Heterodox Views on Politics and Public Policy from Michael Blaine

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Post-Election Analysis

Just One Of Many Questions

I am relieved that Barack Obama won this month's presidential election. He is a positive and well-spoken politician who ought to set a tone in Washington, DC that will feel like a salve after eight years of a White House that emanates sadism and stupidity.

Moreover, the other major-party ticket was abhorrent. It consisted of a simplistic old man who achieved "war hero" status by first dropping bombs on a distant agrarian society, and then getting shot down and imprisoned for it by the aggrieved, paired with a syntactically-challenged megalomaniac who believes that humans and dinosaurs (quite apart from her running mate) co-existed. If the Republicans somehow had won the presidency, it would have intensified the death throes of the USA. For once, America seems to have dodged a political bullet.

So, it is time now to move on to the three biggest post-election questions, judging from the mainstream press, facing the nation:

1. Whom should President-elect Obama choose to fill his cabinet? Many of my friends and family members, as well as former colleagues and professors, would make superlative candidates. These people have the experience, qualifications and moral fiber to do an outstanding job. Furthermore, none is beholden to the organized, monied interests of Washington nor wedded to the status quo manner of governing. If Mr. Obama would like me to forward specific names for his consideration, I will do so in an instant.

As for the other, well-known personalities being batted about by the media in connection with various cabinet posts, does it really matter? These people are so disconnected from and unconcerned about the average American that the federal government can scarcely be called "ours"; instead, it more closely resembles a parlor game, like pro sports. "Do you think Obama should keep Robert Gates on as secretary of defense?" "Do you think Hank Steinbrenner should try to put C.C. Sabathia in Yankee pinstripes?" Ultimately, it makes not a whit of concrete difference to us bystanders, the citizens.

2. What should the Republican party do now? That anyone feels genuine concern for a group of greedy; racist; superstitious; paranoid; and willfully ignorant zealots boggles the mind. That anyone still considers this pack of self-described "patriots" a legitimate political party is even more amazing. The GOP can best be understood as a religious cult. It confounds rational analysis. The best the rest of us can hope for is that the Republicans suffer their very own Jonestown.
3. What type of dog should the Obamas take to the White House? Obviously, they should take a cat.
Now that the above matters have been settled, the nation's commercial media and their endless supply of experts and pundits should feel free to move on to the next set of critical issues.


Louis J. Concierge said...

Michael, why don't you just tell us how you really feel? j/k
I've been waiting for you to post about this and you didn't disappoint!

I went at this election like I was voting for either dumb or dumber. I doubt I'm alone in my frustration that every four years we have only two choices. We were getting either the same ol' same ol' OR we were getting a fencepost in a suit who happens to have a gift for public speaking. I think having a fencepost in there will yield more favorable results than planting an itchy trigger finger in the Oval Office, though. At least this way our downward spiral will look a lot different in its execution.

The one thing that seems business as usual to me, though, is the lying. Obama spent over 20 years in that church, called the pastor his mentor, supported him with his time, money and friendship. Then when he ran for high office he played it as though he hardly knew the man and couldn't buy into what the guy was saying. Wright was saying the same thing for 20 years, but it only bothered Obama's tender conscience when he decided to run in the primary? Obama lives and breathes that man's message yet threw the guy under the bus when the heat came down. That's called deceit in the real world.

And relegating his close friendship to Ayers to the status of "just a guy from the neighborhood"? These two have been pals for years and years. Ayers even opened his home to Obama, who held his first political meeting in the guy's living room. Just a guy from the neighborhood?

And telling us all through the campaign that he's about cutting taxes on the middle class? That won't happen, either, and it was never going to happen, and he knew it.

The thing is, he didn't have to lie, he'd have gotten elected running with integrity and, besides, nobody was holding that stuff against him anyway...well, no one but that shrinking minority formerly known as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, the scourge of Hillary Clinton.

It was all a bunch of packaged lies. That sounds suspiciously to me like the outgoing administration. I can't buy into the euphoric utopian dream that has so many peoples' heads swimming. We have NO idea about this man. He has never governed anything in his life...city, state or anything else. He's never done any kind of official budget. Ever. And now he's in the Oval Office? All we know about the guy is that he can speak well, really, and that he can lie very smoothly and get people to believe him.

I agree: we are better off than with the alternative. What scares me is that he's completely green, he's inherited a mess and there's nothing in his background that tells us he has any idea what to do. I can't bear to look...

And I'm an optimist!

Michael Blaine said...

Louis, Obama may not lower income taxes on the middle class, but he almost certainly will raise them on the top 1%.

As for the lying, I don't think
Obama relished it, but he certainly did say what he calculated he needed to in order to win the election.

Give this to him: he was successful!

Louis J. Concierge said...

Michael, you're right I guess. The bottom line is that what he did worked. It just creeps me out a little that he's using the same strategy as the outgoing admin, any lie is justifiable if you need to tell it to achieve your ends.

Then again, I guess that's government for you. Maybe I'm more of an idealist than I want to admit.

Michael Blaine said...


I see more of a distinction between the Repubs and the Dems:

For example, the former lie when they promise to make gay marriage unconstitutional; the latter lie when they promise to make college affordable for everyone.

It's a question of tone and focus.

Michael Blaine said...


I am highly skeptical of Obama, as some earlier posts demonstrate explicitly.

The new president is clearly aligned with big capital and the military-industrial complex; I don't see a readiness to attack our nation's problems at their root.

But what else should one expect from America's self-serving, venal and stagnant political duopoly?!!