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The International Writers Magazine: US Politics

Last Man Standing
Dean Borok


Ladies and Gentlemen, the winner of the Last Comic Standing is BARACK OBAMA! But not for long. Oh, he’s going down!

You would think that with every senate seat at a premium, he would have poured massive resources into the Massachusetts by-election, but ooooh noooo! An insignificant detail like a Democratic senate seat was just too minor, what with the previous fuck-up, the jockey shorts airline bomber, still occupying his days and nights. As Bush once put it, when they warned him that terrorists might try to use airliners as flying bombs, “I’m not here to swat flies”.

The Republicans are playing poker, and they are making the best of a very bad hand. Unfortunately, these Harvard boys never learned poker. Dick Cheney is involved in extraparliamentary politics reminiscent of the royalist intrigues in Spain just prior to the Spanish Civil War. I’m sure he sees himself as a possible alternative in case things really disintegrate to the point where he would be swept into poser like de Gaulle, or Franco.

The man of the hour is senator-elect Scott Brown. He is pivotal. Whether he realizes how much he stands to gain remains to be seen. With his runway looks, his nude Cosmopolitan centerfold and his kid having appeared on “American Idol”, he knocks Obama out of the box In terms of charisma. Instead of beating a tomato can to win his senate seat, like Obama, Brown took on the whole Democratic establishment and brought it to its knees. This alone catapults him to the front of the Republican line for the nomination in 2012. Brown’s ascendancy is bad news for Sarah Palin. Compared to Brown, who has actually won a huge election, Palin is just a bag of hot air.

Scott Brown is not against universal medical insurance. He has said as much. He said that he wished the whole country could have a plan that resembles the Massachusetts scheme. People in that state are happy with their universal coverage. That doesn’t mean that Brown won’t help to kill national health insurance reform, to make monkeys out of the Democrats and raise his own profile.

That got me thinking: maybe the Massachusetts voters did not even give that much consideration to the medical plan controversy, already having internalized the issue because their health insurance is running so smoothly. Maybe the whole election was devolved to the visceral level of Bruins fan Scott Brown versus empty-suit Martha Coakley (comic George Lopez calls her Martha Croakley), Obama, and the whole Democratic establishment. As Will Rogers once put it: “I don’t belong to an organized political party – I’m a Democrat”. If Republicanism, with all its punitive Presbyterian baggage dating back to the English Reformation, can be classified as a chemical imbalance treatable by antipsychotic medication, Democrats, perpetually blinded by their messianic yearnings and ill-considered, half-baked moralisms, are the flip sides of the dysfunctional coin that is losing us market share worldwide.

Fortunately, there is some evidence of forward motion in the business world. Mergers and acquisitions are up and big business seems to preparing for a new cycle of activity. On an anecdotal level, I, personally, am working again. It’s not great, but it beats sitting around and fretting about whether my benefits are going to run out.

Democratic initiatives extending unemployment benefits and subsidizing COBRA certainly relieved a lot of pressure on me over the last few months, and I’m personally beholden to Obama and the Democratic Party, but for all his moralistic lectures about persevering in the face of adversity, Obama is putting in a very poor job performance overall. If he were a board chairman, he would have been sacked already. All his initiatives have been blown to kingdom-come. He has no political coattails. Every time he goes into a state to campaign for a candidate, the candidate loses.

A lot of Hillary Clinton supporters warned of just such an eventuality, which admonition was greeted by insults and accusations of racism, much of it orchestrated by the Obama campaign itself, it turns out. David Axelrod admits to it in his book about the campaign, where he treats accusations of racism against Bill Clinton as just so much campaign mischief. Naturally, Obama received a lot of vocal support from Republican interests who were deathly afraid of the prospect of the Clintons regaining the presidency. The Republicans correctly calculated that Obama would be easier to tear down, and McCain would have in fact beaten him, had not Wall Street collapsed just weeks before the voting.

So, Obama was swept into office with an historic majority, propelled by the fear and angst of the public. But he has not got the management skills needed to exploit his advantage. He never ran anything in his life, the flubbing of the Massachusetts election being Exhibit A. How do you let a thing like that get past you? The election was such a foregone conclusion that the only reason Scott Brown himself received the nod to run was because no senior Republican would touch it!

I guarantee you that the Clintons, and especially Bill Clinton, saw the whole structure collapsing in Massachusetts, but they kept it to themselves. Nobody asked Clinton his opinion. If the Clintons were in the White House, they would long ago have raised the Republicans’ poker bet and called their hand. At this stage of the game, the Republican Party would be an extinct, cold ember.

Nothing to do now but observe as the obstructionist Republicans bring the whole process of government to a screeching halt while the Democrats continue to play Russian roulette with a single-shot pistol. Obama is in the express lane to a one-term presidency, and the Clintons are once again in the game.
© Dean Borok Jan 23rd 2010

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