The GOP’s sour-grapes set has started to develop theories on why it lost the election, theories that still use all the code words and hidden innuendoes that made the 2012 election one of the most polarized ones in U.S. history. Mr. Romney has been focusing on “all the gifts” that Mr. Obama made to his constituency of Blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, women, and young people. Mr. Ryan has said that the election was won in urban America.
Fox News pundits are busy spinning the results, trying to pin Petraeus’ hanky-panky on Mr. Obama somehow (although McCain, Graham, and King seemed more chagrin after the hearings), and unfairly blaming Ms. Rice, the U.N. ambassador, for talking about protests when she was just acting on info from the CIA (again, no apologies to Ms. Rice after the hearings). I thought that maybe the ex-General would clear that all up in his appearance before Congress, but I guess not. (And what’s an FBI agent doing passing information to just Republicans?)
At least Mr. Romney explicitly mentioned Blacks. Mr. Ryan’s use of the code word “urban” is just an euphemism for Blacks, of course. The GOP is still exhibiting its biting Southern charm (as John Stuart put it, the GOP after all won the Confederacy). Both Romney and Ryan are showing that the former’s 47% remarks are really GOP policy mantras. No wonder the GOP wants to end “entitlement programs”!
Do they really believe that the electorate is so stupid that they can’t see through the GOP’s historical hatred for any government program that protects the poor and elderly? Never mind the fact that those poor and elderly and the rest of the middle class spent years of labor putting money into those programs! On the other hand, that 1% hasn’t contributed anything to Social Security or Medicare because they’re not on anyone’s payroll.
Perhaps Dubya’s significant other Barbara said it best; to paraphrase: “You [the GOP] lost the election. Get over it!” People do not want to return to a feudal society where the Sheriff of Nottingham and his deputies, Paul Ryan and friends, steal from the poor to give to the rich, including that illustrious sore-loser Prince John, aka Mitt Romney. That’s what this election was about. The majority of people, whether you count the Electoral College or popular vote, came to their senses and said, “Enough of this widening gap between the rich elites and the rest of us.” The American public rejected Reagan’s trickle-down economics hogwash yet again. How many times do we have to do it? How long do we have to wait until Congress does our bidding and dances to the tune of fairness? Representative democracy? Where? Not in America!
More depressing is that the S-word has made a resurgence, winning a new popularity with the sore losers. This goes beyond sour grapes. Mr. Obama is NOT a socialist! He is left-of-center on domestic issues and right-of-center on foreign affairs and defense. You can debate how I’ve split hairs there, but he’s definitely not a socialist. He is a throwback to the great wartime presidents, fighting the hard battles both domestically and around the world.
If he were a socialist, the auto industry would no longer exist and Wall Street bankers would be strung up by their thumbs rotting in jail where they deserve to be. I would be willing to wager (not $10000, of course, which only Romney can carry in his pocket) that Mr. Obama’s second term will be more centrist than the first, especially if he tries to play nice with Republicans in Congress who don’t deserve it because they’re bent on payback for Obama’s winning the election. Their mantra: “Damn what the American population thinks! We know best. And we’re out to get Obama.” Remember Clinton’s second term? That started out with some shenanigans about Japanese trade and progressed to Lewinsky and a near impeachment. The GOP would just love to find a scandal for Obama—hence the bloviating Benghazi speeches.
I for one see nothing wrong with socialism. Take education. Most European countries long ago recognized that their economic future depends on an educated population. China also recognizes it. Both areas perform better in math and science than our students. Education depends on a student’s intelligence and work ethic, not who his daddy is. Europe doesn’t saddle their students with student loans. I’m not sure Chinese students know what they are. The important colleges and universities are government-sponsored. The right to an education is on a par with the right to vote—not so much in China, where voting is a sham, but certainly in Europe.
If you point your finger and ask, “So why are the European economies failing?” you don’t understand history. In the long run, economies fail because there is no highly skilled and adaptable working class to meet the challenges uncertain economic futures present. Socialism in education in this country is too limited. Sure, you’re paying for those public schools with property and/or sales taxes, depending on the state, both regressive taxes. Change them to progressive taxes that truly recognize that it’s our responsibility as a society to educate our young, but don’t call it socialism and discard it in favor of education only for the rich elites.
Consider public transportation. Here in the Northeast, after Sandy’s attack, we have really felt how fragile it is. If you’ve ever ridden on the NYC subway, the DC metro, or taken a city bus, that’s socialism. Here in NJ we also have private bus lines. They do a good job of taking up the slack. But they must keep their costs in line because they have to compete with public transportation. If there were only private bus lines, the price of a bus ticket would be astronomical. This shows that private and public services can and must work well together.
Here’s one people don’t often think of—the military. Maintaining a government-sponsored military is socialism. People who flaunt the S-word don’t often think that the good old U S of A would not even exist without these socialistic institutions. That we carry this too far sometimes, wasting billions of dollars on new weapons systems and platforms to carry them, many of them not even wanted by the Pentagon, points out that the partnership between a socialistic government program and private industry can become corporate welfare (hence Eisenhower’s warning). If you think the bailout of the auto industry was corporate welfare, you should be enraged by the yearly bailout of the defense industry—your Raytheons and Lockheed-Martins—present in our defense budgets. Too often it’s not socialism that’s out of control—it’s capitalism.
Wall Street is the poster child for out-of-control capitalism, of course. I can’t remember one major banker who went to jail because of his shady dealings in the 2008 financial implosion. There are still no teeth in the Dodd-Frank bill—the replacement to Glass-Steagall still languishes in congressional committee. Another bet? I’d be willing to bet it forever languishes there. We are so far from socialism in this country that we don’t have a government bank. In fact, we are so far away from it that we can’t even police our banks. Don’t be surprised if it all goes south again. Mr. Geithner is very smart to leave. He doesn’t want to take the blame.
No, Mr. Obama doesn’t have a socialist agenda. He won’t have any agenda at all. The next four years will look like the last two. Mr. McConnell was trumped (no apologies to the Donald)—he didn’t make Mr. Obama into a one-term president. But he and Mr. Boehner will make Mr. Obama’s life miserable. It’s called revenge. Petty, snarky revenge. Or, 21st century GOP politics. God bless America!
And so it goes….
[Note: There will be no post on Thursday, but there will be a "News and Notices" tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving to all U.S. readers…enjoy the company of your family and friends.]
[If you enjoyed this post, support this blog: buy some of my books.]