It'll Get Worse
by Deacon Blues
Fast-moving events in Libya, where another regime teeters at this hour, would normally give a progressive here at home hope for a better future around the world. Yet I find myself without much anticipation here or around the globe, because I have little confidence that the political class in this country can master the challenges we face and turn them into opportunities.
To the point at hand, does anyone really think this administration, or specifically the Hillary Clinton State Department is capable of the flexible and creative foreign policy necessary to take advantage of the opportunities in the Middle East? And if they were, would any of it survive this Congress, or the Congress we are likely to have in two years?
The biggest reason for my general lack of optimism about this country's future is the likely political environment and leadership we'll encounter over the next five years. Yes, the longer-term demographic trends and political leanings of young Americans trend Democratic and progressive, which should be a cause for celebration. Yet I fear none of this will materialize in the coming years until after we've gone through a period of serious retrenchment caused by the last gasp of right wing extremism among the aging, white, corporate GOP base. Things may look great by 2020, but how much time and opportunities will be lost between now and then by the GOP and Tea Party winning the Senate in 2012? Even if Obama wins another term, he isn't a progressive, and he'll be a lame duck the day after his re-election if the Senate swings for one more cycle to the GOP.
Sure, things will swing back our way in 2014 and 2016 after the GOP has gutted spending and pushed the economy back into a serious contractionary decline, impoverishing millions of working Americans. But it won't stop the American electorate in 2012 from voting against their own interests once again, misled by a Corporate America media, enabled by a Washington bought and paid for thanks to Citizens United. Why? Because Corporate America and their media and political tools have successfully convinced enough voters that we've gone astray these last two years because of liberal policies, and that we now need to turn rightward, back into the arms of those who gave us this mess in the first place.
Of course there's no evidence of this alleged liberal devastation. Was health care "reform" liberal, when it fact it is a large piece of 1994 Heritage Foundation corporate welfare for the industry without any real cost controls? Was the financial reform liberal, when in fact the Obama SEC and Justice Department makes sure that no one ever goes to jail for destroying the economy and defrauding millions of Americans, just like under Bush and Clinton? Was the stimulus liberal, when it was larded with more tax cuts that didn't work at the expense of infrastructure spending and state aid that would work? There's been very little over the last two years that even remotely would look "liberal", but it won't stop the GOP from retaking power two years from now by blaming liberals for the world conservatives created.
My fear is that we're destined for several cycles of GOP and now Tea Party control, and the resulting ruination of our economy and environment here at home, and retrograde policies overseas before things change. And how much misery will take place in the interim?