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October 22, 2008


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Good post, Jodi, but I'm not sure that the end of the politics of division -- if that's what we're experiencing -- were brought about by voter fatigue.

If the housing bubble had somehow managed to trudge on unimpeded for another two years, sustaining the anemic, polarized, and yet superficially sound Potemkin economy of the early Bush years, I think voters would have been quite happy to sign up for another round of swiftboating.

But then the Dow takes a dive, Reaganesque laissez-faire shows its ugly underside, and then suddenly, even those with a continuing libidinal investment in neoliberal ideology find that their attention is wholly on the economic crisis. And it is here that no swiftboatian campaign will be successful, because swiftboating is based upon a "culture war" model that brackets the inescapably economic bases of social class, training its guns on issues of morality -- defined narrowly as a subscription (or non-subscription) to the pet issues of the religious right.

But the vicissitudes of the Dow and of the credit market, and the subsequent instability of the job market outside of the financial sector, all conspire to expose -- if only temporarily -- the bankruptcy of Republican class politics, the politics that would imagine the working class as an entity wholly preoccupied with God, Guns, and Gays, and wholly divorced from material considerations.

Without a cataclysmic event to get most Americans to revisit the centrality of economics, I suspect that we might have continued on for a few more years without even considering the option of political maturity that you outline here, the option of state intervention in the markets.




Bob Allen

Exactly-- socialism as maturity. Among priveleged white workers, my domain, however, immaturity infects about half of middle aged white males- they love the notion of white male victimhood and latch onto this "share the wealth" socialism comment by Obama as proof the lazy (read Blacks) welfare bums are out to take their hard earned pay- never mind their pay is artificially high due to union contracts and corrupt bureaucrats, the worst sort of socialism, they really feel they deserve privilege; taxes are theft, charity should be voluntary, the libertarian antisocialist bromides. Mcain will get plenty of last minute traction with antisocialist rants.


I read a pretty convincing post somewhere once about Spanish politics after Franco. The gist was, any politician trying to teach Spaniards to be afraid was rejected, after a time, once the technique was recognized.

Re: McCain, I can actually, in the abstract, get behind the idea of doing "anything" to get elected. If McCain was really up for doing "anything," he'd be running a vastly different campaign. If, for example, McCain ran on a platform of putting the current administration in prison, or nationalizing the Bush family fortune, or auctioning off Alaska to the highest bidder, I would think about voting for him. But the anything he's willing to do is confined to pretty narrow parameters. I just wasn't willing to get behind anything he actually proposes.

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