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A Retired Defense Reformer's Take on the Ramifications of Romney's Choice of Paul Ryan

Get Ready for the Slaughter

by FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY

Gaeta, Italy.

Romney’s choice of the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan, as his running mate mirrors John McCain’s disastrous choice of Sarah Palin four years ago, although Ryan is probably a more able politician.  Being smarter than Palin, Ryan’s plutocracy-enriching budget proposals suggest he is also a more hypocritical politician, although such a distinction in Versailles on the Potomac during the summer of 2012 may be a case of splitting hairs.

It is a well known fact that like his predecessor candidate for President, John McCain, Romney will never be trusted by hard-right populists energizing the looney base of the Republican Party.  So, like McCain, Romney has picked a superficially attractive hard-right nutcase as a running mate in a forlorn attempt to energize his party’s crazy base.  Once again the mainstream media is going gah gah over the brilliance of the choice.  If you doubt this, google the choice of Palin and compare that gushing to today’s gushing.  In so doing, Romney, like McCain, is setting himself up for a slaughter by Mr. Obama, whose historical role is rapidly becoming one of being the Great Enabler of the oligarchy that is taking over the United States.

Obama, if nothing else, has proven himself to be a brilliant exploiter of his opponent’s political weaknesses.  Barring some unforeseen exogenous disaster, like a terrorist attack or another Wall Street collapse, Mr. Obama’s looming slaughter of Romney is almost a certainty.

I am not saying that Obama deserves to be elected, only that he will be elected. Why do I say this?  Consider please the following:

In a moral sense, Romney is far slimier than McCain: McCain, for all his political warts, did distinguish himself under torture as a POW.  On the other hand, Romney, unlike those who avoided Vietnam for moral reasons, is just another creepy Chickenhawk draft dodger who professed warlike support for Vietnam, while using his religion (rather than graduate school or marriage with children) to the avoid the pain and inconvenience of that war.  Whereas McCain spent his entire life in what he can legitimately view as patriotic (if sometimes misguided, IMO) national public service, Romney can only view himself as a patriot in the shallowest, most opportunistic sense of the term.  It is a well established fact that Romney is really a member of the unpatriotic global plutocratic elite who worked assiduously to enrich himself at America’s expense by doing his bit to destroy the American job machine while protecting his ill begotten gains in offshore tax havens.   Therefore, at the moral level of political conflict, Romney is far more vulnerable than McCain, and as I explained in November of 2008 in The M&M Strategy: How Obama Won, Mr. Obama waged a brilliant political campaign to maneuver Mr. McCain into destroying himself at the moral level of political combat.  Obama has proven he intuitively understands the moral game.  Yet, by pandering to his base, and repeating McCain’s  strategic mistake, Romney has pitted his own weakness against Obama’s demonstrated strength.  The last thing we need is a warmongering President who does not understand Sun Tzu.

If Romney is such bad news, would an Obama landslide 2012 be good news for America? Consider please the following:

As I suggested in the The Enablers, my review of Mike Logren’s important new book, The Party’s Over, Mr. Obama is just another enabler of the plutocratic power that is destroying America.  An Obama landslide will work also to shore up the ongoing entrenchment of that power.  At the same time, an Obama landslide will fuel the mistrust, alienation, and racist anger of the Right, and therefore work to increase its control of the Republican base during Obama’s second term.  This dynamic will very likely set  the stage for a repeat performance by some other Democratic enabler in 2016.

On the other hand, my guess is, unlike his first landslide, another Obama landslide will not generate much in the way of coattails in Congress.  Mr. Obama and the Democrats in control of Congress between 2008 and 2010 had squandered their first set of coattails by 2010, and the same crowd is not likely to get a second chance.  So, we can expect  yet more gridlock and more of the same, and while enabler Democrats get an increasing lock on the Presidency and the crazies strengthen the control of the Republican base, the bloated plutocrats can laugh all the way to the bank.

Despite this rosy scenario for enriching plutocratic power in the coming years, history tells us that sooner or later, the insatiable greed of any oligarchy overreaches itself and becomes intolerable to impoverished masses who think they have or should have a voice in selecting their political leaders.  When that tipping point is reached, the political system becomes ripe for revolution.  In our case, I think a more likely result will be an American version of a fascist revolution on the right than a social justice revolution on the left.  The vanguard of a neo-fascist revolution will be the impoverished, radicalized, middle class, minority white men who need jobs, but feel their opportunities have been screwed by the alien “others” in our increasingly diverse population.  This is an outlook that can be easily exploited by ruthless politicians to shift the focus of their anger onto other victims of the very same plutocrats who created the intolerable conditions in the first place.

Of course, the vanguard of an American neo-fascist revolution, like the brownshirts of the 1920s and 1930s, will be snookered into working for the further entrenchment of the oligarchy, perhaps eventually opening the door for an election victory (via another stolen election like that of 2000?) of a right wing fanatic instead of an enabler.  Whoever he or she might be, the fanatic, like the Enabler, will be beholden to the oligarchy; but unlike the Enabler, the fanatic will be far more predisposed to go all the way toward establishing an overt police state, giving the thuggish domestic policing jobs (in the military, police forces, and private security firms guarding our gated communities, etc) initially to members of the angry mob .  If such a scenario unfolds, it is a virtual certainty that it will be accompanied by an even more militaristic foreign policy, because war (and the patriotism and money flows it engenders) is the surest way to distract the attention of the increasingly impoverished masses from the reality of their growing disenfranchisement.

It seems to me that some kind of neo-fascist evolution will be far more likely at this point than a revolt led by the fops of the enervated left, who are more at home in the brie and chablis salons of the Upper West Side, Versailles on the Potomac, and in the gated communities springing up across America than in the diners of Akron or Steelton or in the poor black/hispanic urban and rural ghettoes spreading across our land.

Is such an an evolution our pathway into the future?

No one can say.  But, it seems to me that Romney’s idiotic choice, coupled with the dynamics of Democratic enabling are setting up an interplay of chance and necessity that makes this kind of evolution more and more possible, if not probable.

Ironically, as I write about this dismal prospect early on a Sunday morning, I am lying at anchor (my home is now a small sailboat) in Gaeta, Italy, next to the USS Mount Whitney, flagship of the Navy’s 6th Fleet (she is home ported here) listening to the Star Spangled Banner accompanying the morning flag-raising reveille.  The music and ceremony still sends a chill up my spine and I am reminded of my days in uniform which I am still very proud of.

Franklin “Chuck” Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. He be reached at chuck_spinney@mac.com