Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bring On The Bitch And Boner Show

By Manifesto Joe

The 112th Congress will take office in just a couple of weeks, and America's Millenial Generation may be getting a harsh civics lesson in the bargain. I suspect that some of our young folks may wish they hadn't been texting while the political science teacher was discussing the powers of the legislative branch.

Pardon me for indulging in stereotypes here. But sometimes those can be appropriate and descriptive. William John Cox, writing for Truthout last month (here's a link), went over the numbers that show abysmal participation among young voters since they went overwhelmingly for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

Cox discusses the disappointment that many young voters feel about Obama, who (surprise, surprise!) has turned out to be a compromising politician, not a crusader for unwinnable causes. A good many of the 18-through-29 folks just didn't vote because they now regard Obama as a sellout. They see him making deals that ultimately benefit Wall Street moguls and corporate CEOs much, much more than they help jobless or underemployed twentysomethings. That's understandable.

I have still another theory about the poor turnout. Because of the failures of our schools, and arguably more so, those of our culture at large, many people, among them the young, are too ignorant and politically illiterate to know how much power the legislative branch can wield over the federal government. Because of my work hours, I was seldom home in recent years during the time when Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" segment of the Tonight Show would be on, but I recall seeing a bit of video in which typical men or women on the street would be at a loss to answer tough questions like, "Who was the first president of the United States?"

So, it's my suspicion that a great many younger people didn't vote in the 2010 midterm elections because they were simply unaware of their importance.

I've got news for the less experienced out there: The president is not a dictator. In our system, change often comes about gradually and as a result of wheeler-dealer compromises. FDR and LBJ got a whole lot more done for the common people of this country than Jimmy Carter. Why? Because they knew how the system works -- how to wheel and deal and compromise when necessary to get something done. Even Bill Clinton was much more effective than Carter, though they were philosophically about the same (neoliberals).

Cox, in his Truthout op-ed article, wrote:

Leading up to last week's election, an October McClatchy-Marist Poll found that only 11 percent of registered voters under 30 were "very enthusiastic" about voting, compared to 48 percent of voters over 60 years of age. An earlier Rock the Vote poll in September found 34 percent of young voters favoring Democrats with another 28 percent rooting for a Republican takeover - but, significantly, 36 percent believed it did not matter which party controlled Congress.

An estimated 20.4 percent of young people voted on November 2, representing about a million fewer than voted in 2006 and less than half of the youth turnout for the 2008 presidential election.


You're about to find out why it matters

The most significant number I glean from this is that 36% who don't think it matters which party controls Congress.

This is where our grim little civics lesson comes in, boys and girls. The Bitch and Boner Show commences in just a couple of weeks. Brace yourselves.

The 112th Congress, featuring Senate Minority Leader Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell of Kentucky and incoming House Speaker John "The Boner" Boehner, takes office bright and early next month. There's already a movement under foot, apparently very well-bankrolled by special interests, to repeal the watered-down Obama health care reforms. Judging from the TV ads with Mike Huckabee, you would think that there was an immense groundswell behind this, but polls show that only about 37% of respondents want outright repeal.

A reflection of our confused electorate is that polls also show that about as many Americans -- 36%, I recall -- have a completely different problem with Obamacare. They don't think it goes far enough.

But the next U.S. House has a solid Republican majority, and assorted court battles are under way. You're going to see a blitz for total repeal of that messy compromise that Obama got, for the next 22-plus months. I have no doubt that the House will vote on it, and then it will be up to Obama and the Senate to block repeal.

You're going to see the Obama presidency hamstrung by numerous House committees and investigations. I'm not sure exactly how they'll do it, but bet on an effort to impeach Obama within the next 18 months. I'd wager on that coming to a head around October 2012, just before the presidential election.

Cox, in the Truthout piece, continued, anticipating the agenda of the more right-wing Congress:

The corporate artillery is lined up and the guns are locked and loaded with high explosive shells. Here are the announced targets: campaign finance reform, consumer-protection laws, expiration of tax cuts for the wealthy, environmental controls on businesses, workers'ability to organize unions, health care reform, unemployment insurance, social security and Medicare.

As Samuel Johnson famously said, "Nothing focuses the mind like a hanging." The young people of America are being hung out to dry politically, and they will continue to flap in the wind as the new Congress rolls back even the modest gains of the Obama administration.


I can well understand many people's disappointment. It's demoralizing to have to choose, time after time, between one party that has turned agonizingly center-right, versus what Bill Maher has called the "crazy party." (A further observation by Maher: "Over the last 30 years, the Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved into a mental hospital.")

But it definitely matters which party controls Congress, and our Millenials are about to learn that lesson the hard way.

Bring on the Bitch and Boner Show.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

4 comments:

Cletis L. Stump said...

Joe, in Kentucky, we call McConnell, "Mitch for the Rich", although I'm moving to rechristen him, "Senator Horse's Ass". Thanks for visiting my blog. I admire your writinng. By the way, how do I put a link to your blog?


Cletis

Manifesto Joe said...

Linking depends on what your blog host provides. I will look into it further and tell you if I find out anything. -- mj

Anonymous said...

Mitch McConnel is a chinless, d@ckless, inbred terrapin of a Republican. Meanwhile, John Boner is a man-carrot drunk on his success from running a plastics factory in Ohio into the ground and selling the remnants to China. This country is beyond FUBAR in the next 2 years. I'm sadly reminded of the gridlock the Polish Sejm faced during the 17th Century before Partitions ended the ONLY democratic republic in Europe before the Mid-20th Century. The members of the Sejm were busy c-blocking each others' legislation with the Librerum Veto for years, then they walked out into the streets and noticed the Prussians and the Czar chopped up their nation. I think our Congress will walk out after a day of "work" to find Chinese flags flying and Mandarins filling the streets of D.C. in the near future. FTW, I want to get off...

-WageslaveZ-

Manifesto Joe said...

Guys like Boner say they hate communists, but are always willing to do plenty of business with those godless "Red" Chinese!