The GOP Campaign Trail of Tears--Those catch-phrases worked so well, didn't they? "Joe the plumber," "Bill Ayers," "pals around with terrorists," and all the rest we'll be happy to forget, didn't work so well this time. We know why.
The economy is a mess because the GOP held the White House and most of Congress for several years, and the Democrats stood down and let them run amok. They also won't hold the Bush administration truly accountable for what can only be described as the greatest political and corporate crime wave that this nation has ever seen.
It would more-than-behoove President-elect Obama to at least call for the creation of a massive independent investigation into the crimes committed by the Bush administration and her allies from 2000 to their last day in office. But there are a number of problems with this, namely logistical ones.
President Obama will have his hands-full in his first 100 days in office. Only FDR faced the kind of daunting challenges that the President-elect faces today. Is he up for it? We don't know this, but if he isn't, nobody is, and does he really have the will to do it? It doesn't matter. I personally don't think that President-elect Obama is going to have any choice on a whole swath of issues, except to address them directly and constructively. But it's also unlikely that he's going to have the time to go after Republican--and numerous Democratic--criminals who aided-and-abetted George W. Bush and his agenda. It's also not exactly his job, but that of Congress. There's another very specific problem.
Obama was one of these congressional enablers of the Bush White House, though as far as we know, not criminally. Obama voted for the FISA rewrite that now allows for widespread surveillance of the American public (and retroactive immunity for the telecoms that participated), essentially every major appropriations bill for the endless occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a lot of other issues that don't instill trust in those who want the public good addressed.
Cabinet picks like Rahm Emanuel (a man reminiscent of Dutch Schultz) don't bode well either, but it has to be stated again: what choice are they going to have but to drawdown in the Middle East, and what choice are they going to have except to mandate sweeping political and business reforms and social spending? Yes, they could just do nothing, the wrong thing, and even the opposite of what the electorate voted them in to do. But these aren't normal times. They could act--or not act at all--but there are consequences for "business-as-usual" during a major crisis. Besides, President-elect Obama has already given the GOP the ammunition they wanted in another form.
By breaking his promise and not taking anymore government funds for his election, Barack Obama decided against a grassroots election with transparency and threw in his lot with corporate America. Knowing this as more than a little of a mistake tactically, the GOP is already making their own narrative of this new era, and they're going to attempt to steal the Democratic Party's "outsider" card away from them. It won't be very difficult, sad to say. Propaganda has to have a kernal of truth to it, but this time, when the GOP accuses the future Obama administration of being backed by "special interests," they'll be almost entirely correct.
This isn't to say that they're any different, but this time they assiduously kept the McCain campaign on-track for the aforementioned reasons--it gives them a lifeline for their survival and a comeback. This back-and-forth between the two party system doesn't have a lot of milage left in it before a real collapse, and if the new Democratic majority doesn't deliver in a big way, we could see riots and general strikes across the nation.
It's very possible that our economy is going to go into a genuine free-fall, a depression. Without radical reforms and unprecedented government response, change is going to come from below anyway. You could bring back every single American solider, sailor, and pilot, to the continental United States, and it wouldn't quell the disorder.
The question is, will it be constructive or destructive uprising if things reach that point?
My feeling is that it's going to be constructive. Granted that if we have a tragedy, it's going to be all of our faults, but Congress and a future Obama administration will be shouldering a great share of the blame. They directly created this mess by abrogating their responsibility of oversight and checks and balances, and that's for starters.
Yes, "Drill, baby, drill," might sound like the title of a Russ Meyer movie, but equally empty rhetoric came out of the Obama campaign. None of this matters. There is a time when the same old lies don't work anymore, and that time is now. Without a total rollback of the last eight years, we may as well have voted McCain/Palin. Then--at least--we could get this collapse under our belt. Many of the same reforms would come anyway. Reality trumps hope.
This can end when they no longer have the ability to provide. That time is here, now.