And the Likelihood of Real Change Is….
By Lee Russ
Tuesday, July 01, 2008 at 07:49 PM
Frankly, I think we're running out of time to turn this country around before we're too far gone. And I definitely think that John McCain is not the man to turn it around. What I'm beginning to wonder is whether Barak Obama is the man to turn it around. Or if we have anyone currently in politics who can turn it around.John McCain is running around saying we need the Columbia Free Trade Agreement to get the US economy back on track. Sure, John, that’s right, more of the policy that helped take us off track will put us right back on track. McCain and his fellow free marketers strike me as analogous to a guru who recommends eating cardboard. When the disciples begin to get sick and starve from the lack of nutrients, he simply recommends eating more cardboard.
But Obama doesn’t seem willing to step up and put his neck on the block for specific things that really matter. Like the idiotic idea that FISA should be amended to shield telecom companies and weaken civil rights. Or truly universal health care like the rest of the intelligent world has.
And his acceptance of the idea of “faith based initiatives,” no matter what he wants to call them instead, also gives me pause.
I know, supporters are going to say that Obama has to do this to win, that once he wins, then look out, he’s really going to be changing things. But, (a) that’s what independents for McCain say about him, and (b) that tactic has a way of binding the hands of even the best intentioned candidates.
As Thomas Frank said, writing in the Wall Street Journal on June 18, 2008:
Yes, things look good for Democrats this year. Poll after poll indicates excellent prospects for Barack Obama. And the dispatches from House and Senate races are even better.Or, to put a more positive spin on it, they could actually devise a set of policies that recognize the severity of our condition, and set out to change both the condition and the underlying mindset that brought it about.
The comfortable course of action for Democrats will be merely to pocket the coming windfall, to burble about how they have lifted the curse of ideology from the land, to replace the current gang of free-marketeers with their own gang of free-marketeers, and to resume the merry triangulations of eight years ago. The ins will give way to the outs, and they will rule happily ever after . . . until the next culture war takes them by surprise and sweeps them again from their contented perch.
Another route is possible, though. If they are willing to go beyond the regal rhetoric of post-partisanship, Democrats might find that they are, for the first time in decades, running against a philosophy of government that has utterly discredited itself. Should they choose to make 2008 a referendum on conservatism itself, they might deliver the knockout blow. They should start with the bad ideas that have delivered such disastrous consequences.
Surely somebody in Obama’s campaign, or sitting as an elected Democrat somewhere, has an idea for how to combine the repair of our incredibly dilapidated infrastructure with a workforce that is shrinking, shriveling, and shaking in its boots.
Surely someone can recognize that adding more patches to the crazy quilt of health care is not the answer to anything. My wife now works in a hospital billing office, where absurdly large numbers of people spend their days going slowly insane as they try to make the insurance “systems” work. This just might explain why my hospital recently charged over $700 for performing some very simple pulmonary function tests using one machine and less than an hour of a respiratory therapist’s time.
Surely someone recognizes that the very process of legislating at the federal level needs a fundamental overhaul. Momentous provisions “appear” in a bill with no indication of who put them there, and no legislators aware that the language is in the bill? And there isn’t rioting in the streets? No one is demanding that their representatives sponsor and advocate for a system in which the language of any bill must be posted in public for a minimum period before it is voted on?
Surely someone recognizes that we’ve had almost three decades of government regulators serving as prostitutes-on-demand for the industries they regulate. Did you know that the prices charged by cable television companies, and the content of their programming, are no longer regulated by state public service boards because the brilliant FCC decided that satellite dishes offer significant and effective competition in the field? How do you feel about that? Caution is not going to begin to reverse the fundamental damage caused to federal agencies since 1980.
If the Democrats don’t get over their case of the chickens pretty soon, it’s going to be too late. The country as we know it will be gone. And the very angry and largely ignorant (hello talk radio, Rush, and the rest of you public little vermin) public will turn to the kind of leader that such a public always finds: a dictatorial charlatan who hides behind populism to create a personal fortune and a police state.
And, sadly, Democrats might well be held responsible for the collapse of America despite it having been initiated and expedited by the conservatives. It’s never the driver who takes the wrong turn who is held responsible for the eventual crash, it’s the driver behind the wheel at the time of impact.
So please, Mr. Obama, and Mr. Obama’s advisors, and all the Democratic super delegates, etc, please, stick a broom handle under your shirts if you have to, but face up to where we are and what we need. To paraphrase Einstein, fearful people will never be able to solve the problems that fear produced.
Edward Gibbon, historian, writing in The History of the Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, put down one thing as Rome's biggest contribution towards her disintegration:
"Lack of civic virtue".
Sadly, the US itself suffers this same malady. Too many are disconnected, uncaring, and in too many cases, it's more of the "What the hell can I do about it?" psychosis deal.
Too many hand off things they should be concerned about to others, politicians, pastors, radio commentators, etc...instead of rolling up their sleeves and getting down and dirty with the daily process of life.
Already, too many are going into "wishythink", thinking that a more Dem congress and Dem president are going to solve all our problems, when that cannot be further from the truth. Hardly, dude.
To survive and well into the 22nd century is going to take hard work, sweat and resolve, not sitting back on one's ass and letting someone else do it for them. Time, itself, proves, when the future comes, those uninvolved will cry the loudest, suffer the most and demand pity from those with their hands around the cyclic.
In this and perhaps all country's, there is a mind set on just what a politician is. This has become a person that can bend with the wind and "work" with the system. Whether good intentions were present to begin with is not important. It comes down to what the elected official has become.
This is why there really isn't a huge difference between the two major parties final analysis. To make a law require either a substantially larger number of members or as is usually the case, compromise.
The persons elected to office as wide eyed and determined idealistic go getters, become a compromise without the vigor that got them elected.
The are then Politicians(sorry-more than four letters with same feel)