Sunday, August 22, 2010

New And Improved (Sorta...Kinda...)

Election 2012 is more than two years away, but it's already on the minds of a lot of people, especially those of us who have been so gravely disappointed by President Obama's first two years in office. Many of us "professional lefties," also referred to as "fucking retards" by at least one member of the White House staff, had pinned such high hopes on Obama (based, I might add, on his rhetoric during his highly successful campaign) that we were devastated by the corporatist stance of a man we thought was going to deliver us from that evil. Some of us are even combing the current ranks of Democratic luminaries for a potential primary challenger.

Those of us who have tried to look beyond Obama to someone who might actually lead the country instead of "stabilize" it have been chastised with what I consider to be a tired and wholly irrelevant argument. "He may not be all that he promised, but the alternative -- a McCain/Palin administration -- would have been a brazillion times worse." My response to that is two words: Mitt Romney.

Yes, the Mittster.

We haven't heard much about the former governor of Massachusetts, but he has been busily building his campaign for 2012, and I think he will be the GOP's nominee. I know, I know, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin have been getting all the attention, all the ink and electrons, but that's because they both are so eminently quotable. I've been guilty of paying attention to them myself, much to my chagrin. But Mitt, who has proven to be a consummate politician, has quietly been positioning himself as the one voice of experience and rationality in the Republican Party. He has, after all, an MBA.

Last week, he wrote a guest op-ed piece for the Boston Globe in which he sketched a brief critique of the Obama response to the Great Recession and in which he offered an alternative plan which would set the nation back on its feet. Well, at least that part of the nation which belongs to the Chamber of Commerce. The "shrink government" meme is still alive and well in Republican circles, so I would imagine his essay was well received.

It's hard to fault the Boston Globe for publishing Romney's screed. First of all, the man is a former governor. Second, however, the paper also quite happily published a response to the op-ed piece, this by regular columnist Joan Vennochi, in which she reminds us that Mr. Romney is quite adept when it comes to positioning himself, and repositioning himself, depending on the prevailing political winds.

Here is just one example Ms. Vennochi gave on Mr. Flip-Flop:

It’s always fun to watch him struggle with his own past.

The last time he ran for president, he was desperate to get voters, especially from the Christian right, to accept his Mormon faith. So, he addressed the subject of religious liberty with exceptional passion. “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom,’’ he declared in a major speech at the George H.W. Bush presidential library, that went on to mention his “love’’ for “the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims.’’

Unfortunately for Romney, fellow Republicans are currently ranting about the ground zero mosque. He stayed out of it for awhile, but, of course, gave in to the general hysteria. His spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, put out a statement that Romney opposes the mosque because of “the wishes of the families of the deceased and the potential for extremists to use the mosque for global recruiting and propaganda.’’

Nice, eh? Two flies with one blow. Plus, there's enough red meat for the base-base to get its attention. It's much more effective a statement than President Obama's lame semi-retraction about poor taste.

So that's what I believe our choice in 2012 is going to come down to, and, frankly, I am not looking forward to that election. I'm 64. I am tired of "settling." I was hoping to retire in 49 weeks, but that is looking iffy right now as the Catfood Commission is gearing up to screw us out of the Social Security we've all diligently paid into. I also have nieces and nephews with children of their own. I want a better world, a much better world, for those families, just as my parents wanted a better world for my generation.

I've come to the conclusion that (once again) Barbara Ehrenreich has a better handle on all of this than anything I've seen across the political spectrum:

Alterman acknowledges the problem only tentatively, observing that "one might argue that this [Democratic] faith in government's ability to improve people's lives is misplaced." You betcha. The role of the left should not be to uphold or defend the government, meaning, for now, the corpo-Obama-Geithner-Petraeus state, but to change it, drastically and from the ground up. That may sound overly radical to Alterman, who seems to want "progressives who think of themselves as left of liberal" to abandon even that tiny distinction. But as the Tea Partyers keep reminding us in their nasty and demented ways, these are revolutionary times. [Emphasis added]

I'm in.

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