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Anyone else feeling like the fix is in?

twig's picture

Maybe it's me, but last night's convention/sideshow convinced me that this whole process of electing a president is nothing but a sham, something for the rubes to chatter about while the real action is going on in an entirely different tent.

I know this isn't an original thought by any stretch, but the R convention really drove it home. It just seems like the decision about who is going to sit in the oval office has already been made. But to continue the illusion of democracy, they've got all three rings going full tilt.

To tell the truth, I didn't even watch the whole pathetic spectacle, just heard snippets of the speeches on the radio and then skimmed over the reactions today. The whole deal seems hollow at the center (sorry for the vagueness, but it's hard to explain). It's like watching one of the Olympic events after the announcer told you who won the gold. Of course, it's actually much worse, because whoever is "elected," we know the outcome won't be good.

Anyways, I was just wondering if anyone else is getting a sense of this being a done deal. Your reply choices are below:

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letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

to know it was fixed? Both parties are on a course toward destroying American democracy. One party wants to do it faster than the other. What each of us has to decide is whether we want the one that's boiling out from slowly or the one that wants to turn up the heat to temperature that will kill the frog in the next few years.

My own view is that the Party working more slowly gives us more time to organize alternatives, while the Party wanting to do it very quickly will leave us with very few options for doing anything about it. So, I guess I'm with the party doing things more slowly for now.

But right after the election we need to have organized alternatives for 2014 so we have more than shit sandwiches for that election. And by 2016 we have to be in a position to bury the rotting carcasses of the two legacy either through internal revolutions within the parties or through replacing them with entirely new structures.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

we know where this is headed.

For some reason, I keep thinking of this election in recovery terms, which means nothing's going to change until we hit rock bottom, and that hasn't happened yet. Not a very pleasant thought, but I guess we'll see soon how it plays out and whether we get boiled slowly or quickly. Neither one sounds like fun.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

there's a housing development near where I live with some of the biggest houses I've ever seen -- 15,000 square feet is modest there.

One of the neighbors I was talking to about it said that the reason we don't see people there very often is because these are fourth, fifth, or sixth homes for most the residents. So, yes, obviously if the weather/pollution/radiation levels are not to their liking here, they'll go to House #3 or #4 or wherever it's more pleasant. Actually, they're already doing it. People may not be aware of it since it's not right in their faces, like it is here.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

this is exactly what the low-info voters I know want to hear -- vague ideas that seem full of promise as long as you don't examine them too closely.

Doesn't matter if Romney's entire platform is built on lies -- what's happening now is not working for these people and here's a guy who's telling them he can fix that. They don't care how, they don't want to know details, they don't want to think about any of it. They want a grown-up who will do all that for them.

This is the exact mindset among my relatives, who have gotten the short end of the stick since Reagan was elected. And of course, they voted for him -- twice! Now they'll vote for Romney because he says he'll make it all better. Twelve million jobs, lower taxes, free ponies for everyone!! Hard to argue with that...

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

at least with people I know. It doesn't help that Obama walked away from all his campaign promises, either. Why believe any politician? Which one hasn't screwed them over? Actually, why bother voting?

Those are the replies I hear now. The average person isn't getting any benefit from the process, no matter who they vote for.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

For which side? Seriously. Isn't this a heads I win, tails you lose scenario?

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Obama has promised the kleptocracy that there will be no accountability and the kleptocracy has decided to deliver the country to Obama.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

After this weekend, and considering even things like Eastwood's speech, I agree that the fix is in for Obama.

This is a lot like the old Kremlinology days, where people like Condi Rice determined who was in and out of favor by who was photoed seated next to who at offical events and other cryptic tea leave readings. However, if you look at it structurally, there just isn't much there there with Romney. Alot of this pathetically comes back to his Mormonism. It doesn't matter to us, because that ain't how we roll, but Christian activists simply don't view Mormons as one of them. So when it comes down to his connection with his strongest base, it isn't there for Romney. I think they also realize that if Romney is elected this time, they have to wait 8 years to put a "real Christian" in the White House.

