I See Dead PeoplePosted: February 27, 2012
Maybe this should be the new Republican mantra for a suitable candidate in 2012. If Republican politicians aren’t conjuring up the ghost of Ronald Reagan every fifteen minutes, they can go back further into the annals of GOP glory and dig up another Republican corpse. Say . . . Ike Eisenhower. And lo and behold, that’s exactly what NY Times columnist Ross Douthat attempts in his recent “The Greatness of Ike” piece, which extolls the General’s many virtues, bemoans the fact that Eisenhower is overshadowed by the likes of FDR, ties for twelfth-place in POTUS rankings with Jimmy Carter and is generally under appreciated.
The man may have a point.
I recall Eisenhower’s warnings about the industrial/military complex being aired frequently throughout my living memory. Yet no one has paid much attention beyond nodding and saying: yes, the man was right. I suspect the current state of affairs, the country involved in a decade of senseless war, where defense contractors and mercenaries have been made fat and happy, proves the General’s point. Only problem for the Republicans is that it was likes of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who led the disastrous charge into Iraq on false allegations, hyped-up claims about weapons of mass destruction, and then offered a breath-taking defense of torture for national security purposes. Even more startling, they got away with it, leaving the country bleeding and bankrupt in their wake. All in the name of democracy, freedom and ‘shop ‘till you drop’ exhortations.
It was a moment of infamy, as someone once said.
This is why the glance backwards always skips over those inconvenient years of woeful mismanagement and fiscal insanity. No doubt the current batch of 2012 candidates, the Fearless Four, bring angst to all Republican hopefuls convinced, only a few, short months ago, that a 2012 victory was inevitable, a piece of cake.
A powerful dose of nostalgia makes the medicine go down easier.
Surely, the good ole days seem ever more grand as Rick Santorum raises the flag for a home-grown theocracy and dances with the Devil, Mitt Romney continues to stumble over his own tongue [revealing his wife drives ‘two’ Caddies], Newt Gingrich beats his breast over the secular plot to undermine America and Ron Paul, the cuddly libertarian, begins to look and sound strangely reasonable.
Dig up some corpses.
Am I, a thoroughly disenchanted Democrat gloating? In a pinch, yes. In the long-term, no, because I’m stuck with a candidate I did not vote for in 2008, a man who has proven himself less a champion of Democratic principles than even I ever expected.
As a Nation, we are stuck in a rut for which there seem few alternatives. The legacy parties offer nothing but more of the same—craziness on one side and the uninspiring ‘we suck less than they do’ on the other. As a voter, I’ve vowed to go 3rd party in November [unless the Republicans were to choose Santorum, then I’ll vote directly against him]. However, in the larger frame all I see are monied interests, directing and maneuvering what is suppose to be a ‘free’ election. It has virtually nothing to do with me or my values. On the contrary, it’s all about the persistence of a political class and their cash-soaked benefactors calling for war and protecting their national interests, the gutting of our social contract; the unwillingness to formulate a sensible energy program sans the giant fossil fuel companies’ interference or address the critical and devastating slippage in education, infrastructure, healthcare and employment opportunities.
We have plenty of money for bombs. But not our people. Bailouts are bad. Unless our representatives are saving the asses of and colluding with the corrupt TBTFs. Water and food is the stuff of life until there’s a pipeline, gushing with sludgy oil and money, to compromise both.
Ed Rollins, former Reagan strategist, made a statement recently about the 2012 Republican field:
“Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, ‘We’re gonna win, we’re gonna beat Obama.’ Now even those who’ve endorsed Romney say, ‘My God, what a fucking mess.’
That about sums it up, not simply about the Republican field but the entire country. It is an effing mess. And there’s no savior on the horizon. In fact, there’s no savior anywhere. Unless we, the American public, do the saving. But that means coming together on issues where we can agree. The gridlock in DC gets us absolutely nowhere. It’s enough to put anyone into a funk.
But then this morning I read an article about environmentalists and Tea Party activists coming together to fight Keystone XL, the pipeline extension from Nebraska to Texas. For the Tea Party, it’s all about individual property rights and the way TransCanada, a foreign company, has attempted to strong-arm property owners. For the environmentalists it’s about preserving fertile farm land and a major aquifer from the too real danger of irreversible contamination. The nexus of agreement between these two wildly divergent political groups is this: the Keystone pipeline does not serve the public’s interest.
That’s the winning hand: the public’s interest. Not the oil companies, not the 196 people funding the SuperPacs, not the banks, not the Democratic or Republican parties.
What serves the public’s interest.
We, American citizens, can find ways to work together or continue to be spectators to the endless political theater, the Kabuki dance we call elections. And once more we’ll be digging up corpses, which could very well be our own.