Saturday, November 13, 2010


They knew he had never
Been on their T.V.
So they passed his music by

Joni Mitchell, For Free, Ladies of the Canyon (1970) (and, here, on the Dick Cavett Show of August 19, 1969)

But there he was, after being carefully hidden in the weeks leading up to the election, now able to reappear on our t.v. screens, trying to sell his peculiar logic, his malaprop slogans, his utter failure of a presidency as if it were a great time for a country now, amazingly, in free fall.

And having managed to keep hidden before the election, his party and its bought and paid for supporters, were able to take advantage of the fact that without a star power national candidate to motivate them, young voters, just as others who normally support Democrats, would not vote.

They do blog, though. They tell us that the President should hang tough, and not allow the weeklong reappearance of the Congress filled with members who have been told to find other work to extend those parts of the foolish tax cuts enacted during the prior administration, carefully set to expire in the next president's term, as apply to adjusted personal incomes of over $250,000.

There's a lot to be said for this well made argument. It is unfair and a foolish expenditure of money at a time when the government has far more urgent priorities. Even the Weekly Standard, the home of Kristol and all that there is of "conservative thought" understood all of this when the issue was not how best to rid the country of the black president. In 2005, this cogent point even appeared in their pages:

The deficits that Bush ran up in the years in which the country was teetering on the verge of a serious recession had the beneficial effect of righting the economy. In that sense, deficits not only didn't matter, but were a force for economic good.

But that was then, and this is now. The economy, growing at an annual rate of 3.5 percent to 4.0 percent, is hardly in need of further fiscal stimulus.

Well we are back to then, with a vengeance. Even an economics illiterate who can't rub two quarters together, such as the guy whose drivel you are reading, knows that in a collapsing economy, when people can't spend money, the government has to or we fall into a depression. For those who need a review of why this is not the time to start thinking about deficit spending by the government, try this or this for starters or read a book about the New Deal.

Of course, the President should try to prevent this give away to the wealthy and use the money for larger government intervention to prop up the economy than the little half measure he could get through Congress when he was supposedly riding high. Spending this money on tax breaks for people who will bank their money i is an absurdity, and even the fools who voted know this. But it won't happen because reason, and even well written posts to do not effect what Congress does. Votes and the people who buy them do.

Sure. In a country that was not completely broken, in which people cared more about their nation's well being and the plight of their neighbors, this proposal would not stand a chance. Maybe, if compromise was necessary, the tax cuts would not be extended to adjusted personal incomes of over half a million dollars rather than quarter of a million dollars.

But that is not where we live. Huge amounts of money paid for television commercials, aided and abetted by blow haired "impartial journalists" all of which informed the electorate that nothing was their fault: the eight years of the Bush presidency was not their fault, the preceeding eight years where they elected a Congress which impeached the president rather than deal with the problems of adjusting to the new world of the late 1990s and the early twenty-first century, following twelve years of "me, me, mine, not yours" and "government is not the answer; it is the problem" was just a little blip that the magician from Hawaii would fix for us. When he could not restore our country to the forward looking mass we had become by 1965 at least partly to honor our murdered president, he was declared a failure or, at least not worth supporting by the hour it might take for someone to cast a vote.

The murdered president told us that progress was

in your hands more than mine

but that runs against popular thought and the dreams of the emperor, king or god who can magically make all that is bad go away. Too bad life is not the same as fairly tales.

On election day, a trenchant comment from President Roosevelt in 1936 appeared in this space and, sadly, it fits today's politics perfectly, too.

Those, fortunately few in number, who are frightened by boldness and cowed by the necessity for making decisions, complain that all we have done is unnecessary and subject to great risks. Now that these people are coming out of their storm cellars, they forget that there ever was a storm...

They lost in 1936, but they won and won big this month. We will pay for this step backward. There are not two ways about it. The election is over. We may make the right arguments but the people who were elected, who overwhelmingly will control the House of Representatives, want to do something else. There is little a president can do to stop them, except to make them pay at the next election. And, again, it will be votes that matter, not blog posts.

Yes, the muse Regina Spektor, born in the U.S.S.R., and an American after her family fled, when she was nine, from the treatment of Jews there, and whose work touches on everything important there is has it exactly right:

Power to the people
We don't want it
We want pleasure
And the TVs try to rape us
And I guess that they're succeeding
And we're going to these meetings
But we're not doing any meeting
And we're trying to be faithful, but we're
Cheating, cheating, cheating



I'm having trouble with allegiance lately.

I understand that the repubs have taken over the House.

So what?

The repubs controlled the agenda for the last two years when we really controlled both houses and the WH.

So what?

Now Grandma Pelosi did all she could do. She passed so much legislation that 430 bills lie stagnant in the senate.

So What?

The House is impotent. And why our President should choose to negotiate anything with these corporate fronts for the chosen oligarchy is beyond me.

Shut down government?

This is all a joke.

It's am getting to the point, where I'm no fun anymore.

Barth said...

Something has to pass next week or the the rates will revert to what they were in 2001. That may not be a bad thing, but the media will be full of "they raised your taxes" and people who are hurting, will be hurt more, but not by much, if I recall the effect of the 2001 cuts on my own check.

Nice end to your comment.