I honestly don't think that the Christian Right is going to get in a foxhole for this guy. Yes, he's white, and he's not Obama, but should the going get rough, I don't believe they are going to the mat for a Mormon in an otherwise empty suit.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

but my greater point, which I didn't make very well earlier, is that both sides just seem to be going through the motions.

If the best campaign slogan you can come up with is "Forward," then you're not trying very hard. Where are the marketing geniuses from 2008? Apparently, they're not working on this campaign.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

so someone else may know more. In the bits I saw, Eastwood looked senile. I'm not sure if he was trying to be funny or if he was playing serious. Either way it didn't seem to be working, but maybe someone who watched the whole thing knows what was really going on.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Here it is. Do realize, this is was the beginning of the convention's prime hour of the week, 10pm Eastern, 7pm Pacific; Eastwood (11 minutes [scheduled for 5 minutes]), Sen. Marco Rubio (18 minutes), and Mitt Romney giving his acceptance speech (25 minutes).

Here's the CBS synopsis. You just really have to wonder what kind of impression did Eastwood make on the forty-five and under crowd tuning in to listen to the Republican message for the first time this election cycle.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

Very interesting seeing it in context. He's like the drunk at a roast for some mediocre celebrity -- kind of incoherent and insulting everyone, especially the host.


Submitted by YesMaybe on

Just look at the general advertising on television, and it becomes apparent that there's no genius there. There are the rare exceptions, but the norm is for commercials to be bad and/or obvious (i.e. no special thought or insight behind them). And the companies these commercials are for can certainly afford to pay for top-notch agencies (especially since the air-time is a bigger expense anyway). And as for the rare ones which are good and non-obvious... well, just by chance there are bound to be some of those.

In other words, I don't think it's that the campaigns aren't trying. They're just lame. I mean, "change" and "hope" aren't exactly amazing strokes of originally and genius. And Obama's 2008 portrayal of himself as post-partisan is just a rehash of Bush's "I'm a uniter, not a divider".

Of course the fix is in in the way Lambert describes. But within the confines of both of them being the party of wall street, I think this campaign is about as real as a farce can be.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

back in 2008, when we'd had 8 miserable, frustrating years of W, "hope" and "change" were absolute genius marketing slogans, imo. Those two words papered over all Obama's real intentions and created a sense of something better on the horizon -- finally!!

"Forward," on the other hand, lacks emotion or purpose -- forward to what? More dough for the bankers, etc., etc. To me, "Forward" says "we know you're not going to vote for a Republican, so we're just putting out something that sounds vaguely progressive. Deal with it."

Could be I'm focusing too much into a marketing campaign, but that's just about all O has. The health care whatever isn't really in effect for the most part (and if it was, I'm not sure being forced to buy shit insurance is a real vote-getter). So what else does he have to show for four years? It's very obvious on the talk shows, when his surrogate/pundits keep repeating, "But he saved us from another Great Depression!!!" Oh, right -- unfortunately, the current situation isn't much better from where I'm sitting, so that's probably why I'm not as grateful as they seem to think we should be.

Submitted by lambert on

The way I think of it, rather, am thinking about it right now, thanks to this thread is:

1. The 1% (Powers That Be (Ruling Class)) manage a portfolio of options in the process of electoral politics.

2. Different factions of the 1% have shares in different options.

3. By "option" I mean candidate + candidate's political base.

4. By candidate's political base I mean not merely voters but consultants, intellectuals, activists, celebrities, etc. Essentially synonmous with a Rolodex or, these days, a proprietary database.

5. All "serious" options are acceptable to all factions of the 1%.

6. Only one option will "win," in the sense of taking office, but all options win in the sense of continuing to play. (Lewis Carroll calls this a "caucus race": "EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.")

7. Tropes are created and exploited by factional operatives, but are not owned by them. For example, Obama's base adopted anti-Clinton tropes created by the lowest forms of swamp-dwelling conservative grifters during the Lewinsky matter.

