March 03, 2008

Two birds with one stone

I think one of Hillary Clinton's major difficulties in her campaign is that, inevitably, her major strategists tend to be old farts who are way out of touch with the way America really is these days. They just don't get it. I've written about it before (and thought about it a lot more than I've written), and it runs along the lines of what the psychiatrists call our "trance of everyday living" which governs what we see and how we see it. Phenomena assault the sensory apparatus every whichaway, and a consciousness perforce orders those phenomena according to Gestalt frames of reference. In turn these frames of reference are ordered by the formative experiences of childhood. I understand Hillary's frame of reference because it's the same as mine -- the United States as a major industrial power, possessed of a mighty military and the world's fiat currency, international leader in innovation and cutting edge technology, with the world's best health care system and a highly-educated populace. Hillary's mental picture of America is a Caucasian fantasy of emerald green lawns, kids dressed neatly for school and Dads going off to their well-paid jobs at Acme Manufacturing where they've worked as white collar execs for the last 20 years, with good bennies like health insurance and stock options. Most of this stuff isn't true anymore. America, as a nation, is like a couple in their eighties who are subsisting on a reverse mortgage, flipping through old photo albums and hoping they die before the money runs out.

Although Hillary & Bill strive mightily, like all Baby Boomers, to be as hip as the kids, to dig iPods, FaceBook and text messaging, to use numbers in the place of vowel sounds so they really reson8 with Gens x,y & z, it's actually all a little pathetic. They belong to an obsolete culture in Washington D.C. where they spent their primes and which they still see as the answer to America's many ills. Hillary has no ideas. She offers bromides instead. Faced with the lamentable state of American manufacturing, the export of jobs to China and Mexico, she suggests a "time out" on NAFTA and other trade deals, like an exasperated mom trying to impose order on a group of unruly three year olds. Take all the time you want, Hillary. A much smarter take on the situation was offered to me recently by a 90 year old veteran of the war in the Pacific. He said that jobs would flow back to America when China's wages were the same as in the United States. Why don't you talk like that, Hillary? It sounds like you're going to have to take a lot of time out.

On health care she wants to subsidize private insurance. Big whoop there. Does Obama have better ideas? Hell no. The point is that a race for the White House by a serious contender entails the abandonment of empirical solutions to empirical problems. Once a candidate strays into Reality, his prospects are finished. It would take much more space, and a higher IQ than available here Pondside, to spell out definitively why this should be the case in modern America, but we all know it's true. You cannot propose something truly useful, as measured by objective criteria, and have any hope of election.

Ideas such as? Easy, really. Tell the world we're no longer Globo-Cop. You got a problem with your local despotic immam, you deal with it. Is this "isolationism?" Who cares what you call it? It's a practical recognition of our fiscal limitations. No more Garrison Earth. This approach will allow us to reduce the military budget by 75%, maybe 90%. We retain enough to protect ourselves against nuclear attack and terrorist threats. Period. We invest the difference in socialized medicine, a national rail system and mass transportation, and an energy grid which is 100% renewable, such as a 200 square mile solar electric array in the Mojave Desert. All roofing materials will incorporate integrated solar panels. The sludge problem of desalination will be solved, and the process made cost-effective. The entire country will give up beef so that feed-lot culture will disappear, and with it its devastating impact on climate change. No more "improve gas mileage by 5 mpg by the year 2020," which the stegosauruses in D.C. see as a huge breakthrough.

The ossified Democratic and Republican Parties cannot talk like this, which is why they nominate candidates without ideas responsive to the real world. But Barack has two main advantages which are decisive for me: he would be the first President not of Northern European Christian stock, AND the first President whose last name ends in a vowel. Hey, that's what we're down to in this clown country, but at least I'm voting my principles.

1 comment:

  1. Monroe?
    Fillmore?
    Pierce?
    Coolidge?

    ReplyDelete