Friday, February 17, 2012
By Alan Caruba
At various points in any election year, the campaigns achieve moments of total absurdity that are passed off as news, usually with a straight face.
When certain Republicans begin to refer to “vulture capitalism” you know such a moment has arrived because, if Republicans are not all about capitalism, there is not much else for them to discuss. By capitalism I mean the state of the economy, workplace and trade issues, taxes, and everything else involved with paying one’s bills and becoming filthy rich if possible.
Republicans read The Wall Street Journal. Democrats read The New York Times. I rest my case.
The other recent absurdity was President Barack Obama telling NBC’s Matt Laurer that he deserved a second term. As if driving the U.S. debt up to $15 trillion wasn’t enough, apparently Obama wants to stick around so he can cancel another project that could create 20,000 jobs like the Keystone XL pipeline.
It is patently absurd for Obama to claim that his administration has “created” new jobs, but that is his campaign message these days. How many are unemployed? Have given up looking for a job? The only jobs government creates are government jobs and those have exploded in Obama’s first term. The rest of the time government is usually a huge obstacle to the private sector when it wants to do the same thing.
The greatest absurdity of all of the 2008 campaigns was that a totally unknown Senator from Illinois, there for barely two of a six year term, should emerge as the “messiah” of the masses to save America.
From what? Answer: the dreadful financial mess based on the idiotic notion that government should be in the housing and mortgage business.
This genius then proceeded to spend the first two years of his presidency telling everyone that it was all George Bush’s fault, thus ignoring the many times Bush warned Congress against the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac implosion. Sadly, Rasmussen Reports says 40% of Americans do think it is Bush’s fault.
Obama’s “solution” to the mess was a multi-billion-dollar “stimulus” that, by now, everyone agrees was a political slush fund and a failure. Then he borrowed more money than any president in U.S. history—including FDR who had to fund World War Two. It’s a long list of blunders, but the bottom line is massive stagnant unemployment and a housing market that’s still in the tank.
Why does every national election always seem to produce at least one candidate who uses the process to advocate ideas that most voters regard as absurd and, of course, I refer to Ron Paul’s view that we should pull back all our military from their foreign missions. While I agree we should stop getting into wars without Congressional consent—something the Constitution requires—that rule has been ignored since World War Two.
Since then the U.S. has engaged in wars of every description while the members of Congress could be found whistling in the hallways of the Capital in the hope people wouldn’t notice. The United Nations has offered cover some of the time, but we went into Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq with only the flimsiest pretense that they were not military actions.
Not to be outdone, Newt Gingrich opined that the U.S. should put a colony on the Moon. This was so absurd that even Saturday Night Live lampooned it. What is absurd, however, is the way Obama has ended the U.S. space program to the point we have to hitch a ride with the Russians. Worse, however, was Rick Santorum’s recent assertion that Mitt Romney “rigged” the outcome of the CPAC straw vote. The last candidate who ran on moral issues was Jimmy Carter. Consider yourself warned.
I personally regard the term “flip-flopper” an absurdity because I have never known of any politician who has not changed his mind and, frankly, would not want to vote for one so inflexible he or she could not change with the times.
What’s really absurd have been the directions various presidents have taken the nation in the recent times. Lyndon B. Johnson not only expanded the war in Vietnam, but he threw in the War on Poverty for good measure. In retrospect, it was a total failure. Richard Nixon ended his presidency with the Watergate scandal. Jimmy Carter drove the oil industry out of the U.S., reduced our military strength, and was such a dismal failure he only lasted one term.
I’m thinking that Obama will follow in Carter’s footsteps and we shall look back on “cash for clunkers”, Solyndra, and, of course, Obamacare, and ask ourselves, what were we thinking? The answer is that a majority of the voters were not thinking!
Neither Carter, nor Obama are aberrations. They were the result of the hardcore twenty-five to thirty percent of the voters who are irredeemably liberal, vote Democrat, and for whom reality and facts are of no importance.
Then there are another percentile who identify themselves as Democrats without realizing that our current financial crisis was created by Democrats! Republicans will reliably vote for their party’s candidate and that means a thin sliver of self-identified independents will decide the November elections.
All elections bring out the absurd in everyone, candidates and voters alike. We fall in love with one, experience the rapture of supporting them, and then wake up the day after the election and spend the next four years feeling like a recovering junky.
© Alan Caruba, 2012