Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Economic Travails, Illusions

Courtesy of the guest blogger at Altercation here is a link to the Des Moines Register which has a very nice summation of why we are in the economic mess we are in and whose policies are responsible.  Few have summed it up better.  When President Bush extolled "compassionate conservatism" during the 2000 election campaign I thought it an oxymoron.  He has proven me right.  Now Senator McCain is telling us (last night's news sound bite) that he isn't going to bail any one, large or small, out of the mortgage mess.  Maybe he won't have to since the Fed has already injected over $200B worth of 'liquidity' into the biggest banks,  "facilitated" JPMorgan's acquisition of BearSterns, and slashed interest rates over the last six months.  All the mortgage borrowers have gained is the slight encouragement that the Administration has given to voluntary measures to restructure some mortgages for those few the banks think worthy.  Our own version of the Victorian notion of the "deserving poor."

During my jaunt through the blogosphere a couple of days ago I found an interesting post.  I wish I could remember where it was so I could link it.  The author said that the famous photo of the enthusiastic Iraqi crowd pulling Sadam's statue down was actually staged.  If it was I am not surprised.  It would be part of the illusions that define our lives in the 21st century.  I am reminded of the premise behind Daniel Boorstein's book "The Image."  We live in a world of 'pseudo-events.'  The event we see on the news may be a spontaneous happening or it may be a created event presented for a specific purpose.   It doesn't matter if the 'image' is real, or if the definition fits.  All that matters is that people who get their information from the image or the sound bite think it fits.  We were told that the Iraqis would welcome us as liberators and, behold, there is an image reinforcing that story.  We have been told that Obama is a Muslim, at heart if not in fact.  That notion is still hanging on in the mainstream media no matter how often it has been debunked by others in the same media.  Since it doesn't have the punch the conservative pundits had hoped for, now we are bombarded with the notion that he is a flawed Christian infected by a rabid black pastor who hates America with anti-American notions.  I think I have heard this before somewhere around 1960.  But what no one can tell me is why McCain isn't similarly infected by white pastors who claimed America got what it deserved on 9/11 because we tolerate homosexuality, abortion and any number of other heinous sins.  

Crabby Old Lady on Time Goes By today has some very cogent thoughts on the Michigan/Florida primary flap that has been eclipsed by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright issue.  It ties into the above notion of the illusory nature of our society.  Senator Clinton has tried to frame the debate in the terms of democracy denied.  The poor voters in those two states are not being allowed to exercise the basic rights of citizens in a democracy and it is all the fault of the Obama campaign.  Let's label this as the hogwash it really is.  The party leaders in Michigan and Florida decided to move up their states' primaries hoping to cash in on the media attention.  They did so against the rules set down by the National Democratic Party months before.  They did so having been warned by the Party that the delegates chosen in any primary moved from its original date would not be seated in the convention.  Senator Clinton now tries to take a 'high' road after having taken the ethically dubious actions of campaigning in states whose primaries would not count and leaving her name on the ballots in those same states.  Her stance is nothing but amoral opportunism.

Wolfrum at Shakesville has a point on the Nader campaign I hadn't thought of and think is very well made.  It also ties into the problem I have had with the Democratic Party for long time now even though I generally, in national elections, vote Democratic.  There is not a penny's worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats in most of the issues that matter to me.  Reading the positions Wolfrum gleaned from Nader's campaign site I don't see one I would disagree with.  And they are positions we don't get from the candidates of either party.  Senators Clinton and Obama merely represent the lesser of the evils.  But they are only marginally better than McCain.  Perhaps that is why significant numbers of Obana's and Clinton's supporters would rather vote for McCain if their candidate doesn't get the nomination.  As some other bloggers have noted, even on Iraq  the stated policies of the three candidates are not significantly different.  All see a significant American presence in Iraq well past inauguration day.  Perhaps it is time for the Democrats to see the advantage of neutralizing the potential impact of Nader's campaign by adopting his positions?


sharryb said...

Mary, you are really putting out some interesting ideas. Thanks for sharing your own and linking to others. I am not sure I can go along with the idea that McCain, HR Clinton, and Obama are very close in position--that party doesn't really matter. I think I heard that about G. Bush and Al Gore. I think things would be very different if Gore had been inaugurated (I still believe him to have been elected). I think the same is true today. Party matters. Maybe not as much as I'd like, but I still think it matters.

Thanks for commenting on my blog.

MaryContrary said...

thanks for the comment, Sharryb. I think you are right that things might have been very different if Al Gore had been elected. I need to be a bit more specific when I say that there isn't much difference between Obama, Clinton, and McCain. Economically they are similar in many ways. For the most part they all think that the system need tweeking but is basically sound. In other areas there are significant differences and those areas tip the balance toward either Democrat. However, like any rational person, I am continually weighing and judging as new evidence comes in.