Tag Archives: Ryan

Blatant Class Warfare Makes Republicans Far More Dangerous

With the presidential election just about upon us, I am in a state of real worry.  If Obama wins, there are certainly profound dangers such as militarism abroad which sooner or later will revisit us in future 9/11′s, climate change, and continued concentration of power in a small, wealthy elite.  But if Romney wins, the right is just going to punch the working and middle classes in the face.  The repeal of the Affordable Care Act would not only set back chances for bringing down health care costs for Americans, but would be a blow to future attempts to create social welfare policies.  In a 1954 letter to his brother, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower said the following:

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things…Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

He was saying they were stupid because trying to end such welfare state programs would be political suicide, but times have changed and Republicans can wage blatant class warfare with little difficulty.  Hence Romney/Ryan’s desire to make Medicare a voucher system and cut huge swaths of social spending.   Progressives and leftists still have serious work to do if Obama is reelected, but that work will be much harder and the obstacles greater if Romney does.

Political Theater Is Absurd

 

Much has already been said about Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan as the VP candidate. While it isn’t even hidden that Ryan’s plan will cut services to the poor, while decreasing taxes on the wealthy, that is not what I want to focus on here. What gets me is how orchestrated these political campaigns are for public relations effect. Introducing Paul Ryan in front of a battleship? The inspirational music that keys in as he approaches the podium? It is all so phony and fake with absolutely zero political content.

Not to put this all on Republicans. When Obama introduced Joe Biden in 2008 in what was so clearly aimed at making Biden appear as a working class guy. Obama referred to Biden as a “Scrappy kid from Scranton.” Joe Biden came out to Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising” (go to 12:50 of this video).

My concern is not just that this is corny and cheesy, which is obviously the case. What really gets me is that politics has become like any other kind of marketing, where campaigns follow the polls and say the right things at the right time and play the right kind of music, so that someone will be more likable. Trying to reach people on an emotional level like this devoids politics of content and real debate.

The reality is that the debate is complicated. For example, I have a hard time understanding all the different aspects of economic policy, whether presented by Democrats or Republicans. But we should learn about them and discuss them. Not distract ourselves with petty showmanship. This partially explains the results of a December 2010 study by World Public Opinion. 56% of voters in the November national elections said they had “encountered information that seemed misleading or false.” What’s worse is that people were misinformed on the issues. 40% thought TARP was initiated under Obama, not George W. Bush. Liberals had their own misinformation, believing that the US Chamber of Commerce was using large amounts of foreign money to fund campaigns.

The part of the study we should be most concerned about is that people who watched less news were less likely to be misinformed!!! The mass media is terrible on political theatrics, buying right into it. They will discuss image and personality until the cows come home. What if they asked candidates, “Is it really necessary to make political events so theatrical?” They could be far better gatekeepers for the public. Perfect example of terrible media coverage right here.