Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nothing can be said here

Rule #64: Epic fail
If you want President Obama to fail, you are a jackass. As much as I despised George W. Bush, I never wanted him to fail. I was pretty sure from Day 1 that he would, but that's not the same thing. Nothing would have made me happier than to have been completely wrong about Dubya's suitability for the job. I would have been as proud as anyone to see Bush's tax cuts help everyone; to see a better environment blossom as a result of the Kyoto rejection; to see Osama bin Laden brought to swift justice after 9/11; to see the Iraq war as a noble offensive to curb the threat of weapons of mass destruction held by a tyrant who used them on his own people; to see the PATRIOT Act and wiretapping have positive and worthwhile effects on domestic terrorist networks; to know that Dick Cheney's secrecy was in everyone's best interest; to be assured that limiting redresses against big corporations in court was for the best; to have government bailouts of airlines, banks and the Big Three help the economy; to watch what I say and have it matter; and to continue to struggle to find positives of these horrible, horrible policies.

But that didn't happen, and many of us knew it wouldn't. Rush Limbaugh has since huffed to clarify that he wants Obama's policies to fail, not the man himself. And maybe he's on to something; after all, Bush's policies really didn't fail so much as they served to benefit only the right people. But even then, you generally hope there's some common good in the end. Rush wants Obama to fail, and by extension the country, to prove a point about politics. To paraphrase John McCain, he'd rather lose a nation than be wrong about a war. But not even Rush can afford that.

Rule #65: It's all about meme meme meme
When filling out an Internet questionnaire about yourself, you are no longer allowed to say you love your spouse/significant other/children/cat. This is a waste of space where I could learn something new about you that isn't (hopefully) implied. And you can't say you have the best spouse/significant other/children/cat. You have the best one for you. Maybe. Either you're delusional or smug, and neither quality is going to help you once The Best One leaves you for someone more deserving of their perfection. So, really, do it for you.

Rule #66: Supply-snide economics
Let's finally accept that not everyone deserves everything bad that happens to them. Conversely, not everyone deserves the breaks they get in life. For too long, Americans have equated wealth and status with hard work, while blaming the problems of hard-luck cases on laziness. This makes it easy for society to dismiss real problems and ignore suffering, all the while handing more and more to the rich, because they're seen as more deserving. If there's one thing to learn from these trying times, it's that no one is immune from hardship. People are fond of saying this is a dog-eat-dog world, but that's what happens when you crash into an icy mountain slope with nothing to eat. We have lost sight of the fact that we are, in fact, a community, not a competition. It's long past time to stop applying business rules to society. Hell, let's stop applying business rules to business while we're at it; maybe then we won't have to resort to eating dogs anymore.

Rule #67: Stop loss
Check out a recent picture of Jessica Simpson, and compare it to one of Lindsay Lohan. Guess who looks better? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then I commend you.

The other 63 rules


rhonda said...

i've loved, i've lost, and i've been both changed and hurt to varying degrees in the process. if saying this makes me the devil's advocate, then so be it...but the truth is that i'm sure i was one of Those Annoying People at one point or another. i may want to rip all their faces off now...but if i'm to be honest, it's just because whether they mean to or not, they rub my nose in everything i've ever had and lost. at one time, i was just happy. not smug, because i knew i was lucky. delusional, perhaps. but mainly just wildly, stupidly happy.

Ian McGibboney said...

I know what you mean. I think I've isolated at least part of the problem: when you're single, you're bombarded by numerous observations that so-and-so has the greatest person in the world. That person, obviously, is never you.

And it doesn't matter how secure you are of yourself and your decisions, or how much you otherwise wouldn't care; you can only hear that so much before everyone in the world sounds better than you and you start to question your own skin. But I do take heart that everyone is human, and that I'm still happiest as myself. I just wish people, even happily harmonized people, did that more.

GumboFilé said...

If, as I believe, success for Obama means disaster, just as success for Bush meant disaster, what is wrong with wishing for failure?

David in Grand Coteau

Ian McGibboney said...

