Friday, September 17, 2010
It sounded to good to be true...
The latest Palin-endorsed, Tea Party hacks to hit the right-wing scene, Ms. O'Donnell, Mr. Paladino, Mr. Lamontagne, and Mr. Miller are natural products of our collective ignorance of, and apathy toward policy making in the US. For the last thirty years, Republican voters bought the party's line that promised quick economic fixes with tax cuts, or blamed the "other" for job losses with anti-immigration and "culture war," and "family-value" rhetoric.
Republicans, mostly, have appealed to voters' basest instincts with their "starve the beast" regressive tax policies(Reagan, GW Bush), sweat-shop free-trade (George H.W. Bush promoted and fast-tracked NAFTA through Congress, Clinton signed it into law), and pro Wall Street de-regulation (Phil Gramm, et al). All of this supply-side rhetoric implicitly promised followers that if the rich got richer, the middle class would gain, too. It was a get rich quick scheme that had great appeal to rural Republicans, and urban blue-collar "Reagan" Democrats who felt whip-lashed by the high inflation of the 70's. They never got the message that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So, we watched as hard-won union gains were ground into dust with threats of foreign competition, our manufacturing sector was sold off for pennies on the dollar by Wall Street private equity funds, health care costs and imported oil needlessly consumed huge chunks of our GNP, and the middle class descended into oblivion. And still, the rich got richer. And so did the the rhetoric, with the televangelist, Christian right getting in on the act.
Now, after years of being sheltered from reality by a veil of deliberate ignorance and stubborn petulance, those same wage earning Republicans who selected representatives based on the appeal of promised tax cuts, and anti-immigration, anti-welfare, pro-gun, anti-abortion, pro-religion planks feel like they've been had. Republican politicians exploited their naivete, and sold them up the river: they cut deals that favored deep-pocketed energy, finance, and pharmaceutical corporations, at the expense of these wage-earning voters, in exchange for campaign contributions and the promise of lucrative, revolving-door, lobbying jobs.
Now, played as fools, those same un-capitalized Republicans who lack corporate lobbying jobs, express rage. They want to fix things by electing goons who promise even simpler, reactionary, answers to our collective problems -- like Mr. Paladino's baseball bat. A quick fix.
Quick fixes got us in this mess, and they're gonna make it worse if we elect these people.