On and On With the Way We Are Now

When it comes to be once understood that politics is a game; that those who are engaged in it but act a part; that they make this or that profession, not from honest conviction or intent to fulfill it, but as the means of deluding the people, and through that delusion to acquire power  . . . the people will become indifferent to the greatest abuses of power, on the ground that those whom they may elevate, under whatever pledges, instead of reforming, will but imitate the example of those whom they have expelled.  —John C. Calhoun, 1835

I am not surprised that foreign countries don’t want to be bossed around  by George W. Bush.  I don’t care for it myself and I am not even foreign.

The Bush boy is speaking out almost every day now on “the economy,” sharing with us his wisdom.  Aren’t we lucky.

It is endlessly repeated in recent times that Americans are willing to give up some of their freedom in exchange for safety by allowing the government greater powers to interfere in private affairs.  This seems to me at best a half-truth in the same category as “9/11 changed everything.”  First of all, giving the government more power makes the law-abiding less safe, not more so.  Also, although there are plenty of incipient fascists out there, I think the number of Americans who really want a police state is exaggerated.  What we have is panicked congresspersons and clueless media.

My Bushite congressman is now presenting himself as the hero of “conservative reform.”  I doubt if he knows what Edmund Burke would have meant by this term.  In my brief foray into politics over forty years ago in callow youth, one of the first things I noticed was that Republican election slogans are NEVER sincere.  The are ALWAYS advertising gimmicks designed by p.r. technicians at the top and sent down through the ranks as official party material.  Their purpose is to win elections, and they have no relationship whatsoever to the reasons for wanting office or intentions after getting office.  In fact, it never even occurs to most Republican aspirants that campaign discourse in anything other than an advertising campaign.  At least some leftists actually believe the stuff they say.

A major turning point in American politics, noted and lamented by a few historians but never acknowledged by politicians and media, came in the 1960s when George Wallace forced the “social issues” into the national agenda and showed their vote-getting potential.  The Republican Party of Dewey, Wilkie, Earl Warren, Nixon, Ford, Rockefeller, and Dole had neither the understanding, the inclination nor the courage to do what Wallace did.  However, they saw the p.r. potential, and the Republicans were soon able to sell themselves to millions as the “conservative” party.  This has continued to the present day, despite the fact that the party leaders never cared about, did not agree with, and have never done anything to forward the conservative agenda on the social questions.  The popular movement that Wallace had started carried Reagan to the top, but even before he moved into the White House, “conservatism” had already been converted to Kristol-Bennett-Kemp neoconservatism and Republican patronage has supported neoconservatism (and sheer opportunism) and suppressed conservatism ever since.

I have voted for Constitution Party candidates in the past, and I have to admit that I know little about its current presidential candidate, the Reverend Mr. Baldwin.  However, I deserted the ranks when I learned that a significant part of the party supported Alan Keyes, the black Harold Stassen, for President—indicating that they are even dumber than Republicans and know even less about the Constitution.

Seems this is just one more meaningless popularity contest between the dumb jocks and the clueless nerds, just like the last five presidential non-elections.  Since the jocks have won the last two, the nerds will probably be allowed to win this one, especially since their candidate, though a nerd, is an exotic one.

It looks like I’m writing in Calhoun again this time.  Not that it matters.

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