Togane, Japan
December 31
I'm teaching English in foreign countries as a way to see the world. I lived in Germany for three years and have been in Japan since August of 2011.


Kemstone's Links

JANUARY 4, 2012 9:56PM

The 2012 Election is Over

Rate: 7 Flag


The Iowa caucuses were last night, and after months and months of exciting horse-race politics in which nearly every single Republican candidate surged to front-runner status and then fell back again, the winner was the guy everybody originally thought would win.

Mitt Romney came in first place ahead of Rick Santorum by just 8 votes.  The narrow margin made the night as dramatic as the rest of the race has been so far, but like the entire presidential electoral process in general, it was mostly inconsequential.  Santorum only did so well because his popularity happened to peak at just the right time, but like every other alternative-to-Romney candidate in the field, his numbers will plummet once people start paying more attention to him.

And so as early as January 5, with only one primary contest finished and ten months to go before the general election, I can boldly pronounce who the winner of the 2012 election will be: Wall Street, and the rest of Corporate America.

It’s all over, folks.  The corporate plutocracy that owns the media and our politicians now has this one in the bag.  They already own Barack Obama, and they’ve owned Mitt Romney for quite some time.  Both of these guys have demonstrated that they will do whatever the big corporations want them to do, with a few minor exceptions Obama has to make for political reasons (e.g. the consumer financial protection bureau).

The choice between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is a choice between two different brands of the same product.  It’s like being offered Pepsi or Coke when what you really want is orange juice.  (Or more accurately, it’s like a choice between Coca-Cola and Royal Crown Cola, both of which are owned by the same company.)

The powerful financial interests which make up the establishment would call the shots no matter who gets elected, be it Obama, Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, or almost any of the others.  There are only three candidates in the entire race who would not be beholden to them: 1- Rocky Anderson, who is a third-party candidate and therefore has no chance, 2- Buddy Roemer (a.k.a. “who is that?”) and 3- Ron Paul.

Yes, the last best chance for real change in 2012 was a Ron Paul victory in Iowa.  He was the only real threat to the establishment, but they were able to snuff it out in Iowa.  Unfortunately, he was too easy of a target.

Don’t get me wrong—there’s a lot to dislike about Ron Paul.  Those racist newsletters are a disastrous reflection on his character and his obvious lies to pretend he knew nothing about them made it clear that he’s not quite as honest as he seems.  His die-hard libertarianism, if fully implemented, would be a disaster of epic proportions.

But he’s not running for dictator.  He’s running for president, and the president does not have nearly the kind of power it would require for him to implement his entire agenda.  He would try to eliminate the department of commerce, of education, of energy, the EPA, and so on, but Congress wouldn’t let him.  There would be bipartisan opposition to all extremist legislation he proposes, and while a few Republicans would take his side in some fights, the vast majority are owned by the establishment and the establishment would make defeating him their top priority.

On the other hand, there are certain things the president has the power to do all on his own without approval from Congress.  He could and would stand against the military industrial complex and get our troops out of Afghanistan immediately, saving billions of dollars of the national budget currently being wasted.  He could end the war on drugs, freeing up law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes and deal a death-blow to the cartels.  Finally, he could aggressively go after and prosecute every single one of those Wall Street bankers who committed the fraud that crashed the economy and then walked away with millions in taxpayer-funded bonuses.

But this is all a fantasy.  Ron Paul would never win the Republican nomination, though I think he’d probably stand the best chance of beating Barack Obama because unlike any other Republican he actually appeals to liberals for the reasons stated above.  No progressive is going to vote for Romney, but plenty would be tempted to vote for Ron Paul.