So there are some degrees of freedom caused by:

1. Conflict between factions in the 1%

2. Candidate skills + cohesiveness/effectiveness of the base

3. Other systemic but not electoral players, especially the press. For example, the working press is clearly pushing for Obama in exactly the same way that they puushed for Bush.

4. "Events, dear boy, events."

A model like this leaves plenty of room for agency, treats outcomes as circumscribed but not fore-ordained, and doesn't regard any part of the system as monolithic

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

How do we get out of the loop?

I'm having a hard time imagining the PTB ever letting an alternative candidate win anything that might actually make things better for the 99%. And by that I don't mean vote for the legacy parties or you're throwing away your vote. I'm just trying to figure out how the situation can actually change.

Submitted by lambert on

but here's what I want to know: Where are the 20- and 30-somethings going? Especially the ones that Obama burned in 2008? Where can I go to find out...

jest's picture
Submitted by jest on

Where are the 20- and 30-somethings going?

1. not voting at all


2. voting against Romney, even if that means voting for someone they don't like.

Honestly, #1 scares me more than #2. This generation is so scarred they may not take politics seriously for another decade.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

from my son (mid-20s) and his friends. They're either staying home or voting for Obama.

The interesting thing, though, is that there is no enthusiasm in this group -- none. So different than four years ago.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

We say the house always wins, but that isn't entirely true. The system just favors the occasional "unacceptable" random variable that can occur from the right.

The kleptocracy wants sheep-like careerists and followers. They can be stupid (there's only room for a small percent of "thinkers"), but they don't necessarily want crazies. Too unpredictable. That's why they sometimes eat their own.

Submitted by Hugh on

I used to think like letsgetitdone that the Democrats were driving us toward the cliff a little slower than the Republicans. This is though simply another formulation of the lesser of two evils, and I think Obama and the current Democratic elites prove it isn't true. In some areas, like the austerian debt deals and cutting Social Security and Medicare, Republican obstructionism has actually slowed or delayed the more radical anti-99% proposals of the Democrats.

Re third parties, I have been thinking about this a lot. We need a mass movement, not Occupy, first, and a new party coming out of it, second. People if they back a movement will back the candidates of its party. But without a movement to facilitate this, people have great resistance to jumping to a third party, even one that well represents their views, for all kinds of reasons from inertia, to fear of wasting a vote, to lesser evilism. Occupy was good in going outside the usual power structures, its energy, and some of its messaging like the 1% and 99%. But a mass movement to be effective needs to keep building on itself. It needs to keep snowballing. This keeps up enthusiasm and momentum among its participants and it keeps the powers that be off balance. Occupy spread geographically but not socially. Its members needed to proselytize the community. It needed to reach out to, talk to, and address the issues of other groups. Essentially, you know you have a mass movement when you have significant numbers of white working class males and white middle class women onboard. Occupy failed to do this. It also failed to propose a clear platform and a clear, simple rationale for it. The Twelve Word Platform could have been a start. I prefer my platform of a good job that pays a living wage for anyone who wants one and good education, healthcare, housing, and retirements for all. I think this could be sold by asking the single question: Do you think that we as a society have the resources, both physical and people, to do this? And if the answer is yes, and I think it is, then join us and let's do it.

Given current trajectories of events, chaos, depression, and repression look to be in all our futures, but this doesn't have to be the case. There is still a way out and time enough to take it, but this window of possibility will not stay open forever. We need to act and act now.

Submitted by lambert on

... Shield of Achilles in the works, but as usual it's going very slowly.

He has an interesting -- and provably wrong! -- notion of "the market state" that is very seductive.

If I had to summarize the differences between the two candidates (which I can't, really, because I don't have the Bobbitt critique straight in my mind), it would be that Romney's taction is indeed conservative, in that they merely want to intensify the looting techniques of the last few decades, but that Obama is genuinely innovative, if not in the policies, then in the techniques he's using to secure compliance. But I'm really not at all sure. Areas to watch "the market state":

1. Health care

2. Charter schools

3. Resource extraction, especially fracking