For both parties contesting the 2012 election, looking back on their own records is always a bit awkward when attempting to differentiate themselves, so they and their consultants are understandably drawn to the deficiencies of their opponents, especially when the servants are around.
But, really. It’s only May, and the delightfully quirky billionaires that have so proudly, post-Citizen’s United, purchased our political system are so desperate for something to convince dumber Americans to vote for Romney rather than the only slightly less hawkish, authoritarian, and rich-coddling Obama, that they’ve already resorted to calling him a dirty darkie.
You’d think this would be a sign that Obama ought to be skating to victory, if only because his opposition is so cravenly repulsive, but that’s not the case. Running against a 1960′s Ken Doll who proposes to double down on all the dreadful mistakes of the Bush years and then some, the cautious, moderate Obama we’ve grown to know, for better or worse, hovers even with him.
Why? Could it be that while Republicans are left to pawing through Obama’s past to help conjure up evidence of his future nefariously Commie obsessions, thus far deviously left unpursued while just for show, he admitted guns in National Parks, preserved the Bush tax cuts, and let torturers and banksters run naked on the beach, if they wanted to? (Most don’t want to, as it turns out; they prefer being dressed up and in the Green Room. Less drafty, and the lighting is much more flattering).
Since the only vaguely positive slogan they’ve been able to come up with so far is the drearily commercial-sounding, “Forward,” which is even more meaningless than it was meant to be when MSNBC chose it, the Obama camp has chosen instead to go negative early and often, too, and in so doing revealed their own weakness. Crow as they might about their supposed “success” at dubious endeavors like killin’ Ay-rabs, cutting spending, and preserving the larcenous private health insurance industry among other equally misguided Fox-friendly gestures, liberals are unimpressed, to put it mildly, and the low information voters the righties most covet can’t even tell which one’s the black guy.
Neither campaign has anything either substantive or useful to offer the increasingly unwashed masses to whom they must feign deference every couple of years, so both must tell spooky stories about how awful the other one would be instead. For Obama, this means heart-wrenching tales of jobs lost under a financial and trade system he has left entirely intact, if not expanded. Worse, when Romney says, repeatedly of course, that Obama slowed the recovery, it’s about the only time each day that something at least technically truthful escapes his thin, plastic-looking lips.
As usual, Obama’s serial capitulations to Republicans created this conundrum, too; had the Stimulus not been so loaded down with non-stimulative tax cuts, and not been so small, the lingering economic doldrums that at the moment make Mitt Romney seem a plausible, if not desirable, alternative would be a distant memory. In the end, it is the economy, stupid, and if both parties are equally stupid about it, albeit to different degrees and with different rhetoric, 50.01% of Americans might just decide to go with the white guy. What the hell.
While this election obviously won’t tell us whether we’ll continue to be a nominal democracy with some sort of social safety net and a modicum of civil rights, since either way we probably won’t, it will at least tell us whether we’re a bunch of racist idiots, to boot.
We all recognize that the oligarchy is moving in for the kill, voters be damned, and as pathetic as he can often be, Obama at least offers a bit of sand in the gears on good days; but that’s a heck of a long way from Hope and Change. Contrary to the fever dreams of the righties, if Obama loses it won’t be because he was too black; it was because he was, well, too white. We are post-racial, when it comes to how the government actually runs; sadly, that means our politics has no choice but to go the other way.