Fundamental Political Reality Has Changed
From the very beginning it’s been obvious that the overall strategy of the Clinton and Obama campaigns has been non-confrontational; critical, of course, but not in a way that even comes close in an attempt to fundamentally altering the American political landscape should they get the chance to implement policy.
End the war in Iraq, yes, but nothing about militarism, imperialism or the massive military-industrial complex. Energy efficiency, yes, but no easily achievable total energy independence, no universal health insurance, no massive industrial or educational investments, no desperately needed tax reform, no calls for stringent corporate regulation, very little in the campaigns that truly threatens the status quo.
It’s a careful, pragmatic, optimistic approach, extremely well-suited to a very hostile media environment that would be thrilled hatch numerous gender or race-based memes based upon anger, payback or America-hatred (sound familiar?) For very good reasons the electorate requires an optimistic candidate, the less fights he or she takes on the fewer enemies will be created, lying low has always been a sound survival tactic in our world.
Unfortunately for our candidates their macro strategy was hatched 18-24 months ago, while present political and environment reality has drastically altered underneath their feet in two critical facets since then: current economic problems are demanding far more change than their current careful approaches, and the nomination process didn’t produce a winner.
The pain and shock of the current recession is only just beginning—during the last one job losses peaked at 200,000 a month, but now worry and fear is spawned by a job loss report of only 22,000. All indications so far is that this recession will be worse, possibly much worse, while the Fed is at this moment frantically trying to save the banking system and smashing forever Republican political rationale for unregulated capitalism.
What are we going to do with the American unemployed, put them in yet more prisons? Conditions like these credibly call for federal employment programs that hire 20 million souls, not a mere 2 or 3.
Not only does the Iraq war need to instantly end in 2009, but a total re-evaluation and new policy implementation is required for Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, and petroleum resource dependence.
Federal finances are in an utter ruin with an insanity of taxation, far too much of it regressive, leading to crushing debt that must be addressed, the numbers have become far too big for the sickening blithe DC assurance that “we’ll grow out it.” That one will sure work well during the recession, eh?
After a certain point caution and optimism gets a distinctly Hooverish whiff to it with so much gone wrong, an appearance of weak acceptance with futile, half-measure tactics that ignores far too much human pain.
Coupled with the new economic reality is the plain fact that no candidate won the nomination, so not surprisingly careful candidates who really didn’t take on anyone are now beating the shit out of themselves. Based upon one foolish observation from a stressed-out blogger that negative campaigning works (really? It does? You’re sure?) part of the online Democratic community almost went berserk, instead of hitting the Republicans or campaigning for real change liberals now spend most of their time spearing themselves.
Americans want a leader with followers who can lead with true, fundamental change, times have drastically altered (no one now wants to be a Republican) with a nomination process now busted. If one candidate and their followers are now so utterly sure the nomination is in fact over they should act like it and start to lead instead of a knifing a Democrat.
The risk if they don’t is terribly real, for implementing real change has the critical advantage of driving the media agenda. If one doesn’t take on the Middle East, employment, health insurance or global warming the disgusting, vapid, regressive American media will do it for you with stories of your preacher or what you were doing with a philandering husband around.
Not only will the media push you around with their vapid distractions, they’ll happily ignore the plight of our people while pushing the most offensive political memes like lowering taxes raises revenue and the invisible hand of the market really belongs to Jesus. As the wars grind on, the food and unemployment lines horribly swell, the planet warms, and our people are abused with no health insurance.
America and the Democratic Party deserve a far better scenario than that, and political reality is now demanding it.