Thursday, October 4, 2012

Battle of the Blahs

All I can say about last night's debate is that this is what happens when two right-wingers run against each other. If you're a Democrat, you knew you were in trouble when your guy's opponent actually started attacking him from the left.

Your heart sank when Mitt Romney suggested that the too-big-to-fail banks should have been broken up, and you realized your bank-friendly President doesn't have a leg to stand on. You collapsed in a heap when Barry bragged that his great insurance company giveaway of a health plan was not only copied and pasted from a conservative think tank, but that his severely conservative opponent beat him to the punch on it. You had to have shaken your head in wonder as these two Wall Street flacks argued about who likes Simpson-Bowles better, and how the whole discussion revolved around how both of them want to make us suffer. Mitt will do it fast and Obama will do it slow -- but do us they both will, with a vengeance. And the president was the one who uttered the word "deficit" first. He was probably proclaiming victory in his own head on that coup alone. It's what passes for a zinger in his world. That, and "Eat your peas."

I am enjoying the shocked liberal handwringing this morning almost as much as I took a grim pleasure in last night's debate. Romney was a big bad lying bully! Lehrer is senile and let the night slip out of his control. Obama was too nice, too professorial, too tired, too aloof. Or, he was just playing rope-a-dope, 11-dimensional chess, leading from behind. He did not want to come across as an "angry black man" in the wake of that just-unearthed old video of him speaking in a really awful imitation of Angry Black Preacher. Outside of election season, we've heard the same litany of disappointment from the phony liberal class every time the president supposedly "caves" to sheer, overwhelming Republican nastiness.

I channel surfed for a few minutes after the ordeal was finally over. The deflated crew over at MSNBC were a sight to behold. Chris Matthews' hair was literally standing on end. They expressed disappointment that the president had not even been watching his own channel to discover how to blast Mitt into oblivion.

I look at it this way. Obama approached this debate the same way he apparently negotiates. He is bipartisan all the way. He is more interested in reaching a consensus than he is fighting for the people who elected him to represent their interests. He loves to agree for the sake of agreement. He is a conservative disguised as a Democrat, and he isn't much trying to pretend otherwise any more. He didn't fight for himself last night, and he certainly didn't put up a fight for the people who are needlessly suffering every single day.

There was not one word about the crisis of unemployment and what, if anything, he plans to do about it in a second term. Just a lot of more of the same.... reaching across the aisle and to be seen as caring.

I'll leave the fact-checking to others, though suffice it to say that in this particular Comedy of Errors, Mitt did the committing and Barry did the omitting. And is it me, or did both these guys look like they were on drugs? Mitt was definitely hopped up on something, barely able to contain himself behind the podium. Lots of twitching, grimacing and muted seizure-like movements. At one point near the end he actually wiped his runny nose. So my guess is a big snort of coke before taking the stage. Barry was not only a downer, he was on downers. I diagnosed a couple of Ativan washed down with some of that designer White House home brew and a too-heavy meal.

Like the old Fred Astaire song says, too many people were building up to an awful letdown last night. Obama's defeat on the stage of manufactured democracy is nothing like the defeat the rest of us are in for in this coming season of Austerity, when the rich get richer and the poor get screwed.

Poor old Humpty Dumpty,
He got the toughest break,
And yet his fall
Was nothing at all
Like the tumble I'm gonna take!

I'm building up to an awful letdown
By playing around with you.
You're breaking down my terrific buildup
By treating me as you do.

My castles in the air,
My smile so debonair,
My one big love affair,
Is just a flash;
Will it go smash
Like the nineteen twenty nine market crash?

(The transcript of the debate which the real progressives were permitted to speak is now available here.)


James F Traynor said...

What a pair. A brazen liar and a gutless wimp. And both champions of Simpson-Bowles. The last says it all.

Pearl said...

Thank you Karen for giving us the access to the interview with Ms.Goodman and Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson at the end of your Battle of the Blahs column. I knew of no station here in Canada running it. And if it is continued, please give us the link again.

I looked up Rocky's blog and also biography on the Internet and he is a most impressive man - a lawyer and a true progressive and I found an interview of his with Rachel Maddow which was excellent. He is running on the Justice Party platform.

Jill Stein as well, is an impressive woman who has much to offer with all the clear headed thinking we miss from the major parties. Either one well deserves your vote.

It is a shame that they are avoided by the regular media and were it not for others who clue us in about them, would never know they existed. That's true democracy for you. I remember how well Dennis Kuchinick handled his part in the nominating presentations of the last election, before he was ousted for the final debates. I will never forget his being asked his opinion about, I believe the Patriot Act, and why (pray tell) had he decided to oppose it.? His answer was simple, "I Read It"! It brought the house down.

You might be interested to know that Noam Chomsky is supporting Jill Stein for President which is encouraging.

Jay - Ottawa said...

I don’t have cable TV and never would have watched the debate, but thanks to Democracy Now I tuned in via the web to also hear Stein and Anderson in DN’s E x p a n d e d D e b a t e. DN’s idea is a good one and might attract millions more viewers in the future.

