Saturday, August 11, 2012

Creepy Veepy

Just when you thought you couldn't take it any more, the presidential race suddenly got a lot more interesting. The Ayn Rand nihilist we all love to hate just won the veepstakes. We go from two boring nags plodding around the muddy track, to two boring nags joined by a foaming-at-the-mouth unbroken cannibal named Paul Ryan. This is the guy whose idea of a good time is starving grandmas and then serving them up to rich people with a bottle of Dom Perignon.

The addition of Ryan is a gift that will keep on giving to progressives. And that, of course, does not include right-centrist President Barack Obama, who recently complained that the Democrats don't get enough credit for wanting to cut Social Security and other safety net programs. The latest rumor floating around is that Catfood Commissioner and Obama surrogate Erskine Bowles is on tap to not only be the next Treasury Secretary but also the chief architect of the next Grand Bargain of Cuts.

So now, with Ryan on the national stage, Team Obama will have to pivot from its all-too-easy lambasting of outsourcing, tax-avoiding, issue-free Mitt Romney. Instead of running commercials accusing him of causing premature cancer deaths, they'll be forced to discuss Social Security and Medicare. The election will be a choice between two scenarios: do you want your safety net slashed with a Ryanesque machete, or would you rather have it gradually snipped and clipped into nothingness by an Obamian scalpel?

Can you imagine the debate in Florida? The Republican will defend handing out worthless vouchers to uninsurable older people, and the Democrat will defend raising the Medicare eligibility age to somewhere beyond the ever-decreasing life expectancy of the typical American. I can't wait for the reaction of suddenly wide-awake voters. Well.... we can always hope for a reaction. 

Imagine that you traveled back in time to 1932, and the presidential election was a Wall Street kabuki production between corporatist Herbert Hoover and his treasury secretary, Andrew Mellon. Mellon would be pretend-peeved that Hoover was a socialist because he espoused soup kitchens and bread lines and Hooverville housing projects for the poor. Hoover would be politely begging Mellon to pay just a "little more" on his income taxes and predicting better times through public-private partnerships and shared sacrifice. If FDR was in the picture at all, he would be castigated by the pragmatic Hooverites as a spoiler.

September 17th: the first anniversary of the Occupy movement.


Charles D said...

So isn't the choice, do we want an Obama Administration with full support of the Democrats in Congress to slash Social Security and Medicare, or do we want a Romney/Ryan administration that is opposed by almost every Democrat in Congress when they try the same thing?

dean said...

Erskine Bowles? Erskine Bowles? I'll channel John McEnroe on that.

It is a sorry time when the major political parties are racing to see who can cut the safety net more. One difference is that the Ryan/Romney plan directs the payments to their buddies, the health insurance companies. These vampires will take the $6k vouchers and suck you dry for additional insurance costs. But if you have a serious injury or catastrophic illness they will drop you faster than you can say "I'll have the $350 bottle of wine please."

spreadoption said...

Does anybody know anything about Occupy? I haven't heard or read a thing about them for many months. I can understand that they may be meeting quietly and organizing somewhere, planning events for the conventions ... I hope. What I fear, with Kent State echoing in my head, is that Occupy may feel as powerless as the rest of us, and they may have faded away. An Occupy movement seems to be our best, our only hope to wake up the American people, and without them we will remain unconscious to our own demise.

The other thing echoing in my head is Wisconsin. We have all kinds of rationales for the American people's mentality, but none of it makes any sense to me. Maybe that's the point: the plutocracy has killed off the American spirit, that can-do, let's work together thing that used to characterize us (or at least used to be our ideal). They've successfully divided us; it's as if we're in a verbal civil war with each other now, unaware that meanwhile our nation is sliding into permanent mediocrity.

We just accomplished another historical technological feat, landing a sophisticated vehicle on Mars, and nobody but a few scientists and engineers cheered. We're either too beaten down to care or we're anticipating a glorious recovery through the salvation of austerity.

Either way, there's no win here.

Whether we vote Dem, Repug, third party, or not at all - how does it matter? My best hope right now is that if enough of us (meaning, a whole lot of us) vote third party, it might send a message of disgust to our "representatives". But to what avail? As George Carlin pointed out, they really don't give a damn about us.

