Thursday, August 28, 2008

Politics just got more depressing

See that Barrack Obama speech in Denver tonight?

This whole thing is starting to sound a hell of a lot like the 1992 election in which a reeling Republican administration had to deal with that change-loving Bill Clinton.

Here's but one parallel that ought to bother folks. Obama has been harping about a middle class tax cut and he did so again tonight. Yes, it's time to bring some relief to the working folks of this country that are struggling through a slumping economy and are having trouble making ends meet.

Clinton promised one of those, too. America just loved to hear ol' Billy wax poetic about his middle class tax cut. That, indeed, was one of those promises that played well with the voters -- the very idea that the middle class was going to get some relief while those rich folks were going to take it on the chin netted Bill a vote or two.

Here's the thing, though. After the election, George Stephanopoulos was on one of those political shows that dotted network television on Sunday mornings. The host asked him, directly, about that tax cut and Stephanopoulos declared up and down that Clinton never promised such a thing.

So the tax cut was off the table.

Here's the problem with Obama's promise. Politicians are expected to lie through their teeth to us -- to say anything it takes to get elected. So, how serious is Obama about cutting my taxes? Does anyone really believe that Obama will make good on that promise and have we gotten so cynical that there will be no ramifications if he fails to do so?

The concern here is that Obama has also promised a lot of things that involve swelling the already oppressive size of the federal government. Given his adoration of throwing cash at problems, he may well follow through on those.

We've heard Obama give some vaguely-defined promises of expanding health care and investing heavily in alternative energy. Hell, Barak is Jesus, Santa Claus and the Great Pumpikin all rolled into one and he's going to give us all a bunch of cool, free stuff. Well, it's not exactly free. You need cash to have our buddy, the federal government, step in take care of problems. Where's that money going to come from, huh? Why, from the folks who wind up taking an absolute beating every time the role of government expands -- the middle class.

This all sounds a bit too familiar to the junk that Clinton pulled 16 years ago -- promise that tax cut to get the masses in line, then stick it to them once in office. Things may actually get worse under Obama as he's a man who loved to toss out socialist rhetoric before he secured the nomination and found it necessary to sound like a moderate.

Socialism is expensive and the folks who go out and work for a living simply get hosed every time a well-meaning Democrat rolls out a Great Society, a New Deal and other programs designed to put the government in the position of wealth redistribution.

The alternative to Obama's potential cash-grab isn't a whole lot better. John McCain sounds a heck of a lot like George Bush these days, and you'd be hard pressed to even find a Republican who will admit he wants four more years of that.

In short, Obama has been vague so far and sounds very much like a man making promises he doesn't intend to keep. McCain, meanwhile, has been running around sounding like a president who has, arguably, done an even worse job than Jimmy Carter or Lyndon Johnson.

One thing is certain. Both Obama and McCain are very much products of their respective political parties. The Democrats and Republicans can share a lot of the blame for the mess we're in now, so who in their right mind thinks that either party will actually bring anything in the way of new solutions to the table? Obama might like to harp on the theme of "change" quite a bit, but the irony there is that he's really spouting the same old junk we've heard from the Democrats for years. That will probably strike some civics students as funny as hell one of these days, but it's nothing to laugh about right now.

So we get two candidates who will likely stay committed to the same old crap that's failed the nation completely. Some choice, huh? I'm starting to understand why some people just don't bother to go out and vote.

If these two candidates are the best we can do, that Greek temple that served as Obama's backdrop starts to look a lot more Roman in design.

15 comments:

Theresa said...

You're right, it's going down, and going down fast. Is there a parachute large enough to slow the decent?

He also promised that we'd be free from foreign oil dependence in 10 years. That's nice, considering he won't be in office then. I'd like to know how he plans to stop businesses from hiring illegals and exporting jobs. That should be interesting to see.

Wipe off that crystal ball of yours, Hawg, and tell me how this is going to all turn out, ok?

Leigh said...

Actually, Barack Obama stated in his speech that he already has every dime accounted for and spelled out, including closing tax loopholes on big business and corporations. That alone will bring 150 billion dollars into play for his programs.

As far as him sounding like Clinton ... that's really not a bad thing, considering our economy was great and the country had a surplus for the first time in eons when he was president!

The Natural State Hawg said...

Theresa:

Heh. I have no idea. One thing is clear -- I won't much like whoever ends up winning this election.

I know I'm not alone in that, either.

The Natural State Hawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Natural State Hawg said...

Leigh:

That all sounds nice, of course. Obama could have said he would give everyone in the nation a lollipop, too, but that doesn't mean he's sincere.

And sincerity is an issue here. We had both the Clintons and Biden claiming that Obama wasn't prepared to be president back in the primaries. Yes, they were pretty vehement about that, in fact.

Now, of course, they've changed their tune. Obama is a great leader, all of the sudden.

Lying is just par for the course in politics anymore. That being the case, we can either believe that *this* politician will be different from the rest or fall back on experience and believe that things will be no different this time around. I'll go ahead and be the cynic here and worry that Obama is just spewing rhetoric. Democrats simply don't give a damn dime back once they take it, so why should that change? To assume that Obama will make good on that promise requires a leap of faith that it may be foolhardy to take. Obama may close up those loopholes, but those of us in the middle class had better be ready to pony up some cash, too.

