May 16, 2008
Hawking Retro-Change and Misplaced HopeBy Lee Cary
The old media is warming up to fully engage its next new storyline featuring Barack Obama, slayer of the Clinton Dragons, soon to become America's Post-Modern Uberpolitician.
Obama will be, even more, the tall, confident, articulate young leader whose soaring motivational speech touches, we'll be told, the souls of a generation of disenfranchised and disheartened Americans of all ages and colors.
In contrast, the MSM McCain will be the angry, old politico, whose stiff speech motivates few. He will be the candidate from a past, we'll be told, that represents why so many voters are hungry for real change this time.
Thus will be the old media's storyline, one more time, for old time's sake. Their power to influence voters is on the wane, but it still carries considerable weight. And it will weigh-in solidly for Barack Obama - every - single - day - until November.
In the end, it may come down to how many Manchurian voters are already media-programmed to vote on the rebound.
Those of us conscious for the '76 election recall how Jimmy Carter won on the rebound after Nixon. We remember how the old media -- the only media back then -- portrayed Carter as the political scion of the New South, and Gerald Ford, pardoner of Nixon, as the literally stumbling Old Establishment. It worked just enough for Carter to win by 1.9%.
Today's now-old media has spent many of the last eight years, and all of the last four, in bash-Bush overdrive. Consequently, millions of voters are, again, softened up to vote on the rebound.
In the coming MSM storyline, McCain becomes Ford as McCain's past conflicts with the Bush administration will be minimized. In contrast, Obama will project the youthful image of hope and change -- or is it change and hope? Doesn't matter which comes first. What only matters is how it's to happen. And although the how in Obama's speeches and campaign documents could not be any clearer, the MSM will seldom explore Obama's how.
They favor Obama's how. He offers the kind of enhanced federal government that the MSM likes to cover. More and bigger federal government on a scale reminiscent of FDR's New Deal, Truman's Fair Deal, JFK's New Frontier, and LBJ's Great Society combined. Government activism on steroids.
In the first three months of 2008, all levels of government combined hired 76,800 new workers, so government is already a growth industry. But that would be only an anemic prelude of what's to come in a Washington, D.C. that becomes the center of national educational policies, national healthcare management, gasoline price control, greater equalization in wages, fairer taxation...the Grand Arbiter of Fair itself.
The opportunities for government intervention are only limited by the imaginations of those who translate every pain in life into a presumed unfairness, and every presumed unfairness into a perpetrator-versus-victim equation that summons the government to put things right. Good big government to challenge the Evil Bigs - big oil, big corporations, big pharmaceuticals, big retail, big whatever - except, of course, big unions.
A government in which we, the people, can believe in for a change. One wherein we can hope for more programs to fix our social ills. More regulations to thwart our exploiters. More legislation to bring justice for us all. Hope, in the intrepid principles of the never-dying myth that began for us nobly enough in the 1930's during the Great Depression, but then turned decrepit as times changed but the myth kept attracting otherwise intelligent citizens, like Barack Obama, decade after decade after decade. Hope in a government that can make us whole. Redress our grievances. Repair our souls. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness through big government.
Driven by the passion of a social worker, the education of a Harvard lawyer, the articulation of a speaker skilled with a teleprompter, eager to organize our communities and save our embittered souls, comes Barack Obama to rescue us. And because, by his lights, equalization is the fix, he preaches a 21st Century political gospel of liberal socialism baptized in biblical motifs. A spin on Marx. From each according to their untapped ability to pay more taxes. To each who feels disenfranchised -- a word made popular in the wake of the contested 2000 general election that today covers an ever-expanding directory of self-proclaimed victims who've suffered bloodless wounds from perceived slights and insensitivities.
In the meantime, few of us ride AMTRAK when we need to get somewhere. Many workers in their 30's don't expect to ever receive Social Security checks. A significant percentage of Mexico has relocated here, uninvited. We send important mail via some carrier other than the USPS. The FAA decides to make an example of American Airlines and strands tens-of-thousands of travelers. An airport TSA screener yanks a cloth doll out of the only hand of a hesitant, one-armed little girl to run it through the x-ray machine. She cries and I want to.
Medicare pays a Hospice program several thousand dollars to visit my dying mother, but no one ever comes. It takes most of a year and the intervention of a U.S. Senator's office to get Medicare's attention. And many of the same politicians who complain that the VA delivers substandard treatment to our veterans want this same government to take charge of the nation's health care system.
Down in Ellis County, Texas, the federal government spent billions tunneling what was to become a 64-miles underground ring for the nation's Superconducting Super Collider, only to cancel the project in 1993. An Army Corps of Engineer official who worked there in contract procurement told me how he was still letting contracts for tunnel digging while he began awarding other contracts to fill in the tunnel still being dug. This same federal government will, according to Barack Obama's plan, fix our broken public education system. Imagine that.
Chicago's Public Housing Projects are an example of a big government fix -- gone bad. They're dilapidated monuments to bad urban planning and killing fields for gang warfare that's helping put Chicago on-track toward a record year in murders.
But still the political hawkers cry, "Come one, come all. This is change you can believe in. Come place you hope in big government. Yes we can!" And a crowd forms.
Politicians selling change based on the failed myth from the past are hawking retro-change. And hope placed in government's ability to build the American utopia is, of all the sources of hope open to us, the most misplaced. Remember this one:
Excerpts from "Our Nation's Past and Future:" Acceptance speech delivered by the Democratic Party nominee, Gov. Jimmy Carter, July 15, 1976.