Casting About - July 2008

By Seamus Muldoon, Himself
Copyright © 1997-2017
All Rights Reserved

The last half of June was insane. It’s hard to believe this is to be taken seriously. If I correctly understand John McCain, the facts that fuel prices are critically and negatively impacting every aspect of American life, with no relief in sight; that food prices are skyrocketing - partly because of the fuel situation – that real estate and financial markets are in crisis and that small businesses are going under by the thousands every week, should not be viewed with alarm BECAUSE THE FUNDAMENTALS ARE SOUND!

Thank God all those whose lives are collapsing around them have something to grasp. The fundamentals are sound. How can fundamentals be sound in this chaos? If anything can now be sound, it can’t be a fundamental anything. Fundamentally – any everyone who is sane knows this – Americans are in economic agony from which there is no appearance of near term relief.

The problem with this position is that “sound fundamentals” may be meaningful for the wealthy, but they mean nothing to people who have just crossed the threshold of privation. When you can’t pay your bills and know that you are hitting the wall shortly in that configuration, “sound fundamentals” is about the most useless good cheer message imaginable.

McCain’s resort to this statement indicates correctly that the people with anxiety are not people he understands at all, and certainly not people he could competently represent. If you have a deep enough pile of money to weather this debacle, then you are McCain’s target, because “sound fundamentals” means something to you that it doesn’t to the rest of us.

Since the pundits claim economics is the major issue in the coming general elections, the Republicans are DOA with this “Hey, The Fundamentals Are Sound” approach.

Truth to tell, we are mainly at fault for just about all of this. We have lived like hogs for almost a century. Our expectations have not been real in more than 50 years. We expect and believe we deserve that everything come out just wonderfully for us all the time. Others, of course, expect the opposite and are less frequently surprised.

Fuel shortages and prices are the best example of that. Our consumption of energy is and has long been profligate. We refuse to do anything about it because we think that energy will always be plentiful and cheap.

But you can’t go into a general election and tell voters that all these truly horrible problems are just their own fault and to suck it up. You have to make up some ridiculous pseudo solutions that suggest near term success (all of which are impossible) and promise to do that as soon as you are sworn in as President in 2009. As there is no near term fix, and as taxing the hell out of everyone associated with the problems will only drive prices higher, we might as well tune out both parties. They are both shoveling that shit out daily. They surmise that they are talking to morons, and if those speeches sway the electorate, then they are right – we are morons.

Something that would be magical, but that won’t happen because everything is simply bullshit, would be for John McCain to announce a really substantive near term initiative that has merit and then also announce that he has gotten agreement from George Bush to try to implement it immediately. It would immediately be initiated, either through Presidential edict if possible or through new legislation that is given really fast track support. Nah! Forgetaboutit!

McCain claims to be a centrist and tolerant person, free of fascist vestiges of the evangelical religious right that have been the large support group for the Bush administration. The collapse of that position will signal that McCain knows he is a cooked goose. When we see John McCain start making Come to Jesus speeches, Barack Obama should just get in his car and drive over to the White House and start moving in.

In the second half of June it is clear that Republican surrogates are hurling race every day and in every way. McCain says he condemns it – yeah right! On 21st June, Obama is 15 percentage points ahead in the polls. Maybe we can see through the BS about race. I sure hope so. The next theatrical shoe for which we wait is Obama’s selection of a VP running mate. What does anyone’s notions of his life expectancy amount to if he were to choose Hillary Clinton? How long would it take the Clintons to whack Obama if his demise meant her ascendancy to the Presidency? On the other hand, would McCain have him whacked knowing that everyone would blame it on the Clintons?

On the more serious side, Hillary made her audition for running mate speech and then “went on vacation”. The outward appearance is supposed to be that she is reconciled to having lost to Obama. FORGETABOUTIT!!!

That story that the Clintons are not going on R&R to get some rest is a hoot. People like the Clinton’s never rest if there is something nefarious that is still left to be done.

Hillary didn’t withdraw. She “suspended” her campaign, leaving the door open for future attacks should any crack appear through which she might believe she could crawl through. What they are doing now is plotting the convention tactics for another attempt to defeat Obama. The first step of that will be that the Florida and Michigan delegates will ask the Rules Committee to overturn the decision of the DNC regarding the penalty for early primary voting. That probably won’t be granted. They will then start a floor fight to the get seated delegates to vote on whether they should be permitted “equal rights” at the convention. They will then, should they win”, vote together with any others they have been able to persuade to their position, for Hillary on the first ballot. If Obama is not nominated on the first ballot, the delegates are released from their pledges and it can potentially become a free for all with wheeling and dealing.

An alternative scenario, if Obama isn’t smart enough to have identified his running mate substantially before the convention, would be for the Clinton mob to try to force Hillary onto the ticket using the same approach. Even if he has identified who he wants for a running mate, the Clintstones can’t be relied upon not to try an attack. That ploy has to be made so unbelievably costly to the Clintons that the future damage to all of them would be sufficient to overcome their aggression. The money that Bill Clinton could make in graft deals if she were on the ticket would amount to many, many millions a year.

CAVEAT – It could just be that Hillary is “suspending” her campaign to provide an opportunity for the Obama camp to find a way to pay off her campaign debt. You can’t contribute to a campaign that isn’t still “alive”. How much is it worth to make the Clintstones go away?

When it happens, please remember that you heard it here first.

The test for Obama’s perspicacity here is (a) that he already knows this is coming, and (2) that he has adequately planned to deal with it. Since this is the obvious next Clinton step (to me at least), if he doesn’t have an effective plan of opposition, the deserves to lose. The sneaky bastards of the world need to know that our next president can handle any level of sneakiness. That’s one of the ways you get respect in international relations. If Bush were at that level of competence, Iran wouldn’t now be able to fake him out of his socks as they are doing.

I must admit that I am so favorably impressed by Obama and his wife, and so disgusted with the incompetent products of Republican government that, as of now, I am perhaps more willing to overlook Obama’s bullshit than McCain’s. But I know that so much of everything we hear from both sides is total bullshit probably the best approach is to ignore the pronouncements of both and focus on the continuing debacles that are occurring in the areas of foreign and military policy. There, things, except for Afghanistan, are so ridiculous that at least there is opportunity for gritty, gallows humor for a few months.

By Seamus Muldoon, Himself
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