Nothing happens until something moves.

spreadoption said...

@ Charles

I fully share your (theoretical) interest in a "Romney/Ryan administration that is opposed by almost every Democrat in Congress".

What I fear, though, is that R/R will NOT be opposed by almost every Democrat in Congress.

We have Gore Vidal's "one political party with two right wings."

What then? I foresee a lightning-fast repeal of every good social legislation we've won over the past two generations, along with full-speed-ahead on downward tax re-distribution and corporate largesse. Mission Accomplished for the 30-year old Republican (and Democratic) agenda!

And what we lose now will take generations to restore (if ever).

Of course, the Obama alternative is hardly any better, maybe just a little slower.

James Tower said...

The team of "No Millionaire Left Behind" is now complete.

Bonnie said...

To spreadoption: Occupy isn't dead or's just smaller groups all around the country, doing what they can, when they can.

Just yesterday I went to a protest - John Boehner and Bobby Schilling were having lunch at a country club, and we stood outside with signs - MoveOn.Org was there as well with some people. We got media coverage, which is what we were after.

This particular protest was started in a very small town, but was joined by a group called StartUp Chicago, and another group regarding outsourcing jobs (sorry, can't remember the name), and I was astounded when people flew in from Massachussets and Oregon, as well as Michigan, etc.!

I am an old person, and just getting started - it's now or never! - so I'm very gratified at what some of the younger people, as well as older ones, are doing. We just don't get much publicity, of course, in national news, but we are out there.

spreadoption said...

A writer (sorry, can't remember who) recently noted in passing that our kids have only ever lived with Republican-corporate-financial-military anti-government ideology as the prominent feature of our political discourse. Born during or since the Reagan years, they have no experience with a brief era when America was at its best (as imperfect as that may have been). They weren't around when we met a goal and landed on the moon and we burst with national pride; when Kennedy stood smart and wise and averted nuclear war with the Soviet Union, or when he and his brother stood up to George Wallace; when people their age occupied so hard they actually gave a President Johnson genuine heartache; when civil rights were achieved; when ‘noblesse oblige’ also made good sense economically, at least to a few of the most wealthy; when we could chant "USA #1" at a hockey game and it was true, and not just in hockey; when a lot of people were actively engaged in turning things around and steering us in a better direction. In a leadership vacuum, we have none of that now.

Our kids missed the concept, and the reality, that government can serve the common good, not just the good of a very few. They missed an age when upward mobility, the American Dream, was the possible outcome of doing things right and working hard. They have no certainty about any of that.

Our kids haven't known any of this in their lifetimes. How can they imagine it? Can we expect, therefore, that they will know what to do when it's their turn to lead? Or are they becoming a nation of individuals, each doing as much (or as little) as they choose, to make their own way in life?

If "It's every man for himself (Oh, and bring along the women and children, too, if you can)", with no common shared ideal, how can there be a nation pulling together toward a common excellence?

Where are we headed in a world run by the plutocratic-corporate-financial-military few? Will our kids' generation be able to regain control on behalf of the people, or do they know that they are powerless and that the best they can do is take care of themselves?

Kat said...

The fix is in. Is this all preordained? Did the catfood commission have their hand in this? Is this the way they sell their "balanced" approach to gutting the safety net?
So, whatever crumb Obama drops our way is now manna from heaven?

Pearl said...

Spreadoption: you said the following:

"Nothing happens until something moves."

How true, and then only if the earth begins to shake. However, for better or worse I can feel it beginning to have rumbles below physically and
literally, but will it be too late to act when it starts to blow up?

As for Romney's vice presidential choice it could go in any direction
depending on how brainwashed people interpret their outer space signals. All the progressive organizations are going all out to galvanize democratic voters to throw support financially and politically to Obama which irks me. I think what spreadoption said about putting our votes into third parties to send a signal to the current representatives of the democrats makes sense.
Even not voting, period, will send a message and hopefully wake up the left
of center wing of our disintegrating party.

We can only fasten our seat belts for the show ahead and hope that no crazed
(or originally sane) voter will start a shooting match at the voting booths.

