Bluffing the Bluff – American Politics
In a day or so citizens of U.S.A will elect it’s president, which has enormous implications to both to the U.S and the world. For many the choice is obvious because of personal feelings but there is an element of confusion that is pervading this country. As part of politics, both the major parties Republican and Democratic have played their game. Now the result seems will be based on nothing but the gut feeling of the voter. Not based on any rules or facts! How pathetic is this? It cannot be based on any facts or vision ? How very sad state of this supposedly most mature democracy on earth?! With all the terrific breakthroughs in human communication methods, why is it becoming so much more difficult for the truth to percolate to all? Before getting too philosophical I would like to point to the bluffs from both sides, if I may.
Let’s come back to what both parties’ candidates have to say. First I want talk about the incumbent, Mr Barak Obama. Four years back when he was elected President, it was a cathartic moment for many in U.S.A. It was definitely a historic moment in so many levels. That kind of momentum could have been channelized to transform this country in many ways, but in my opinion he underutilized it. True he did start on many things like healthcare, ending wars, saving auto industry but he cozies up too much with the very people who were responsible for driving the economy to this point. He promised change but little he did regarding cleaning up the wall street fraud and failed to get the clear message about health care. Let’s discuss these a bit.
First about healthcare. When he took the presidency, this country had 40 million people without health care. It is a disgrace that the world’s most advanced country does not have infrastructure to take care of sick and elderly. As a country what did it achieve without this? It would have been better to stay as tribes and govern in small flocks rather than touting we are united states as one country and yet seniors and children will not have proper health care without spending a lot than necessary. Obama tried to correct this, which no one succeeded including the Clinton administration, but he failed to get the message to people in an effective way. How else can we explain how republicans took control of the house and later could stall any small measures to improve economy. If Obama is going to lose the election now, it will be primarily because of his failure to get the message about healthcare. Even if he wins, this is going to haunt him as Republicans will continue to obstruct him in the house to make any progress regarding economy. My suspicion is that he wanted to make this contentious by this election time, but it may backfire now. This is Obama’s bluff no. one.
Secondly about economy. Here again, Obama failed to show leadership in this area and instead relied on the same guys who ransacked the system left and right earlier. He was held captive by banks who threatened that they would close down. He poured billions of money into them, which they are happy to devour but little did they put the money back in the economy. In stead they sat on the money in fear the system was going to tank and in the process hurt the economy really bad. When he did bail them, he failed to put any conditions on the banks to make sure the money gets circulated and lends the money to prop up economy. Instead the fat cats (the term Obama uses to deride top guys in banks) gave themselves enough of the bonuses. Regarding balancing the economy Obama could do little. Admittedly republicans stalled many of his initiatives but here again Obama failed to show the public how they are failing him. He did not go with the Simpson-Bowles commission which he himslelf commissioned to the surprise of many in his own party. Nor did he sufficiently demonstrated to the public he tried every possible way to win some of the moderate republicans. Perception is reality. If you don’t show your overtures well, you will be seen as a person of non-action. This is Obama’s bluff no. two.
About the foreign policy. This was supposed to be the real weak area for Mr. Obama when he was elected but he did rather well in this area. He teamed up well with Hillary Clinton who was the one discrediting him on this during primaries in 2008 campaign. He did end the wars in Iraq and seems have a plan for Afghanistan. This is no small achievement, considering how deep U.S was in the quagmire, by the time he took office. One of the less known facts about the demise of USSR probably is their defeat in Afghanistan, for which US used the very terrorist networks that are now waging war on it, to make USSR lose their reign in that region. However the ends don’t justify the means. But US foreign policy hawks will never admit their fallacy in propping up the dictators like Zia Ul Haq in Pakistan and the Saudi monarchs but eventually the results are biting back. Any president who might say so will be traitor, so Obama perhaps did not want to be called one. So here he has the bluff no. three, even if it is kind of inevitable.
About Women’s issues, Gay rights and Gun Control. Obama has a little bit of clarity on these than his opponent but this is perhaps not an appropriate time for him to be too vociferous on these now. Regarding gun control he is astoundingly silent, even when one of his fellow democrats ( Gabrielle Giffords) was almost fatally shot. He could have brought the discussion about guns to the forefront and could have brought the fallacy of the party which talks about stopping killing unborn children irrespective on women’s health and yet wouldn’t mind allowing mindless persons getting access to deadly weapons! Here Obama has his bluff no. four, even if it is for the purpose of political expediency.
