Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post-War, er, Post-Election Analysis

I'll try and make this brief. Barack Obama won last night. Those of you aware of my politics will know I see this as a good thing. But not too much of a good thing. The President will still have to contend with a divided Congress, a divided nation, a divided world, and, if the Hubble telescope ever detects life on another planet, probably a divided galaxy as well. Like Bill Clinton before him, Obama may just end up a lonely centurion on guard duty at the gates of Rome, nervously flailing his sword at the approaching barbarian hoards.

Maybe it's unfair of me to call them barbarians. They're just well-meaning folks who simply want to return this country to those halcyon days of yore when blacks were serfs, women were indentured bedmates who knew how to cook, gays were unimaginable, indigenous people were trespassers, Genesis was science, literacy was a luxury, arsenic cuisine was unregulated, soot was a precaution against sun stroke, windows were for dumping out chamber pots, and you didn't have all these meddlesome laws prohibiting four-year olds from earning an honest living working in iron smelting plants with a half-day off for Christmas. These are the people, some of them either in Congress or just financing it, that Obama has to contend with for the next four years. I don't know that he'll have time to do anything else. So, if you're expecting some sweeping changes in his second term that will transform this country into a fairer, more equatable place with justice and opportunity for all, regardless of race, religion, gender, or social status, then...

You must be a right-wing Republican. That's exactly what they're afraid will happen


  1. Well you know where I stand... I am a conservative Democrat living in a Border State and I crossed the line this year and voted for Romney. I am a Women's right, Gay rights, Education rights, Fiscal responsible, but against Illegal immigration.
    So if that makes me a barbarian then so be it.
    I see you voted in Ohio and your vote counted more than my vote did in Arizona.
    I despise the Electoral Collage.
    One vote should count as one vote ! In every election my Presidential vote has never counted.
    But the sun came out today, the sky was blue and there was no rioting in the streets... it was a good day.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. I'll have to respond to your comment later, parsnip, maybe later tonight. I had a lengthy reply going that got lost when I went to double-check a fact. Sorry.

    2. OK, another try...Though I'm not surprised you thought, parsnip, and can't really blame you for not thinking otherwise, I didn't mean to suggest that every single person who voted for Romney was a barbarian. I was specefically referring to right-wing Republicans. Note that I didn't say conservative Republicans, or, for that matter, conservative Democrats. I believe there's a qualitative difference between "right-wing" and "conservative" (just as I believe there's a qualitative difference between "left-wing" and "liberal", though with every passing year I become more indifferent to the blurring of the terms.) Historically, a political conservative was someone who believed societal change should come about slowly, so as not to bring about unintended consequences. This type of conservatism harkens back to the 18th century Irish philosopher Edmund Burke, who supported the American Revolution but was horrified when the French tried their hand at it a few years later (guillotines made Burke queasy.) I actually was that type of conservative for a number of years, though in my day and age, they are called "moderates". But there's a huge difference between the slow, steady change that moderates and some conservatives favor, and the full throttle backwards motion that right-wingers seem to be working 24 hours a day to achieve. All of those things that I mentioned following "they just want to return the country to those halcyon days of yore" were based on real comments right-wingers have said during the past 10 years, though I may have exagerrated them for comic effect. If you're puzzled by what I meant by any of that, just tell me, and I'll gladly explain.

      Lessee, what else did you say? Fiscal responsibility? I suggest you read Postino's second paragraph in the comment below.

      Illegal immigration? We've already hashed that out in an earlier comment section (for a post in which I didn't even mention it, but that's all right.) To recap, I see illegal immigration as A problem, and you see as THE problem. Perhaps if I lived in a border state, I would see it as THE problem as well, but you wouldn't want the entire population of the USA to move to Arizona, would you? That might cause even more problems than illegal immigration.

      The Electoral Collage? I despise it as well, though I caution you that any attempt to abolish it and instead rely solely on the popular vote (which Obama also won) might be deemed too "radical."

      I'm glad that the sun came up, the sky was blue, and there was no rioting in the streets. There was no rioting here in Ohio, either. We've been rather reluctant to riot since that unfortunate incident at Kent State some years ago.

      Thanks for commenting, parsnip. If you have anything else you want to add, feel free to do so.

  2. Kirk, I agree with your headline. It does seem as if we've been through a war. And speaking of wars, you didn't mention our on-going conflicts, and our seeming need to kick ass in foreign countries. During the campaign there was complaining from the right-wing about Iran and perhaps a "need" for military action.

    There's far too much talk like that from people who have no family members in military service, and no talk at all about what such wars cost, not just in lives but $$$. I notice no Republicans or Democrats mention how many billions upon billions have been poured down the rat-holes of Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. It's a conversation we need to have with ourselves as a country, and yet no one seems willing to even bring it up, scapegoating instead social safety nets, rather than endless military adventures, as money pits.

    1. I'll repond to your comment either tonight or tomorrow, Postino.

    2. Postino, when I first read "you didn't mention our on-going conflicts" I thought, what is he talking about? Of course I mentioned them! Then I re-read my post, and, by golly, I didn't! I'm not sure why I didn't. God knows, I been upset enough about them in the past years. It's why I supported Obama over Hillary in the 2008 primary (so of course he goes and makes her his secretary of state. Politics. Sigh) Maybe it's because, in his own clumsy way, Obama is trying to end those wars (I don't mean "clumsy" as a slight. There may be no graceful alternative.)

