I normally don't blog on politics, but I guess I've been inspired by the monumental presidential election in the US this week. I don't mean to be too cynical (okay, I do), but the entire event has been an excessive performance bearing little to no accountability ($170 million?) or resemblance to reality. Like many people this week, I've heard and read a lot of political commentary, and ignore most of it. But one finally got to me and prompted this blog post.
Dick Morris, political consultant and chief tactician for the Clinton/Gore re-elect campaign was made famous for his strategy of "triangulation" - or the faux-bipartisan watering-down of issues - to grab voters (whom I guess we can only characterize as indecisive and non-committal) by appearing republican, democratic, and neither, all at the same time. Oh, actually, scratch that - he's famous for that whole "allowing a prostitute to listen in on calls with the President" thing.
So, clearly an authority on American politics, his pre-inauguration day post on TheHill should doubtlessly be taken as a prophetic view into the Obama administration's plans for the future. Let's begin.
2009-2010 will rank with 1913-14, 1933-36, 1964-65 and 1981-82 as years that will permanently change our government, politics and lives. [...] Simply put, we enter his administration as free-enterprise, market-dominated, laissez-faire America. We will shortly become like Germany, France, the United Kingdom, or Sweden — a socialist democracy in which the government dominates the economy, determines private-sector priorities and offers a vastly expanded range of services to many more people at much higher taxes.
Within a year the US will go from a pseudo-democratic oligarchic republic with dictatorial tendencies to a pacifistic social democracy? It may be time to book my ticket home after all.
... Roosevelt passed crucial and permanent reforms that have dominated our lives ever since, including Social Security, the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, unionization under the Wagner Act, the federal minimum wage and a host of other fundamental changes. Obama’s record will be similar, although less wise and more destructive. He will begin by passing every program for which liberals have lusted for decades, from alternative-energy sources to school renovations, infrastructure repairs and technology enhancements. [...] Freed of any constraint on the deficit — indeed, empowered by a mandate to raise it as high as possible — Obama will do them all rather quickly.
Let me get this straight. In an attempt at the biggest social reformation in American society since Roosevelt, Obama will spend American tax dollars at an exponentially increasing rate - like a child who just received a wad of birthday cash from a generous (or perhaps senile) old relative. And he'll waste it on completely useless junk and non-essentials like ... education, infrastructure, technology and energy. What would an (imitation of a) European social democracy be without clean and well-maintained streets and towns, safe schools, technological advancement and environmental awareness? So I take it that Morris is just as perturbed as I am that up until now the federal deficit has been irresponsibly run up to astronomical proportions buying sophisticated sandbox equipment to fight unilateral wars in countries most Americans can't find on a map, and is as excited as I am that if we are all going to be forced into debt it will be for a more progressive reason.
And, as government imposes ever more Draconian price controls and income limits on doctors, the supply of practitioners and equipment will decline as the demand escalates. Price increases will be out of the question, so the government will impose healthcare rationing, denying the older and sicker among us the care they need and even barring them from paying for it themselves. (Rationing based on income and price will be seen as immoral.)
I'm a little confused here. The suggestion is that the United States' new socialized healthcare program will be so cheap, effective and efficient that all forms of privately funded care will be abandoned in favor of a system which responsibly prices its services and limits disproportionately inflated salaries and costs. As a result, the sick and weak will be required to, well, die rather than pay for care. Do these assertions count as domestic terrorism yet? This doesn't resemble anything in "Germany, France, the United Kingdom, or Sweden", where prescription costs are capped, but there are first-rate medical practitioners in the national system as well as private healthcare alternatives for those who choose to pay for them. Both choice and a guarantee for healthcare, in a "democracy"? Who woulda thunk it?
I've always had trouble understanding why Americans are so hard to convince regarding socialized healthcare, but look who has been writing the handbook. There are ways for responsible administrations in a democratic government to provide all citizens with affordable healthcare and thereby diffuse the overwhelming domination by pharmaceutical companies while continuing to produce new medicines and technologies to fight disease. It probably starts with recognizing that making healthcare universal - not exclusive - does not make it worthless just because anyone can access it. Healthcare isn't (shouldn't be) a commodity comparable to a pair of designer jeans on markdown.
And Obama will move to change permanently the partisan balance in America. He will move quickly to legalize all those who have been in America for five years, albeit illegally, and to smooth their paths to citizenship and voting. He will weaken border controls in an attempt to hike the Latino vote as high as he can in order to make red states like Texas into blue states like California. By the time he is finished, Latinos and African-Americans will cast a combined 30 percent of the vote. If they go by top-heavy margins for the Democrats, as they did in 2008, it will assure Democratic domination (until they move up the economic ladder and become good Republicans).
This sickens me. Those immigrant-loving Democrats (raise your hand if you're American and your family has never included any immigrants) have just managed to win the jackpot, luring in all those dark-skinned, illegal folks to bolster the party. First they connive their way into our borders and next they'll vote democrat down the line because they won't know any better until they have achieved the income that will afford them the knowledge to vote Republican. How insightful. Morris makes the phrase "good Republican" seem like an oxymoron. It sounds like his solution to this dilemma posed by ethnic minorities might have the fraction "3/5" in it (Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the US Constitution ring a bell?).
And he will enact the check-off card system for determining labor union representation, repealing the secret ballot in union elections. The result will be to raise the proportion of the labor force in unions up to the high teens from the current level of about 12 percent.
I get it now. Morris is running President Obama's re-elect campaign.
There are many more things that set me off, but these are the ones I had the patience to write about. And another thing, while I'm on the soap box, why should it take an African-American president to cure the perennially ailing race relations in the US? So much commentary has surrounded this idea that we've all been waiting since the Constitution was ratified to finally be able to do something about social disparity on the basis of race. Somehow I still feel we're standing around hoping that voting was all we had to do. It wasn't. Obama has walked many miles, but when all the balloons and bunting are cleared away, he can't fix this on his own. Republican, Democrat or unaffiliated, are you in?
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