Tuesday, March 29, 2011


After 2 plus years of the Obama presidency it should be obvious to all that whatever he does, or doesn't do, he will be condemned by the Republicans. Whether it's Libya, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, China, the economy, job growth, taxes, health care, gun control, immigration, energy, or simply filling out an NCAA tournament bracket--if Barack does it, it is by definition the wrong move.

Let's cut to the chase here: a bunch of mostly older, predominantly male, white people having a problem with a younger, vital, intellectually superior black man? Boy, I sure didn't see that one coming...

Of course they're not racists. They're Patriots. And the virulence and ubiquity of their attacks is based in their deep love of country and not the color of the President's skin. Right?

But what do they offer as an alternative? Uh, cut taxes on the rich. Then cut 'em again. Privatize social security (because if you can't trust Wall Street with your money, who can you trust?). Ban abortions (because they believe in the sanctity of life). Repeal health care (because they believe in the sanctity of insurance company profits; and anyway, after you're born you're pretty much on your own). Gut whatever remains of the social welfare safety net (because we're not "socialists"). Do away with any pesky regulations the corporations don't like (because we have to protect the free market from government interference). And always, always, keep your hands off the Defense budget (because we can't be safe unless we outspend all the other nations on earth combined). (And even then, we'll never be safe. There will always be a new "threat", and new, exotic, and expensive weapons to protect us from it.)

I can imagine a country run along those lines. But I can't imagine calling it the United States of America.

Shortly after FDR was inaugurated for the first time, a group of leading American industrialists (reportedly including George W. Bush's grandfather, who also reportedly had no qualms about doing business with the Nazi's) got together to discuss a coup against the new government. They were worried that their way of life was going to be threatened by The New Deal, and they wanted to nip Roosevelt's policies in the bud. And if that meant overturning the will of the American people, and replacing it with something very much like Fascism, then so be it. I'm sure they all thought of themselves as Patriots, too. Fortunately Smedley Butler, the retired Marine general they wanted to lead the coup wouldn't play ball, and as word began to leak out about their plans the whole thing fell apart.

These are subtler times. You don't need the Marines. You just need Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and a lot of frightened, easily distracted and manipulated people.

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