Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera in the American political and financial crisis is Ronald Wilson Reagan. We are haunted by his ghost.

Ronald Wilson Reagan claimed all too much credit for the breakup of the Soviet Union. His jubilation was premature. A newly confident and oil/gas rich Russia rises to claim its Soviet era hegemony.

Ronald Reagan taught us that big Government was the problem. He allowed us to believe that taxes were in and of themselves a bad thing. He was the apostle of the de-regulation of the so-called free market. He lived and breathed myths about such matters as Evil Empires and Welfare Queens. He cared not one fig about the AIDS crisis which emerged in his Presidency. He nominated the most dreadful Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Anton Scalia. He ran up record national deficits, surpassed only by those of his disciple George Walker Bush.

George Herbert Walker Bush followed Reagan’s economic myths (and was undone when he was forced to raise taxes - we all had read his lips!). He pursued a more realistic and modest foreign policy.

William Jefferson Clinton was a Reaganite in all but name, though he did restore the national budget to balance, and even surplus.

George Walker Bush is the Reaganite par excellence.

“Anti-government, anti-taxes, imperialistic foreign policy” are the Reagan doctrines he has most fervently embraced (even as he probably did not understand them).

The results of the Reagan doctrine have led us to the present disaster.

Our Foreign policy has made us the laughing stock or despair of the sensible world.

De-regulation for de-regulation’s sake has led us to a fiscal crisis beyond belief.

We were until two weeks ago officially “anti big government”: now Reagan’s heirs are telling us that more Government is the answer to our problems.

The present Administration believes firmly in welfare for corporations; socialism for the crooked bankers/ investment houses; and golden parachutes for failed C.E.O’s.

Yet they still tell us that taxes are bad, blithely leaving a huge pile of debt for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The General Election is five weeks away.

John Sidney McCain has prostituted all that he ever stood for, to emerge as John McSame. Can we survive four more years of the same?

Sarah Palin is ill equipped to be the Superintendent of Cemeteries in Wasilla, Alaska let alone to be the Veep, within a heartbeat of the Presidency.

(McSame’s choice of this pistol packin’ Momma reveals that he is not only a prostitute, but also a “John”)

Barack Hussein Obama will not be able to effect the changes which are necessary without the wholehearted support of the American people. I am not sure that this will be readily forthcoming.

But I will work for his election, and vote for him, for at the very least he will bring a change of tone, marked by humility and a well informed mind. (It will be nice to have an educated President!)

Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. for Veep? Where is Waldo Joe in this campaign?

But he, (unlike Sarah “Russia is at my back door” Palin) has some experience which could fit him for the Presidency.

My fervent hope is that in this election, the ghost of Ronald Wilson Reagan will sooner, rather than later be exorcised.

((see http://www.slate.com/id/2101842/ for Christopher Hitchens on Reagan)

(Also see below for my link to a great blog article by my friend and colleague Elizabeth Kaeton, entitled “The Anglo Files” )

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