DN’s technical staff just has to work a little harder at the details next time. And Jim Lehrer, as indulgent as he ever was last night in Denver, could still lend Amy Goodman, wherever she was, a few tips as a moderator – or is she interviewing for a new job as a prison guard? And are the studios at DN so few that Goodman, Stein and Anderson had to be stuffed elbow to elbow into a closet? I know, I know – DN is run on a shoestring and we ought to send them money once in a while.

A brave first time. Let's hope Democracy Now, in the next round, gives its Third Party guests a relaxed atmosphere, equal time (or what's the point?) and a little more room to swing their elbows.

The unexpected news last night, for Barry as well as the rest of us, turned out to be Mitt’s October Surprise. After a summer of proving himself worthy of Tea Bag and Austerian support, Romney has come back as the attractive, reasonable, liberal Republican governor from the super left Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Romney's awsome jump to the left of Obama threw Mr Cool completely off his game. Like others here, I drew perverse pleasure from watching Obama spin around babbling in confusion. Apparently, Romney's handlers play chess too. At this rate, the so presidential Romney will be handing out we-still-love-ya pink slips to Obama, as well as Lehrer and Big Bird.

Let’s assume, just for the fun of it, that Obama isn’t as incompetent and over-his-head-in-the-job as the nasties say. Was some other, darker scenario beginning to unfold last night? As Obama finishes one sorry term as a do-less-than-nothing president, could it be that he now has all he ever wanted? Think about it: from here on out he could be another Jimmy Carter. Ah, to be a president emeritus in half the time, no longer suffering the everyday rotten tomatoes of being called a tyrant, a betrayer, an incompetent, a progressive, a socialist, or a wimp.

Add it up. He’s already in the history books as a president and Nobel laureate. Not bad. Makes my chest swell just to see how well he’s done for himself. Try to forget the millions he’s left behind eating his dust. He and his Sweetie and the kids are fully established with a solid pension, Cadillac health care, Secret Service protection for life, celebrity, a future library to help spin the legacy, and lots of friends in the rich man’s world. Talk about entitlements!

What more can he want? After him, let the other politicians dogpaddle through the deluge to follow. A second term for what? He doesn’t care a fig about the people he says he cares for. Even limp-wristed appeasement seems to be wearing him down. Romney is his saviour come to deliver him from the fights and headaches of Washington. So, Obama just may be taking a dive in this campaign. We’ll know for sure if he performs as lamely in the next debate. Such a waste, all that Democratic PAC money going down the drain for a flashy shadow boxer who never could pack the punch of a real contendah.

Zee said...


You pose an interesting theory, that Obama has accomplished all that he hoped to do by becoming America's first black president AND a Nobel laureate, and now he's ready to throw the election and just leisurely take his place in history.

Contrast your scenario with one passed along to me by another participant in this forum, in which it is the Republicans who are quite happy to take a dive in the 2012 presidential election, because with Obama as President, they'll still get everything they want, 'cause the two parties are really indistinguishable.

I can't credit either Obama or the Republicans with the intellect--or is it "animal cunning?"--that would be required to plan and execute such a Byzantine plot.

They're both far too self-absorbed and unjustifiably self-confident that they would ever think of deliberately throwing the game in the name of some imagined "acceptable outcome."

James F Traynor said...



Valerie said...

I don't know if anyone is still reading this thread but I will add my thoughts - even at this late date –

All along I have thought the Republicans really don't want to win. For one thing, they understand the economy and they know that because we have done nothing to rein in the "investment" bankers and the too-big-to-fail banks are even bigger and more reckless than before, that we are headed for another crash. With both the European and American economies limping along like wounded animals, it is likely to be far worse than the last one. No political party wants that kind of disaster to unfold on its watch. Better to flood the Congress with lesser Republican hacks that add up to a more silent, stealthier team of democracy saboteurs. Let Obama stay in place as the figurehead to blame for everything.

Second, the plutocracy is getting what it wants with Obama. As Karen pointed out in her piece, Obama is every bit the Republican the Plutocracy wants.

Last, and I know I have said it before, there is still blood to be sucked out of the American Middle Class and the big corporations need the government to stay afloat longer so that they can get those mighty fine government contracts that pay so generously and a middle class to buy all the goods they are bringing into the country from factories overseas. A slow death is more to their liking than the quick kill that the Republicans are suggesting.

Having said all this - I too was surprised at Obama's poor performance. Was it only four years ago that we were all marvelling at his oratorical skills? It IS like he has given up - or is afraid of being and angry black man - or something.

Personally, I think it is all a Kabuki dance or a rigged cage fight. One guy gets to win one debate; the next debate will go to the other guy - Just to keep people watching.

And it IS interesting that the only place Mitt had to attack Obama is from the Left - It goes to show that there is no place to the Right that is acceptable to the public where Obama hasn't gone already.