Saturday :: Feb 7, 2004

Is The Pendulum FINALLY On Its Return Swing?

by pessimist

Ah, we can but hope!

In a piece datelined Feb 6, 2004, Bob Herbert seems to think so!

Tuning Out the G.O.P.'s Siren Song

But before I send you there, I have to point out that NYT has a very interesting ad, which runs before you get to see the column, for the upcoming Petroleum Business Sycophant program, Forsythe Saga II - the rich certainly ARE misbehaving again!

Wonder why they chose to run it in front of Herbert's column?

Now that you're back, wasn't that ad something? That was more of a political commentary on today's America than many things I've seen recently!

Back to Bob Herbert:

What seems to be unsettling to large numbers of voters (not just hard-core anti-Bush Democrats) is the notion that events are slipping or have slipped out of control, that there is no endgame in Iraq, no plan to rein in runaway deficits, no strategy to put Americans back to work, and no limit to the Bush administration's willingness to shower its friends with favors and public dollars.

Some of this is actually getting through to some of the Republican voter base I work with. They are beginning to ask the questions that were old to us on the Left two years ago. I am watching to see if this will result in either no votes or Dem votes this fall (it's early yet), but hearing the questions being asked is a positive sign.

One thing people crave is societal stability. Hitler claimed he could provide it to take power in Germany, Nixon took advantage of it to get elected, and Clinton tried to provide it through his economic policies.

But for a society to have stability, there must be stability in the majority of people's lives. Without it, society begins to resemble the famous psychological experiment where a colony of rats stressed to the breaking point turn on each other and resort to cannibalism, among other things. Such instability is the lifeblood of opportunists seeking great power.

But once they overextend themselves, ...

The Bush tax cuts and the turnaround in the economy have been a boon to folks at the high end of the economic ladder. The Wall Street Journal ran an article on Wednesday about the resurgence of lavish spending by the investment crowd. It featured accounts of giddy highfliers getting married at the palace of Versailles, stepping up their purchases of Porsches, Lamborghinis and Rolls-Royces, and exhibiting "a renewed appetite for chartered jets."

At the same time, the underclass and the middle class are increasingly facing similar predicaments: job losses, hard times and an extremely uncertain future.

The blows are coming from myriad directions. On Tuesday The Times's Milt Freudenheim wrote: "Employers have unleashed a new wave of cutbacks in company-paid health benefits for retirees, with a growing number of companies saying that retirees can retain coverage only if they are willing to bear the full cost themselves."

Anxiety about jobs and the economy may be knitting together voters who in past years felt they had little in common.

Certainly, creating some kind of stability in this sort of environment takes a miracle, or at the very least the removal of a regime that is killing the American Dream. This may really be underway - at last.

The Democratic primaries and caucuses have drawn record turnouts and sparked genuine excitement. Republicans are expressing concern that the administration has been thrown on the defensive. Already there is an attempt by the G.O.P. to divert attention from the real issues by chanting incessantly about gay marriages and the fact that John Kerry is uh-oh a liberal from Massachusetts.

That would be a travesty, and I hope the voters don't allow it.

IF they really care about themselves, much less their country, they won't, Bob!

There is still hope, Matt Davis! This shows that America is not yet dead (though life support is becoming more difficult!) and just might survive the Attack of the Pugnacious Plutocratic Political Petroleum Paracites for Mars and Oil Exploration on Earth!

pessimist :: 10:40 AM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!