No Longer Surprised

President Obama is withdrawing proposed tighter regulations on smog that had been part of his initial energetic approach to reform early in his presidency.  No jobs have been created in the last month and congressional Republicans are shouting about regulations and the burden to business as the major reason.   I think they’re running out of excuses.  I mean, we’ve rolled back taxes, rolled back regulations, given them money…and still no one is hiring.  I don’t think anyone is going to.

Big business, including the banks, are sitting on huge piles of cash right now.  Yet they won’t make loans.  Not at levels sufficient to boost job growth.  So the next step is make businesses even less accountable to the commonweal.  When the Republicans run out of things to hand over to business as incentive and there is still no hiring going on, what will they say?  Who will they blame?

The thing that disturbs me is that Obama is backing down so much.  He even rescheduled his speech to congress because Speaker Boehner said it would be an imposition on returning members.  Instead of standing by his decision, Obama reschedules—opposite the first game of the NFL season.

Does anyone think for a minute Bush would have done that?  Or Clinton?  I approve of the spirit of compromise and cooperation, but it’s getting ridiculous.  We have a president who seems incapable of backing up his own positions and all he’s doing is yielding to the screaming meemies of the Republican Party.

Right now, with a couple of exceptions, it is clear that the Republican Party wants to undo everything the government does and hand it all over to private enterprise.  Cut taxes, deregulate, suspend oversight.

And right now we are getting report after report how that is simply a stupid thing to do.

If I had to characterize the GOP theme right now, basing it entirely on Rick Perry and Michele Bachman and somewhat on Mitt Romney, it is this: “We will give the government back to the people where we think it belongs—when we’re done, the federal government will do nothing but maybe run the armed forces.  Everything else you’ll have to buy from a private contractor.  And to make it even sweeter, we won’t even see to it that you’re treated fairly by those contractors, because, you know, regulation stifles growth.”

There are a couple of GOP presidential candidates who aren’t that bad, but they aren’t getting much press, and it doesn’t matter just now because I’m not talking about 2012, I’m talking about right now.  I’m not even talking about the Republican Party, I’m talking about our president’s response to this.

Which is to accommodate, accommodate, yield, cave, bend over…

I’m not longer surprised.  I voted for someone I thought had the nerve and the principle to stand up to this.  This is more of the same nonsense we were getting under Bush, which caused huge problems.  Does anyone after a minute’s thought really believe the financial industry took a nose dive because it was over regulated?  They’d been getting progressively less regulation for 20 years, even to the point of declawing the very agencies that might have stopped the bleeding before it took the patient with it, all in the name of growth.  I have no doubt you could find any number of boneheaded regulations that do no good, but that’s not the same as saying regulation is bad.

I’m no longer surprised.  I will likely write in a candidate at the next election.

Hmm?  What’s that?  What would I have him do?  After all, he wants to get re-elected…?

He’s not a shoe-in.  If he keeps doing this, there might even be a coup in the Democratic Party.  Every poll in the nation in the last year has suggested that the majority of citizens support tax increases, especially on the wealthy, yet it’s as if he’s playing exclusively to the Tea Party.

It’s simple.  The situation is all fucked up anyway, you might as well go down as a tiger rather than as a set of changing stripes.  Use the bully pulpit.  Veto the shit out this GOP nonsense.  Start issuing executive orders for works programs and when the challenges come up take ’em on.  Get this shit in the courts and instruct the Justice Department to defend your preferred programs to the death.  You’re the fucking president, you don’t change your schedule because John Boehner whines.  Jobs aren’t being created anyway, so go ahead and try to clean up the air.  Use your authority.  Fucking stand up for…something.

There are two conceptions at work, in my opinion, in GOP thinking about deregulation and they are at odds with each other.  I think that most Republican voters, when they think about this issue, are thinking about small business.  They think the burden and the benefit will accrue to companies with a 100 employees or less and that may well be partly true.  But all this deregulation nonsense is not going to benefit small business nearly so significantly as it will line the pockets of the huge multinationals.  I don’t think most GOP voters conceive of the difference in kind between the local mom and pop manufacturer and, say, Boeing or Monsanto.  The environmental regulations are burdensome to a small business, sure, but those small businesses are not dumping kilotons of waste and pumping millions of pounds of carbon into the air.  Also, small local business is not skimming their profits and investing them overseas, which is what is happening at the upper levels,  and, you know, gravity works—shit flows downhill.  ADM creates thousands of tons of waste and the run-off affects family farms, the destruction of which leads to the consolidation of the agribusiness into an entity that controls pricing and then distorts the monetary markets.  There are orders of magnitude of difference between a local bakery and Nabisco and the regulations that used to keep these monsters in check are going away and it will end up screwing that local baker and all the rest of us.

But we have a president who swore he was going to make things different and somehow has misplaced his cohones.

If by a miracle either Gary Johnson or Jon Huntsman get the nod for the GOP for 2012, I will seriously consider voting for either of them.  There are things I do not like about the GOP philosophy, but on balance, if you’re talking about traditional, Eisenhower Republicans, there are just as many things about the Democrats I don’t like.  But these two seem to have a grasp.  I honestly don’t think they have a chance, because they are, in fact, too rational for the current crop of GOP delegates.  So if, as seems more likely, the top three idiots prove to be too much to beat, I will likely vote for Obama again—I cannot abide the GOP social agenda and I see no point is saving the financial side of this country if the cost is in the freedoms that I think are what make this place worth living in.

But I’m no longer surprised at Obama’s pathetic abandonment of almost everything he said he stood for.  Sad and disappointed, but not surprised.

Published by Mark Tiedemann