Monday, October 18, 2010

Double Header
t’s campaign season, which means that the beast with two heads is out bestenching the ozone again. The fiercer head with the sharp fangs and empty eyes is called Rep and the confused, toothless one is Dem. The beast is always among us, but becomes particularly predatory at election time. That’s when the two heads pretend they have two minds and snap at each other like Jack Russell terriers. I’ve been watching this happen for most of my three score and ten. It’s not much of a spectacle, and is getting more penny dreadful with each rendition.
What’s new this time around is that the relentless transformation of our elections from public exercise to private initiative is now complete. Thanks to the infamous Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, anyone anywhere in the world with big bucks is allowed to anonymously invest in our government leaders. So now when we say we have the best congress money can buy, that means renminbi, rials and rupees as well as greenbacks.
Our conservative friends suffer hypocrisy on this score. For decades they portrayed themselves as super patriots and argued that good old business was more American than bad old government. Then globalism erased the distinctions between homegrown and foreign corporations. Would the yahoos follow the logic of their free enterprise faith and now argue that China National Oil Corp., Dubai World and Credit Suisse were also more patriotic than hapless and hated Uncle Sam?
The answer to that one came with the Gulf oil spill. The right took British Petroleum to its heart and stoutly defended BP against what it reviled as ruinous regulators and evil environmentalists from Washington. The fact that BP was UK did not stop Rand Paul, the Republican senate candidate in Kentucky, from calling criticism of it “un-American.” Neither did it discourage Newt Gingrich from offering that Obama’s treatment of poor BP made the U.S. a “Venezuela type” country.
The beast head named Dem is yapping at the Rep head for soliciting secret swag from foreigners. Of course, it’s not barking too loudly since it’s guilty of the same sin. The invitation for foreigners to join our highly profitable election enterprise is yet another sign of the demise of our empire. In the early stages of imperialism, the center rules its subject states; in the latter stages the subject states corrupt the center. Any day now, I can see a bipartisan bill offered up in congress providing that our votes be counted by Swiss bankers.

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