Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Phantom Menace

I used to say that Barack Obama was the worst thing to happen to the modern Democratic party. Now, even though I still don't like the guy, I advise readers to vote for him -- or at least, to vote against Romney. What caused this shift in attitude?

If forced to point to a single article which encapsulates my fears, I would choose this one, in which Grover Norquist brags of his ability to control a President Romney.
We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.
Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.
A startling statement, this -- especially if one recalls that Republicans built "fearless leader" cults around Reagan and both Bushes. Norquist explicitly stated -- months ago -- that the real architect of domestic policy would be Paul Ryan. Grover considers Ryan to be either his partner or his creature.

Way I see it, Grover Norquist = Palpatine and Paul Ryan = Darth Vader. I was going to liken Romney to General Grevious, but Grevious isn't robotic enough.

Michael Kazin of the New Republic predicts that Ryan will be the most powerful VP in our history -- yes, even more controlling than Dick Cheney.
Although Ryan is young enough to be Romney’s son, it is his ideas which thrill the conservative policy wonks. And if Republicans win, it is Ryan’s policies which GOP partisans will demand the new administration push through Congress. So when Romney introduced Ryan today as “the next president of the United States,” it may not have been just a meaningless mistake, caused by the excitement of the occasion. In a the grip of an unconscious fear of being overshadowed by his running mate, Romney may have committed a classic Freudian slip.
If I were more of a conspiracy theorist, I would suggest that the slip was intentional.

Jonathan Chait continues with this "Who's in charge here?" theme...
What makes Ryan so extraordinary is that he is not just a handsome slickster skilled at conveying sincerity with a winsome heartland affect. Pols like that come along every year. He is also (as Rich Yeselson put it) the chief party theoretician. Far more than even Ronald Reagan, he is deeply grounded is the ideological precepts of the conservative movement — a longtime Ayn Rand devotee who imbibed deeply from the lunatic supply-side tracts of Jude Wanniski and George Gilder. He has not merely formed an alliance with the movement, he is a product of it.

In this sense, Ryan’s nomination represents an important historical marker and the completion of a 50-year struggle. Starting in the early sixties, conservative activists set out to seize control of the Republican Party.
Now, I am enough of a conspiracy theorist to suggest that Romney chose Ryan as a way of motivating his party's dirty tricksters: "You now have something to fight for. Do your work."

Why on earth would Romney even want to be President in name only? Well, there is the not-inconsiderable fact that Ryan's budget would reduce Romney's tax burden to less than one percent.

Only someone deep in the throes of hallucination would claim that there would be no difference between an acting President Ryan and a re-elected President Obama. Liberals have no choice but to reconcile themselves to the re-election of a bad president, because Ryan and Romney really are that freakin' scary. As activists used to say back in the 1980s: Vote on Tuesday, protest on Wednesday.
I used to wring my hands with clammy angst, insisting that "End justifies means" was a mistake as it differentiated us from the enemy. Negative campaigns were a cul-de-sac of eventual failure. I'm not sure it's a personal growth harbinger, but I have come to the same eventual conclusion Hunter S. Thompson arrived at after much commiseration with Hell's Angels;

EXTERMINATE THE BEASTS....metaphorically, of course.

Except there would be no protest on Wed.
Oh yes there will be. Here. And perhaps not just here.
I don't believe people should for Obama, because of the profound damage he is doing to the Democratic Party. Obama is systematically removing any reason for ever voting Democratic again. That's something even a Romney-Ryan Presidency couldn't do. You should vote for the progressive third party of your choice.
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