Anonymous said...

Excellent take on a creepy venture, Karen -

(Romney's choice for vice reminds me so much of the day when McCain chose Palin: my reaction both times: "He's lost the election.")

I just came from reading your comment posted / M Dowd: "Likability Index" column

You do have a way with the concise, spot-on, observation & for telling it plain and true.

Thanks for what you do -

jer, Madison WI

Denis Neville said...

During his announcement of Ryan as his VP today, Romney emphasized Ryan’s Catholicism, “A faithful Catholic who believes in the dignity and worth of every life.”

The portrait of hypocrisy - his “umbleness” Paul Ryan! Definitely an acceptable Uriah Heep!!

Romney and Ryan, the perfect pair! Pinocchio, “would it be possible to find one with less heart than I have!” and Uriah Heep, who talks inspirationally as long as you don’t understand what he really means.

Grandpa and Grandma will be reduced to eating cat food regardless of whether it comes from the “evil” Romney-Ryan malicious machete or from the “lesser evil” Obama’s accommodating scapel.

Tweedledee and Tweedledum! Don’t suppose there’ll be a tree left standing, for ever so far around, by the time they’re finished.

There is a reason President Obama would not agree to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits as requested by Senator Bernie Sanders. Obama has no intention to do so. Obama has nailed the Overton Window firmly in place. Key Democrats, turning away from traditional Democratic policies and Franklin Roosevelt, and neo-liberals are just as determined to slash Social Security and Medicare after the 2012 election. Members of the elite mainstream media (eg. Bill Keller of NY Times) are pushing for Cat Food Commission 3.0.

“The poor, who have been hurt more than anyone else in this recession, don’t stand a heartbeat’s chance in this political environment. The movers and shakers in government don’t even give a thought to being on the side of the angels anymore — they’re on the side of the millionaires and billionaires.” – Bob Herbert

In his last column for The New York Times, “Losing Our Way,” Herbert wrote, "This inequality, in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences."

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” - Howard Zinn

It is time for an American Autumn.!home/BlankPage_0

Kat said...

Folks, in the coming months we have an important decision to make. Weigh your choices carefully. The stakes are high. Will it be Friskies or Nine Lives?
What's that you say? "Fancy Feast"? Dream on.

Anonymous said...

Read your "creepy veepy" comment in response to Maureen Dowd's column; that's even better than John Nance Garner once referring to himself as the president's "spare tire."

Barney Scott, Spring Valley, CA

James F Traynor said...

To hell with it. I'm voting Green.

spreadoption said...

I'm suddenly thrilled! Like, out-of-my-mind enthusiastic and hopeful about something again. I just read an interview with Dr. Jill Stein:

That's the answer! I know how to vote now. And I know how to talk with other people about how I'm going to vote and why.

And here's the key: I'm still enthusiastic if she doesn't win (let's be real) because her campaigning will provide a venue for disaffected people like me and most of us here, especially younger citizens, who abhor the other two candidates. Even in her losing Dr. Stein will present an intelligent voice for the real issues that concern us. That will force everything back on the table, out in the open for all Americans to see for themselves. In any case, if a lot of people vote for her, she will carry the message of disgust I want to send to Obama as well as Romney, to the Democrats as well as the Republicans. At the same time, she will put forth alternative solutions to all the right-wing regressive nonsense we've been getting for 30 years from both parties.

Could she be doing "an Obama" on me? Once in office would she, like Obama, turn around and revoke her promises, destroy our hope? I don't think so. She hasn't been a career politician, meaning she has no favors to keep. She is a Harvard-trained physician who has spent her career in the trenches with real everyday people in real need. As such, I can't imagine she would ever feel the need to be "compromiser-in-chief" to get her interests passed; the people will join her in demanding they get passed. And the best doctors, like the best leaders, never compromise when the other side is so clearly wrong. I suspect she could single-handedly, with the backing of tens or hundreds of millions of citizens, throw off the moneyed special interests that have wrecked our democracy, our economy, and our environment. It doesn't get any better than that.

Wow! I feel better already. Now I'm fired up and ready to go.