Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is Paul Davis a Lion Past his Prime?

I scolded Paul Davis about six weeks ago for his lashing out against politicians, in that case Lowell Barron, while accepting that we ought to be frustrated. Yesterday, he ranted over our electing these same old same old and darned if much of what he wrote didn't resonate. I'm sure he's smart. I would hope he's relatively well informed. But here's what he got wrong:

1. "Congress made it a federal offense to buy anything made in America." WTF he's writing about is a mystery to me. Maybe he's just been sloppy or perhaps I've misread something but I have no idea of what he writes.

2. "The two men who would-be president spent last week talking about lipstick on a pig and whether John McCain could operate a computer." I know they talked about plenty more that this. And Mr. Davis does as well. There are tons of difference between these candidates even if both are trying to attract the middle ground, low information voters that still remain undecided. Still, if these themes got coverage blame the corporate media for covering the horse race and insults rather than doing the complicated, expensive work that would be be required for covering issues, providing context, or otherwise practicing the craft of journalism.

3. "And don't forget, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, who have steadfastly refused to build small, fuel-efficient cars and trucks, want some government billions soon." The markets spoke didn't they? Hell, the GOP passed tax incentives back early in the years of Bu$hCo to encourage Americans to buy heavy trucks. Also, I recall Progressives trying to get CAFE standards, alternative energy incentives, etc. passed only to have them fail thanks to the power of the well connected corporations.

4. "Now you see why we had to stop building American products and send our money to China, Japan and the oil-rich nations. We have no other place to borrow money to keep our economy afloat." "We" hell! The vast majority of Americans have had no say in any of this mess.

5. "Former Sen. Phil Gramm said it best, but America didn’t want to hear it. His comment got him dismissed as a key adviser for the McCain campaign. His words: 'The United States is only in a mental recession ... it has become a nation of whiners.'" Phil Gramm is "Mr. Free Market" Mr. Davis. He's all about crony capitalism and no discussion of Phil Gramm is complete without recalling his ties to Enron. You blame Americans for Phil being sent to the shadows? And you really think he's gone? That you accept the idea that many folks which are hurting are simply whining is perfectly offensive Mr. Davis. Tax policies, busting of unions, swelling health care costs, offshoring of jobs, "tort reform", rising tuition costs, fuel expenses, plummeting home values, rising productivity and stagnant wages, ... aren't real?

6. "Want someone to blame? Let’s start with ourselves. We always re-elect the bulk of the politicians on Capitol Hill. In addition to a chicken in every pot and a car in ever garage, we also want ..."

~While I hardly want to cut the average American any slack for their votes I can also accept that many get minimal information from the corporate media. The media has left assertive journalism for "balance". The right wing has built a message machine ranging from bought and paid for research delivered via seemingly legitimate policy shops to a network of talk radio outlets that reach well into the heartland.

~Many Americans have been marginally educated with a fair number of young folks taught mostly test taking to show they've learned one damn fact after another.

~ We have a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in this nation. "We" elected C-Plus Augustus after all.

~A large population, especially in the South, are Christ-haunted, Bible thumping rubes.

~I also agree than consumerism and infotainment has made things all the worse. "Bread and games?" Wouldn't the corporations that sell us all this stuff through sophisticated marketing have some responsibility? And didn't Dubyah tell us to go shopping after 9-11?

~Truly I seldom if ever vote for a winner. I'm surely in the minority. I refuse to accept any of your blame Mr. Davis.

~ Hasn't conservatism dominated government for the last three decades? With a few limited exceptions, the power has been with the right ever since FDR yet surely you'll accept that Clinton was centrist at best and regardless of his beliefs working with a conservative Congress. DLC Centrist Weenies are plentiful and true Progressivea a rarity.

I for one think Paul Davis is right to lament where we stand. But I think he's wrong in deciding how we got here. Until he understands the past he's not ready to suggest solutions for the future. John Gunn

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