Bob Higgins

Skip the Bearded Lady, Go Straight to the Big Top

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on November 8, 2012
Bearded Lady

Bearded Lady

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My friend, and I mean that, I value your opinion but I think you’re wrong to toss your vote aside to the Fit of Pique party.

You wrote:

I think last night’s election was not an endorsement for Obama but a message to republicans that people are tired of the rhetoric with nothing to back it up. Fiscally conservative? Not a chance. Socially conservative? That is not what the country cares about anymore.

Where you see none I see a mandate from a solid majority of voters of half or more of the states in the union for a return to more liberal policies and a demand for tangible results. These voters gave us a majority in the electoral college that George Bush never enjoyed. People on both sides of the public divide want a strong economy, full employment, safety, security, jobs, quality education, health care, and many other necessary basic services. The argument is how to get it done.

We can well afford a return to and strengthening of the New Deal policies that led us to all of the above conditions and successfully maintained them until the private profiteers, the opportunists, the financial buccaneers and the Chicago School with their trickle down voodoo convinced the weak minded, spineless and venal in Washington to give away the public treasury.

We already pay for it but the money is misallocated. We think nothing of spending $70 a gallon on diesel fuel in Afghanistan or killing wedding and funeral parties with multi million dollar drones and missiles. We’ve probably spent 3 trillion bucks chasing and killing a couple thousand terrorists, and frisking our Grandmas over the last dozen years and our level of personal safety is unchanged. Before 9/11 your chance of being killed by a terrorist was significantly lower than being struck by lightning… that has not changed.

We give away tens of billions to major, successful, obscenely wealthy corporations every year. We prop up piggish dictators and murderous thugs in all corners of the world in vain attempts to shore up the thirst for empire, raw materials, cheap labor, markets and profits of largely American corporations, while they brutalize their populations (if we don’t do it for them) and we don’t notice the cost, neither in billions nor in lives.

We have the money, we’ve simply allowed it to gravitate to the wrong hands. For most of our history it’s been public policy to discourage (through progressive taxation) the building of the kind of Scrooge McDuck fortunes we see today as a common thing. (Under the so called socialist Barack Obama we’ve created a new millionaire every day) We need to return to the kind of tax policy that built the middle class and the post war boom and reduce the threat to public order of overly large, immensely powerful fortunes. That threat is real, or as they say a clear and present danger. You will find comments from Lincoln, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Paine and others attesting to this.

Maybe a return to the socialist roots of the GOP, ala Lincoln, Greeley and others, would allow this morally broken and intellectually bankrupt party to reattain a degree of relevance.

And then you wrote:

When given the option between 2 free spending parties they chose the party that does not want to tell a person whom they can date or whether they can have an abortion… or makes moronic statements regarding rape.

The Democratic Party when in control of the executive and the Congress is a relative piker when it comes to spending.  There is verifiable data from non partisan sources (charts, graphs, reports) all over the place to illustrate this. You know how to research, use that Google thing and stop with the false equivalence already.

These two parties  come from differing ideological and social spheres and historically respond to and serve different interests. The steady pollution of campaign finance by injections of enormous piles of corporate and private money has brought about a condition where they both serve Mammon to win elections in pursuit of favorable legislation. So shut off the money. Kill Citizens United, enact real campaign finance reform, slam the revolving door between the lobbying industry and congress and what the hell, start throwing the malefactors in jail.

Neither party is worth a shit… oh, 1 last thing, the President does not spend the money. Congress appropriates the spending… congress wastes our money on their pet projects… bridges to nowhere, “RoboSquirrel”, gov’t studies on how golfers can benefit from using their imagination…

I have often been disappointed with my own party. When they act like democrats I stand behind them but when they mask themselves as Republicans they disgust me.

The infamous Bridge to Nowhere was a classic piece of pork from Alaska Republicans probably approved by many Democrats protecting their own bacon. Straw men like this make headlines and cause justifiable outrage but neither this incident nor railing against grants intended to solve problems in engineering, robotics or other technologies while educating students goes to the heart of the problem.

In the Robo Squirrel case you have a notorious wing nut choosing an easy target in an opportunistic attempt to grab headlines and votes by satisfying the lizard brains of an uninformed constituency.  He says we waste 18 billion a year on this kind of research. 18 billion, really? If we used captains instead of colonels to make coffee and donut runs in the Pentagon we could save that much. I exaggerate but you get it, right?

As for the imagination of golfers, if they used their imagination they would leave the clubs in the car and take a nice walk.

This ubiquitous Internet that we use daily was a product of federally funded research. Much of the development of modern science, physics, chemistry, weather, agriculture, genetics and technology was dependent on taxpayer support for basic research. Corporations have derived enormous benefits from our history of publicly funding the progress of human knowledge.

Are there abuses, sweetheart deals, nonsensical funding? You bet, but lets not throw out the baby with the damn bathtub. Very often the purposes, results and benefits of fundamental research are not immediately obvious to those not directly involved. And sometimes the best experiments fail, but failure is itself part of the search for knowledge.

