Arguing with an empty chair

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Clint Eastwood's peculiar presentation at the recent Republican National Convention stands as a metaphor for everything that's wrong with the GOP and its current lunge toward the presidency: an aging public icon making semi-articulate attacks on an empty chair.

The "empty chair" is their lack of a real plan of attack on President Obama. Those of you who disagree will at this point run down a long list: lack of job recovery, for instance, or and ... and ... Wait. What else goes on the list? The price of gas continues to go through the roof. Yup, that's Obama's fault. Not the international rise in demand for oil; not speculative oil investors, not ongoing tax breaks to oil companies that regularly break their own profit records quarter after quarter after quarter, year after year. You might as well blame Mayor Pate for not solving the high cost of gas.

Lack of immigration reform? Well, the state of Arizona has been prevented by the Obama administration from treating its Hispanic population like Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto in the 1930s. Maybe that doesn't count. Ironically, the number of Mexican immigrants entering the country has gone down drastically in the last two years, so maybe all the Tea Party hater rhetoric has worked despite the administration's efforts to treat immigrants like human beings with inalienable rights. (Don't scowl at mention of "inalienable rights." Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers weren't talking about "us Americans" when they used the phrase; they were talking about the human race.)

The unemployment rate still blows, that is true. Anyone reading this is welcome to go to Washington and in three years turn around a situation that took literally four presidential terms to foul up, going back, alas, to Bill Clinton.

The attention span of the American public, to its discredit, is based on the 24-hour news cycle, and so the events of the past administration might as well have happened in the era of Dwight Eisenhower or FDR.

Really, it wasn't that long ago.

I am in fact delighted in the successes Obama has pulled off in the face of a Congress whose sole, and I mean SOLE, goal has been to stop Obama successes. What kind of agenda is that? Romney and his hatchetmen have gone on for months about unemployment etc., but their contributions to solving the problem have been nada, unless you count jacking with Obama as fighting unemployment.

ObamaCare has been made into a curse word by the opposition, who have no particularly well-organized response plan except to privatize everything and let Wall Street take care of our health. No thanks.

We are left with Mitt Romney, an individual whose image, well-earned, is that of an extremely wealthy man who inherited a fortune, gave it away, then made it again as a corporate raider, and whose centrist health-care plans as governor of Massachusetts were pretty much cut from the same cloth as Obama's health-care plan.

Women? For some reason, in a season when the economy is or should be the central core issue of every conversation, the GOP has gone incredibly far out of its way to engage women's health issues. If you are a woman and you don't mind having your basic rights as a human being curtailed, vote for Romney. Great idea.

In the end, maybe it isn't a choice between Superman or the Devil. We are all human. But Obama's record, such as it is, makes Romney's look like a pile of crap wrapped in tinfoil with fishhooks attached at both ends. Watch your fingers.