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Commentary :: Politics
All Calories, No Nutrition, and Hella Drama
21 Jan 2012
The campaign season for the Office of the President of the United States is taking shape. The Democrats have their candidate while Republicans have a candidate the GOP establishment feels is the strongest and wants its members to get behind. With all the need for distraction on the part of the establishment this year the need for a comparable level of theater seems to have come about. As the GOP primary is where all the attention seems to be right now, what better distraction than the chance an establishment pick may not be the one to win? A rebel perchance? (gasps) Reality show kind of drama, and with the current level of anger and resentment simmering below the surface regarding the establishment, perhaps they'll even provide a reality show twist at the end. Oh how dramatic.
With the economy and Afghanistan everything feels hyper intense, more amplified and more important. When all things are equal in terms of the state of the nation, we feel the little issues are what make the difference and those rather than the large looming ones make what are the substantial differences between the two parties. But we forget, aside from all the bluster and talk, the two parties we're allowed in this country are more alike than different especially on the larger issues. At times it seems like they are just two different branches of the establishment with defined characteristics meant to address different issues the establishment wants dealt with. At times they are separate in name only as if the differences were just meant to help head off, corral and then dissipate popular frustration depending on where that angst is focused on any given year.

When the nation feels a certain way these guys are conveniently elected to say, “see the guys that are supposed to deal with this issue are here just for you.” When the nation feels another way the other guys are elected as if to say, “tired of those guys? Here come the others to save the day.” Perhaps some token issues are dealt with as bones thrown to appease the most angered that year or to head off skepticism. At least that's how it can seem. And when they need a break more than we do? Be prepared for more twists and turns than a four star theme park ride.

On the substantial issues, in many ways the defining issues, though they talk as if they were leagues apart, they're more like different sides of the same coin. Take former President Clinton; he was the Democratic Party darling true, and to this day a favorite. But, he became so successful not because of his ability to get progressive issues passed as much as his ability to play the center, and even sign off on pieces of legislation that were not so friendly to the progressive base.

When people thought of the party of the working class in America for so many years it was the Democrats. They were supposed to be the champions of the blue collar worker and blue collar family, and no clearer representation of that could there have been than their close relationship with labor unions. Coming from a state that traditionally votes blue, I can tell you that's how people feel. And of course when the Democrats charge Republicans of being bought and paid for by big corporations, Republicans fire back that Democrats have been bought and paid for by labor unions.

But despite the lingering traditions and perhaps misplaced loyalties, the one thing over the last four or five presidencies most often cited for selling out the American blue collar worker and shipping blue collar jobs overseas was a pan-North American agreement drawn up and prepared during the tenure of former President Bush 1. It was an agreement mostly prepared by Republicans and containing Republican sentiment, or what we thought of traditionally as Republican political thought. That agreement was called the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA.

But it was former President Bill Clinton that in the end supported its being pushed through Congress and then signed off on and ratified. He picked right up where former president George HW Bush left off. In fact, though it has been Republicans across the nation that have attacked and worked at taking away bargaining rights from and breaking up unions across the nation most visibly since the 2010 elections, there has been little to no work from Democrats on the national level to keep the rights of those targeted unions intact. Sure the local Democrats did, but their butts were on the line. As for the people not directly affected, but who were supposed to be the champions of the working American no matter where the person resided? On the national level Democrats weren't out fighting in the streets or hardly giving any speeches regarding the matter.

They kinda just stepped to the side and let it slide. Where was the big difference? Where was the show of support for the unions? Take Wisconsin for example. The unions there were willing to give up everything save the right to negotiate. Democrats on a national level were mum. This election season we'll be hearing Democrats running for national office talking up how they will back unions 100%, but when push comes to shove, what exactly do they do for unions the same way unions keep doing for them? It's actions that do the talking here and what have the Democrats on a national level said to us all? They basically stepped back and cooperated by doing nothing.

It's been the same with wars and military build ups. With all the talk of the biggest growing threat to our children's future aside from the declining national educational standards being the huge debt they have been saddled with, you would think the party supposed to be most associated with cutbacks and fiscal conservatism would be most likely to make cuts where necessary and the last to throw around talk of new spending loosely. That same party decries what they call the stimulus measures that have saddled us with what they call debt to China which they blame mostly on Democrats.

That same party being the one that talks about the greatest threat on the horizon to our military being the potential threat of a rapidly growing China. One of the biggest places they intend to increase spending is with regards to increasing our military presence in the Pacific region merely to saber rattle with the Chinese. They want to spend more to make a statement. They want to increase troop presence greatly to bang on their chest and say, “me da biggest.” Just like their talk of Ronald Reagan it all brings up memories of the Cold War and the fight against a large communist nation.

And in the Cold War we fought it in part by cutting off almost all business ties with the Soviet Union as part of the strategy to contain their sphere of influence. However, when people start talking about cutting off business relations with China, these same people balked.

Oh, no. The same people that wanted never to give Red Russians a US cent now want to give Red China as much US money as can possibly be given. The same people that say through their words, deeds or proposed legislation, that illegal immigrants from our neighboring nations are dirty subhumans taking jobs picking oranges and lettuce for nothing in record temperature heat they say everyday Americans want, that should go back to where they came from, are the same people that will do everything in their power to send the great paying jobs that built the American Middle Class and made us a strong nation, to China so China can become a richer and more powerful nation. Huh. Those same people say folks should be able to do business with whomever they want, even our greatest emerging enemy or threat (whichever wording they choose this week).

And let's not forget how they talk of how it is such a threat to our national security to owe so much money to China in debt. Would they have allowed measures to put us in hoc to Soviet Russia? When they talk of all the spending, they never say where this money for ramping up war games with China will come from. If you think about it, during which debate has anyone really asked?

The silence is because all concerned know spending more for war games with China would in all likelihood entail borrowing more money from China. That's right, the genius idea is to deal with our greatest emerging threat by giving them more money through all the increasing business we're doing with them and then borrowing more money from them to build ships to scare our greatest trading partners and holders of US debt.

That ought to cramp their style!! Anybody following that because the holes are big enough to navigate twenty brand new battleships through at the bargain basement cost of $4.5 billion a piece off the lot?

And the Democrats? They're proposing the exact same thing. There's the hope, change and shift away from wars, war games and nation building people voted for in 2008.

Boy this year's elections sure are getting fat with dramatics, but underneath it all you tell me, where's the real meat? Until we start electing additional parties to Congress, empty calories are all we'll get for our money.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to
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