I am abroad, for a moment, and have come across the latest issue of the London Review of Books where President Barack Obama is again the topic of conversation. Writer, David Bromwich is the culprit and he comments on Mr. Obama’s future interestingly. Bromwich writes that despite the shortcomings of President Barack Obama, “there is no alternative.” He describes a recent conversation where other observers note that he probably doesn’t deserve to be re-elected but he must be re-elected. That is the line that hits you.
Bromwich explains that it is mostly because the alternative to Mr. Obama, Mitt Romney, is yet another disaster of American politics. He is, if you read between the lines,asserting that Mr. Romney could be the same disaster that was George W. Bush, who, in a short 8 years has the U.S. in a precarious position in the world. Bromwich deals with that as well, as he suggests that Romney’s administration will be full of Bush carryovers, the Cheney crowd, who think there is a military solution to every American problem and thinks it is okay that there is serious and growing inequality in the U.S.
So it is not odd that today, Mr. Obama again is talking Bush era tax cuts and extending them for those making $250,000 or less. He is grasping that last point that it is an “us” and a “them” even though we are supposed to all be in this together, as he said famously in 2004.
The Bush tax cuts are, of course, the key to everything. For the Democrats, they must die. For the GOP it isn’t just about money, it is about destroying the government. Mr. Bush and his advisers wanted the tax cuts for everyone because as long as the tax cuts are not severed, we are all the same, even though we aren’t. Warren Buffet gets a $40 million windfall and I get $400, or something like that. But we all got skin in the game.
But give Mr. Obama credit, the tax cuts must end for someone because the country is out of cash. The U.S. has waged two wars and not paid for them yet, and their rivals are laughing at the reckless fiscal nature of such a decision. Borrow money to invade countries and cut taxes? Crazy.
The GOP will be all over this one. Class warfare they will call it, and, of course, it is. But why not at this point. The U.S. economy is football; the GOP want to choke it out to win the election, the Democrats know it won’t get going, so they will simply say, look at them, they would starve you to death to get power.
And this is appalling politics. The President is playing class warfare and the opposition, by seeking to elect another rollover President, is saying he is right but who cares. Mr. Obama’s proposal is not even bold: it is an attempt to return to the Clinton era policies, and the GOP knows that is a loser for them because it might actually work. So, they have gone Ayn Rand on us. The government is evil even though we work for it.
It might not be that simple but it is close. Mr. Obama’s proposal is going nowhere that is for sure. I applaud him for trying but mostly, I tell myself, David Bromwich is correct, there is no alternative at this point. How did we get to this point?