Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Crazies on the Run

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

 

More articles by:

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

May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
Lawrence Davidson
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail