels fighting about meaningless, partisan nonsense.  No, this has not become the best of all possible times.  Or even changed much.

The right-wing extremists continue to howl about the national debt, as they conveniently ignore the reality that their conservative GOP administrations have been the biggest contributors to that debt since WWII.  Their contributions to the deficit have come mainly through jingoist foreign policies that have embroiled us in pointless, unwinnable wars on foreign soil.  The mantra of "raise taxes and spend" Democrats is a mainstay of the conservative liturgy, whereas it seems the evidence favors a "cut taxes (for political gain) and spend" policy for the Republicans, which is a marvelous way to drive up the deficit.  The tax cuts have a trivial impact on the incomes of most Americans and haven't proven to be effective in stimulating the economy, despite the promises.  What this policy shows is the modern GOP wraps itself in patriotism by supporting the very military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned of, even as they run up the deficit.  If the Democrats truly were "tax and spend" then at least they would be honest about having the public support the favorite government programs of the Democrats (social welfare) through taxation.  The GOP drives up the deficit through spending on their favorite government programs (the military and corporate welfare) while cutting taxes (thereby increasing the deficit rapidly), and somehow claims the right to call themselves fiscally responsible!  A masterful job of propaganda "spin", but not very good for the nation.

Apart from the continuing crazed howls of "birthers" and those claiming the President is secretly a muslim, there is now the "He's coming to take away our guns, so we should barricade ourselves in our homes and fight it out with the police!" crowd of intransigent gun advocates.  Some of them see themselves as valiant soldiers, readying themselves to fight a treasonous civil war against the very same military most of them have been so eager to arm with modern weaponry of almost unimaginable firepower.  In their eyes, they're comparable to the patriotic militias of the Revolutionary War (who, by the way, were notorious for skedaddling as soon as the first shots were fired!).  Would you really not surrender your guns until they're taken from your cold, dead hands?  Really?

Yes, it's so painful for these teabaggers to go on through the remaining years of agony left to us by the existing President and his administration, some are willing to go to war against the elected government!  Curiously, the voters inexplicably seem unable to discern that the conservatives they're voting for are the very same folks responsible for so much that makes them unhappy at a personal level.  The GOP has admitted freely they want the President to fail as President.  So much so, they're willing to vote against the will of the majority of voters time and again.  They always claim that it's the riders and amendments that prevent them from voting for what the public deems appropriate legislation - but there are ways to overcome that.  No, this is a systematic policy of opposing most anything the President proposes, so that the administration can't succeed in accomplishing anything.  This isn't a conspiracy theory - it's fact to which the GOP politicians have admitted!  Yet conservatives complain the President has accomplished little or nothing during his time in office!  I don't believe the existing no-compromise policies of the GOP have any precedent in American history.  Perhaps a stronger leader than the existing President somehow could work miracles despite an uncompromising opposition, but it would have to be someone with so much 'clout' he could force things through by strongarm tactics (of the LBJ sort).

I have my doubts the current administration will be viewed very kindly by history, primarily because it's done little or nothing substantial to alter the miserable policies of the administration that preceded it.  Where was all the weeping and teeth-gnashing about the national debt by the teabaggers when the GOP held the Presidency and ran up huge deficits?  Where were all the conservatives complaining about the erosion of American freedoms under the excuse of a bogus "war on terrorism"?  When liberals complained about GWB and Crime, Inc., the conservatives accused them of not being loyal to the nation by failing to support the President - so how is their whining about the current President and their lack of support anything other than a failure to be loyal to the nation?  Just how well has the conservative keystone of "trickle down" economics via giving the "job creators" a tax-sheltered free hand worked for the middle class? As my friend RJ Evans says, "The hypocrisy always reveals the lies!"

Look, liberals survived 8 years of GWB and Crime, Inc., the teabaggers will survive 8 years of Obama.  The issue is ... what comes after?  More of the same from our two major political parties?  More divisive, inflammatory rhetoric, full of lies, smokescreens, hypocrisy, and misrepresentation?  More partisanship, scandals, finger-pointing, and business as usual?  Voters have a chance to make a substantial change, despite the overwhelming dominance of lobbyists, PACs, corporate influence, and the like.  We can insist on real choice in the coming elections, rather than the miserable "lesser of two evils" vote, or the irresponsible "Why bother?" non-vote.  We can make ourselves heard by routing out the incumbents!  All of them!  That simply couldn't be ignored!


Don Baker said...

I have not voted democrat or republican in quite some time (beginning in 1988 after the Iran-Contra scandal). I look at various candidates running for president, try and research them at least to some extent, and then pick who I think will be best. And for quite some time that has been other than a D or R. When telling people who I plan to vote for I can't begin to count how many times I've heard "I can't vote for xxx because xxx can't win", or, "I don't want to waste my vote". And in some of those cases the person agreed that who I was voting for was actually better, but he/she had to vote for one of the main party candidates because the other one was seen as intolerable. I make the case that any vote for someone not deemed the best candidate in the voter's mind is the wasted vote. Of course, the issue is that any candidate other than a D or R can't get into the debates and is covered very little by the media. In recent memory only one other independent candidate has been able to make inroads, and that was Ross Perot in 1992, because he had enough of his own money to buy some prime time TV ads where he could explain why neither of the other two candidates were (in his opinion) any good. The result was that Perot was outpolling both major candidates as late as mid summer 1992. Of course, he flaked out, withdrew, and then got back in. If you are (1) neither a D or R, or (2) not very wealthy, there seems to be little hope of getting your message out. And that's just how the two establishment parties want it. Today, it's all about party loyalty. Most liberals will support Obama despite evidence that he's not all that "liberal" in practice, and in fact has decided he likes all the increased federal power his predecessor instituted after 9/11. Most conservatives will vote republican, even though the GOP cannot even *pretend* to be fiscally conservative anymore. The GOP is very socially conservative now, to an increasing level. Methinks a winning choice may be someone who is fiscally conservative and socially moderate. Bottom line is that I agree with the sentiment with which you ended this essay - we have got to stop blindly sending individuals from the two major corrupt political machines to Washington. The hypocrisy of both parties today is astounding, yet, the vast majority of voters keep choosing between them. I know many republicans and democrats who are good intelligent people and who truly believe in their party. Fine. All I ask is that people vote for who they truly think is best. If that happens to be a D or R, that's fine. Vote not wasted. The wasted vote is for someone who is not deemed best (or even liked), but, voted for anyway. And I suspect the percent of all such votes cast these days is quite high, unfortunately.

