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This post was edited by braun at 2012-2-24 20:14|
This is a US election that defies logic and brings the nation closer towards a dictatorship, masquerading as a two-party state.
The Democratic incumbent has surrounded himself with conservative advisors and key figures — many from previous administrations, and an unprecedented number from the Trilateral Commission. He also appointed a former Monsanto executive as Senior Advisor to the FDA. He has extended Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, presided over a spiralling rich-poor gap and sacrificed further American jobs with recent free trade deals.Trade union rights have also eroded under his watch. He has expanded Bush defence spending, droned civilians, failed to close Guantanamo, supported the NDAA which effectively legalises martial law, allowed drilling and adopted a soft-touch position towards the banks that is to the right of European Conservative leaders. We list these because many of Obama’s detractors absurdly portray him as either a radical liberal or a socialist, while his apologists, equally absurdly, continue to view him as a well-intentioned progressive, tragically thwarted by overwhelming pressures. 2008's yes-we-can chanters, dazzled by pigment rather than policy detail, forgot to ask can what? Between 1998 and the last election, Obama amassed $37.6million from the financial services industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. While 2008 presidential candidate Obama appeared to champion universal health care, his first choice for Secretary of Health was a man who had spent years lobbying on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry against that very concept. Hey! You don't promise a successful pub, and then appoint the Salvation Army to run it. This time around, the honey-tongued President makes populist references to economic justice, while simultaneously appointing as his new Chief of Staff a former Citigroup executive concerned with hedge funds that bet on the housing market to collapse. Obama poses something of a challenge to The Political Compass, because he's a man of so few fixed principles.
As outrageous as it may appear, civil libertarians and human rights supporters would have actually fared better under a Republican administration. Had a Bush or McCain presidency continued Guantanamo and introduced the NDAA, the Democratic Party would have howled from the rooftops. Under a Democratic administration, these far-reaching developments have received scant opposition and a disgraceful absence of mainstream media coverage.
Democratic and, especially, some Republican candidates, will benefit massively from new legislation that permits them to receive unlimited and unaccountable funding. This means a significant shift of political power to the very moneyed interests that earlier elections tried to contain. Super PACs will inevitably reshape the system and undermine democracy. It would be naïve to suppose that a President Gingrich would feel no obligations towards his generous backer, Sheldon Adelson, one of the country’s most influential men. Or a President Santorum towards billionaire mutual fund tycoon, Foster Freiss. Santorum emerges as the most authoritarian candidate, not the least for his extreme stand against abortion and condom sales. In our opinion, Romney, despite his consistent contempt for the impoverished, is correctly described as the weather vane candidate. He shares another similarity with Obama. His corporate-friendly health care plan for Massachusetts was strikingly similar to the President's "compromise" package. The emergence of the Tea Party enables an increasingly extreme GOP to present itself as middle-of-the road — between an ultra right movement with "some good ideas that might go a bit too far" and, on the other side, a dangerous "socialist" president.
Since FDR, the mainstream American "Left" has been much more concerned with the social rather than the economic agenda. Identity politics; issues like peace, immigration, gay and women's rights, prayers in school have been of greater importance than matters like a minimum living wage . It's therefore understandable that many of them speak warmly about the most right wing of all the Republican contenders, Ron Paul. Paul is an extraordinary figure in this most extraordinary election. At 76, the sprightly, softly-spoken Congressman commands enormous youth enthusiasm and support across the spectrum - from Ralph Nader to the John Birch Society. Nader, who has spent decades campaigning for greater regulation of corporations, has somehow put his lot in with the most deregulatory of all the candidates. Many liberals appreciate Paul for his promise to bring the troops home, slash the defence budget and, among other things, his principled opposition to the NDAA. The harsh social Darwinism of Paul's core beliefs, however, appear to be of relatively little importance to such progressives. Similarly. his opposition to abortion and his support for creationism, which have endeared him to the Christian Coalition. Paul, the only conviction politician among them, no doubt enjoys a wider support base than the primary results suggest As the front-running three continue to bruise each other shadow boxing, he might yet emerge as the last man standing at the Convention. As president, Paul could be expected to reach widely beyond the Republicans in his appointments, further blurring party distinctions. While the liberal aspects of Paul’s social policies are anathema to neo-cons, he remains the Republicans' best hope of achieving the presidency. Under a second term of Obama, however, the GOP can remain confident that it will continue to frame the debates.