The Joy of Confusion
As Cokie Roberts said on Mornin’ Joe this morning, the Republican Mantra for the weekend is simple; “Obama bad! Obama Bad!”
One would assume that the Democrats’ return would be “Obama good! Obama Good!”
In 2012, the Republicans were fractured with terrible candidates and in-fighting between the Tea Party and the old guard. And the President still had enough mo-jo to overcome a nervous party at his back and carry voters along to keep the Republicans from celebrating prematurely a Congressional takeover.
In 2014, things have not stayed the same. The Republicans have managed to contain themselves by nominating relatively decent candidates, and sticking to their initial plan: Obamacare is bad, Ebola is bad, war in the MidEast is bad, gas prices at their lowest level in years are bad, good employment figures are bad, and deficit reduction is bad.
And the Democrats are now behaving like the Republicans of 2012. Running with hair on fire from the President and his accomplishments, utilizing nominees who are just a bit weak and untried, fighting among themselves in a circular firing squad.
Wonderful to say, after all the months of worry and fibbing, of spinning and screaming “Lies!”, of running commercials on television that are simply beyond believable, no one today (except perhaps the most optimistic Republicans) is willing to lay a lot of money on the line for his/her side.
That is the single wise decision of this election season. No one knows, five days out, what’s going to happen.
Ballots across the country contain 147 propositions that are more ridiculous than sensible. Independent candidates are muddying the waters wherever they run. And a new class of candidate has managed to swim to the surface in his or her community: the convicted felon. It seems people are happier to see criminals in high office, the old tried and true criminals from whom they know what to expect, than reformers, fresh faces with fresh ideas.
Even better, voters are lining up to vote for former political losers, men or women who have run once, twice, three times and lost, lost, lost, but now they’re back on the ballot and again, voters remember them and feel more comfortable voting for a known failure than an untried tyro.
Add to all this, we find we still have to battle abortion and birth control and personhood; we still have to find a uniquely successful set of conditions for small businesses; we have to find a way to buy what we want without sacrificing anything further in taxes that provide the money to buy what’s wanted. Education is a forgotten concern. National defense is a thing of the past. We’re depressed and determined to settle for second place in the world of influential international nations. We’re terrified of disease, and scared to death by ISIS.
This is not a happy time.
And the results of Tuesday’s election are not going to make people happier.
Where’s the good news?
It’s hard to find. But for one fact. America has five more days to hope like hell life is not as unsatisfying as it thinks. Five days in which to dream and make-believe. Five days to crow about your own sides’ chances, five more days to rundown the other guy’s.
There’s time left to consider the improved economic condition of the nation. That wonderful question, ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago, or even two years?’’ is still a valid thermometer.
It is true that the President has reached such a low state of repute that he is dragging on his follower’s effort to retake the Senate or even make improvement in their number in the house. And with the growth of our news cycle to a 24/7 one, and the number of hours spent sitting before Fox News and MSNBC, each and every race, state by state, seems to have grown disproportionately so that we are all captives, all rooting for a barnyard worker in Iowa, or a man proud of being one of the country’s greatest practitioners of sending jobs to Mexico from North Carolina. We are all puzzled by candidates who campaign as follows: “I’m a businessman.” So what? And for every candidate who announces proudly that he or she has a ”plan” to solve any and all problems, all we want to know are the details. It’s not enough to simply say one has a solution but isn’t going to tell anyone else what it is until and unless he or she is elected. What happened to people wanting to serve the entire country?
We’ve done this to ourselves. As someone once dictated, ‘‘we get the government we deserve.”
If we get continuing chaos, we deserve it, regardless of which party edges out the other.
In national polls, more than 60 per cent of respondents report they believe we’re headed in the wrong directions.
Does anyone feel differently?