Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Depressions Past And Present

Taylor Marsh had this to say about last night's "debate" on foreign policy between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney:
The biggest casualty of this election is that we never had a real discussion about the wars we fight, beyond political party talking points made to make the man running for office the commander in chief hero when he’s not.

Wounded Vet: “The Mitt Romney I Know Cares Deeply About People Who Are Struggling”

She's right, of course, it’s a lot to do with many of us not seeing any difference that matters between these two. I think there’s another reason, though, why this election seems so utterly tragic, and almost pointless. That reason is best explained by this Real Clear Politics link. I'll summarize with this screenshot of that page:

Image credit: Screenshot of RCP poll page by Cujo359

We think the country is going in the wrong direction by a pretty hefty margin, and that margin has been getting generally larger since 2009. At one time during President Obama's first term, it was as bad as it had been after the crash. It looks like right now some folks are living in hopes that something will change thanks to the election. I beg to differ, but that's another subject.

I’m old enough to have had relatives and teachers who lived through the Great Depression. One of the most profound impressions I have of that era is that President Roosevelt gave the country reason to hope that things were going to get better. He gave people reason to think that there was someone in their national capital who gave a crap about how they were doing. The New Deal was started in 100 days. People could feel like there was hope, because there were people in DC who were willing to move heaven and earth to make them better.

Image credit: Parody by Cujo359 (See NOTE)

Contrast that with now, when there’s never a lack of excuses for why things can’t be done. The Republicans Are Obstructionists. We Can’t Change Things Overnight. Blah, blah, blah. There are also no lack of people, most of whom are doing just fine, thank you, who are happy to reinforce those lame excuses.

That’s the difference I see. Roosevelt gave us hope, and Obama gave us hopey-changey (AKA Sucks Less). Roosevelt told the rich and powerful who didn’t like his programs to get lost. Obama sucks up to them. Roosevelt would have won a fifth term handily had he lived long enough to run in 1948. Obama’s hanging on by his fingernails, hoping for all that extra post-presidency cash another term will bring.

It’s hard to underestimate the smarts of the average American voter, but this is one of those times when I think their behavior pretty accurately reflects the choice before us.

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