At the very least, a Ron Paul nomination would turn the establishment media on its head.  The mainstream media, owned by the same corporations that own the government, would throw everything they have at Paul including, possibly, rational arguments over policy!  There would be a real debate over things like the proper extent of the role of government in people’s lives, and conservatives would look at his extreme views and be forced to acknowledge that it should at least play some role.  There would be a real discussion over the efficacy of the war on drugs, and if enough people look at the statistics it might finally tip the scales against prohibition, an obviously failed and counter-productive policy.  Finally, we’d have a real debate over the wars, and with the Democratic candidate in favor of them and the Republican candidate against, people would have to consider their own opinion instead of just accepting the default position of their team.

But the best thing about the imaginary Paul vs. Obama scenario is that Fox News and the rest of the conservative corporate media would take Obama’s side.  After all, he’s a part of the establishment and Paul is not.  It serves their purposes to be against Obama now because they are still hoping for a more corporate-friendly president, but if Paul were to be the Republican nominee all that nonsense about Obama being a socialist left-wing radical would go straight out the window and the likes of O’Reilly and Hannity would be talking night after night about how Obama has actually been governing pretty much like a moderate Republican.

Sadly, none of that will happen now, so the establishment can rest easy.  There will be no real change this year.  The middle-class continues to be squeezed and squeezed but the tipping point has not yet been reached and that slowly roasting kettle will not boil over.  In 2011 many people finally took to the streets in a genuine rebellion against the establishment, but that political energy will be absorbed by the election as people eventually accept a candidate and line up behind them.  Instead of fighting for real change, most of these people will be fighting to re-elect Obama for the sole reason that they believe Romney will be far worse.  But in reality, it will make almost no difference.

The American presidential electoral process used to have the potential to bring about change, but ever since the government has been completely absorbed by the corporations and all of the candidates bought by the same interests, it’s become little more than a sideshow—a useful distraction for the politically-active to direct their energy away from actually fighting for real issues.  It’s only January, but the election is already over.  The 1% win.  The rest of us lose.

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Nailed it!

The election is just a Punch & Judy show and will be used as a red herring distraction to keep people from becoming aware too quickly of the real problems they face. As you say, the pot won't boil over just yet. Whether it will before 2016 is unanswered. I suspect that it will. I also suspect that the GOP knows that it will and don't really want to be in the Oval Office when it happens.

Gonna be a hot time in the ol' town....... soon!
It is no surprise Ron Paul wants to legalize drugs- after all, he named his own son after a well-known tweaker! (drug war is just racism anyway- and after prohibition worked so well ...)

While it would be absurd to claim corporate interests don't have a hold on the Dems, your argument is an old, tired, and very false one ... and, a very, very dangerous one- last time it was used instead of a guy who is trying to end Global Warming we got his so-called equivalent by your measure- who quite literally ruined the country and most of the world while killing and displacing millions. Oh yeah, Gore and Bush were practically twins.

I will never in my life forget the year 2000, visiting the Bay Area and standing on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley having a full force shouting match with the credulous, imbecilic and fantasy driven Naderites who tried to feed me your line. I blame them 1000% for giving the world Bush and every treasonous and inept act he let Cheney and Rove foist. Nice going, Ralph. BTW, Corvairs are worth a pretty penny these days ...

Naivete is not pretty. You seem to think our BLACK HAWAIIAN FEARLESS LEADER is some kind of lion tamer who can whip Wall Street into shape without causing mass panic in the markets- HA!

Now, all we need to do is re-elect him and watch how he rolls once termed out ... you'll owe a huge retraction but no worries, by then Tokyo's markets may FINALLY finish their own conservative caused decades long slump.

Imua (Onward)
Excellent analysis of what I've referred to as the World Wrestling Federation of R v. D politics. The manipulation of a public that manages to make so many people continue to buy into the idea they really have a choice continues to amaze me. I guess a lot of it relies on the many promises of magic redemption which hold so much power, from religion to Santa.

What people will manage to do if they ever realize how badly they've been taken, I have no idea. For my part, I've been trying to focus more on what good I can accomplish directly and resist as much as possible the impulse to be reactionary as each new wave of disgust passes by. I won't claim to be completely successful in the effort.
I have to agree with you, as usual. Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi agrees with you/us, too:

In his piece, Taibbi tabulates how much Barack Obama and John McCain took from the Wall Street weasels for their 2008 presidential bids and demonstrates that Obama took much more than McCain did.

