Saturday, September 18, 2010

My 2010 Mid Terms "Enthusiasm Gap"

As some of you  have  remarked in emails and text messages,   it has been about two weeks since I have posted anything new  on here  and  yeah..  I really don't have a  good excuse.  Or maybe I do...  Lately  it has been hard  to  write about  the current  state of politics and culture in the United States without  wanting to scream obscenities  and throw things  at the television.  

There is  a wonderful  Ivor Novello  song  from  the soundtrack to  the movie  "Gosford Park".  The title is  "The Land of Might Have Been..."    As we approach  the  2010 mid-term  elections  I find  that title  resonates all too well with how I feel.  

The common  consensus  among the  political  punditry says the  Republicans and the corporate created and funded  Tea Bagger monstrosity  it has  spawned,   will  at the  very least gain control of House or Representatives if not  also the  Senate.  Though, most  projections have the  Democratic Party holding on to the Senate by a narrow  margin.

The fact is,  in 2010,  the face, voice and  mind of the  Republican Party is made up of  people who are  racist, xenophobic   anti-constitutional  nut jobs.  Reality  and fact  play  no role  whatsoever  in  their  world view.   When pressed  to  explain  why they  "feel"  the way they feel.  Or when asked to explain  their  fox generated talking points in  greater  detail,  you get  this...

It has been  popular  to  make  comparisons to the  "Republican  Revolution" of  1994, when  Newt Gingrich lead  the GOP to a  midterm trouncing  of  Bill Clinton and  the  Democrats with their  "Contract  With America".  ( It is interesting to note that  none of the  items  in  that  1994  "contract" were  ever  actually enacted by that  GOP controlled Congress.)    Still  it is worth  examining  what  the  GOP  is promising that they will do  THIS time  if they  win  back  control of congress.

The very idea  that  there is a role for  Government in the welfare of the  American People is  what  the  Republican Party is  running  AGAINST.   The  idea  that   insurance companies  can deny you health insurance  for  a pre-existing condition,   regardless of what  that  condition might be, is what the  Republican party is running FOR.  The idea  that  if you  lose your job and  are unemployed  it is  your fault, is what  the  Republican Party is running FOR.

 The idea that  oil companies  are the real VICTIMS  if  they are  made to pay for the damages  their own negligence  has caused , this is what  the  GOP  in 2010  stands for.

Then on top of all of that  we have  Barack Obama and  the  Democrats.  Citizens of the  Land of Might Have Been.   

We might have had  real  health care reform and a Public Option for  Health Insurance.  But instead we got  mild tinkering   with  insurance coverage  that  while  a good  first  step, will  benefit  insurance companies  more  than  it will help  the  broader problems with Health Care in America.

Now  we have a GOP that is seriously running ON the premise,  that  for a insurance company to NOT be able to deny you coverage or  just drop you for a  pre-existing condition, THAT is  the real crisis that has to be fixed.

We  might have had  real  financial reform in the wake of the  abuses and excesses of  Wall Street. But instead we got  mild  tinkering  with  with  Credit Card  rules and  the same players who took our financial sector the  brink of  collapse  have been allowed to stay right were they are doing the same things.

We might have had  real  advancement  of  civil rights  for all our citizens , including  LGBT Americans.  With  an inclusive  Employment Non Discrimination Act,  repeal of  The Defense of  Marriage Act  and the ending  of  the military's  ridiculous  "Don't Ask,  Don't Tell" policy of   forcing  patriotic and skilled  American Service Personnel  out of the  military simply because they are Gay or Lesbian.   But instead we got  speeches,  nice  inspirational  speeches  that  were meant to provide cover for  political  cowardice.

So after spending  two years trying desperately  to  woo non-existent  Republican support for an agenda  that  an  overwhelming majority of Americans  elected him and his party to enact.  President Obama seems to  finally  be grasping the  political  reality he and  the Democrats are now facing.   If the  Republican Party gains  control of Congress,  President Obama and  the  Democrats will  spend  the next  two years  trying  to  defend  the  meager accomplishments  of the last two years from  repeal, and doing little else.   In a recent speech in Ohio,  the President  finally  seemed willing to  take  the GOP on.

So  I can't help feeling  like  the last  two years  have been such a wasted  opportunity.   Barack Obama ran  with such passion, energy and vision  but  has  governed with such timidity,  as to make me  wonder if  Candidate Obama and  President Obama  are even the same man.

I  understand  the argument  that   if  the Democratic base  doesn't  get  over our  "enthusiasm gap"   all of these dire predictions  of  the damage a GOP controlled Congress would do, will come true.  And I also understand , and have  even made the argument,  that  cowardly Democrats are still better than any of the current  crop of Republicans.  

Yet  the truth is,  I am having  a hard time  getting  energized  about a choice between  apathy and evil.

If  the Democrats  lose  control of Congress  Barack Obama  will  spend  the next  two years  with even less to show for it  than his  first two.   Not much of a record to run for re-election with.

Nobody expects the President to win every battle.  I just wish it didn't seem like  Barack Obama was so afraid of fighting the battle.   I guess what  I really would like is for  life to occasionally imitate art...


Anonymous said...

Instead of worrying over what will happen after democrats lose congress, why don't they just get real stuff done now, while they have it. Interesting that there's always theoretical fixes, but when the group actually has the power to make change, there they sit.

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!