Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Decline of the West

So all my liberal friends are slobbering over Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention.  I didn't watch it (my TV doesn't receive digital signals, and I don't have cable or satellite), so I don't know.  But who cares?  She's not running for office.  I also don't trust their judgment, since most of these people have also rhapsodized over what a great speaker Barack is, and I know that he isn't. Besides, they are all team players.  Michelle gave a better speech than Ann Romney because she's on Our Team.

Aside from that, they've been speculating gleefully that Betty White would perform at the DNC, to show Clint Eastwood how it's done.  So many people have been dwelling on the fantasy that they seemed to have begun to believe it was really going to happen.  White is a charming, funny lady, but I can see no reason why she should give a major speech at a national political convention.  Who'd write it, I wonder?  She wouldn't be allowed on the podium with a speech that hadn't been vetted.  Maybe the same people from Comedy Central who contributed jokes to the President's speech threatening the Jonas Brothers with death by predator drone.

I've noticed that the Obama cultists who spammed their feeds last week with jokes about the Republicans' convention center ("You Didn't Build That" -- it was built largely with public funds) have been silent about the site of the Democratic National Convention: the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.  As Amy Goodman reported today,
... earlier this summer, Democrats organizing the party’s convention stopped calling the venue Bank of America Stadium, referring to the site instead as Panthers Stadium, even though Bank of America purchased the sponsorship rights in 2004. The move appeared to mark an effort by the Democratic National Committee to distance itself from symbols of the Wall Street bailout like Bank of America after reneging on a pledge to stage the convention without corporate donors.
Not only that, Goodman mentioned
 ... the nation's largest utility, Duke Energy, and its role in bringing the Democratic National Convention to Charlotte, North Carolina, where we’re broadcasting from. The company’s chief executive, James Rogers, held fundraisers, donated his company’s office space, even guaranteed a $10 million loan to the convention committee.
So of course my Democratic friends are kvelling about Michelle and Betty.  But it could be worse.

On the other side, my Right Wing Acquaintance Number One was delighted by a Forbes article which hopefully announced "New York Times Proves Clint Eastwood Correct -- Obama Is Lousy CEO."  "That rings true to me," RWA1 commented.  The Forbes staff writer, shaking his head in disbelief, declared "A Sunday New York Times front page story — New York Times! — might have killed President Obama’s re-election hopes." He sums up:
Imagine, for a minute, that you are on the board of directors of a company. You have a CEO who is not meeting his numbers and who is suffering a declining popularity with his customers. You want to help this CEO recover, but then you learn he doesn’t want your help. He is smarter than you and eager to tell you this. Confidence or misplaced arrogance? You’re not sure at first. If the company was performing well, you’d ignore it. But the company is performing poorly, so you can’t.
With some digging, you learn, to your horror, that the troubled CEO spends a lot of time on — what the hell? — bowling? Golf? Three point shots? While the company is going south?
What do you do? You fire that CEO. Clint Eastwood was right. You let the guy go.
The President of the United States isn't a corporate CEO; a government isn't a company; voters aren't customers.  And I'd like to know who the writer thinks "you" are.  From a corporate point of view, Obama has done very well: the stock market is booming, and corporate profits are at record highs; he's also still quite popular with his "customers" -- certainly more popular than George W. Bush was by the end of his second term.  Obama has also sheltered the corporate sector from accountability for the crimes and mismanagement that nearly destroyed the US economy in 2008.  And while RWA1 may wish that Bush hadn't bailed out the banks (with Obama's and McCain's collusion), or Obama the auto companies, I doubt the corporatists agree with him.  I hold no brief for Obama, as readers of this blog will know, but it's also worth pointing out that a major faction in upper management (the GOP in Congress) did its best to sabotage him from the day he took office.  (I've also been trying to remember when Republicans like RWA1 were bothered by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush's excessive fondness for vacations.)  A CEO like Obama wouldn't be dismissed, but even if he were, he could still count on a generous golden parachute of stock options and severance pay.

So that's the state of political discourse in America these days.  We're doomed.