Are we not paranoid enough?
In recent weeks, the Mitt Romney campaign has had a string of “how could he have said that?” moments where you really have to question his—and his team’s—political savvy. Some comments are so over-the-top nefarious that I’ve started to wonder whether he’s not doing it on purpose, Whether the Republicans’ hatred of Obama is all a sham. Whether their relentless push behind the clearly deeply flawed and vacuous Romney isn’t just a way of goading otherwise unmotivated voters to get behind the lackluster Obama.
Obama is far from a progressive dream candidate. If you believe that Obama is a socialist, you either don’t know what socialist is or you’re a deluded idiot or you’re a master of self-deception. Obama is, objectively, a dream Republican candidate. Romney’s agenda is quite extreme and threatens to “kill the host” in the parasite analogy. Obama, on the other hand, has done whatever the Republicans wanted whenever they wanted it—and sometimes even gone above and beyond the call of duty. Sure, they pretend to fight but they’re really just quibbling over minor details. The major points are uncontested. Because of this, many Democratic voters were, until recently, quite disillusioned and searching about for a more progressive alternative.
However, with the threat of Romney taking office, these voter have mostly fled back to the Obama campaign’s loving arms—and to supporting a quite right-wing administration that threatens Iran every chance it gets, professes unwavering support of Israel, keeps Guantánamo open, rescued all of the banks and Wall Street in a blizzard of corporate welfare and continues the war on drugs unabated. Sure, the Obama administration passed healthcare reform, but it was pretty weak compared to the horrific alternative of single-payer, which Obama never even attempted to support. Just like a good Republican. The military budget keeps increasing and taxes get cut. His Supreme-Court appointees saw fit to allow that money is free speech and that corporations are people.
Other than his unfortunate skin color, what more could Republicans want? They even get to complain about his wild spending while all the while watching their corporate patrons scooping armfuls of that cash into their maws. Republicans get the agenda they want and they get to bitch about how it’s ruining America—which they’re right about, but only coincidentally.
So Romney’s bumbling may be part of the plan. Obama will get another four years as a quasi-Republican president, ruling from the right while dripping soothing left-sounding palliatives that in no way conform to his actions. The Republicans get to run the country from behind for four more years because Obama either doesn’t want to move toward the center or doesn’t dare to. In the end, it doesn’t matter why he does what he does, but the simple fact of what he does that’s important.
And what he does is run a justice department that lets all of the torture-loving criminals of the Bush administration go (zero prosecutions, lots of fat book deals) as well as all of the financial pirates (zero prosecutions and trillions of dollars in free loans at the always-open Fed window) go with his blessing. Instead, he comes down harder on the whistleblowers who try to do the right thing than any other President before him. He supported the constant renewal of the Patriot Act and signed the NDAA and exulted when the indefinite-detention clause was narrowly upheld, unconstitutional or not. He’s got a kill list, with Americans on it. His drones kill people without names, crowds of men with the wrong “signature”.
Does he hate guns? He does not. Gun laws, despite Republican protestations, are weaker than they were under Bush. Need I go on? In what way is this President not enacting a Republican agenda?
The Republican protestations are a sham. They are reverse psychology with Mitt “Everything-that’s-wrong-with-the-elite-in-America” Romney as the goad to get anyone with half a brain to vote for the lesser evil. Just hold your nose and vote. Should you choose the poster-child of the 0.01% who asks you to love him while he cuts a scorched-earth swath a mile wide on his way to endlessly padding his fortune, a fortune that’s so large it has an inertia that even ridiculously extravagant spending can’t dent, to say nothing of Mormon-style spending? Who calls you a moocher, a parasite, because you take government assistance as you struggle to make ends meet in your pathetic existence, all while he’s paying a pittance in taxes on a $25 million per year income for doing nothing, producing nothing of value, producing self-congratulatory books?
Romney’s almost too much. Perhaps the Republicans have overplayed their hand a bit. Or perhaps he’s slipped their leash and he believes his own wide-eyed childish pap about how the world should be run, all based on his own charmed experiences—and his erstwhile running mate, equally fanatical, is no better. Sarah Palin was already unbelievable enough as a candidate, but the Romney/Paul combination is positively surreal.
Vote for me, you incompetent, lazy, mooching sack of shit, they say. And some will.
Those who don’t get the joke will vote for Romney. Perhaps there are enough fools with no connection to reality or facts or information or history who will push Romney into office. Perhaps there are enough who actually buy the Republicans’ little farce about Obama’s leftism. Maybe the Republicans are too good at their own propaganda.
That’s actually the worst-case scenario: Romney gets elected and he actually believes his own hype and tries to enact his nation-destroying program of getting rid of taxes, health-care and…just the lot of it. Just getting rid of anything that rich people already have and don’t need. That poor people could have if they weren’t so lazy and entitled. It’s the worst-case scenario for America—and maybe for the Republican party—but that won’t concern most of them. America is a country of short-sightedness, of thinking for the next two months at the most. Get rid of taxes! I’m rich and want to hoard as much money as possible for myself. If I feel like it, I’ll fix the roads. Or maybe I’ll just fly everywhere in my helicopter instead. What’s the problem?
A vote for Obama will promote the Republican agenda in the classic way, the way it’s been done for decades, regardless of the party in power. Reagan dismantled a bunch of stuff, ballooned the debt. Bush Sr. futzed around a bit, started some minor wars, let the S&Ls off the hook. Clinton dismantled financial regulation and welfare and passed NAFTA as well. But at least the economy recovered a bit and the U.S. was in the black for a bit. Bush Jr. started one unfunded war after another, one tax cut after another and cratered the debt and deficit and finally the economy. Obama has continued the legacy, but has failed to fix the economy quickly enough to prepare for the next Republican president.
The Republicans don’t care who you vote for because both candidates will push the Republican agenda. There is no left wing in America. There is no center either. The Democratic party is just as big a sham. Politics in America is moribund.