I'll also argue all day long against how great it would be to have Clinton back in office. He sucked, too. Remember the "miracle" dot-com mess that Clinton and Gore were touting? That blew up in our faces and took billions of dollars in venture capital with it. Also, I owned a business back then -- I was thrilled to watch my taxes increase every year since, hell, we were barely scraping by to begin with. Clinton's tax policies were downright hostile toward entrepreneurs and some of the taxes he crammed down our throats as governor of Arkansas didn't help things, either.

At the end of the day, both the Democrats and Republicans are failures. Arguing over which failure is preferable is rapidly reaching the point where it's hysterically pointless.

Caledonian Jim said...

From a UK perspective, watching the US Presidential election is depressing because you guys have to listen to exactly the same bullshit promises from your politicians as we do.

Obama 2008 is like Blair 1997 - all smoke and mirrors. Europeans are convinced he's going to win easily but that just shows ignorance of the American political landscape. And his acceptance speech looked impressive but he WAS preaching to the converted.

Perhaps the saddest thing is that for the US and the UK, whoever wins elections makes very little REAL difference once you strip away the rhetoric.

Jesse Frederick said...

What else can I say? Amen!

Theresa said...

I used to think well of Clinton because of the surplus. But, wasn't he the one that signed into law NAFTA? That may have caused his surplus right there, but it screwed American people that don't have the luxury of picking up and moving to wherever it's cheapest. He also made it impossible to help people out of the trap of poverty, and most of them were children both with cuts to social services and the 5-year limit on public assistance. The public assistance numbers got smaller while the homeless numbers went through the roof. We don't have to worry about them at all, they aren't counted on the census.

I'll wait to make my final decision after next week's convention, though I'm not feeling very hopeful either. I just might have to write in Snoopy...

wildcatsthree said...

You just put in writing everything my husband and I have been talking about. And unfortunately there are people who actually believe Obama is the second coming and can change everything. They don't realize the president can do little without Congress - it's the Congress that needs to be totally overhauled. They also don't understand that the "Government" is actually us tax payers and like you said we will take it on the chin every time the government bails something out. And everyone conveniently forgets the great Bill Clinton got us into NAFTA. The actions of the president and congress don't always show up immediately, and by the time they do that president is out of office and claiming everything was great when he was in power. I heard a long time ago that the good economic years of Clinton had nothing to do with him. They were the result of Ronald Reagan, and with what he put into place, our economy could run on auto pilot for 7 years, so Clinton reaped the reward in his first 3 years of office. That would also apply to what he got through in his 8 years extending over into Bush's term. I'm not a fan of GW either, but I think some of the things he gets blamed for are not his fault. So much of it goes back to Congress - they all need to be removed.

Jay W. said...

Freedom isn't free.

Da Old Man said...

Ok, he's going to lower taxes, and increase services? Cool.
All he's got to do is print up some more money. Problem solved.

Runaway inflation will result?

But then we'll all be millionaires.

Got to look on the bright side, Hawg.

PaulsHealthBlog.com said...

I watched Obama's speech. It was impressive, as well as the ability to hold the final night of the convention in front of 85,000 people at Invesco Field.

In the end, however, it's all style over substance.

We do not need to grow the government. We do not need a larger federal government. We need more power given to the states, and we need more of a voice at the local level, in small towns and cities.

Americans are smart people. We know how to handle our own money as well as our own lives.

The question is, will we ever again have qualified officials running for office who will let us do so.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Caledonian Jim -- Good points all around and we just had a new wrinkle thrown in things today, didn't we? A lot of us Republicans are now voting in anticipation of what will happen in four years rather than right now -- it's rather like we'll put up with McCain in hopes of giving that dandy Sarah Palin a shot somewhere down the road.

Odd, but the past few elections have been downright strange. Why should this one be any different?

What do folks in your neck of the woods think of McCain's chances?

At any rate, that was a great point about what happens when you strip away the rhetoric. However, consider this -- are McCain and Obama really that similar or is there any way in hell of knowing just what we will get with either one of them?

Jesse -- Thanks for that. And thank God I feel a bit better about things today. Love McCain's pick for a running mate.

Theresa -- Isn't it funny how much difference a day can make? Yeah, things look a lot brighter today, don't they?

wildcatsthree -- Here's the fundamental problem with removing Congress. Everyone hates all of those Senators and Congressmen.

Except for their own delegation, of course. Odd how that works, isn't it? "We hate 'em all! Except for ours, of course. They're pretty good!"

And so it goes.

Good comment about NAFTA. There was a winner there, huh?

Jay W. -- "No, there's a hefty (bleepin') fee."

Yes, this here is kind of a family blog. Feel like watching Team America again, all of the sudden.

Da Old Man -- Yep. He's going to do all of that. Obama is *magic*

Paul -- Sounds rather like Reagan -- "Government isn't the solution. It's the problem."

Ah, if only we could get back to that philosophy from either party...

Roger said...

Well - whoever wins this election have a hell of a nation to manage.
After getting to know Palin's credentials more - I kinda like her, but not in this current climate.
I think a person like her would have been great after Clinton in 2000.
But now?
Everyone saying she is tough, she can fight the fight, etc. I think she can do well domestically but this country has more foreign policy troubles than ever.
Can she handle the complexity and difficulty of Iraq, Iran, Russia, North Korea, etc.
It is these issues that troubles me to consider Palin as VP.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Roger:

A lot of people have those "foreign policy" concerns, but consider this. Obama served for less than five months in the Senate prior to running for president. What kind of experience did that stint give him?

And, what's worse -- having an inexperienced vice president or an inexperienced president?

Palin will be fine.