As a snapshot of the wildly dysfunctional state of our political union, last night’s festivities were a smashing success. All sides were serving up plenty of mom, apple pie and platitudes while ignoring what’s actually left on plates of millions of Americans –nothing.
I did find at least something to agree with in what each of the speakers said. Who can quarrel with President Obama when he calls on us to “win the future?” And I want my government as lean and mean as Paul Ryan and the Republicans do, without any wasteful subsidies that boost corporate tycoons and their overseas expansion rather than creating decent-paying jobs here at home.
It’s true that the tea party’s spokeswoman, Rep. Michele Bachman of Minnesota, looked like aliens had captured her brain and were speaking through her. Maybe we would have been better off if the aliens had captured Obama and Ryan too. At least Bachman briefly took note of the high unemployment rate before she went off to into her own rhetorical fantasyland.
That’s more than you can say for President Obama, who was pitching us his hallucination that his new pals from the Chamber of Commerce are going to beat their corporate profits into ploughshares in partnership with government, in an effort to foster new technologies and growth that we all share. Forgive me if I can’t get too worked up about this. Didn’t we try this government-corporate partnership recently? Wasn’t that what the bailout was?
Back here on Planet Earth, that didn’t work out so well for a lot of us, though it does seem to have worked well for the president’s friends at General Electric and JPMorgan Chase.
Both Ryan and Bachman aren’t interested in any partnerships; they want to dismantle government altogether so that GE, JPMorgan and the rest of the corporatariat can run the show without any interference at all. The only difference is that Bachman would like to do it faster, with less nice talk, than Ryan.
Neither the president, Ryan, or Bachman could focus on reality long enough to mention the long, steep decline of the middle class or the on-going foreclosure crisis, or offer any specific ideas on addressing those very real issues.
Back here on Planet Earth, we’re going to have to harness all of our ingenuity, strength and diversity just to wrestle our political system back from these leaders and their corporate backers before they plunder what’s left of it.