Here's how I see it: it's universally understood that the U.S. is in deep trouble. The people elected Barack Obama, decisively, as a mandate for a different direction. But even in swiftly taking that new direction, Obama has continually sought support across the aisle. Meanwhile, the Republican Party continues to favor petty partisanship and more of the exact policies that destabilized the economy in the first place.

It's one thing to disagree that Obama's policies will help right this nation. It's another to hope they fail and that nothing improves, just so you can wag your finger. Well, you guys had your eight years to inject politics into absolutely everything, and virtually everyone is suffering for it. So your calls for failure ring hollow, petty and vicious. We've seen how your side does things; it's time for much smarter people to take a crack at it. It's in your best interest to hope they succeed, because it'll help you too.

Chris said...

54% to 46% in popular vote isn't decisive by any stretch of the imagination. The electoral vote count was a different story though.

Let's all face it, Republicans have lost touch with their constituents and really don't know how to approach moral issues from a practical perspective rather than relying on emotion. That's the real reason conservatives are hopping mad.

Nick said...

"to have government bailouts of airlines, banks and the Big Three help the economy"

Our President for CHANGE was just as much for bailout of the banks, Wall Street and the Big 3 as George Bush. The vast majority of Democrats were for the bailouts, and the majority of those against them were conservative and libertarian voices.

"But even in swiftly taking that new direction, Obama has continually sought support across the aisle."

Does that new, swift direction include appointing tax cheat to his administration. What about the appointment of Tim Guithner, who carries the same exact philosophy as Henry Paulson in using taxpayer dollars to rescue financial institutions set to go under due to reckless issuing of Credit Default Swap policies.

Why did President Obama as the-President Bush to call on Congress to authorize the release of the second $350 billion in Wall Street bailout funds?

I see no change. I see an administration just as bought off as the last one.

Ian McGibboney said...

Chris: When Bush won with 51 percent of the vote in 2004, he called it a mandate and governed as such. Karl Rove considered it the beginning of a permanent Republican majority. Given that, the fact that Obama won nearly every key demographic (except rural, which McCain won by only half of Bush's total) and that even landslide elections are generally close percentagewise, I think it's fair to call this one decisive.

I agree with you about the GOP, but I'd go further. Their very problem in the first place is that they focus on moral issues. In a time of economic peril, they're obsessed with abortion and gays. Why? A president can't overturn Roe V. Wade, and even this stacked Supreme Court won't touch it. Nor is it in their best interest to do so, because the right would lose its No. 1 wedge issue. And because the Republicans have no consistency in their platform apart from corporate interests, wedge issues that stoke cheap and easy fears is all they have. The only reason they didn't win this time was that even their hardcore supporters can't pay their bills, and (some of them) finally realized that is what politicians are supposed to deal with.

Nick, I'm not thrilled with bailouts either. But Obama's versions at least have greater standards of accountability than Bush's (meaning, they have it). I disagree with many of Obama's choices for top posts, but it's honestly hard for me to be as outraged over missed personal tax payments as it is that the economy is plummeting hard.

Obama's appointing who he thinks are the best people for the positions, regardless of ideology. You and I might question the choices, but just the fact that he's thinking that way is a considerable step up and gives me an inkling that they might actually make some progress.

Nick said...

How can you say Obama's bailout plan is going to have more accountability when the guy overseeing the money, Tim Guithner, is almost a carbon copy of Henry Paulson? He believes in using our tax dollars to fund CDS payouts, regardless if the insurance policies were taken out for legitimate business and hedging purposes.

Face it, President Obama, the candidate for change, is starting off his administration with just as many questionable characters appointed to his cabinet as George Bush, and his strategy for combatting the financial crisis and inevitable on-coming hard regression is the same as Bush's: Government rescue of Wall Street financial institutions and continue running up the national debt with trillions of dollars in bailouts and political pandering.

Take it from someone who at least of now, if feeling fooled about 2007. Obama's talk vs. recent action appears to be a carbon copy of Gov. Jindal's campaign rhetoric against out of control state spending and growth, then expanding government jobs and spending his first year in office.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, you're being too simplistic. Obama may be bailing out big institutions, as Bush did (a measure I lament along with you), but he is at least demanding more accountability for the money. Not as much as he should, perhaps, but not nothing like his unworthy predecessor.