Who runs congress? Well, the house is run by the republicans and the senate by the democrats. Therefore both parties are at fault. Both parties don’t care about fixing this country’s problems, they just care about getting reelected.

Congress is currently run by guys in Prada shoes and silk neckties who bring checks, sacks of cash and promises of six figure post congressional employment to capitol hill fund raisers every day of the week. They have cheese in their teeth and larceny in their hearts as do many of the recipients of their favors.

The Senate, by the way, has been run by filibuster for the last several years allowing Mitch McConnell to block every important piece of legislation that wasn’t dead on arrival in Boehner’s medieval House of Reps. Without 60 votes nothing moves unless the Kentucky Turtle Dude says it does.

If you want to truly get this country going the right direction then we need to get some fresh ideas introduced to the electorate. That does not happen as long as the Republicans and Democrats are in control.

Yeah let’s have some fresh ideas. We could start on the right side of the aisle and suggest to our Republican friends that there may be something to these new concepts like evolution and gravity from uppity young Turks like Darwin and Newton. True, these ideas may be in their infancy and relatively untested but these guys may be on to something.

Or the age of the Earth, there’s a crazy new idea floating around that the universe is as much as 14 billion years old. We have a couple guys serving on one of our science committees who defend Bishop Usher’s contention that it’s no more than 6000 years old. Yeah, new ideas, sometimes our conservatives are a bit slow on the uptake.

Something on the order of 90 million votes were cast in Tuesday’s election, split approximately between two parties that rumor has it spent 4.2 billion to influence, cajole, suppress or steal. The President won the popular contest by a couple million votes making a winning vote worth something like $2100.

What third party candidate has that kind of clout? Admirable as they may be these folks are a sideshow. If it were up to me I’d love to support a straight socialist ticket. A good old fashioned Gene Debs or IWW brand of workers social populism but that’s a pipe dream and magical thinking.

If we want to solve our financial problems and pay down the deficit we will find the money where it went. We will claw it back from the financial and banking criminals whose degenerate gambling caused the collapse in the first place.

We will turn down the cash spigot to the voracious “defense” and national security industries.

We will negotiate pharmaceutical and health care prices for Medicare.

We will redirect a decent proportion of the flow of wealth to people who spend it and pay taxes on it.

We will not pay down the deficit by transferring the debt to the backs of the working poor or disadvantaged. Based on Bishop Usher’s calculations the universe is not likely to last that long.

But back to the voting booth. If my winning vote is worth 2100 dollars, I’m not going to toss it away at the Bearded Lady booth on my way into the Big Top to see the real circus. I might as well stay home.

Bob Higgins

4 Responses

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  1. Jerry said, on November 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Hello Bob, found your blog after reading a comment you posted on FB. You’ve made some very good points. My worry is that after the win in this election, the people who voted this time will forget about 2012 in the next mid-terms and we will have a repeat of the 2010 mid-terms. There has to be some way to maintain our enthusiasm through to the next election. It’s just a fact that when the Democrats do well in the national elections they rest on their laurels and get their ass handed to them in the mid-terms.

    Doing a google on “Democrats mid-term elections” brought up an article by a very smart young man who said this about the 2010 mid-terms “The Democratic base is holding at a solid “meh.” And that’s a bad sign for their leadership. Consider that in both 2008 and 2004, the party whose voters were most enthusiastic right before the election won easily — and the enthusiasm gap was much smaller in both those years than it is this year.” Ezra Kline …..

    I would truly hate to see the same thing happen in 2014 that gave us the TEA baggers that have infected our Congress now. What are you thoughts? How do you see keeping the voters motivated? Can this cycle of ‘meh’ be stopped? Thanks, Jerry

  2. Bob Higgins said, on November 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Historically both parties lose seats in the mid terms, likely because voter expectations outrun delivered results by glaringly noticeable margins. The cure? It’s gotta be results because you can’t turn around and begin reducing expectations in an inaugural address.

    I think the President has to continue to work as a populist, taking his case directly to the people which is what’s worked for him in the past. The people and the weight of public opinion are his only protection from a rabidly obstructionist congressional minority. The teabaggers in the House and and the Turtle Guy in the Senate are also looking for a mid term pickup and really don’t give a damn if people starve for another two years to provide it.

    People tire of politics and the only way to keep their attention is by keeping them directly involved, showing them what their stake is and who is trying to deny them their piece of the action.

    The Republicans are gutter fighters, if you fight them out of sight in dark alleys without a referee you’re likely to lose. The President needs to take the battle public, in the open and show the people exactly how ugly and corrupt this sausage making process can be and expose exactly who the ugliest players are.

    Thanks for stopping by, I enjoyed your comment.

    • Jerry said, on November 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      I’m inclined to believe, or hope anyway, that the lesson learned from 2010 will be remembered in two years. I haven’t really looked at the exit polls yet. If you do any analysis of them I’d like to see you post your thoughts.

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