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If a Republican Were President
Posted on Oct 13, 2011
If a Republican were president, there would be millions of properly coiffed middle-class Democrats and independents at those Occupy Wall Street marches, and no questions asked as to what they really want. With 25 million Americans unable to find full-time work, 50 million whose homeownership dream has turned into the nightmare of foreclosure, and an all-time high of 46.2 million, including 22 percent of our children, living in poverty, the call to throw the bums out would be compelling.
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Instead we are left with a Democratic president who soothes our rage with promises of decent-paying jobs that in actuality are being vigorously exported from our shores by the president’s top corporate backers. That absurdity was marked by Barack Obama’s choice of Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric—a company that has shifted to foreign countries two-thirds of its workforce and 82 percent of its profits—to head the president’s job creation council.
Obama has failed not because he is a progressive in the mold of Franklin Delano Roosevelt but because he is not. He has blindly followed the lead of George W. Bush in bankrupting the nation by throwing money at Wall Street while continuing to fund wildly expensive and unneeded wars.
Meanwhile, the Republicans divert public attention from their culpability in destroying a sound federal financial regulatory system and gifting Wall Street crooks with a platinum get-out-of-jail-free card. To listen to the GOP presidential candidates, the banking meltdown was caused by everyone except the bankers.
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OK, it would be worse if McCain had won and Gramm were his treasury secretary instead of being a super-compensated exec of the Swiss-based bank UBS, which American taxpayers bailed out. And, yes, the fact that Gramm is a supporter of his former student Rick Perry for the GOP presidential nomination is a reminder of just how dangerous the Republican alternatives are. But there is also some value in the clarity afforded by having visible villains occupying the White House.
Let me confess that I gagged on those words as soon as they were written. Clarity is not power, and the prospect of a Republican presidential victory by, say, Mitt Romney is just too unnerving. Romney’s economic program is Orwellian in form and substance: The candidate has asserted that our economy is in trouble because “President Obama has vastly expanded the regulatory reach of government.” Hogwash. It is because he hasn’t.
Romney’s proposed foreign policy is even more irresponsibly wrong. He has revived the discredited Pax Americana rhetoric of the neoconservatives that got us into the Iraq War and returned military spending to highs reached during the Cold War. That obsession with U.S. military dominance was laid out in his speech in South Carolina last week in which he said he would increase the size of the military by 100,000 members. Romney later thundered to cadets at The Citadel: “This century must be an American century. America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world. God did not create this country to be a nation of followers.”
Leaving aside assertions regarding God’s intentions, it is disturbing that the much discredited platform of the Project for a New American Century, which helped bankrupt this country, will once again become U.S. policy if the Republicans gain control of the White House.
No doubt many reasonable Americans will view Obama as the lesser evil come election time, and for some that will prove convincing. But I take the dreary choices to be one akin to a form of slow torture. Better to support the Occupy Wall Street protests as an inspiring alternative.
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