While Bill Clinton got away with treating national policy as one long television commercial, it is worth remembering that he initially snuck in thanks to Ross Perot. Further, as a con artist, he is far more skilled than either his wife or Obama.I wouldn't demonize Bill that much; those who think government can do good and that communities and collectives are real as well as individuals have had trouble getting their message across in all countries for the last quarter-century or so. (This is actually the same logic, BTW, that shows sprawl isn't primarily caused by US subsidies or US racism.) But the current scene doesn't offer a lot of, er, hope.
The Republicans, on the other hand, can put up a candidate as intrinsically weak as John McCain and still have him run neck and neck with either of the two Democrats, despite each having extraordinarily passionate constituencies.
The difference is that the GOP believes in something that transcends whoever is running for office. For nearly three decades, in fact, Republican mythology has so dominated political discussion that the media and the public accept much of it as the norm, witness in the war on terror and the limitless virtues of capitalism.
The fact that the GOP is wrong, heartless, stupid and mean about much of this merely adds power to the argument that it helps to believe in something.
Ever since Bill Clinton dismantled the Democratic belief system, his party has virtually forgotten what it thinks. It has no comprehensible plan for the economy, the environment, the Iraqi war, cities, education or who's coming for dinner. It has become just another House of Pancake Makeup, presenting what it believes will look good on television.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
It's going to be a long bad year
Sam Smith at Undernews: