Have the Dems waited too long?

Post-Labor Day is when people make up their minds about politics. On the national level, the Democrats seem to have awakened, but it may be too late.

The despicable “big lie” methodology has been paying dividends for the conservative folks who own almost everything, including the pathetic Limbaugh, Beck, Schlessinger, Savage talk-show types. You’ve seen the disgusting blogs, spouting the same “big lie” rhetoric over and over and over again — Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States; the great recession/near depression that we are going through is the current president’s fault.

It’s nonsense, of course, but if you say it loud enough and often enough, some frustrated people will come to believe it. There are indications that the Republicans could take both houses of Congress. It could happen, you know. I was around in 1994, and I’ll never forget the carnage, the very carnage that has led us to the bad place in which we now find ourselves. The “big lie” continues with the line that if we give huge, billions of dollars of tax breaks to the very richest, they will take that money and create jobs instead of putting it in the bank or into trust funds for their kids. It is truly extraordinary that people in this country actually believe this stuff. It’s as if we have developed collective dementia.

A great asteroid must have passed over the country beaming down rays that have robbed us of our memories.

We don’t remember a man named Bush or another named Reagan and their “trickle down economics.” We don’t remember their billion-dollar-a-week wars that have left us broke. We are here because of them, not because of Obama, and we are about to put them back in office. If you don’t believe that, look at Scott Brown, our new United States Senator.

Polls tell us that this guy who can be “Republican light” is admired for his independence and his ability to stray from the Republican line on those rare occasions when the moon is blue or when he is so worried about being connected to the Southern right wingers and Tea Party “patriots” who now run his party, that he would repel the independent and Democratic voters of Massachusetts.

The other day I was moderating a Vox Pop program on WAMC and a guy called in. It seems he was angry with me because I was excoriating the wing-nut preacher who had announced that he would burn the Quran in protest over what happened on 9-11. The caller expressed admiration for anyone who would step beyond “the middle line” of American politics. I was astounded by the comment and by a few others in support of this stupid act that has the potential to unnecessarily alienate two billion Muslims. A few people made the point that if a group of Muslims burned the Bible or the Talmud, they wouldn’t be the butt of people’s anger in Muslim countries. A few suggested that freedom of speech trumped common sense. Hey, most of us believe that the guy has the Constitutionally guaranteed right to do this stupid thing.

Some believe that it is a hate crime and he should be arrested. I stay with the importance of freedom of speech but I am aghast that every true conservative in this country has not let loose on this guy. I mean, when your commanding generals and Secretary of State and President have talked about the tremendous harm that might come to the very American troops that provide so much fodder for conservative speech in this country, and the conservative leaders in this country remain mute, you’ve got a really troubling situation. There is a point when conventional win-at-all-cost electoral politics just takes precedence in these people’s minds over rational thought.

All the polls say that the Democrats and the president are about to get their heads handed to them. Obama and his advisors are alarmed to the point that they are getting out there giving speeches, reminding people how we have gotten into this mess and what they have done to get us out of it. But people are saying, apparently, that it may be true that Bush got us into it but that Obama hasn’t gotten us out of the big muddy. We are a fickle bunch.

One can only hope that the Obama people will be able to rev up the vast electoral machine they developed for an historic election two years ago. I just hope that they haven’t waited too long to change the oil.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 9/11/10

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