Indeed, Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is just for show and just for Obama's re-election. I mean, it took Obama only until early 2012 to do something for the working class and middle class when the economic meltdown began in 2008. Because he CARES SO MUCH!

I can't get into Ron Paul, who claims to be all about getting the government out of our personal lives, but who is a stanch opponent of a woman's right to an abortion. This smacks of misogyny to me -- surely only men deserve not to have their privacy infringed upon by the government, right?

Ron Paul is an apparent racist and homophobe, too, and unfortunately, when he is right on an issue, it tends to be for the wrong reasons.

Fact is, there is no good candidate, and you are quite correct: whether it's Obama or Romney, the 1 percent already have won.
You make an interesting case on a likely outcome of a Paul vs Obama race. I guess now I'd rather see it than the Romney one. It sure looks though like a lot of Repubs want anyone but Romney. I imagine that Florida will be the major test.
Please Kem the Iowa caucus was as phony as the MSM itself. All the exit polls showed Paul winning but as you said: he cannot, he may beat Obama and actually save America in its final moments. We can’t have that! That’s why the republicans are going to throw the elections to Obama. I have never seen a collection of people so stupid in all of my life and you wouldn't believe some of the places I have been. There are those who are actually going to vote for Romney or Santorum (maybe not that many but enough to cover for the fixed primary's). Just what do these morons think they are going to do in an election against Obama? Shine his shoes? I nearly threw up when they cut their own soldier off when he started uttering sacrilege like Israel can kick Iran's ass right off the map with no help at all from America. We can’t state the obvious now can we? Even a moron who would vote for Romney might understand it as long as it was presented on the MSM.

Final vote count moved to a secret undisclosed location? Santorum comes in second after never drawing more that 100 people to a rally? Everybody in that state knows who should have won that primary. When will you all realize there is only one way to combat shenanigans like this. As Nietzsche once said we will “pit our monsters against their monsters” neutralizing their legions of paid dialecticians. By letting them talk we our conceding to them. As the the platitude go’s talk is cheap and they will win every debate simply because there is so little consequence to talk. Every 5$ bill they have creates a new “expert” to sell their lies to the American people. Soldiers are far more expensive and you cannot buy a monster.
But when was this ever in serious doubt?
Elections do not bring to heel or bring down that kind or power, power of that nature.
Other methods do.
I should reply to Oahusurfer's comment that my argument is wrong because the 2000 election demonstrated that elections do have serious consequences.

This is undoubtedly the best example to use, but it's based on a very big assumption. If Geoff and Abe are both applying for the job of head manager of a store and Geoff gets the job, then the owner of that store decides to sell a dangerous product that winds up harming a lot of people, we can blame Geoff for going along with it but can we really say that Abe wouldn't have also done his boss's will? And if Abe had refused, wouldn't the boss have simply replaced him with someone who would?

Al Gore has done admirable work since retiring from politics, but he's been able to do it because he's free from the system. While still ensnared in the system he would have had to bend to the will of the real owners of the country just as Bill Clinton did, and that includes not only Wall Street but the military industrial complex which needs war to survive. Perhaps Gore would have stood up to them and denied them their war, in which case he would have been a one-term president and the next guy would be the one to invade Iraq. The difference between a Bush presidency and a Gore presidency is that with Bush they got their war sooner, but they were going to get their war no matter what.

What scares me is that now the drumbeat for war in Iran has begun. Romney will definitely give it to them. I'm not so sure Obama won't.
Being late to respond to this blog seems to have an advantage.

Lets hope your as wrong about the corporate candidate winning in November as you were about Romney winning Iowa in January!

Perhaps if enough people wake up we can elect a third party and make you two for two which I'm guessing is OK with you.