Thursday, 8 September 2011

GOP pre-coronation ceremony

I don’t get the gloating and laughing over the increasingly surreal crop of Republican presidential candidates unless it’s a meant as open-bar-at-the-apocalypse fatalism. But the idea that these people are so far off the sanity scale that their display serves the other camp is delusional. [photo: AP/Chris Carlson]

The political Pollyannas are going to spend so much ink on the distraction of presidential electioneering that it may keep GDP positive for the next few quarters. But I see no indication that the Republicans’ choice of a nominee will make much difference given that to have any sort of contest, be it in war or baseball, there must be two opposing sides. What side does Barack Obama represent?

For example, we’ll hear a lot today about Rick Perry calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme. Obama doesn’t use that term, but he falsely pretends that the 80-year-old national pension guarantee program requires immediate first aid. For whom do I vote if I think the program should be defended vigorously and not raided in the name of bogus ‘deficit reduction’? Why do we think people concerned about that will rush out to support someone who openly promises to trash it?

Poor, clueless John Huntsman endorsed science, immediately showing the futility of his campaign. He thereby skates dangerously close to outflanking Obama from the left. The president’s buckling to the polluters on clean air shows that Democrats don’t let science stand in the way of political expendiency/cowardice either. Where do people concerned about green issues put the X? What makes us think they will bother?

And why should nasty bloodymindedness such as that displayed by Perry on the death penalty will disturb or mobilize significant numbers of people? The every-sperm-is-sacred Christian crowd has never shied away from cheering for death when it involves people they dislike, be they Afghans, Iraqis or prisoners in Texas. Given Obama’s silent indifference to civilian casualties, official use of drone-delivered assassination as a foreign policy tool and complicity with torture, where are people with a concept of human rights supposed to collect?

For the Republican juggernaut—soon to be strengthened with limitless oceans of cash—to be slowed down in the least, there would have to be an opposing force. I see no signs of one whatsoever. I therefore conclude that the big build-up over the presidential nomination nod is already an anti-climax. Obama was useful to the ruling elite in giving the appearance that something fundamental was going to change. He promptly protected the war criminals and the ran interference for the financier thieves. That done, he’s not needed any more. The new team is already in charge, and the specific assignments that will be distributed—including commander-in-chief—are a mere detail.

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