It was 2008, and Bill Whittle was an intelligent man deeply confounded. He wondered how in the heck people could consider voting for Junior Senator, Barack Obama as America’s next president. He finally hit on a valid analogy. He saw people in sudden, acute economic desperation and compared them to a patient in acute kidney distress. The white-hot pain gets to be intense; it shuts down your ratiocination. You fall deeply in love with the dude who promises you the shot of pain-killer which was exactly what Candidate Obama then promised. But why continue in 2012?
Well, let’s say the pain gets to be chronic. You’re still hurting forty days later, the doctor can’t fix it and the bills are stacked to your chin so you have to go to work hurting. You’d better take a little something and maybe put a stick between your teeth and suck it up. President Obama was overjoyed to hand out the little blue happy pills. Food Stamp enrollment shot up. Welfare benefits were extended, requirements for welfare reform got waived and disability applications grew faster than job creation. Such is the pharmacological brilliance of the Obama Economy. I’m not seeing any cures out there, but he’s sure got a new pill for whatever puts a gimp in your walk and makes it clear you can only get that little, magical pill from him.
It turned into a societal analog to what Operations Research Analysts describe as an absorbing state. Without getting too technical and boring you to sleep with a rap about Markov Chains, an absorbing state is a place where some object or system lands and then can’t get out. It’s like O’Hare Airport on an evening with mixed precipitation. You can plan whatever you like, but as Bob Dylan once sang “You ain’t goin’ nowhere.” You get there and you’d better love Big Brother. He owns you and your vote lock, stock and barrel.
So what do these people do? They vote to get their pain-killers. They feel like they have to and don’t want to hear any noise from Captain John Smith.* Thus, the people turn out and vote. A certain fatalistic desperation drives the turn-out. People feel no great love for Barack Obama, but they’re pretty much screwed if Mitt Romney takes away the EBT Card and the disability pension. A dependent stasis sets in and as long as theirs spare cash to fuel the burn-rate, a permanent recurrent electoral majority obtains. Hope and Change become an anathema to what keeps the current governing majority governing.
This, more than the racial demographics and immigration (which just killed GOP Senate candidates in MT, WI, ND…), could repetitively destroy any Conservative’s chance of winning election anywhere in America for the near-term future unless such cycle is broken. Obviously, unless you think money grows on trees and the taxpayers will bend over and put up with the amateur proctology for an indefinite time span, this will lead to a disaster.
We see the initial signs of trouble in how some in the business community are reacting to the Obama Victory. Boeing has greeted Tuesday’s electoral results with lay-off notices. The stock market apparently suffers butt-hurt at not being invited to the Elizabeth Warren Victory Soiree. This remains minor for now. These are a few reactions today, but will magnify in the coming months as taxes increase and smaller businesses shut down.
This new and more challenging reality leaves what’s left of the GOP holding power with two unpleasant alternatives that I will explore in two future posts. One option, what I call The Fabian Option, involves fighting a rear-guard action to block and water-down as much of the Obama Agenda as possible. The other option is The Doomsday Device Option of triggering the fiscal cliff, the government shut-down and any other crisis possible to make the US Senate actually budget and the Federal Government actually fund it’s expenditures so that people in power will be asked to make hard choices again.
Where we go from here will suck. Elections have consequences. But we can reason together, diagnose what’s wrong enough with America to make President Obama even possible and devise an intelligent alternative. Our children and grandchildren depend on us.
*-Who famously refrained St. Paul from 2 Thessalonians (3:10) stating “You don’t work; you don’t eat.”