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Thursday, April 17, 2008

SNATCHING VICTORY?
The Democrats Descend Into the Politics of Mutually-Assured Destruction
James S. Henry

On an occasion of this kind, it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one's mind. It becomes a pleasure.

-- Oscar Wilde

Isn't this a pretty picture?  080204news_election_3

On the one hand, after seven long years of catastrophic incompetence in Washington, our country is literally begging for new ideas and leadership, especially from the erstwhile Party of the Opposition.

Recent polls show that an unprecedented 81 percent of Americans believe their country is "on the wrong track," while President Bush's approval rating has sunk to an all-time low of 28 percent. There is a growing popular demand for decisive government action on any number of issues that have been festering while "Nero" Bush and "Imperator" Cheney have been fiddling.

THE DEMAND FOR CHANGE

John "McSame's" feisty personality notwithstanding, this is not the ideal moment to be plumping for free-market solutions, let alone more tax cuts for the extremely rich,  hands-off deregulation for our wondrous mortgage banking, health care, automotive, airlines, handgun, coal-fired utility, and social insurance industries, and the unending prospect of more unilateral, open-ended wars.

No -- this is a time that cries out for smart, can-do, progressive, and -- yes -- youthful government.

Its precise slogan should be:  Yes, we had better -- or else.

 
REAL ISSUES

At the risk of depressing our readers, among the many tough issues that demand this  pragmatic approach right now are the following:

>Containing the mortgage crisis and the deep recession that it has produced.
>
Withdrawing from Iraq as soon as possible, while discouraging Iran from filling the void.
>
Intensifying the hunt for Bin Laden, without losing Pakistan and Afghanistan to a Taleban revival.
>
Protecting our nation against the genuine on-going global terrorist menace.
>
Fixing our high-cost, inhumane health insurance system once and for all.
>
Biting the bullet on climate change and global warming.1101940404_400_2
>
Rebuilding public education and college assistance
.
>
Guaranteeing the financial integrity of Social Security and Medicare.
>
Restoring civil liberties and reversing the drift toward a state of siege.
>
Reviving American's reputation in the world and its relations with key allies.

20080404_poll_graphic190> Revising our increasingly disfunctional "free trade" agreements.
>Reviving efforts to prosecute corrupt politicians, war profiteers, and big-ticket tax evaders to the limits of the law, as opposed to granting them Presidential pardons.
>Slashing government waste, especially the bloated $800+billion "total war"  budget and the huge agro-industry subsidies that are literally wiping out poor farmers all over the world. 

All together,  this adds up to a demand for nothing less than at least a decade of intense regime change right here at home.

THE SUPPLY OF CHANGE ?

Is the Party of the Opposition up to this challenge?  Unfortunately, the habitually ham-handed Democratic Party,  as well as much of broadcast journalism,  have responded to the soaring demand for substantive change and attention to real issues by focusing on.....Well, what, exactly?

Hilarydailynews Let's see.  If last night's televised debate in Philadelphia is any indication, both candidate Hillary Clinton and the news media -- or at least pro-Hillary flacks like ABC News' George Stephanopoulos and the ponderous, self-important Charles Gibson --  are far more concerned with (1) Obama's Rev. Wright's alleged relationships with Rev. Farrakhan and a visiting Hamas associate, (2) Obama's even more tangential relationship with an obscure former Chicago "Weatherman" named Ayers, (3)his recent (really quite defensible) "Bittergate" comments about the roots of working-class culture, and (4) the torturous question of whether or not the Junior Senator from Illinois should demonstrate his patriotism by wearing a flag pin on his lapel.

>>As if Hillary and Bill have not accumulated a long list of even more dubious relationships,  several of whom had to be pardoned.

>>As if  Stephanopolous did not get his questions about Ayers directly from Fox News' mad-hatter host Sean Hannity the day before the debate.

>> As if there were not -- by definition -- quite a few other black males at Louis Farrakhan's  rather successful 1995 "Million Man March" in Washington, D.C.  -- at least 670,000 to 1 million, according to one careful aerial survey.

>>As if one could find a single photo on the Internet of John McCain wearing a flag pin -- although George W. Bush wears one all the time. George_w_bush

>>As if Gibson and his sidekick did not tilt so far to starboard in their questioning that one Washington Post journalist titled his review,  "In Pa. Debate, The Clear Loser Is ABC."

LAST GASP

This attempt to focus on a series of jaundiced Obama "gotchas" is actually a sign of Hillary's increasing desperation. 

Obviously she is furious at having been repeatedly up-staged and out-campaigned over the past year -- despite her vast experience, wealth, and connections with wealthy donors and lobbyists, not to mention Bill. The smooth-talking Chicago upstart with the Harvard Law degree and the Bill Clinton-like hard luck story is actually trying to deprive her of her rightful place in history!

Hillary's focus on character assassination also reflects her sheer frustration at the fact that Obama now clearly has the inside track for the nomination.

This has not been a pleasant month for Ms.Clinton. She's just fired her long-time campaign strategist, after firing her campaign manager. She's just been caught in a bald-face lie about coming under fire in Tuzla. Her lead in Pennsylvania has dropped to five points. With just 10 primaries left to go, Obama is now at least 139 delegates ahead. Even if Hillary captures, as expected, more than half of the delegates elected in these primaries, she will still need to win two-thirds of the remaining 319 uncommitted "superdelegates."  Obama just needs 125. (Click on chart.)Slideone_2

That's a pretty large gap for Hillary to overcome -- especially considering the fact that Obama's fund-raising machine allows him to outspend his rival by two-to-one in key states.

This explains Hillary's increasing reliance on negative advertising in Pennsylvania and the other primary states, her endless repetitions of the Rev. Wright and "Bittergate" story, and her grasping at all those other petty straws in last night's debate -- even while conceding that Obama, with all his flaws, could still beat John McCain in November.

In short, those of us who long for probing discussions of serious issues will probably have to look elsewhere than Hillary, let alone ABC News.  And we should certainly not expect to hear much about them until Hillary faces facts and does the right thing -- which, just to spell it out for her clearly, is not to remain in this race "until the last dog dies."

(c) SubmergingMarkets, 2008      

  

 




 

 

 


 

April 17, 2008 at 05:01 AM | Permalink

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SNATCHING VICTORY?
The Democrats Descend Into the Politics of Mutually-Assured Destruction
James S. Henry
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