I had an interesting conversation last week that has taken me a substantial amount of time to digest. Not necessarily because of its content, but because I have been trying to sort out how it fits in with a general theme at play in this US Presidential election cycle.
It was with a very successful, intelligent and thoughtful individual, who I like very much. In our conversation, this person took great pains to espouse a true and unyielding belief in “free markets”. Markets that are free of government interference, involvement, manipulation and regulation. A belief that government should get out of the way and stop interfering and all would be better. Those points were made while I listened carefully, but despite this true conviction, little was offered in the way of factual explanations why a Darwinian free market would be best.
The conversation then turned to a new business venture this individual has undertaken in renewable energy at the consumer level . I listened, asked some technological questions and was curious about where we stood in the cost/benefit ratio.
My friend then said this:
“The way we sell this is to point out the fantastic Federal subsidies available for homeowners to install renewable energy. Once we show them what they will get back in rebates after installation, we help them finance the costs until those subsidies are paid out.”
Our conversation ended, we parted ways and I thought to myself how smart this was as a selling tool and that this person had really given this a great deal of thought.
A while later, it hit me. Has it hit you yet?
In one breath, this individual cursed government involvement in the free market and in the next, said that his business used Federal subsidies to sell product. Federal subsidies that were explained to me in an exuberant and positive way.
Therein lies the rather selfish and child-like hypocrisy of the American voter.
And in this Presidential election cycle, it is on display in a way I have never witnessed in my lifetime.
The Middle East
Arrogance is too mild a word to describe the assertion that somehow a US President can control violence in the Middle East. (or anywhere for that matter) I prefer to describe it as incompetent immaturity.
It has been widely vetted that, as intel was given to this administration on the attack in Libya, they released it. As usual, it was wrong early on and got better as more was collected. Mistakes were made, admitted and promises to improve were given. But there is no proof of an intention to mislead.
Only a blind partisan, with true hatred in their blood, would ignore these facts, that are freely available everywhere except from Fox News and Matt Drudge.
Despite the caterwauling of the right wing, even Mr. Romney dulled down his attacks of President Obama on Libya, once he was given access to the daily intel briefings. This is most telling. He now knows, as do most well read people, that there was much afoot in Libya, including a CIA outpost, likely with NOC’s in place, that needed to be protected right away. He also now knows of the significant delays between the gathering of un-vetted intel and a proper assessment from the intelligence community fit for public consumption.
Any President who would put an election above the duty to protect these assets by talking out of turn deserves to be sent packing. This President did not. His challenger, briefly, did – and the right wing media continues to do so. But don’t take my word for it.
James R. Clapper Jr., the Director of National Intelligence said this: “A demand for an explanation that is quick, definite and unchanging reflects a naïve expectation — or in the present case, irresponsible politicking,”
On Iran, it appears the crippling economic sanctions are working, as it has been widely reported that Iran would like “to talk”. While this may not be good enough for the saber rattlers, if true, this is a huge step for diplomacy. It should come as no surprise that both sides now deny this and one wonders about the timing of this information’s leak. But none of that matters at all. The only important question to be asked is this: do you really want another war in the middle east?
Still, the childish hypocrites say they want a more effective President in dealing with the Middle East.
And their critcism is what? That this President doesn’t go on TV and beat his chest about how strong and powerful America is?
The Last Four Years
Let me make this one simple.
This Administration killed Bin Laden (and many other terrorist leaders), wound down two wars, prevented the economy from sliding in to a great depression, enshrined in law equal pay for women, and enacted health care legislation to ensure all Americans can have access to proper medical care.
That’s quite a resume and it should be a cakewalk to re-election. But none of that is good enough for the hypocrites.
They now wonder where the great orator from four years ago is, yet they have criticized him incessantly for being “just a great orator”.
Areas that benefitted from the auto bailout, like Ohio, now think Mr. Romney is better suited to lead a “faster recovery”, while relying on a right wing media machine for information that used to call GM “Government Motors”.
The Dow Jones industrial average has gained 67.9 percent – the fifth best increase for an equivalent period among all American presidents since 1900 – and yet they say Mr. Romney would be better for the markets and the economy?
These are all the same people who are now demanding the President Obama offer a plan for the next four years, in detail. And yet, they do not seem to be demanding that Mr. Romney explain, in detail, how he plans to achieve the many, conflicting objectives he has promised to accomplish if elected.
And people who think Mr. Romney offers better foreign policy opportunities ignore polls abroad that show the rest of the planet has a huge preference for President Obama. One such poll, conducted in Europe, showed that 82% had a favorable opinion of the US President. Why does this matter?
If you want a President who can offer good foreign policy initiatives, is 82% approval not a good place to start, or do you prefer someone who’s judgment told him it was ok criticize the UK on the eve of the London Olympics?
Despite the typical American voter’s assertion that they care little about what other countries think, they should. They really should. And when it comes to the Middle East, they need only look at the price of gas for some perspective.
So, like the person I mentioned in the beginning of this story, the average American voter says they want one thing, but gladly accept the opposite when it is of benefit to them. In my friend’s case, if government truly set the markets free, there would be no federal subsidy for renewable energy, and thus little business for my friend.
Similarly, these folks prefer well refined phrases of puffery that make them feel good, instead of a sober assessment of results and of the challenges that lie ahead. They prefer fairytale over fact.
They prefer a belligerent foreign policy that makes them feel good about how powerful and exceptional America is, even though it does incredible diplomatic damage abroad to friend and foe alike.
Some would call that hypocrisy, and I agree. But it is also something else.
I wonder how Fox “News” and John McCain are feeling now?