Howdy neighbors. I hope you guys and gals are doing well. I really do. I’m less pugnacious than some among the Netroots, and I hope your personal lives are happy and comfortable. I don’t wish anyone ill merely for a political disagreement. Why not grab a beer or something and get comfortable. This may take a minute.
My Republican friends, I have a simple question to ask you, though there will be considerable baggage along with this simple question.
Why the hell should we give you another shot?
I’m being dead serious here. Your political philosophy is a bit confused, as you’ve attempted to fit several disparate groups under your big tent. One group believes that the best government is that which governs least. Another group believes that the government should do nothing to disempower the faith, and a subset of that group believes that this is, in fact, a Christian nation, one which should actively empower that faith and honor its values and goals. There is yet another group that believes that the purpose of the American government is the foreign expression of American military power. That ain’t cheap. That ain’t Christian, either. There are other groups as well.
This incoherence cuts to the bone. Your interests, such as they are, run the gamut. You want so many mutually-exclusive and contradictory things that you have run up a massive deficit, deregulated our markets to the point that we’re at the brink of a financial catastrophe. You’ve made it plain that we aren’t exactly eager for Latinos to move here. You’ve gotten thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis killed for, at the absolute most charitable, half-truths.
I would ask “what have you done for me lately?” but I know the answer. You got me a few tax cuts. Thank you. I didn’t mind the money, of course. Almost nobody turns down a check. Still, we’re coming to the point where, for some, the question is quickly becoming:
Which would you rather have, job security or a tax cut?
This worries me. It worries me because you guys and gals have shown blessed little interest in keeping jobs in this country or creating new ones in the industries we already know will dominate the future. Stem-cell research and alternative sources of energy are essential to the human species and its future. You guys want more oil. Okay, fine. You’ll say you’re for “all of the above.” That’s even true, after a fashion. But you’ve made it crystal clear that, of all the things you’d like to happen, the one you want most, first, and largest is oil. There we disagree.
Why should we give you another shot? You’ve been lying this last month, and not in a good way. Oh, lying is nothing new to politicians or activists. We all do it, in small ways and big ways. We try to tell ourselves it’s necessary, that the other side is worse. Maybe so. Somebody has to be. Just the same, I really want to point something out:
You guys broke it. Now you’re telling us only you can fix it. That’s absolutely hilarious. Even if we assume for a second that your ideology, as incoherent and disparate as it is, somewhere contains the magic elixir that will solve all of our problems, how the hell can we trust you to do it right?
You guys and gals have been unbelievably incompetent. For the moment I am not speaking as a Democrat. I am speaking as a citizen. You guys and gals have managed to fuck up almost everything you’ve touched since 2001. Oh, sure, there have been a few things you did well, but my God is it a short list. If we reward you with another term in the White House you will simply never learn your lesson. There won’t have been any pain. Not enough, anyway.
Let’s assume that John McCain is telling the truth. In a way, I think he is. I bet John McCain really does want to fix government, to reform Washington and Wall Street. I don’t doubt that he wants people to have opportunities for a good and happy life. He’s not a monster after all. But how would he do it? As far as I can tell, there are really only two or three things he’s specifically stated he’d do:
1. He’ll cut taxes.
2. He’ll drill for more oil.
3. He’ll show Iran/Russia/whoever else that we mean business!
Okay, great. That’s essentially your platform. I’d like to point out that numbers one and three are pretty much exactly the same as what President Bush has done. Number two, well, hey, if it makes you guys and gals happy, go ahead. Really, I don’t care anymore. It’s such a non sequitur at this point, really. You don’t actually think it’ll fix anything, but you do think you can beat us with that “issue.”
Whatever. I tire of games. We possess 3% of the world’s known oil reserves, yet we use 25% of the world’s current consumption. Great. I’m sure that drilling here and now, baby, will magically fix everything. You guys have opposed raising CAFE standards for ages and so many of you initially ridiculed cars like the Insight and the Prius. But hey, whatever. There’s no accounting for taste.
I guess what it comes down to is that you’re so absolutely silly these days. You act like preventing another major terror attack is some kind of magic accomplishment. I’m glad we’ve avoided another one, believe me. That said, that’s the bare minimum I expect from my government, whatever party happens to be in power. That’s a core competency. And, for the record, 9/11 happened on your watch. Don’t pretend you get to call a mulligan or something.
You guys are pretending that you can reform Washington if we go with you again. Maybe you’ve even deluded yourselves into thinking you mean it. My question now is, well, why aren’t you doing it right now? Why didn’t you do it at any point during the six years you controlled Congress in addition to the White House? Why was it undesirable then, yet desirable now? You won’t have a friendly Congress with which to work.
Your goals are so small. You guys trust the market to fix everything, when we continue to learn that the market is a wonderful system for generating wealth (something I greatly appreciate), yet it is imprecise at solving systemic issues because it is an expression of those very same systemic issues. The market isn’t a coherent, single-minded force. It is everyone looking out for their own interests.
Sometimes we have a collective interest the market deals with. Sometimes we don’t.
My friends across the aisle, let me be blunt. You’ve failed at the most basic tasks. You couldn’t handle a hurricane. You couldn’t restrain yourselves from a war of choice at the worst possible time. You couldn’t give proper medical care to our wounded veterans because you were too damned interested in privatizing that care. You can’t even get the electrical wiring for our guys in Iraq to the point where nobody dies from it.
You’ve sucked. You’ve atrophied. You’ve withered. You are a shell. I’m not happy to see it. It hurts our democracy to see one of the two parties unable to execute the most basic of tasks. Even if my party wins in 2008 and somehow fixes the bulk of your mess, we’re still worse off as a country for your having been in power.
You have no new ideas. You have nothing to contribute other than fear and greed. Those are powerful motivators, yes, but they aren’t that reliable in solving large problems. No, you guys need some time in the wilderness. You need to take a time out. You get your best ideas, my Republican friends, when you’re out of power. Come back in awhile, once you’ve hashed out exactly what the fuck it is you think this country needs and how you’ll get it done.
You’re not even good at making excuses for your own mistakes. I’m sorry, guys and gals, I really am. You had your turn. You blew it. Don’t pretend otherwise, and frankly stop hoping that John McCain wins. You’ll be that much worse off if he does. If he wins, you’ll delay your healing that much longer. You need to figure out what it means to be a Republican. It can’t just be that you’re against terrorism. Everybody here is against THAT. It can’t be that you’re for incompetent government or huge deficits. Take a time out, guys and gals. Figure out where you went wrong so you can avoid doing so again.
If Abe Lincoln, Barry Goldwater, or even Ronald Reagan could see you now. What a disaster you’ve been lately.