Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fox News brings America a weekend of Coolidge-o'-rama


Roger Aislesland--If you want your children to gain an accurate picture of American history from life, keep them as far away from Texas and Fox News as humanly possible. For no logical reason (which is their wont), we've got an entire weekend of little blurbs and even entire shows with gushing over one of the most useless presidents in American history besides Herbert Hoover or Warren G. Harding: Calvin Coolidge. Who? Exactly.

Like George W. Bush, the ignorant and unimpressive Coolidge prided himself on being away from his desk more than previous executives, so much so that it almost became a pastime photographing him lounging around the White House lawn and at his personal residence. Being a Republican in 1920s America, after the demise of the Progressive movement (at-the-hands of middle-class and wealthy patrons like Woodrow Wilson), and after the destruction of unions like the I.W.W. and a brief collaring of the AFL, Big Business and finance were able to pretty much do whatever they wanted to, and they did.

Banking regulations? There weren't very many in those days, and Coolidge wasn't going to push for them anymore than his predecessor and successor did. As we know, the crash of 1929 was coming, and it came thanks to a lack of regulation of the banking system. Coolidge was so ineffectual and immobile that he was referred to as "silent Cal." The notion of a hands-off government was popular with a certain crowd then too, and it's likely to get the same results, another global crash.

Needless to say, Coolidge was Ronald Reagan's "favorite" president, albeit he was once a New Deal Democrat. What he really was was a lifeguard and sportscaster who couldn't act, got in over his head in Hollywood, and ran to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Chamber of Commerce (CoC), and corporations like General Electric, when his mistake-of-a-career began naturally going south--but that's another story for another time. However, this story really is about Reagan and his legacy as a president, the destructive legacy of his administration's ideology and policies.

Why? A couple of weeks ago, former Reagan administration adviser and Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), David Stockman, wrote an Oped column blaming Reaganomics and the GOP (and the DNC) for wrecking the economy, for killing it. Stockman was one of the primary architects and salesman of "Reaganomics," meaning massive deregulation of business and finance, returning us to those "glory days"of the 1920s when there was none...and we got the world's largest global economic depression. These crazy ideas gained real credence after Reagan and have continued into today; just watch Fox News at almost any given time of the day and you'll see it.

In fact, you'll see these once-wacky notions of economics (cut taxes for the wealthy, increase spending, especially defense and handouts to the aforementioned rich) arill being preached as gospel on CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, and much of the rest of the conglomerate owned mainstream media. Naturally, the majority of the public doesn't see it this way, and these memes are falling into very real disrepute as millions of Americans lose their livelihoods, their homes--their very way of life. If you want a great example of an ignorant, hollow-eyed nebbish contributing to the downfall of a nation while being applauded by a new generational round of middle-class fools, you need look no further than Coolidge...or Reagan. Or Clinton. Or Bush I and II. Or President Obama.

There's a good reason few remember--or even care about--Coolidge and why he was chosen for a callous and mercenary rewrite of American history: market extremists in this nation always go running to a remote and untouchable past that never was, a hallmark of nihilism and a retreat into the abyss. That's why this economic crisis is really a referendum of the last 30 years of class warfare in America, courtesy of both major political parties, but more of the responsibility rests with the Republican Party. Not only are they not the solution, they're a nexus of anti-Americanism, potentially poised to drag us kicking-and-screaming into Mother Night.

Calvin Coolidge? Who gives a shit? They just come off like the dorks that they are, with no answers since they're the problem.