"What does (Obama) offer? First and foremost: his face. Think of it as the most effective potential re-branding of the United States since Reagan. Such a re-branding is not trivial—it’s central to an effective war strategy." Andrew Sullivan, AtlanticDavid Seaton's News Links
"Last year, there was no question at all about the way Wall Street’s financial contributions to the new Democratic majority in Congress helped preserve, at least for now, the tax loophole that lets hedge fund managers pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries. Now, the securities and investment industry is pouring money into both Mr. Obama’s and Mrs. Clinton’s coffers. And these donors surely believe that they’re buying something in return. Let’s hope they’re wrong." Paul Krugman. New York Times
Although my readers may have long since wearied, I never tire of repeating that George W. Bush is a symptom of America's decline, not its cause. When a major country becomes decadent, defined as "marked by excessive self-indulgence and moral decay", the reasons are very complex, their roots are hard to trace. The society produces the leaders, not the other way around.
My favorite example of this complexity is the theory that Rome’s decline was brought about by the lead pipe plumbing of the Roman patricians that caused their women to become infertile, thus leaving the empire without leadership cadres.
Following the Roman model, Bush is Caligula’s horse.
Finding the reasons for America’s decline is something that will provide doctoral thesis material for generations of Chinese historians: at his moment, however, we are simply caught in the middle of it.
We have practically no control, or no control at all, over the general situation. In the midst of decadence, anything we can realistically demand, we can only demand of ourselves: stoic lucidity and a human heart. These are times for not only the "inner Lenin", but also the "inner Seneca".
The idiotic Democratic primary race seems to have drained what little seriousness the disastrous Bush presidency had provoked among progressive minded Americans. At this moment the possible knock on effects of the financial sector's meltdown and the Middle East quagmire are certainly more important than the "super delegate" count... Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. But those who had begun to read Noam Chomsky, Tony Judt, Chalmers Johnson, Andrew Bacevich, Jimmy Carter, Mearsheimer & Walt, etcetera in record numbers now seem solely concerned with the ruined and creaking structures of Franklin Roosevelt's coalition's smoking debris. The result of all of it will be simply another layer of lipstick on the pig.
Are citizens asking the correct questions?
- Does anyone really believe that any topflight, professional, national politician, with what national campaigns cost these days, is ever going to confront or bring down a major source of funding like Wall Street?
- Does the deregulation of the financial sector that has brought about the present meltdown have anything to do with that sector's campaign contributions to both political parties?
- Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?
- Does anyone really believe that any professional American politician of national stature is ever going to apply enough pressure on Israel to insure compliance of UN-242? ...And speaking of Israel and American politicians: where is the little bird brave enough to push that cuckoo's egg out of America's nest?
Good news, bad news.
The good news? Yes there is.
The bad news?
It will take a long time... about twenty years if we start right now.
I believe the possible solution lies in local politics and in the US House of Representatives: politicians that are near to the actual people who vote for them and whose every move can be watched closely by local progressive activists interconnected nationally through countless Internet forums. Politicians whose campaigns would get cheaper as their local reputations grew.
Congresspersons in this movement should be politicians whose greatest ambition is to rise by seniority (that means getting reelected from their district many times) to sit on and to eventually chair the powerful key House committees. Here is power that could be truly controlled by the voters if they kept their elected representatives under a powerful magnifying glass. This movement could be independent of both the Republicans and the Democrats and a President or Senator of either party that defied these powerful Congresspersons would do so at his or her peril. In this way a practical progressive agenda could be pushed forward without submitting itself to the national corporate media circus.
To my mind this is probably the only way real progressive change can ever occur in our present system. DS