Chad Davis said...

The right-wing extremists continue to howl about the national debt, as they conveniently ignore the reality that their conservative GOP administrations have been the biggest contributors to that debt since WWII.

Would love to see a source on this info! (msnbc and cnn do not count haha!)

Chuck Doswell said...

I suppose Faux News would be acceptable? Actually see:


Chuck Doswell said...


Your comment "I make the case that any vote for someone not deemed the best candidate in the voter's mind is the wasted vote." fails to deal with the "lesser of two evils" problem - being the best of a bad choice is precisely what we have been presented with for decades. Obama sucks but Romney would have been worse!

Don Baker said...

Chuck, I'm not sure how my feeling that a vote for someone not deemed best is a wasted vote fails to deal with "lesser of two evils" problem. Maybe I'm not getting a point you're making here. There are far more than two candidates running for president. And if considering only the two main candidates, clearly one is going to be judged worse than another (in most cases). I was trying to suggest that if someone believed, for example, the Green Party candidate was the best of all the candidates running, and then they voted for Obama because Romney would be worse, then that is the wasted vote. In my opinion. But I know that most people feel that a vote for someone who "can't win" is actually the wasted vote.

Chuck Doswell said...


Go back to my earlier blog, and re-read what your comment was there:

I wasn't given the option to vote for a third party candidate ... hence, the lesser of two evils was my ONLY choice!

Don Baker said...

Got it Chuck, i.e., "read the blog" (especially the opening paragraph)! Yeah, it's a total outrage that only two choices were on your ballot, and you couldn't even write in another name if you so prefered. The ballot I had also offered the Libertarian, Constitution, Green, and a couple of other party candidates. And I do agree that one statement we could make is to flush the toilet on the entire House, and those Senators up for re-election, in 2014. At least that would make a statement. I never used to be a proponent of term limits, but now I am for Congress. And maybe the limit ought to be a single term of some established length (to preclude the proverbial corrupt process of running for re-election). I don't know how to fix the problem, but the status quo is unacceptable. And yet that is what a vote for either democrats or republicans for Congress and the White House seems to perpetuate.

John Monteverdi and Thom Trimble said...

President Obama's achievements are actually many. Emphasizing the failures is honest. However, to leave out his substantial achievements in the area of gay rights is unfair. I believe in retrospect it will remain a large turning point in American history. I am also critical that we still have a presence in Guantanamo. However,the Far Right's stance stated in the last two days that they will oppose its closing shows the wall of intolerance and bricked-off minds he's had to face his entire presidency. I understand how Chuck feels, but I am still proudly a supporter of President Obama. I don't agree with everything he's done, but given the hatred and the entrenched positions of the Far Right in the House, for example, I think he's done a wonderful job.

Peter Felknor said...

I think a big part of the problem is that Americans don't pay enough attention to what is really going on--they get all their political information through sound bites or (worse, since Citizens United) paid political ads. Practically everyone I know has become either an "Obama-doesn't-go-far-enough" lefty liberal or, worse, a blithering Tea Party cryptofascist. Voices of reason like your own are becoming few and far between.

A case in point can be seen here in Wisconsin, where people elected our village-idiot governor (kicked out of college for rigging student elections) not once but twice. He has virtually destroyed the state in three years and managed to turn Wisconsinites against each other in ways never seen before. Wisconsin has experienced none of the post-recession economic recovery; things have actually gotten much worse.

And here's the kicker... by all appearances, Scott Walker is a shoo-in to be reelected in 2014 and he makes no secret of the fact that he intends to run for President. What does that tell you about peoples' knowledge of the actual state of affairs? Hell, they'd have to look at pie graphs and bar charts and that's, like, too hard.

Henry Neeman said...

On the question of who's guiltier of deficit spending during the post-WWII years, Democrats or Republicans, the answer is that it depends on what measure you use:

* In constant 2005 dollars, Democrats have racked up $7.56 trillion and Republicans $6.11 trillion.

* In constant 2005 dollars per capita, Republicans have done $24,000 per person and Democrats $21,000.

* In constant 2005 dollars per year, Democrats have averaged $244 billion per year and Republicans $170 billion.

* In constant 2005 dollars per capita per year, it's pretty much a tie: Democrats $675 per capita per year and Republicans $668.

However, bear in mind that Obama has another 4 years to generate deficits, and that, based on past experience, there's a high probability that the next president will be a Republican (only once in the post-WWII era did the same party retain the presidency for more than 8 years in a row).

So these numbers are likely to continue to be fluid and confusing.


Chuck Doswell said...


Thanks for your source information. It does indeed depend on just what you choose to use. You use your sources ... I use mine.