Wednesday, November 05, 2008


By Ivan G. Goldman

The Republican propaganda machine has added a new paragraph to its manual. Instant word went out to all the Fox-o-crats and their allies to predict that President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will now make war on each other. That’s just wishful thinking.

McCain and Bush agreed on 90 percent of the issues. Pelosi and Obama will beat that by a mile. Neither is a deluded simpleton, which makes common ground much easier to find. But delighted as I am that Obama-Biden crushed the team’s misguided opposition, I regret not being able to watch Constitution-challenged Sarah Palin on the day she showed up to -- as she promised while stumping for votes among the misinformed -- run the Senate. That would have been a sight to see.

As it turned out, defeating McCain-Palin was a piece of cake. In a nation where millions have already seen the value of their 401K’s and home equity chopped to splinters, where those who haven’t lost their jobs fear that they will, and owners of small businesses are frightened and barely surviving, it became harder and harder to convince Americans they should choose more of the same. The hard part was already accomplished --- taking down the national Clinton Machine.

We’ve become so accustomed to a government warring on its citizens that it will be tough to get used to an administration that, for example, might actually take the needs of patients into account when it fashions Medicare legislation. But the pharmaceutical lobby is still out there, along with oily oilmen, the anti-health HMO's, anti-missile-missile alchemists, the arbitrageurs, hedge-fund managers, and all the rest of the corrupters that have been dribbling out tips to “public servants” in exchange for vastly disproportionate favors.

Observe that it was a Democratic Congress that, asked to approve $700 billion to save the self-destructive banking industry, tacked on another $150 billion for its biggest contributors. So yes, there’s a steep road to climb. Obama knew how to turn the corrupters’ weapons against them, raising so much money that they surrendered, unwilling to pour more crooked dollars into the election cruncher. But money is a hermaphrodite. It’s happy to switch sides.

Meanwhile the fourth estate, which is supposed to monitor the players, is in steep, steep decline. Billionaire Sam Zell, for instance, is at work as we speak gutting the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and all the other former watchdogs he purchased with leveraged dollars. Many of us, aware of this sorry circumstance, now look to the Internet for information. But it’s also a mine of misinformation. The Internet and talk-radio crazies were instrumental in spreading the McCain-Palin-Rove message to deluded bumpkins that Obama was a terrorist, socialist, Muslim non-citizen.

With all the twisted factoids, lies, and half-lies flying around, it will take a revived educational system to produce more responsible citizens who can cut through the crap. But Obama and the Congress have inherited an exhausted economy. Revenue from sales, property, and income taxes are all headed down. As recently as the Kennedy Administration the top tax bracket, now 34 percent, was at 91 percent, but the plutocracy hires high-priced accountants and lawyers, plus Democratic and Republican office-holders who for relatively small gratuities will continue to impede reform.

And thanks to stupidity and torpor, the Democratic Congress continues to pour $10 billion a month into Iraq for no rational reason that any fair-minded person can determine. As he looks for resources to pull this country out of the pit, Obama should look there first.

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