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Friday, November 05, 2010

Roosterhens are political animals

I just got into a debate with a friend of a different political persuasion, who was taunting me about the “shellacking" the Democrats and Obama  and his anti-business policies  took at the polls on Tuesday. I know the press, pundits, politicians and President Obama himself are calling it a shellacking, but I'm not sure that's what it was. We did lose some good people in the House, but we also lost a lot of Blue Dog Democrats, who were actually more Dixiecrats than Democrats anyway, and who voted mostly with the Republicans, so that's more a loss for the Republicans than for the Democrats.  And there's no guarantee that the Tea Party candidates will fall into lock-step with the Republican leadership at this point. I think both parties and the country at large may be in for a rocky ride.
As for Obama being anti-business, that's a really popular charge with  the conservative radio and TV personalities, the conservative blogs, etc. but if this administration is SO anti-business, how do you explain 1st quarter corporate profits of 1.37 trillion, and companies sitting on over 2 trillion in cash reserves. Google "3rd quarter corporate profits" and you'll find business after business reporting pretty decent profits. They’d have a hard time making all that profit if the administration was as anti-business as it made out to be. And on the other hand, the administration is charged with bailing out banks and business at the expense of the American taxpayer. So which is it? Are they  anti-business or are they  so pro business they're bailing them out? You can’t have it both ways.

What is unfortunate is that while the corporations are turning a profit, they aren't hiring, they're sitting on their cash reserves. So the average American isn't seeing him or herself as part of any economic recovery. Still struggling, often having a mortgage that's underwater, faced with increased costs, no job or no job security, decreasing wages, worrying how they're going to pay their bills or educate their children and having little money to spend, they're seeing CEOs awarded big salaries and big bonuses on Wall Street and in Corporate headquarters around the country. Meanwhile, the economy on Main Street in their neighborhood is at a stand-still, and people are angry. The Republicans and conservatives are extremely adept at exploiting that anger so that it is directed at the other side. And since far too many Americans today have slipped into a state of intellectual laziness, perhaps brought about by the constant stress they're under, they are only too willing to accept whatever cheap tale is sold to them by the slickest salesman. They seem unable or unwilling to question the information with which they are constantly bombarded, and unable or unwilling to filter out the wheat from the chaff. The widespread acceptance of the India Trip Costs are a prime example- the figures were broadcast as true far and wide before anybody felt the need to question information from a single anonymous source. That attitude is what swept a lot of seemingly unqualified candidates to power this week. It saddens, maddens and worries me greatly. I am confident that the American people are resilient enough and smart enough to pull out of this mess with little lasting damage, if they wake up soon enough. And if that sounded like intellectual elitism, so be it. Intellectualism and intelligence,  like  liberalism,  have been given a bad name lately, but they are a threat only to those who seek to confuse and subjugate people to their own ends.