Monday, November 05, 2012

Election Week

I haven't written much about politics here in a while... I haven't written much of anything here lately, but still. I went through this the last time I managed a political post - the political discourse has not grown more edifying in the last three months... I will be happy when this thing is over, providing the Democrats win. I will be very happy to never see another New Hampshire political ad or photoshopped political ad on Facebook again...

That last was a joke. The countries Tumblrs won't shut down on Wednesday - I have seen 4 years of photoshopped bullshit from my tea party cousins, and expect to see another 4 years of it. If the election is close, I expect they will finally, and permanently outnumber cat pictures on Facebook. I despair. I know I am a hypocrite on this subject, for I am as inclined to "like" the Democratic pictures as argue or mock the Republican ones - but... At some point, you ought to be able to say what you want, and say it in words - so far, that seems to favor the lefties... scratch a tea partier, and you get - more Fox News catch phrases and - fantasy... That might be selection bias, for me - my lefty friends might be a bit more literate than my righty friends - but I don't think that's all there is.

There is no point in pretending the sides are equal. The Republicans have not offered any kind of political program with any value to the country in a long time. Their stated policies are all just ways to strip the nation for the benefit of the rich. (Here's Robert Reich on the subject.) Since 2008, they have done nothing to try to fix the economy - they have devoted themselves to stopping Obama from doing anything to fix the economy, and succeeded enough that they have been able to run on the idea that Obama hasn't fixed the economy. It is striking - every issue that comes up, every problem where there are a range of possible ways to deal with the issue, you find that the Democrats basically cover that range, and the Republicans chant slogans and vote to stop whatever comes along. Health care reform? all the debate was on the left (or "left" - the democratic party, I mean, an awful lot of which is not "left" by any real measure) - the GOP just campaigned against whatever was proposed. The economy? the republicans have nothing except cutting taxes, pretending to care about the deficit, and periodically trying to sabotage the whole affair... democrats, as usual, cover the whole range of potentially useful options, from full on Keynsianism to serious efforts to address the debt and deficit. ("Serious" in this instance means, methods that might actually reduce the debt and deficit - I don't mean to imply they would do the economy any good.) Foreign policy? Obama has basically just assumed the Republican positions on this, though this administration has been competent, unlike the last one... I don't see much from the Republicans except criticism for getting involved in Libya and more criticism for not getting involved in Syria. Lots of howling to bomb Iran, though if Obama actually did bomb Iran, they would change sides in a hell of a hurry.

No. There is nothing on the right, no reason to vote Republican at all, even for most of the people I know who are Republicans - at least the ones who have been Republicans all their lives. The most confusing part of the crap I see on Facebook (particularly) is how many of the people posting it will get nothing whatsoever from the GOP. I don't have a lot of rich friends or relatives. And the better off they are, the more liberal they tend to be - though I don't think any of us are at a point where a Romney president would help us, personally. But to look at the people who are pretty marginal, economically, but are enthusiastically Republican anyway - confuses me. I don't know why they vote the way they do - I don't know what they think they are going to get from it. And - I am completely certain they can't explain how Romney is going to fix the economy where Obama failed.

So here we are. All right. One more day. The signs look good, for the most part - Obama is ahead in almost all the important swing states... though you can see already, the Republicans will do all they can to keep the vote down, to make things muddy, and - maybe not openly steal the election - but - guide it in the direction they want... We'll see. I do trust the democrats a bit more these days to fight to the last ditch for every vote - which they did not do in 2000, to the country's sorrow... But... The truth is - I am less afraid of Romney winning than of losing the House and Senate. In the highly unlikely instance of Romney winning and the democrats taking congress - I think we might learn just exactly how unprincipled old Willard is. I don't think he has ever uttered a word in public he meant, maybe not that he believed, except maybe "vote for me" - if he had to deal with congress - who knows... That is not likely, of course: if he wins, the GOP will probably also win the House at least - and unless the democrats adopt the same None Shall Pass attitude the GOP have had the past few years, we could be in for a bad stretch. But... Again - the polls point the other way. Hope hope hope....

But I will end on the opposite of hope. In my darker moments, I think that the 2010 elections were the end of democracy in America. No electorate that understood the economic issues or the politics of the time would have voted in a huge Republican landslide just then - and the republicans who took over were completely committed to nothing more than getting a republican elected president in 2012. Thing have not improved, and even if we win tomorrow, I don't think things are likely to change. The disrouce has not grown more elevated....

So - all right. I will stop. I will vote. We shall see.

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