Sheesh! This “wrapping up Weapon Brown” thing is more agonizing than I thought! Still, I will keep to my damn schedule, even if I bend my rules a bit. Even if I have to make rule origami out of them.
With few pages left to go, the very last installment may come with a week’s delay, as I will probably make it a multi-page spectacular, so prepare for that and save your snark for the newspapers which, by my reckoning, haven’t run a new Charlie Brown strip in years. Hey Schulz! Your vacation’s over! Get back to work!!
Now, can we PLEASE
stop talking about the thing that brings you to my website and talk politics for a change? You probably all noticed that a certain someone-someone was elected president again, after the longest and most bruising campaign in our nation’s history.
Let’s reflect on that for a moment.
Without falling for the “there’s no dif’rinse ‘tween ‘em!” cynicism of the dejected independent, I proudly cast my vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. Were I a resident of the Swing States of America, I may have voted differently, but I am not. I am a citizen of Blutopia, the land that the candidates forgot. And though the admonition not to “throw my vote away” rang in my ears, I understood that to vote for the candidate who already had my state in the bag would be the true waste of my vote.
I’ll be honest and admit that I did not even take the time to research Stein’s positions, so perhaps my vote was tinged with cynicism after all. One should
vote for the candidate one would like to see in the Oval Office. Obama, be-warted liberal that he is, did
fulfill the only pledge I would raise a pitchfork over, that being healthcare reform. Tepid, unambitious healthcare reform that, despite it’s overall modest character, Obama endured dragonfire to achieve. Had I been asked to vote against Romney to cinch that accomplishment, I probably would have. But in New York State, my approval was simply assumed.
However, this was
the first election where I divorced myself from the horse race in one significant way: I refused to watch the debates.
I had always given those glorified press conferences the benefit of the doubt as significant battles in the war of ideas. Not so this year. This year I finally cut the cord and stopped pretending that the debates aren’t staged spectacles, founded on plain collusion between the Democrats and Republicans to lock out all third party candidates, and the selection of safe, predictable moderators bound by blood oaths to lob softballs at the candidates. This year I chose to let the scales fall from my eyes, and sure enough, the conversation in the press that followed each debate betrayed a cynical consensus that elections are simply quadrennial Super Bowls, jazzed-up campaigns to sell Dorritos.
Ads! Another thing I was mostly exempted from, owing to my lack of cable and my citizenship in Blutopia (unlike Swing Staters who were, by all account, subjected to a level of Â brainwashing akin to what Alex endured in A Clockwork Orange).
Nevertheless, with the 1% sensing a tax hike on the horizon (despite the heroic efforts of lobbyist cockroaches like Grover Norquist) America’s “makers”, “job creators” and other pious Scrooge McDuck’s poured out so much uninvested, non job-creating cash into the campaign that by the end they were turning themselves into YouTube celebrities (as my Thomas Peterffy cartoon
Substantively, one thing was crystal clear: the campaign, though it focused on the economy, was all aboutÂ austerity
, the “Fiscal Cliff”. Having been put on the ropes by the conservatives in 2010, Sugar Ray Obama’s gambit was to push off the coming holocaust over debt and taxes until the start of the next term, and to let the people decide which party should set America’s pain threshold as the depression slogs on.
To protect their assets, America’s pharaohs absorbed and branded a grass roots movement, then ran a candidate who was the exact opposite of Â what their grouchy vassals were screaming for: Mitt Romney. Never has a near-unanimous second choice advanced so far in American politics. And in the end, we will always have Karl Rove’s election night exasperation to make us feel good about the good guys winning. But it will quickly fade as our satisfaction over Obama’s re-election settles back into the anxiety that has been the national mood since his first win.
Never, too, will we again see so clearly the way populism can be pumped up and shrugged off by the Two Party State. The Tea Party and Occupy, the twin insurgencies that raised the flag of Revolution as they came to recognize the scope of the choices facing the country, were broomed off the stage to make way for a resplendent campaign by the Powers-That-Be. The Tea Party, which in 2010 made the first true dent against politics-as-usual in a generation, could not have been further from the core of Mitt Romney, the great white hope of the resurgent establishment whose agenda (gutting the New Deal, keeping the wealthy dressed in fine silks and only sorta worrying about the Debt) was a light year away from the actual gripes of the elderly who are the true believers of that movement.
Meanwhile, Occupy, a dream that lives in the hearts and minds of newspaper columnists more than the masses, found no favor whatsoever amongst the Democrats who, after all, are its legitimate targets. That Elizabeth Warren eked out a win against former Tea Party star Scott Brown in Massachusetts to become that state’s newest senator may be considered a win for the “99%”, but her victory owes more to the stirrings of liberals than to the deeds of those more radical rascals of the Left.
So what is Â my takeaway? First, the Republicans, and conservatism, are at long last in marked decline. The Bush years have been rebuffed twice, and the party’s message is now so scrambled with propagandistic noise that it is impossible to separate the intelligentsia from the fucktards. In trying to defeat Obama the GOP had to scrap half of their normal program, that being championing our wars abroad, and focus exclusively on the hardest subject for anyone to pretend they understand: macroeconomics. Unable to describe at all how they would grow jobs, the Republicans reduced their argument to one (ironically) bite-sized issue: the national debt. Unable to explain how to tackle that
without serious bloodlettingÂ (except for putting Big Bird on a rotisserie), they placed all their chips on a racist smoke-and-mirrors campaign that would have made Goebbels clutch his heart. The people, however, voted their interests, and proved that the Third Rail of American politics still has electricity crackling through it.
The Democrats were the tortoises in this race, and my hot-blooded sympathy for radicalism aside, Aesop was proven right again. The country is not, after all, peopled by fools, and this election turned on the public realizing, however subliminally, that the 99% question was more than just a meme. Occupy can take some satisfaction for having stirred those coals.
However, those who are waiting for Obama to transform from Mace Windu into Shaft in his second term will be sadly disappointed. Had the Republicans recognized Obama as the pragmatist he is they would have had a lot better shot of beating him with one of their own. Now it is time for the Democratic voters to swallow their medicine as the man who coddled Wall Street takes on the Fiscal Cliff, agrees to postpone the day of reckoning for six months or so, and ultimately delivers what he is best at: a less than stellar bargain for the working classes.