Coming to the republican arguments. It is unfathomable how Mitt Romney transformed these days! Few weeks before he was so much vociferously opposing Obamacare, his bailing out of auto industry, his foreign policy, his dealing of economy, his tax proposal, his position on women’s issues and his stance on Gay rights. Now after all the three debates and his public discourse is he that opposed to Obama on any of these? In one of the most baffling and jaw-dropping pivots of all time, Mitt rushed so much to the center from the far right, he probably set a record to dominate Usain Bolt in this sprint. Are the voters going to be mesmerized by this performance? Some may very well! Because sometimes it doesn’t matter for them if the end result of electing a flip-flopper like Mitt takes the reigns of this country, as it might look better to change the leadership in the hope that it will change things. But will it? Let’s look at the recent policies that Mitt says he is for, a bit close.
Regarding healthcare, it is largely known that Obama modeled his measure based on what Mitt did in his own state a decade ago and touted at that time (and even now when it is convenient) and yet Mitt says he would repeal this on the day he is president. And yet during the debates he supported almost every single aspect of it. Now the question is, why should it be repealed? Is it just because it was from his opposing candidate? Now it costs even more to repeal it and replace it. It is not good economics to do it now and yet the astute businessman candidate proclaims he would repeal it. Bluff no. one.
Regarding auto industry bailout, anyone from the Motown area or the surroundings can tell us how much they were reeling under and how much the places looked like ghost towns with factories locked up and homes wrecked. Like many of the republicans Mitt howled like hell how he would not rescue a failing industry based on free enterprise principles. However the recent Mitt, says Obama did not do anything different than he would have done like bankrupting GM and Chrysler. Bluff no. two.
Foreign policy. Here Mitt flubbed real bad. First of all he tried to corner Obama that he failed to find that it is a terrorist attack as opposed to spontaneous riot in Libya. In fact even before the news was emanating out from that troubled area, he comes out states the government is at fault in allowing any such thing to happen. Now many of his republican cohorts including McCain and Newt to keep blabbering about the government short fall on this and somehow trying to get credit for Mitt’s flubs. How pathetic? Now in the debate, Mitt really made the blunder to out right say that Obama did not mention it as terrorist attack at all. Is Mitt worthy of presidency when he wants take advantage of a delicate situation which involved the death of the ambassador of this country. When asked about Iran, in the debates, if he would declare war if Iran does not comply with stopping nuclear program he did not say he would whereas previously he was all for it. Bluff no. three.
Economy and Tax Proposal. If we keep listening Mitt on this very central issue of this election, one wonders if he ever went to a math class during his school days or not, let alone leading big business! He says he doesn’t want to raise taxes on anyone and yet will balance budget somehow! His running mate Ryan is supposed to have a master plan for this and he is conspicuously absent from this now. I don’t even know where he is these days. Mitt says he found a way to get revenue by closing the loop holes in the tax code, but will not tell which loop holes. May be his eye is on benefits like mortgage deductions, but he will not dare say that for the public will lynch him if he utters a word about this. So it may be that, once he gets elected Mitt will put an option before public to say everyone has to pay for and will raise taxes including to middle class which will be detrimental to the economy. Already middle class spending is at it’s lowest. So how will Mitt rescue the economy? Bluff no. four.
Women’s issues, Gay rights and Gun Control. On this we just really don’t know what Mitt’s position is. In the nineties he was even pro-choice I hear. But he never states what is his position on this just to be vague enough to garner some married women’s votes. I think he simply evades these contentious issues. The fact of the matter is, these issues cannot be dictated by presidency but rather by congress and either party can filibuster anything substantial happening in these areas, but personally what he stands for, Mitt Romney is not bold enough to state. Bluff no. five.
At the outset, the better choice seems inevitably Mr Obama, simply because Romney fails to present neither vision nor action plan to get this country back into some semblance of a progressive country. Certainly he is not the candidate to fix Obama’s shortcomings whatsoever.