Are We Going to Tie Our Shoes or Stumble Ahead?
More brilliant metaphors along the lines of ‘the world is flat’ and ‘let’s make Uncle Sam into a world-class cage-fighter.’ If you must, read the original here.
IT BECOMES clearer every week that our country faces a big choice: we can either have a hard decade or a bad century. But thanks to the President’s new “green magic 8-ball” program (GMEB, jointly funded by the NASA climate science program and DARPA), our knowledge of both the next decade and the next century is now omniscient. But we’re cantankerous human beings: will we submit to the wisdom of the green magic 8-ball?
The GMEB says we must either tie our shoes and do what’s needed to overcome our post-cold war excesses with creative, new excesses, or we can just keep tripping on our untied shoelaces into the future. Given this dilemma, the green magic 8-ball says our politicians will rise to the challenge only through compromise on massive, fair, and credible government intervention.
Over the next century, the GMEB says there are three elements a serious government intervention plan will have: cuts (in defense), increases (in taxes), and growing investment in the sources of our strength (our precious bodily fluids and more). But that, alas, is not what we’re getting, which is why there remains an opening for an independent Third Rail candidate, a Fourth Estate candidate, or even a Fifth Column candidate for the 2012 campaign.
The Republicans have not addressed the three-element challenge because the G.O.P. is no longer a “conservative” party, offering a conservative formula for American renewal. The G.O.P. has been captured by a sad and radical freedom, antitax, and small government agenda, and the party’s leaders are too afraid to challenge it. What would “real” conservatives be offering now?
They would understand, as President Nixon did, that at this point in history we cannot just be about cutting. We also need to be “investing” in the sources of our greatness: China (obviously); our precious bodily fluids (obviously); infrastructure (think Big Dig); education (it’s for the children); immigration (who else will take your order at Taco Bell?); and, government-funded research (on manmade global warming). Dangerous, radical conservatives are now suggesting you cannot simply print more money for government programs, despite the self-evident benefits of these programs, to include the aforementioned green magic 8-ball program.
A real conservative like Nixon would understand we cannot maintain our vital defense budget without tax increases on our most productive Americans. He’d understand the benefits of a state-managed economy with much-needed interventions like wage and price freezes. Real conservatives would know we can get rid of all the special-interest giveaways and still keep important subsidies for Mohair, ethanol, LightSquared, Solyndra, and firearms for Mexican drug lords. Finally, real conservatives would understand that the Tea Party is really the Tea Kettle Party; unhappy people letting off steam (which is actually the vaporized form of their own precious bodily fluids).
However, flying in the face of both the green magic 8-ball and “real” conservatives, the Washington Post reported: “The latest Obama speech ‘didn’t produce any savings,’ said Maya MacGuineas, the president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. ‘He reread it and repackaged it and replaced one gimmick with another but it doesn’t do squat.’ The most disheartening development was Obama’s decision to count $1.1 trillion in “savings” from the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan toward his debt-reduction total. Because Obama has no intention of continuing war spending at last year’s elevated levels, that $1.1 trillion would never have been spent.”
While they may have a point, my trust is still in the green magic 8-ball and my hope is that “real” conservatives will come to their senses and engage Obama in a Grand Bargain. However, my fear is that the Republicans have a massive leg-up in their 2012 campaigns. If my fear is true, my only desire is that I may remain a public service in providing pithy and pertinent witticisms and metaphors even as I’m a hostage to my own inexplicable fortune, the orphan of a political system gone mad, and hunkered down in a palatial green bunker for a bad century.