Column by Tim Hartnett.
Exclusive to STR
Every four years the undecided American whipping boy is in for some lumps from his betters. During mid-term elections, the non-aligned generally go unscathed in the two-party turf war. Where the Commander-in-Chief is concerned though, mass movementarians are less forgiving. You’re either a Guelph or a Ghibilene. The theory is that only a dolt has trouble deciding which major party candidate will do him least harm. That’s what George Will told us during the 2000 debates when he compared anyone still listening to football fans that only pay attention during the Super Bowl. And, supposedly, if Gore had been the Supreme choice in that millennial contest, polar bears and Hussein-Takritis would still be thriving.
What George Will didn’t get in 2000--he may have wised up since--is that people still thinking in October see the candidates in very different ways than guys like himself. They know that some things are not discussed in ads, debates or by the news industry. Despite major media claims of stark contrast between those candidates, does anyone even remember what Prince Al and Boy George were going on about 12 years ago? Whatever the “debates” of that era concerned, 9-11, Enron, the mortgage crisis and various other unforeseen events soon marginalized their relevance. There is no reason to believe that the ex-VP would have dealt with these incidents using significantly different policies than the other scion of American political dynasticism.
Overall, the doubters in that race were bothered more by where the two saw eye to eye than any purported major differences. They knew that the engines driving the forces of centralization, incompetence, elitist oblivion and imbecilic authoritarianism maintain the same RPMs no matter which party is in power. This time around, genuine originality and the guts to confront the parasitic forces at the root of our economic torpor are equally lacking in both candidates. Republican appeal to fringe voters now is exactly what Democrats offered in 2008, something vaguely other than the status quo. The Romnoid hasn’t laid out any vivid description of how he’d fix everything that’s broken. Seasoned constituents know that whatever snake oils the political oligopolies are selling, things can get worse more easily than they might improve. The whole object of being on the receiving end of politics in a “democracy” is to avoid the position of Flounder in “Animal House.” Delta Tau Chi’s president in the movie is more candid than any White House resident ever was when he tells his hapless pledge: “You [screwed] up, you trusted us.”
Media celebrities and organization men have their own ways of perceiving things that always conform with conformity but not necessarily to reality. Independents are the types that didn’t join numerous clubs and associations in high school and college, not out of laziness or apathy, but for reasons that the eager to please don’t want to hear. People with a low threshold of boredom notice early on why “meetings” of any size should be avoided whenever possible: They are nearly always torturous exercises in redundancy that seldom accomplish anything besides making egomaniacs more insatiable. This unpleasant fact of adult life is ignored by anyone out to flaunt their own potential. Quiet leadership they take for weakness and a workplace lacking in meddlesome excess direction is seen as disorganization.
In short, reluctant followers are not misanthropes, and recognize that an enormous amount of caution is required to avoid having life disrupted by them. People unaware of this state of things populate the two major parties. The general enthusiasm for individuals that find themselves worthy to command us all evinces a joiner penchant for mass destruction. Does anyone expect depth from a person with a politician's name across his chest? A sports jersey is a much safer bet for the next barstool. Test this hypothesis if you doubt it. Let’s face it, nearly two thirds of the electorate knows their candidate’s party before ever knowing his name. But we are to believe that folks subjecting this dubious process to more careful examination are the dimmer bulbs? George Will’s theory of the witless waverer was not thought through.
Of course some of the malcontents come from “extremes” that parties consider their vassalage the way mobsters divvy up who gets to shake down whom. Hence Hillary Clinton advocated assassinating Ralph Nader for the nearly 2.5% that went Green in Bush vs. Gore. That her own family reached 1600 Penn in a year when an independent took nearly 19% of the vote and no candidate held a majority is a fact the ex-First Lady has probably forgotten.
The idea that one size doesn’t fit all makes the ruling class wary and keeps G-Men busy. Free expression may be guaranteed by the 1st
Amendment, but politics has stricter parameters. This is the general FBI position, despite the fact that that American Okhrana
owes its origins to a man that ran on a third party presidential ticket himself in 1912. “Ideas have consequences,” is a cliché making the rounds in insipid political dialogue. Yes, Virginia, and they generally include FBI interference.
That Feds are averse to political imagination should surprise no one. They have continually amassed power and privilege over the past century to the point of achieving a be-knighted status for at least a generation. Democrats and Republicans never stand in their way. It would be difficult to envision them gaining so much plunder if an honest regime ever took over.
The perennial remedy for ineptitude and malfeasance by Feds is to increase their cut of property and rights seized en masse from US citizens. The idea that government has parameters, like your yard, a football field or the universe, is violent and radical if we actually set out to delineate them. That’s the line Feds have stuck to for a quarter century; it’s time to believe them.