The general election is in full swing now that Willard "Mitt" Romney is sure to be the Republican (GOP) nominee in the ongoing contest with Barack Obama, who is self-proclaimed a warrior for investment bankers the middle class. This is a critical moment for the political faithful, which is made up of those who still cling desperately to the belief that our corrupt, dysfunctional two-party system is the most important determinant of America's future. We might call these deluded Americans The Great Unwashed. But there are nagging concerns. What if it makes no real difference which of these clowns is elected president? Perish the thought!
This critical question was very much on Jonathan Bernstein's mind when he wrote Is Obama no better than the GOP? If the answer is No, then all this hullabaloo about the election is yet another form of mass insanity.
Amid all the evidence that partisan polarization is running rampant and perhaps even threatening the republic, a hearty band of ideologues still believes there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the parties and that it really doesn’t matter who will win the presidential election in November. The latest round of bloggy discussion on this kicked off with a post from Dave Schuler late last week, who made the case in list form. I’ll quote some of it:
Regardless of who is elected the U. S. will continue to be interventionist in its foreign policy.
Regardless of who is elected the “Bush tax cuts” will be sustained. There may be some tweaking around the edges…
Regardless of who is elected the detention center in Guantanamo will be maintained.
Regardless of who is elected the security apparatus put in place in the aftermath of the attacks in New York and Washington, DC in 2001 will only be expanded.
Doug Mataconis added his own list.
And yet: Republicans and Democrats fight hard over elections, and partisans on both sides certainly feel that there’s a lot at stake. Are they nuts?
Well, yes, of course they're nuts. The better question for Jonathan to ask is whether he himself is nuts, in the sense of seeing himself as an important participant—Bernstein writes for Salon—in a mass delusion. But let's skip the question of Jonathan's mental state and lack of consciousness. More importantly, he neglected to present Dave Shuler's entire list of reasons why it makes no difference who the victor is in November. And he did not quote from Doug Matconis' list at all. So without further ado—
[completing Shuler's list]
Regardless of who is elected healthcare [costs] will continue to rise and healthcare will comprise a larger share of federal spending.
Regardless of who is elected the non-existent Social Security trust fund will be drawn down at an accelerating rate.
Regardless of who is elected large banks will continue to be subsidized. Small banks will continue to be absorbed by large banks.
[and Dave finishes up with]
That’s just scratching the surface. In comments please make a case for why it will make a difference. (Please!)
And here's Doug's list.
Sadly, I think Dave is largely correct here. In fact, I’d add to his list the following:Regardless of who is elected Congress will continue to engage in games and showmanship rather than addressing any of the nations problems.
Regardless of who is elected the odds that we will ever reach a comprehensive deal addressing long term fiscal and entitlement issues is exceedingly low.
Regardless of who is elected the powers that have been assumed by the Presidency since the September 11th attacks will continue to expand.
Regardless of who is elected Presidents will continue to bypass Congress when making decisions to commit Americans troops abroad.
Regardless of who is elected Congress will do nothing to reassert its Constitutional authority in areas of war-making and foreign affairs.
Regardless of who is elected the nation will continue to be distracted by irrelevancies designed to increase the short-term political gain of one side or another.
And that’s just what I can come up with off the top of my head.
Unfortunately, both Shuler and Mataconis neglected to mention the single most important reason why there is no significant difference between our two political parties. Crucial members of both parties have been bought & paid for by the wealthy special interests who pay for their election. And now we are in the post-Citizens United world, the world of the Super Pac. It should go without saying that money in politics is reason Numero Uno, but it is still taboo to say that out loud.
If you still doubt this great truth, listen to Take the Money and Run for Office, which originally aired on March 20th on This American Life. Even the most cynical among you may be shocked by the extraordinary and appalling depth of the corruption this radio show reveals.
It should also go without saying that it is out-and-out batshit crazy that this level of corruption should co-exist with all the hoopla and proclaimed importance which has attended the 2012 elections. And yet when Shuler and Mataconis had the temerity to list the policy reasons why it makes no difference who wins presidential election, there is always somebody like Jonathan Bernstein who will stand up to defend their own craziness. People who say there's no distinction between the parties underestimate the big importance of small differences, he said.
How small are these differences? They are so small, so diminutive, that they are effectively invisible to conscious observers who are acquainted with the Big Picture. We might ask ourselves will wonders never cease? There can be no doubt that the wonders of Human Folly will never end, a fact of life which is both frightening and amusing at the same time.
Bonus Video — The Warrior Speaks