I spent a lovely part of yesterday evening laughing with Don and Becky over John McCain’s fantasy-based notion that, “the fundamentals of our economy are strong”.
As you know, politicians are comedies — until they get elected — when they turn into tragedies. So, Don, Becky, and I are getting in all the laughs now, while we still can.
It’s an open secret once McCain gets elected, he’ll turn the economy over to his political buddy and mentor, Phil Gramm, who will proceed to deregulate everything and continue with the trickle down economics of the Bush Administration. Gramm wrote McCain’s economic plan, and it’s most likely Gramm who keeps assuring McCain, “the fundamentals of our economy are strong”.
You might also remember Gramm as the person who, when told that a proposed Social Security measure would hurt people over 80, responded, “Most people don’t have the luxury of living to be 80 years old, so it’s hard for me to feel sorry for them.” Much more recently, he called Americans “a nation of whiners”.
So far as I’ve been able to find out, the US economy is on the verge of breaking. It has fundamental problems in housing, finance, employment, credit, health care and the federal budget.
I’ve heard that, at best, the next two or three years will be rough; that at worse, we are headed for a 1930s style depression with up to a third of adults out of work. Alan Greenspan calls the current crisis a “once in a century event”, and he says he’s never seen anything like it.
I’ve also heard that fantasy-based McCain — on no fewer than 16 occasions — has cheerfully announced, “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” Obviously, it’s the only thing he knows about the economy — and it’s factually wrong.
So, last night, Don, Becky, and I were laughing at all of it. Especially, at McCain’s recent praise for the American worker. We guessed McCain does not personally know any American workers. And if he does, he appears to care for them about as much as his buddy Phil Gramm cares for 80 year olds.
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: “If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry.”
Every four years, America seems to elect someone to the White House who is on unfamiliar terms with reality. Yesterday, Barack Obama — who appears to be some kind of realist — offered all of us a detailed plan involving “six core principles” for dealing aggressively with the current crisis. McCain, on the other hand, called for a commission to study the problem. So, why are the two candidates so close in the polls? Why does reality-challenged McCain have just as good a chance of becoming our next president as Barack Obama?
Me, I think it has something to do with how our society is fighting a culture war these days between the reality-based community and the fantasy-based community. I suspect McCain’s peculiar world view strongly resonates with the fantasy-based community, and the fantasy-based community is at least as large in this country as the reality-based community. When the fantasy-based community sees John McCain, it sees one of their own.