Will this take you back to 1968?
The Conservatives' prayers have been answered and this
year's Presidential Election will ignore jobs, taxes, and wars and concentrate
on an emotional wedge issue. On
Thursday, May 10, 2012, the top headline on the front page of the New York
Times was about the gay marriage issue and it was augmented by a "news
analysis" on that very same topic.
Traditionally conservatives have preferred to use a highly charged tangential emotional issue rather than focus on problems that are integral to the lives and livelihoods of the voters.
Last weekend, this columnist went to the Oakland Museum of
California to see "The 1968 Project" which is a traveling exhibition focusing
on the social, political, and economic events of 1968 because we anticipated
that it would provide a convenient frame for a column comparing and contrasting
that year with the situation in this election year.
Jobs, fair and equitable taxation and necessary wars are complex issues that can confuse voters. Obviously both Republican and Democratic candidates want to offer the citizens a program that will reduce taxes, increase employment and preserve the peace, but both political parties can not make identical speeches. They have to achieve brand identity and loyalty for their message and their party. If they don't; elections would seem like a variation on the Ford vs. Chevrolet debate.
Sales representatives (such as the one portrayed in the
classical "Death of a Sales Rep" by Arthur Miller [Did you get the memo on the
new politically correct title for that play?]) are always told to sell the
sizzle and not the steak, so the two parties need an issue that will represent
If both Republicans and Democrats agree that taxes for the wealthy must be reduced or completely eliminated, then what's to stop the voters from using a coin toss to make their choices?
If both parties know that the military industrial complex
thrives on war, then the question is not whether to go to war or not; it is
which wars can be sold as necessary for the protection of the citizens?
If the TV at night is clogged with ads urging addiction to products produced by the pharmaceutical industry, then wouldn't it be hypocritical for Republicans or Democrats to denounce a cottage industry that offers an herbal product that promises similar miraculous medial results? Obviously the large companies would not want amateurs cutting into their profit margin anymore than a bootlegger would want his regular customers to spend their money on some locally produced bathtub gin.
During the Roaring Twenties did any American pundit go to a
bar in Canada, Mexico, Great
Britain, or Australia and ask the locals why
their country didn't outlaw booze?
Were jobs, taxes, and wars important during the Twenties? Was it easier to judge a politician on his stand for or against Prohibition or was it worth the effort to listen to some long and boring debate about the Smoot-Hawley Act? ("They say it could cause a depression!") What about the Kellogg Briand Treaty and the London Naval Treaty of 1930? ("What do you mean pave the way for a new World War?")
The Republican strategists love to frame the debate and set
the agenda for the Presidential Elections and as Americans celebrate May 11,
2012, as Twilight Zone Day one only has to casually peruse the usual sources
for contemporary political opinion to see that the "there you go again"
assessment can be applied to the attention being paid to the issue of gay
marriage this week.
On Thursday, May 10, 2012, a reconnaissance patrol on the Internets revealed that some gays were urging the Democratic Party to move the location for their National Convention out of North Carolina to somewhere else.
If they are successful in manipulating the Democrats into
making such a change of venue, then many of the party's management staff will
be distracted from the Presidential race by the nuts and bolts decisions that
will accompany such a maneuver; if they don't make the change the gay activists
will resent the "my way or the highway" attitude implicit in such an example of
fascist control over the splinter group.
Either way, the President will look bad and the Republican voters will
have occasion to celebrate the success of the architect of their campaign
On Monday, August 5, the opening day of the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, California Governor St. Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy for the Presidency. Was that a tad late in the primary season to make that announcement?
He had only been governor for two years. Was he rushing things?
Since many pundits are neglecting to point out that the
focus on gay marriage would be a textbook perfect example of Republicans
hijacking the national political debate, and that brings up another item that
is being neglected in the age of meticulously scrupulous (?) punditry. Is there an ulterior motive which would
explain the late date for the Republican National Convention this year?