Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Republicans have gone mad

Last nights Republican convention was a truly bizarre display of political theater and incomprehensible policy. No matter which party, if any, you support, it must be very difficult to ascertain what the Republicans are actually trying to achieve. They talk about Washington as corrupt and “broken”, when they are the ones running it, and have run it for a decade. Their recommendations for the future describe a conservative vision for America that is already here, but they’re telling you we’re living in a “liberal” America…

I tuned in to the convention as Mitt Romney was about to speak, and I was flabbergasted by what he said. One of the first things he said was the following:

“Last week, the Democrats talked about change. But let me ask you — what do you think Washington is right now, liberal or conservative? Is a Supreme Court liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitution rights? It's liberal! Is a government liberal or conservative that puts the interests of the teachers union ahead of the needs of our children? It's liberal!”

Apparently, in Romney’s mind, the idea of the rule of law and everyone being equal before the law is something that can be scoffed at. The same goes for employee influence in the workplace and the efforts of organized employees to avoid arbitrary treatment and vanishing salaries..

Romney went on to speak of the economic problems facing America, saying that “liberal Washington” had made it that way. Unsurprisingly, he suggested lower taxes as a way out of the problems. He also said that America’s strength came from the opportunities in the economy (which I agree with) but to my great surprise there are certain threats to these opportunities, completely unknown to me, that can hurt the American economy. Romney said:

“Opportunity rises when children are raised in homes and schools that are free from pornography, promiscuity and drugs; in homes that are blessed with family values and the presence of a father and a mother.”

Uhhh… OK. Pornography and promiscuity are serious threats to the American economy!! I’d like to suggest more research into this statement. Economists seem to be very confused lately with respect to oil prices, stocks and unemployment, unable to capture the reason behind what’s happening. I hereby urge them to look into the Romney pornography connection. Soon we’ll have Wall Street investors pouring over pornography sales data in order to proclaim where the economy is headed. What’s happening with your job, are you getting laid off? Call up Penthouse and ask them how they’re doing; an enthusiastic description of recent sales increases should have you shaking in your boots.

Romney has been described in the media as a man who knows about the economy. Well, let me just say that that statement deserves a second look. The most flabbergasting comments came towards the end of Romney’s speech, when he started talking about the mortgage crisis. He said the following:

“Our economy has slowed down this year and a lot of people are hurting. What happened? Mortgage money was handed out like candy, speculators bought homes for free — when this mortgage mania finally broke, it slammed the economy.”

There is nothing strange or untrue about this statement, but why did this happen? Everybody knows exactly why it happened: because financial regulation was systematically decreased in size and scope for three decades in a row. Mortgage money was indeed handed out like candy, and this was made possible by a lack of regulation. There is no discussion here, there are essentially no other reasons behind the crisis. So, what does this man who “gets the economy” recommend to get us out of the crisis? He recommends the following:

“The right course is the one championed by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago, and by John McCain today. It is to rein in government spending and to lower taxes, for [sic] taking a weed whacker to excessive regulation and mandates […]”

Let’s hear it again: “taking a weed whacker to excessive regulation and mandates”. This statement is truly laughable by any standards. Who in their right mind would at this point in American history suggest LESS regulation as a way out of the current crisis!?

Well, that’s just it: the Republicans are out of their minds right now, coming up with some of the strangest arguments that I have ever heard. Here are a few examples:

Problem: gas is expensive.
Solution: increase the supply of gas to permanently lower prices.
Result: you have just failed a high school prep course for Economics 101.

Problem: Russia is energized, pissed, and humiliated.
Solution: piss off Russia even more.
Result: America’s influence in the world has been decreased again.

Problem: 20,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have access to healthcare.
Solution: increase reliance on privately run healthcare (whose interest is profit, not health).
Result: 30,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have access to healthcare.

In addition to these strange recommendations, Republicans are now trying to make the case that the problems we face is the fault of those other guys, the scary “liberals”. It’s not going to work. A lot of voters may be dumb, but they’re not that dumb.

My recommendation is the same as always: end the two-party dictatorship by abolishing the first-past-the-post voting system, and get the voter participation above 75% so that the will of the American people can be reflected at all via roughly 10 different political parties.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Sen. McCain and Former Gov. Romeny spoke as though the Republicans have been out of power and they want to rescue us from an incompetent and dysfunctional government.

Of course, seven of the nine Supreme Court Justices and a majority of the other federal judges were appointed by Republican Presidents.

Of course, both the US Senate and the House of Repreentatives had been controlled by Republicans for twelve of the last fourteen years.

Of course, Republican nominees have won seven of the last ten Presidential elections

They say that John McCain is a military hero who has earned a place in the White House. Using that logic, why would they have chosen George W. Bush over John McCain eight years ago? For that matter, how could they support the swift-boating of Democratic nominee John Kerry in 2004.

They seem so disconnected from reality.