You can fool some of the people all of the time,
and all of the people some of the time,
but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
-- Abraham Lincoln
With some 90% of the American public united in saying that the economy is in terrible shape -- and the Party of No having seen to it that as little as possible has been done to fix it (after their having trashed the economy in the first place) -- it's unfortunately not surprising that the party in power got their -- our -- asses kicked at the ballot box last week.
Now, governmental gridlock is perhaps the best we can hope for ... although there's nothing written in stone to say that the United States of America -- or even the economy of the whole, interconnected world for that matter -- can stand the not-so-benign neglect that is gridlock for any significant length of time, particularly in this critical economic condition.
And God help us if the Democrats in the Senate let extreme GOP-written legislation from the House even come to a vote, for there are probably enough conservative Democratic senators to side with the lockstep Republicans to pass such evil bills. And don't think that our threats to use the filibuster would stop the Right, as their threats killed or led to the watering down of so much of our legislation: The powers on the Right, as opposed to most of the grassroots on the Right, don't really give a tinker's damn about social issues, but rather serve first and foremost their Chamber of Commerce allies by pushing economic legislation; so the unholy GOP / conservative Democratic alliance would push to pass such bills by the simple majority of "budget reconciliation," as used for the Bush tax cuts (even though the GOP cried foul when we used exactly the same, by-the-book rule for the final passage of health care reform).
You want to know the difference between the GOP and the Democratic Party in a nutshell? The leader of the Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, didn't hesitate to tell all the world that their Number One goal wasn't to help the American people in the worst recession since the Great Depression but instead to make sure that Obama was a one-term president. Can you even imagine President Obama telling the world that his Number One goal wasn't helping the American people get jobs as fast as they can, as he did in his post-election news conference, but instead making sure John Boehner and Co. were a one-term Congress? Can you even imagine the media storm that would follow? That's the self-stated difference between the two parties: One party works for us; the other, for pure power. And the media and the public have come to expect that as somehow just the way it is; i.e., "So what?"
I suppose a case could be made that the GOP leadership really believes the b.s. they put out, about how giving tax breaks to the wealthiest citizens, already with the greatest share of the wealth in our nation's history, and to big corporations, already sitting on mountains of cash, will somehow create jobs for the rest of us, unwashed masses. But it's never happened, and they know it. For one thing, remember George W. Bush? He wasn't advancing exactly liberal policies when he crashed and trashed our economy.
And to be quite blunt, just as I cannot let the GOP leadership off the hook -- they know they're selling the American people nothing but economic snake oil -- I can't let the American public off easy either. First and foremost, the Tea Party idiots don't make an ounce of sense, other than to voice rage, which everyone shares about the current economic conditions. None of them have any plans that add up, even by their own numbers, to reduce the deficit, their stated Number One cause, let alone create jobs. It's no accident that their darling candidates avoided the media like the plague. They had no real answers, just complaints. Tweet, tweet, my ass, Sarah Palin.
What's more, even the less vitriolic, truly Independent swing voters -- exurbans et al. -- who swung the country Obama's way so decidedly in '08 and now to the Right in 2010 cannot escape blame. Sure they, like the rest of us, are pissed off and have their backs to the wall. But does that mean they have the right, let alone the responsibility, to ignore what has happened, as with the filibustering Party of No, and to then go back to the same horrendous policies that crashed our economy in the first place? It's no secret that deregulating big business -- still a much-publicized, top GOP priority -- was disastrous. Polls show that Americans overall, and 2010 voters in particular, still blame Bush and Wall Street more for the crash than Obama or the Dems. So shame on you, swing voters, for throwing the House back to the Republicans. Like your GOP leadership, you know better!
The swing voters indeed had a choice. They chose wrong. Dead wrong. The correct -- obvious -- answer to the question of, Where do we go from here? wasn't to turn the country to the Right, but to the Left -- make Congress more progressive, not less. Invest more in infrastructure and green technology, not less. Make the wealth more equitably distributed, not less. Look out more for middle class and working class households, not less.
You and I know that. Know that -- not just believe that but know that. We're right, aren't we? Well, aren't we? Don't tell me what Rush, Glenn, Sean, or Fox News says. Tell me what's clear as the nose on your face. There's no secret here. No trick questions or hidden answers. It's as obvious as all the wealth that so many millions of American families have lost.
At a certain point, things aren't just a difference of opinion. They become a difference in priorities and values -- at exactly the point where people choose to ignore the truth. Exactly where we are right now.
"Chastened" (as the mainstream media proclaims), President Obama says that we need to hear what the other side has to offer, and then see if we can find common ground. I know that's the correct and proper thing to do -- and it does let the other guys hang themselves with their own words, their own nonsensical, immoral policies -- but come on, who are we foolin'? Certainly not the swing voters. We've all already heard what the Right has to say, and heard it loud and clear. But even if every voter in the world said Right-wing, pamper-the-rich, ignore-the-rest-of-us policies were right, they're still wrong. Well, aren't they? Anyone who doesn't believe that, and tell that truth, should frankly get the hell out of the Democratic Party. We don't need them and can no longer politically -- or economically -- afford them. The GOP never recaptured the House by diluting its message; it won only by recommitting itself to its core principles. And if that insanity can win, then our sanity should win even bigger. Well, shouldn't it?
But the fact that it didn't amounts to the utter self-condemnation of the swing voters. Period. No mealymouth caveats or kissing their swing-voting asses. They blew it, bigtime. They took snake-bite victims and threw them -- us -- back into the pit of vipers.
OK, now. The 2012 presidential race has unofficially begun (By the way, despite my criticisms of his trying to be Mr. Nice Guy when the Party of No played anything but nice, I hereby pledge my support to the re-election of President Barack Obama, a truly visionary leader who has done a historic great deal in the face of unprecedented, unrelenting opposition). So it's time to restore some common sense in the electorate. Like I said, the people know better. We've been there, done that, with Right-wing politics and policies for far too long. And we're all paying the price, dearly.
By the way, if somehow the economy does turn around significantly by 2012, then I don't want to hear some idiots boast, "See, we were right to put the Republicans back in the House. Divided government works best." Bull. We were spared from going over the cliff, and given stimulus that has in fact saved millions of jobs, laying the foundation for a real recovery, no matter how slow, by Democratic policies, not Republican.