Friday, October 17, 2008

More on formative politics

A while back I wrote a post about my first political memory - Nixon's resignation. Continued thought along that line has lead me to realize what came later: the hostage crisis under Carter, the subsequent failed rescue attempt, and Reagan's reinstatement of selective service registration, which required me to make a trip to my local post office at a particular age.

I think growing up a bit cynical about anything political is justified given those memories.

Looking at today's election mess, I have to admit to a certain frustration and disillusionment born from that underlying cynicism, though I think of it more as realism now. The economy is in the toilet and both major party candidates are still talking as if they will follow through on their plans. I don't think so.

Let me tell you what needs to happen: spending has to go down and taxes have to rise. Both. Period.

The Bush administration has spent us into a hole, squandering hundreds of billions of dollars on a failed attempt to instill democracy at gun point in Iraq. The cost of that mess isn't even in the budget thanks to their accounting tricks, and we'll still be paying for that twenty generations from now. Just how "conservative" is that set of actions, do you think?

As a result of that financial recklessness, and regardless of how much you might like McCain or Obama, the simple fact is that neither of them is telling the actual truth. They're going to have to cut spending in places that hurt, and they're going to have to raise taxes. If they don't, the economic fundamentals won't get any better, and the recession will deepen.

As I keep saying, I'll vote for Obama. He's closer to me on the social issues, and I think he gets a better score on the things that allow a society to be judged "good," but even if he wins a filibuster proof margin in the senate he can't follow through his programs and promises. If he does, the fiscal disaster that results will cripple the nation. And as for McCain, his so called conservatism is a sham, and worse for the country economically than anything Obama ever dreamt of. His social positions are also a disaster, but one that worsens with time as he bends to the will of the far right wing of his party.

And there we hit the crux of the issue with McCain: for a maverick, he's awfully wishy-washy, saying whatever he has to say and doing whatever he has to do to make sure he gets into office. Clearly he has to keep those far right wingers happy, and that's revolting.

Thankfully, though, Nov 4 is getting closer all the time. The election will end - for better or worse - and we can all go back to whatever we were doing before, with our heads firmly stuck in the sand for another four years. Right? Isn't that what you're going to do?