FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Crazies on the Run

by CLANCY SIGAL

In college we had a football cheer when our UCLA team was scoring big: “HIT ‘EM AGAIN…HARDER! HARDER!”   Exactly right.   For the second time in your presidential career, Barack Obama. you have a chance – the popular vote (61 to 58 million) is too close to call it an actual mandate – to do the right thing.  This means, sir, no compromise, no conciliation, no “hands across the aisle” and no more blather about “nonpartisan” and “we’re all Americans now”.

For the moment you have the Republican crazies on the run.   Go for the jugular, please, Mr President.  Do not fall, as you hint you may, for a “Grand Bargain” that will raise the age at which citizens earn Social Security.  And don’t you dare take a single step back from sustaining, and improving on our current Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Our welfare net – bluntly, what keeps many of us alive –  is the chief target of the dominant Tea Party wing of the GOP – and, more importantly, its Wall Street paymasters whose life’s ambition is to drain the public treasury by channeling our payroll tax-cash into their private pockets.

Do not use us as bargaining chips to prove that you are “everybody’s president”.   You are not.  Right now you are OUR president.  You belong to the temporary voters’ coalition of America’s blacks and Latinos and gays and women and union members many of whom worked their tails off to keep you in the White House.  Who do you think won you Ohio and Michigan – and thus the presidency?  You owe us.

The ballyhooed “fiscal cliff” and “deficit crisis” are smokescreens behind which temporarily shellshocked rightwing strategists like Karl Rove and Paul Ryan and their super-rich bankers (the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson etc) will, I promise, revive and maneuver to take advantage of your notorious weakness for conciliation (i.e. surrender).

Their slogan is “Fix The Debt”; meaning, fix us good and proper.   Already, as the Financial Times reports, under various rubrics, such as the Simpson-Bowles Commission, The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Third Way, Concord Coalition etc., the same corporations that poured hate-money into Romney now are amassing a new $30 million war chest to re-attack our benefits as a “threat to the nation”.  To them we’re fiscal terrorists just by accepting what we paid for.

For the moment, sir, we Obama voters have kept the barbarians from the gate.   (Incidentally, I don’t include all Tea Partiers in this category.   Some libertarian Tea Party members helped win liberal pro-marijuana measures in Colorado and Washington states.  Is it merely a wish-dream that, on specific issues and a smarter approach they, too, can be won over to the side of the angels?)

But true vampires never die.  They’ll be back literally with a vengeance.  Like Jack Nicholson smashing at his wife’s door with his axe in “The Shining”, they’re stoppable (see recent election results) but relentless.  They never give up, it’s in their history and nature, almost in their genes, to sabotage America’s skeletal safety net.  Traditionally they hate welfare-and-health programs because they fear and hate the people (us) who are the beneficiaries of these “entitlements” we pay for in our taxes.  With his 47% gaffe Romney spoke from the beating heart of capitalist America: they truly believe we are moochers picking their overstuffed pockets.   (And let’s hear it for the anonymous kitchen helper who hid the video recorder at the Florida fundraiser where Mitt dug his grave, courtesy of Mother Jones magazine.)

Paul Ryan & Co. and the hardest-line Tea Party poujadists, and their corporate backers, change form but hardly ever change.  In one shape or another they’ve been with us since at least the 1930’s when Franklin D.Roosevelt cursed the ultra-rich Liberty League  as “economic royalists” and joyfully welcomed their hate.  John Kennedy had his Birchers.  The ever-compromising Bill Clinton had his Vince Foster-suicide conspiracy nuts.   At this month’s election we all saw how the wealthy knuckledraggers went hysterically ape, with their Obama-the-Muslim-socialist-Godless-traitor-illegitimate-Kenyan venom, all synonyms for attacking us – the unrich, luckless, poor, workingclass and under-water middle class  Yahoo racism failed … just.

It’s a truism that the Republicans lost because they were in denial about a demographically changing America.  But I wonder if we’re not in denial too – denying just how strong we are – strong enough to firmly, and with fire, reject deals with people who mean us harm..

The signs are not good, sir.   Harry Reid, the leader of your Senate Democrats, immediately signaled his willingness to surrender, “It’s better to dance (with the other side) than fight.”  Who says?   Arch-reactionary John Boehner, the weakened House Republican leader and a sworn enemy of everything we want Obama to stand for, preaches, “Mr. President, this is your moment…We’re ready to lead, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans.”  Kumbaya.

All too predictably, from Monday’s New York Times, “(This week), Mr. Obama will meet with corporate executives at the White House as he uses the nation’s fiscal problems to start rebuilding relations with business leaders. Though many of them backed Mitt Romney, scores have formed a coalition to push for a budget compromise similar to the one the president seeks. He hopes to enlist them to persuade Republicans in Congress to accept higher taxes on the assurance that he can deliver Democrats’ votes for future reductions in fast-growing entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.”   Here we go again, with those damn “entitlements.”

There’s always talk on the left of “building a grass roots movement” to apply pressure on you the President.  We’ll wait till the cows come home.  The only such movement comes together – and it’s magnificent – only once every four years at election time when and if people feel their personal lives at risk.  Until such a Jerusalem is built in this green and pleasant land, let’s at least summon the George Orwell in all of us to decode language designed to hurt us.

The most dangerous word in the American dictionary?  Bi-partisan.

Hit em again, harder, harder.

CLANCY SIGAL is a novelist and screenwriter in Los Angeles. He can be reached at clancy@jsasoc.com

 

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail