Monday, October 15, 2012

Strategies, Southern and Otherwise

There's no doubt that being President of this United States is not a job that is capable of actually transforming the country into something more akin to the ideal place we like to imagine it is, when we're standing up at a sporting event singing the Star Spangled Banner and watching the jets fly overhead. That fact was just as much a fact when Mr. Obama came into office as it was when Reagan arrived. It will always be a fact. An atom bomb is not totally transformative of a society. The culture that changed the most at the end of World War Two was Japan. It did not change utterly.

So, then, Mr. Obama did not roll back the offenses to jurisprudence and morality embodied in the Patriot Act and our general warlike stance towards the world which the Bush Administration crafted with the assistance of a blind national outrage concerning 9/11. He moderated some of them, to be sure, such as in particular example, our approach to unexpected people's revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, and most particularly Libya. But he did expand the drone operation, and he does OK assassinating even US citizens who go "too far," and he accepts collateral damage, e.g., the slaughter of entirely innocent people including children who happen to be in drone's way. And of course--from a Democratic Party point of view now fading into the mists of history--he has been his whole first term willing to compromise with Republican neanderthals (all that's left of that Party) on issues of profound importance to all Americans who manage to age beyond their ability to earn a living day-to-day.

But of course the Republicans have already shown all of us what they're willing to do for power. All the way back in the late 1960s, the Republican Party chose to invite the disgruntled racists who had been pretty much entirely defeated by the Civil Rights Movement into their house. They still play that flute. See, e.g.:

This minor chord is so insistent and constant in the Republican affect that it tends to be almost inaudible to those not aiming to listen for it. It's like the buzz of an old florescent light fixture, or the murmur of the refrigerator. And to make it worse, Republicans and even a lot of Democrats have learned to lie to themselves so well that they can actually achieve a state true suspension of disbelief. "Racist," they say. "You're the one playing the 'race card.'" They believe what they're saying!

The Republicans played the same game with Roe V. Wade. There was bipartisan agreement about the Constitutional judgement of the Supreme Court until strategists backing the so-called Reagan Revolution realized that if they made an issue of the Decision, they'd create galvanized single-issue voters by the millions who would vote for them. That's the back story of the misnamed "Right to Life Movement." The collateral damage of this political strategy? Well, it's mostly invisible, since Republicans and other Baptists and Catholics who need abortions can go to doctors who perform "procedures" same as always, both here and of course abroad, in countries which have blessedly not allowed jingoists and fantasists to achieve power to the extent they have here. Yeah, a sixteen year old girl in the Dominican Republic died last week because no hospital there would perform any procedure that might threaten the life of her fetus. She will only be remembered by her weeping mother.

It might be that if we're going to decide this election on the basis of who "wins" and "loses" the Presidential Debates, we're going to end up with Romney. Mr. Obama has several anchors around his neck already: as well as being black, he has to do the job that exists, not the one we like to pretend is about to come open yet again.

At the Romney rallies you can get photos like this one, from Lancaster, Ohio, big swing state.

America, the real one I mean, put up with Bull Connor and fire hosing civil rights marchers. Today there'd be Republicans in Congress explaining that it was all necessary because private business was being interfered with, and Birmingham's small businesses had a right to operate as they saw fit. Anyways, they'd continue, those German Shepherds are highly trained police dogs and apply only necessary force. Just relax and enjoy it.

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