And just because you don't like Obama's people any more than Bush's, that doesn't make the two alike by any stretch. And maybe your self-stated disappointment with Bush and Jindal should have you rethinking where your vote goes.

Nick said...

"And maybe your self-stated disappointment with Bush and Jindal should have you rethinking where your vote goes."

You're right. The Republican Party needs to put forth candidates who are real fiscal conservatives.

There are only about 5 Democrats in Congress I would vote for, so re-thinking my vote should go that way is not happening. I'll do like I did with our last Congressional race and vote for a Constitution or Libertarian candidate.

"And just because you don't like Obama's people any more than Bush's, that doesn't make the two alike by any stretch."

They both sure as hell suscribe to the theory of similar big government intervention in rescuing failed businesses.

Nick said...

I will say this, which bucks the opinion of many of my fellow Republican/conservative allies, but Obama is correct is saying that if a company takes bailout money, MY TAXPAYER DOLLARS THAT WAS DISTRIBUTED UNCONTITUTIONALLY, then CEO's and such should not be allowed to give themselves these golden parachute packages.

That said, Obama voted for and endorsed the bailout. He KNEW this was going to happen, yet, still voted to waste our hard-earned money.

This $900B "stimulus" package needs to meet the same fate that Bush's "stimulus" and the Wall Street bailout should have met last year, flushed down the crapper.

It's more like the Re-election Stiff US package.

GumboFilé said...

Success for Obama means expansion of state power. Expansion of state power means less liberty for us. I hope he fails.

David in Grand Coteau

Ian McGibboney said...

I can imagine how unhappy both of you are. You voted for candidates who, despite whipping you into a frenzy about the evils of government, not only pined hard to run said government, but also expanded it like no one before them. And it was a brutal, dismal failure.

And yet, instead of wanting to improve things, David, you hope Obama fails. Why? Because YOU don't want to be proven wrong. That's a hell of a reason to wish for the continued economic suffering of millions of people.

Ideological inflexibility is what sank Bush and is what can sink this country. If you, Rush and the other jackasses want to ride it to the ocean floor, fine. But stop trying to pull down those trying to clean up your mess.

Nick said...

I could be wrong, but I don't think David voted for Bush or McCain.

Obama and Democrats aren't trying to clean up Bush's mess. They're playing the same game of paying off those who got them elected, and their policies are to continue the expansion of government and spending to record levels.

But you don't get that, do you? All you get is that Obama said he would bring CHANGE. Hope and Change, which I guess included appointing tax cheats (didn't push recently commute the sentences of tax cheats who spent time in PRISON) to his cabinet.

I say we audit every single member of Congress, Republican and Democrat alike.

President Obama preached one thing, but is doing the other.

GumboFilé said...

Obama is doing the same thing Bush was doing. He's borrowing money and inflating dollars by the boatload, thus devaluing the dollars, thereby shrinking their purchasing power, in effect cutting everyone's pay (except the fatcats), and leaving us and our children and grandchildren under an even greater pile of deferred tax debt. The results will be the same, the worst recession in our lifetime. That's what I want to fail.

David in Grand Coteau

GumboFilé said...

ps, I thought you voted for change.

Ian McGibboney said...

"I thought you voted for change."

I personally define change as a sweeping repudiation of failing policies in favor of reasoned, bipartisan solutions that will begin to put us on the right track.

The fact that Obama sort of acts like Bush (in the broadest sense) on one part of one issue isn't going to dissuade me from thinking he's the best man for the presidency. I've liked a lot of what he's done so far, and hope he continues in a similar vein. Because that's exactly why I voted for him: not out of some slogan, but because I liked his intelligence, his calm demeanor and his specific proposals for solving problems. And, yes, I did want change. There's nothing reactionary about that, not after the past eight years. You both agree with that on some level, if I can believe what you've written here.

As for the worst recession in our lifetime, I fail to see how that can be stopped at this point. But we all know what doesn't work - the supply-side policies that got us here in the first place. And even you two can't say that Obama is a supply-sider, in words or actions.