I am not a Democrat, nor am I a Republican. In fact, I have never voted for either a Democrat or a Republican in any of the past presidential elections for which I was eligible to vote. Ronald Reagan and Ron Paul are the only two Republicans for whom I would have been willing to vote; I was too young to vote for the former, and the Republican Party prevented me from having the opportunity to vote for the latter.
Needless to say, nominating John McCain looks just as foolish in retrospect as it did at the time. It seems he wasn't quite as electable as his media champions repeatedly insisted he was.
One point that I have attempted to drive home throughout the eight years I have been writing this column is that while the bases of the two major parties are made up of two very different kinds of people, the national politicians who purport to represent their party ideologies in the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives do not, in fact, do so. Instead, they make up a single bifactional ruling party that is far more concerned with maintaining the status quo than with actually championing the views of either of the ideological parties that elect them.
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George Bush spent eight years demonstrating this, as he appeared to take no small pleasure in repeatedly violating the Republican Party faithful's beliefs in small, limited and decentralized government. There was virtually nothing conservative or even republican about his administration, which massively expanded the size and scope of the federal government. Barack Obama has begun his time in office in much the same manner that George Bush finished his last term, by repeatedly violating his campaign promises and betraying the base of the people to whom he owes his election.
It is revealing to see that regardless of whether a "conservative" or "the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate" sits in the Oval Office, their economic policies remain almost identical. One would have thought that a conservative president would have permitted the normal liquidation of insolvent banks rather than order the Treasury to spend billions of dollars it does not have to bail out the owners of the bankrupt institutions, just as one would have thought that a liberal president would not prefer to lavish vast amounts of money on banking executives rather than on low-income individuals at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. But, the present crisis has shown that Wall Street always comes first in the priorities of the Washington party, regardless of whether they happen to wear "Democrat" or "Republican" on their sleeves.
Now the propaganda arms of both parties are shrieking madly in an attempt to head off and redirect the growing bipartisan rage of the American people. The Republican media has, all too characteristically, taken a ludicrous and politically suicidal approach by taking umbrage at the clawback taxes that will recover the millions in bonus money outrageously given to executives at the bailout banks. The Democrat media, on the other hand, is busy attempting to ensure that anger is focused on the insane behavior of the bankers rather than on the Democratic politicians who are now rapidly trying to undo the more egregious results of their recent actions.
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What both medias are missing is that the American people do not and have never supported the bailouts! Americans know perfectly well that the offending bonuses are just a small fraction of the total bailout – they want their bailout money back, too! While the politicians and their propaganda arms appear to take it as given that America without AIG, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Citigroup would be a post-apocalyptic wasteland inhabited only by starving mutants, very few people who don't live in Washington, D.C., or New York City share this belief. In fact, a noticeable percentage of them believe that the nation would be much better off if the all of the "best and brightest" in the financial industry were unemployed, which is a perfectly reasonable attitude considering that many of these so-called "best and brightest" were at least partially responsible, along with the national politicians, in creating the financial debacle in the first place.
As the crisis has made clear, neither Washington nor Wall Street can survive without the resources of the American people. It is long past time for Americans to discover that they can survive, and even thrive, without being forced to place the interests of Washington and Wall Street ahead of their own. No more bonuses. No more bailouts.