If there were only one lesson which we could take away from the November, 2012 election it is this. Unlike most of our movies (which serve “in loco parentis” for many of our young people) or like the fairy tales that were written of old, good does not, at least in the short run, always triumph over evil.
The GOP selected as their candidate a solid, middle of the road sort of fellow in Mitt Romney. He didn’t have the charisma of a Ronald Regan but he started to come to life as the campaign developed. And what was not to like about the former governor?
He had a successful track record in both business and in government. He exhibited strong family values. He was a person who adhered to his faith. He was clean, wholesome and didn’t have a lot to hide from public view. And he factually, (well mostly) presented to us, an economy which was in the doldrums, a debt that had grown by fifty percent during the incumbent’s term in office and an unemployment rate that was the worst since the Great Depression.
He might as well have been speaking Chinese to his audience – a language which we may all soon need to learn.
One of his major points was that President Obama would go down in history as the person who created the greatest welfare state in this country. He was correct. However, he saw this as a reason to ask for our votes rather than to give them to the big “O”. His thinking couldn’t have been more off the mark.
You see, Romney viewed reliance on a below-poverty level income from the government as something that was evil. Obama realized that by expanding social (dependence) programs, he was buying votes. And he bought a lot of them. And behold, it was very good.
There are a lot of people in this world who are lazy. I live in a town that was built just for them. Las Vegas is the Mecca for the indolent. I see it in those who gamble every time I walk into one of our casinos.
They are sitting at a slot machine or a table game with a glazed stare on their faces, hoping that because they are special, the gods will favor them with abundance. After all, it is not their fault that they lost their job and soon may lose their house. They are mere victims of forces they view beyond their control. They see themselves both as entitled and deserving. “Come on jackpot.”
I don’t think it will be long before the casinos will have made a deal with the government to redo their in-house ATM machines so that they can accommodate a player’s EBT card as well as American Express and Visa. That way they can offer a true one stop shopping experience for those players on government subsidies.
Undoubtedly, this will come under the pretense of benefiting these consumers. They will no longer have to spend the gas money to go to the convenience store to obtain some cash for gambling but will be able to transact all their business in one place.
American politics has a long, if sordid, history of buying the approval of the voters. FDR and his New Deal was born out of the lessons he learned from his cousin, Teddy with his vision for America, The Square Deal. Both men, as with the current occupant of the White House enjoyed enormous popularity as they offered programs which were intended to “benefit” your average Joe.
The public couldn’t get to the polls fast enough to vote for and return these demagogues to office. And so it was once again in 2012. Another demagogue – another victory for short-sightedness.
But this time, despite the narrow Obama victory as you compare his to his predecessors’ triumphs, the table has been set at the “Come On In Diner Where We’re Happy To Feed You Barely Enough So That You Have The Strength To Vote For Me Again.” The problem is that there are so many who are eating, there are few left to serve them their meals. And many of the wait staff are looking for new positions.
Romney’s essential failure as a candidate stemmed from who he was a person. He was a man with a sense of traditional American values and was so thoroughly committed to them that he assumed they were essential components of belief that most of his countrymen shared. He couldn’t have been further off the mark.
The genius of those running the Obama campaign was that they realized that there were millions who would listen to rhetoric and ignore substance. They were the naïve and gullible who lacked the education or the gumption to go out and feed themselves and their families and would be easily swayed to vote for a president who promised them something for nothing. And they came out or were bused in droves to accomplish their mission.
The campaign was nothing short of brilliant.
But the question remains, what happens when the trough runs dry as it inevitably will? When you have over-promised and under-delivered, even the most addled of your minions will eventually catch on.
When that next payment on which you depend fails to make its arrival and you see that your overseers are living a life of luxury as you spend your afternoon dumpster diving to find something for dinner, what will be your feelings towards this divine monarchy for which you voted?
The common response from most in this situation will be anger – and they will act on that with violence. Their “survival mentality” will dominate their deeds and anyone in their path will be in harm’s way. That might even extend to those who created the programs which got them this far in life. It’s been known to happen before.
There is a basic tenet in logic that if you being with a faulty premise you will reach a faulty conclusion. It may not always be apparent at the moment, but like a bridge that is constructed with structural flaws, inevitably the right set of circumstances will come about that causes it to collapse. It is no different with the structure of human societies.
So bask in your accomplishments, you who voted for the “Great Society.” You finally did a job. Like much in your lives, you did the wrong thing – but you did it well.