Idle Thoughts

Damned Politics Again!

If I were to sum up US politics as I saw it .....
01/06/2011
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If I were to sum up US politics as I saw it, it would run something like this:

Obama has promised much in his speeches – mostly “Hope” and “Change”, but delivered little; has been a disappointment; has spent billions achieving very little – take a look at US GDP growth when QE is stripped out; and is demonstrably not in control. The Democrat Minority Leader of the House of Representatives is terrifying. The Republicans are not rational on how to reduce ‘Big Government’; are hell-bent on defeating Obama at any cost, even if that takes destruction of the US economy and fiscal reputation to make it look bad enough; and are terrified of upsetting their conservative and ‘christian’ wing. Their potential Presidential candidates for the 2012 election are also terrifying.

The polarization in politics, but also in the wider country on many issues, has crystallized yet further since my last visit, nowhere more-so than in the battle between the de-regulation, low tax, big business, small Government, wealthy lobby and the liberal, social, Medicare and conservation lobby. They fight at all levels on many fronts, from the continuing battle over the protection or killing of wolves, bears etc – the hunting/farming lobby is in the ascendency at present; to the free sale of medical marijuana; to whether those who are ‘fracking’ for gas can continue to hide the nature of the chemicals used, which are leeching into the water-table; to the constitutional right of business to make anonymous donations to political causes; right through to whether the national debt ceiling should be raised. There is also a gathering battle between State and Federal legislatures – whilst I was there Montana tried to pass a law that would have given it the mandate to secede from the Union! Across the country, at both State and Federal level, there are many first time representatives who see things in a rather black and white way; they are angry and impatient. The emotional extremity of argument on both sides is entirely unreceptive to logical discussion or ‘fact’. If it is a political argument, the split is entirely on party lines, not on what the pros and cons of the particular issue are, and, although it isn’t quite as clear cut, almost everything else is driven by the same sort of allegiances.

This is in a country which isn’t coming as robustly out of 2008 as had been expected; a country that is beginning to recognise the impact that a failing Europe may have upon it; and a country whose jobless, manufacturing, construction, commodity price, consumer prices, retail sales etc statistics are not heading in the direction expected at the rate expected. And yet, there are increasingly head-in-sand isolationist calls from some quarters, and there is absolutely no sign of politicians coming together to compromise for what is best for the country as a whole. It is bad enough that some sectors of a population with strong opinions are actually ignorant of issues beyond their own picket fence, other than perhaps what they hear from a biased press and news media, but it is much more frightening to hear senior politicians and pundits spout over-simplistic and often isolationist propaganda on the, again hugely polarized, TV news channels.

I suppose I ought to say at this juncture that I have my views which side of particular issues I would support, not necessarily on the same right or left side for each issue, but the comments above support neither side. I am horrified by the lack of responsibility taken by Democrats or Republicans for looking after the best interests of their electorate and hence the country, rather than their self-seeking election ambitions. They are all as bad as each other.

Perhaps I should add that I have similar jaundiced views about circumstances in the UK, but I am not writing about the UK.
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