      This brings up that double-checked fact I mentioned to parsnip. It now seems more appropriate that I talk about it here. A lot of people supported the US invasion of Iraq because they thought Saddam Hussein was behind the attack on 9/11. Well, you know what? During Saddam's trial, the subject NEVER CAME UP. True, he was being tried in an Iraqi court for crimes against the Iraqi people, but seeing as we went to war over this, and as he was captured by the US military, you think someone might have asked him, "Hey, Saddam, didja do it?" Maybe someone did, and the answer wasn't what they were expecting.

  3. I expected some sweeping changes in 2008 and was disappointed that a true national health care system was not implemented. I do not expect anything of such magnitude this next four years and for the reasons you give. The loyal opposition will continue to oppose and unless there is drastic changes to the House in 2014 I expect that will continue.
    The most interesting change I see is the effect women will have. The 113th Congress will have a record number of U.S. Senators (20) who are women, while the House of Representatives will have the most female members at any one time (77). I mentioned elsewhere that this may almost literally constitute a new 3rd Party and may be the basis for a drastic change in the 2014 Congress along with the increasing Latino population perhaps spinning out a quasi-4th party.
    I had an interesting conversation with an Israeli soldier last week. He is certain that eventually and fairly soon the President will be forced to deal with Iran, actually to allow Israel to deal with Iran. I don't like it but believe that this will happen and may be the best short term solution as long as we can keep Russia and China neutral.
    I hate these new comment verification procedures, they invariably take me 4 or 5 tries before I get it. Annoying.

    1. Mike, I may be the only liberal who actually LIKES Obama more in 2012 than I did in 2008. Maybe it's his grace under pressure. There's an awful lot of shit he's had to put up with. Remember, it was just a little over a year ago that the debt ceiling was held hostage by people who wanted to, among other things, roll back health care, as truncated as it may be. These guys--presidents--don't operate in a vacuum. They're not kings or dictators. They reined by such worthwile concepts as checks and balances and the separation of powers. It's just that lately it seems the checks and balances could use some checking and balancing.

      As for the females and hispanics, for the time being, they're still IN one of two major parties. As I said in a previous post, we need some structual changes in the way we elect our leaders before a third party can be anything more than a protest vote.

      As for Israel and Iran, who knows? The Prime Minister of Isreal, Benjamen Neta--fuck it, too many letters--was recently quoted as saying he doesn't need US permission to attack Iran. Good, we'll watch the Middle East explode from the sidelines. Might be a refreshing change of pace.

      As for the word verification, I'm actually going to touch upon that in an upcoming post that I've just started working on, but God knows when I'll be finished.

      Thanks for commenting, Mike.

    2. I spelled the country wrong. It's Israel. My apologies to any Israelis reading this.

  4. Excellent point about Obama. He seems genuinely humble though confident. I like the man and if not for the drones and targeting people for murder I would have voted for him. My comment about women and Hispanics is based on my thought that they may be more likely to work across party lines because of common interests. Don't know that that will be true just a thought I had.

  5. Happy you liked my point, Mike. All the wars and blood shed in the past few years may have me a bit too jaded about the targeted killings. I don't like them, but can't seem to work up much outrage about them. I'm too outraged about everything else. The problem is this whole "war on terrorism" we've got going on. Terrorism isn't a country, it's a tactic. We should never have declared war on a tactic. Until we come to terms with that, until we repudiate it and come up with a sensible alternative--like perhaps arresting people and bringing them to trial--then that kind of thing's going to persist. Remember, it's only controversial on the Left. Actually, it may be subtly dividing the Left, seeing as I voted for Obama and you didn't. But it's not controversial with the public at large. Romney didn't have a proble with it. There's no congressional inquiry in the works. The Republicans were more upset (or pretended to be upset) about Benghazi than about drones. I just came from an entertainment web site, I repeat, an entertainment web site, in which two people were arguing about Benghazi, not drones, in the comment section. I guess targeted assassinations beats going to war, I just don't want the meter reader to get killed when the bomb drops on the terrorists's house.

    Mike, I brought this up in the comment section of a previous post. It seems increasingly likely that Osama Bin Laden could have been brought in alive. He could have been put on trial, and we maybe could have gotten to the bottem of this whole 9/11 mess. Any thoughts about that?

    Most, if not all, of the women and Hispanics just elected to Congress are Democrats. I'm not sure there are any common interests that will compel them to cross the aisle. Are you suggesting that male, non-Hispanic Democrats were just as stubborn as the Republican when it comes to crossing party lines? That's the standard middle-of-the-road argument, and it's one reason why I know longer wish to identify with the middle-of-the-road. It's a false equivalency. I believe one side is more to blame than the other for the political gridlock, and that's the side that just lost. If more things end up getting done in this Congress than in the last, it will becasuse there's less of those folks. But the ones that remain are already promising gridlock.

  6. Barbarian - A fierce, brutal, or cruel person. I can hardly think of a better definition for the extreme hate that Republicans represent now. I too, am afraid there will be nothing but gridlock ahead for our country. The President still wants to believe that the GOP are sane and want the best for our country. They don't. They want to go back to a brutal time in the U.S. when cruelty reigned. It seems like every time the Progressives want to move the country forward, the Republicans want to drag us back.

    1. Patricia, I think you may find Maureen Dowd's latest of interest:


In order to keep the hucksters, humbugs, scoundrels, psychos, morons, and last but not least, artificial intelligentsia at bay, I have decided to turn on comment moderation. On the plus side, I've gotten rid of the word verification.