What is a President? A President is a corporate talking head. He does funny tricks for the public while his staff does all the work. The staff doesn’t work for the President. The staff works for the party and is selected by the party. Since it is the staff who really run the office of the president, the party makes certain that the staff will work for the interests of the corporate sponsors. As there are only two significant parties in the United States, it has been very easy for the corporations to dominate both parties. This is why Bill Clinton’s administration was a continuation of the Reagan-Bush administrations, and was the perfect set up for the current trained monkey.
Jimmy Carter was the last President to actually try to do the job. We all saw what happened to him. Carter’s own party ignored him. The Democrats left Jimmy Carter slowly twisting in the wind over the Iran Hostage Crisis. Of course the Democrats knew that the Republicans were dealing with Iran to make Carter look bad, but nobody stood up to defend their President. Then the Reagan Republicans took credit for all the hard work and hard decisions Carter made to repair the economy. After Reagan’s election, the Democrats showed the world they were not going to stand for any more human rights nonsense. They joined with the Republicans to send our jobs overseas and to assure corporate profits. Liberal became as bad a word amongst the Democrats as with the Republicans, and the nation watched 50 years of social progress go down the toilet.
Television and the media have made it more important to look like a President than to be a President. Giving the devil his due, Richard M. Nixon tried to be a President during the 1960 campaign. Nixon ran an old fashioned campaign based on the issues, while Jack Kennedy ran the first modern campaign based on appearances. Kennedy posed for the cameras. Kennedy wore make-up during the debates. Kennedy was young and pretty, while even in 1960, Nixon looked like a blood hound who just smelled a skunk. Kennedy won on appearances. In 1968 Nixon was washed up and fallen so far into alcoholism that he was hopeless after twelve noon.
Quite often it is neccessary to tell the public what they want to hear in order to get a candidate elected. After eight years of Reagan and four years of Papa-Doc Bush, America was burned out on deregulation. The voters were scared of NAFTA and wanted the government do something for them. Clinton came along and promised national health. That’s what the public wanted to hear and that’s what got Clinton elected. We are still waiting for our national health. Clinton set us up for our present financial crises instead.
After Clinton’s outright lies and open collusion with the Republicans, I cannot understand why anybody would believe anything any Democrat would tell them. Yet there are still people who make excuses for Clinton. They forget that the “prosperity” under the Clinton years was simply a stock market bubble that would have been illegal before the deregulation of the Eighties. They seem to forget that Alan Greenspan started under Reagan and continued through the Clinton years until Greenspan himself chose to retire under Baby-Doc Bush. They ignore the fact that Clinton turned homelessness into a national crisis by signing NAFTA into law and then cutting the social safety net. Clinton created his paper surplus budget surplus through his treasury department investing in valueless tech stocks.
There are customs about the Presidency that have to be followed. One such custom is that the incumbent Vice President gets to run for President at the end of the two terms. Al Gore, the last of the presidentially viable, pro-ecology Democrats ran for president, but the Republicans cheated to keep him out of the White House. Gore’s own party made no great effort to challenge the obvious chicanery. Having Gore in the White House would have been an embarrassment. It would have been like Carter. The president would have said one thing while the party was busy colluding with the oil, mining, and lumber companies. Gore was also pro-labor and depended on the auto industry for his support base. As we see today, the auto industry was another American industry due for outsourcing.
The parties no longer even compete for the Presidency. Both parties get together with their PR and marketing people to see who the voters are most likely to accept. When the public got tired of Republican rhetoric, Clinton got into the White House for eight years with no real changes in policy from the Republicans.
Obama is surrounding himself with Clinton’s criminal family. Obama has already come out in favor of illegal wiretapping, promised to continue and expand the faith based initiatives, and backed away from ending the Bush tax giveaways to the rich. If Robert “The Surge” Gates is selected, that will be a pretty good indication that we can expect a continuation of the last 28 years. If you, like me, find this totally unacceptable, it is time to act. We can start by getting on Obama’s website and letting the president elect know that we are not pleased. http://change.gov/ It might not make any difference but at least we will not be silent accomplices to our own abuse.
There is nothing more frightening to a fascist regime than education. When the Nazis took over Germany, it was intellectuals and not Jews who were the first to go to the camps. The Hitler Youth was quickly established to kill any spark of intellectual honesty that threatened to spring up in the German school system. Once the intellectuals were all busy learning about the joy that came from hard work and short rations, the road was clear to go after the Jews.
The American government has seen the dangers that come from a truly educated public. An educated public can raise their collective fists and swat a politician like a fly. Richard M. Nixon was an example of that happening. An educated youth is going to hear the war propaganda and tell the powers that be to go piss up a rope. That’s certainly what happened with the Viet Nam war. I would have to say that the American anti-Communist propaganda came around and bit them in the collective butts. Communist Russia was a poor and technologically backwards country that was presented as the enemy. Popular literature, TV and movies portrayed Russia as a technologically advanced super-power that could easily conquer the United States if we did not stay ahead of them. The U.S started a huge push for education. Our public schools improved the quality of education. Scholarships and grants were created to bring more people to college. America became the best educated country in the world.
This brought a plethora of technological wonders for American corporations to exploit. We created the computer, the VCR, and dozens of other toys that the American economy grew fat on. The fact that the public became educated was an unexpected side effect from the economic boost. Not all Americans became scientists working to make more profits for American corporations. Some became clergy, some philosophers, some social scientists, and still others were everyday workers who had been given the tools to use their own intelligence. The results were unexpected. European Americans could see the justice of Martin Luther King’s cause. The American public could judge Malcolm X’s arguments on their own merit. Mohammad Ali (who will always be “The Greatest” in my heart) was a college-educated boxer that appealed to an educated America. He popularized the anti-war movement and gave us our first slogan. Hell no, we won’t go. The American government found themselves with a crop of young people who refused to serve in Viet Nam and actually saw the reality of the war. It all culminated with Nixon, when the American people demanded his impeachment and got it.
The people behind Nixon had their butts kicked, but returned with Ronald Reagan as their front man. This time they came back smarter. They had a brand new philosophy of smaller government to hide behind. The first thing they did to demonstrate their dedication to smaller government was attack education. Not only did they eliminate millions of dollars in college grants and scholarships, but they began underfunding public schools. By the Nineties, public schools were being bought up by multinational corporations like Lockheed. By the Twenty first century, there were high school students who had no idea what the Second World War was all about.
Not content with destroying the American education system, the Neocons have continued to destroy any attempt at education through their support of the Christianoid right. The U.S Park Service hands out creationist propaganda rather than actual science. California was once the best educated state in the Union. Today it has Proposition 8 on the ballot. How far we have fallen from the days when the public rallied around Dr. King? It breaks my heart. Proposition 8 is the culmination of a 28 year attack on education.