BY VERN TURNER
It gets harder each week to make sense of the political machinations of those desiring the weirdest and hardest job ever invented: President of the United States.
It’s not like it was always this way. Heck, Warren Harding, James Buchannan, Calvin Coolidge and even Herbert Hoover just punched their clock every day until it was time to leave. I’m sure there are more, but history blurs their insignificance.
Then there were those who align with Voltaire’s quote: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. I think we can say that was true for nasty people like Andrew Jackson, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.
From the current field of candidates, one is challenged to determine what these people intend to do as the servant of all the people. Polls such as those from the Pew Research Center, Lake Research Partners, AP, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, CBS News, CNN and The Hill cumulatively show the people, aka the electorate, want certain things that neither the GOP candidates NOR the current Congress are talking about.
Here are some examples of the polling:
47%-75% strongly support increased Social Security benefits
70%-80% want stronger gun regulations like background checks.
70%-75% want to end corporate tax loopholes and offshore banking.
62%-82% support expanding labor unions.
60%-75% want a universal, single-payer health care system.
75% want a living wage to act as the minimum wage.
Speaking of living wages, here is a link to charts for every county in the country showing what it takes to live there. http://livingwage.mit.edu/ You’ll see that the lowest of these requires at least a $3 per hour raise in the minimum wage for a single person with no dependents.
Is anybody besides Bernie Sanders talking about that in their campaign speeches? Nope.
The Republican presidential campaign was affectionately known as the clown car as we wondered how many more candidates could be crammed into this careening vehicle of corporate-funded silliness. Apparently the crowding created a critical mass and two sub-atomic particles were ejected. Rick Perry and now Scott Walker both made platitudinous speeches and left the circus. So, what is left for the amusement of the audience?
First, we must remember some things about this lot of conservatives. No progress is ever attributed to conservatives and today’s self-ordained field of them have scrapped the traditional role of “maintaining,” “protecting” and “conserving” the best parts of society in favor of the radical reactionary disruption of government and society. Instead, today’s GOP fantasizes about a Golden Era that never was and could never be. Furthermore, they cannot agree on a functional platform for the present, never mind one for the future.
Nothing blinds the movement toward progress more than the self-congratulatory, exaggerated idea of blind exceptionalism.
The candidates seem to be saying everything possible to deny the virtues of our history OR our possibilities for our future. On Sept. 22 Jeb Bush said that “we should not have a multi-cultural society. We create pockets of isolation and, in some places, the process of assimilation has been retarded … it limits people’s aspirations.” Here’s a news flash for Jeb: Our entire immigration history to this continent is what brought us our multiculturalism, the thing that made us the most advanced society in the history of the world. Those “pockets” of cultural diversity existed and exist everywhere. They are called “ethnic conclaves.” They assimilate at their pleasure. They had to and still do. It’s how we manage to go forward and make progress. It’s perhaps no wonder that Bush is still wallowing in single-digits in the polls.
Speaking of polls: Carly Fiorina, following her second debate on the big stage, managed to squeeze more lies and distortions into a cubic minute than any of the others and vaulted into second place behind the faltering Trump show. Ben Carson, mumbling to the world about how Charles Darwin was influenced by Satan to “create” his theories of evolution, slipped a notch or two as even the Republicans who are paying attention see him for what he is: a non-president with no hope of grasping anything more complex than a scalpel.
This GOP presidential cycle reminds me some of the 2012 fiasco when there was a new front-runner every week depending on how many talk shows he could get on. Remember Herman Cain, the Godfather’s Pizza king? Is Ben Carson this cycle’s Cain? Is Carson the sop to white people who want to feel all righteous about voting for a black man?
This time, Trump has bombasted himself into a steady lead as front-runner. Every time somebody gains on him, he says something more outrageous than before and the dewy-eyed Republican “base” gives him more cred. Amazing how easy it is if you’re a Republican …
During the last circus act, aka the Republican Debate, I took notes. Every candidate spewed lies and un-truths until it became boring and expected. What was completely missing, however, were any comments on topics affecting the people of the United States.
Fiorina’s idiotic statement about expanding the Sixth Fleet to thwart Putin should have been replaced by how jobs could be returned to our shores. Her craven comment about fetal dissection videos was just hideous and wrong.
Instead, they should have discussed how our crumbling roads and bridges could be repaired, how we should find a way to re-establish an adequate benefits program for our veterans, how we can change the rules on Wall Street so they don’t do what they did in 2007-08 or how our health care system could be upgraded to include all the people. No. That’s not what any of them talked about.
Instead, the gang of 14 talked about defunding Planned Parenthood, or shutting down the government if they couldn’t do that. They blamed President Obama for everything from sunspots to teenage acne. They even talked about flat taxes instead of the progressive tax system being adjusted to close loopholes for the rich and corporate America.
Then, we must understand who funds these people. It is Wall Street and corporate/banking America. We will hear nothing from the Republicans about the welfare of the people. Instead we will hear about how same-sex marriage and abortion are destroying our country while the “money changers” run off with even more of the people’s money.
There is insufficient space to take apart all the candidates running for president as Republicans, but the clown car keeps trundling along on its misaligned wheels, it’s smoking motor of nonsense and its vainglorious driver of today, Donald Trump, careening toward the cliff of idiotic non sequitors, lies and total absence of governing philosophy.
All the while, the bleating horn of the clown car sounds a lot like a desperate bunch of corrupt fools trying to sound important. My mother warned me about avoiding such things. So, I’m staying off the GOP road while the clown car tries to avoid crashing.
– Vern Turner lives in Marble Falls, TX and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism, is available through Amazon.com.