Like a dim duck flying north for the winter, the Republican Party is having a real problem assessing blame for its droopy showing on election day. Not that it's not trying. According to GOP spokespeople, the reasons they lost were a lack of communication, a weakness in explaining the platform of the candidates - a PR problem. Not once did anyone loudly proclaim that the problem wasn't the quack- it was the duck. Flying is not only difficult when each wing has a different idea of where it's going, but when the other ducks are going south, it's not easy to convince them that they're flying the wrong way.
As the fallout from the exit polls increasingly points to a certain discrepancy between what the Republican establishment thinks of as Truth and what others call Reality, let's look at the duck more carefully after the break.....
Unfortunately for the GOP, both wings are having a rough time. The Tea Party wing, led by the intrepid Texas intellectual, Ted Cruz, favors a program of cutting food stamps and other aid to the less fortunate in order to reduce the deficit and rejects socialist plans like raising taxes on the one percent. The John Boehner wing prefers schemes that cut corporate taxes and make it easier to operate corporations overseas and is against eliminating any tax loopholes. In other words, would you prefer more corporate breaks or lower worker pay? The surprising thing is neither one of these Republican gurus can understand why the public isn't getting behind a party with two choices: one making the poor poorer and the other making the rich richer.
Meanwhile, back in the wilds of New York and New Jersey, other things were happening. Chris Christie, an imposing Republican with definitely moderate ideas, swept into the governorship of the Garden State bearing messages of compromise and olive branches while in New York City, Bill deBlasio, a Democrat who glories in the label “progressive,” prepared to become the next mayor. Could there be a leftish trend here, or are we just seeing a blip in the government/corporate partnership that is giving us such shining examples of democracy as the arrangement that allows millions of taxpayer dollars to flow to AT&T in exchange for “metadata” which, in addition to possibly catching a terrorist or two, also allows companies to buy your shopping data, age, weight, favorite internet searches and anything else you've been talked into putting on the web?
Historically, we've seen all this before. The partnership between an increasingly intrusive government and an equally intrusive private sector enabled a little guy with a mustache to damn near take over the world. The government agreed to supply cheap (or slave) labor to the corporations (Speer, Mercedes, Messerschmidt, TDK, Bayer, etc) in return for unlimited “cooperation” in building an unsurpassed war machine. It almost worked. Of course, before it started, government had collected data on every German citizen – sound familiar? It might be noted in passing, that Hitler's primary enemies were socialists, homosexuals, communists, Freemasons, religious leaders, labor unions, independent newspapers and believers in democracy. Tragically, there were not enough of any of them to stop the inexorable rise of fascism. By the way, can you be certain that you aren't being tracked reading this diary?
Getting back to the duck, it's still flapping both wings in an effort to gain altitude, but the bird is beginning to ice up. The problem is that the people who want the rich to get richer have more money than the ones who want to add to the load carried by the middle and lower classes. This is because the middle, in particular, have to have money in order to spend it in order to make sure the people with lots of money keep getting more. In this era of the Bottom Line, free enterprise Trumps (ooops) idealism every time. The Boehner Brigade, therefore, sees problems ahead if the Cruz Controllers take over the Party. What good is a lower national debt, they ask, if there's less and less income? And how in hell can anyone become a billionaire if there's nobody left to sell to? Interestingly, we seldom hear the words "morality,""ethics." or "principles."
And what about the Democrats? This is a bird of another color, but with similar connections. Consider under whose administrations the Washington/Wall Street intrusions into our lives took place. The conclusion seems to be that whether we have a Bush or an Obama, the same cozy relationship between government and mega business remains strong, perhaps only a shade more poisonous under Republicans. We can measure the ratio by weighing the cash donations by big business going to each side. In this Citizens United world, money is speech and corporations are people, remember?
One small step for mankind I believe many of us can take is refusing to play the game. I got rid of my cell phone (saving $60 a month), I'm withdrawing from social media (giving the corporate world a teeny bit less information) and generally trying to stick with small companies and get along with less. Less is more, dammit, and that goes for private data. And if my cutting back helps give the bird to the famous military-industrial complex, or the more modern congressional-military-corporate revolving door version of Eisenhower's unheeded warning, so much the better.