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The Expansionist
Sunday, September 02, 2012
 
Trying to Lose — and Doing a Good Job of It
The Democrats plainly do not want to win this election, because they have permitted to go utterly unanswered the claim that Obama's policies have failed to energize the economy and bring back jobs. The fact that the Republicans OBSTRUCTED EVERYTHING THE DEMOCRATS TRIED TO DO to stimulate the economy and create jobs, has been left completely unmentioned. The Democrats have, by that silence, CONCEDED the outrageously dishonest assertion of the Republicans that what is at work today is Democratic economic policy, rather than REPUBLICAN do-nothing-and-the-economy-will-just-recover-magically policy. That cannot be an innocent mistake. The conclusion is very hard to evade that the Democrats are trying to lose.
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Perhaps key people within the Democratic leadership have reached the judgment that world economic conditions are in an extremely perilous state, at the edge of a cliff we are certain to plunge over, and whichever party is in power when the calamity strikes will be damaged for a generation, as Republicans were ruined by the explosion of the Great Depression in 1929. So Democrats have made the judgment that they'd rather lose in 2012 and have a chance in 2016 than win in 2012 and lose in 2016, 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032, and maybe even 2036. Remember that the Republicans were shut out of the White House for 20 years after the first election following the 1929 Crash (1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, and 1948), and that string of defeats might have continued had the Republicans not managed to persuade the great war hero Dwight Eisenhower to accept their 1952 nomination.
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The Wall Street Journal, I am led by a friend to believe, says that the world is in a depression, not recession, and that the international economic order is not going to recover fully for years, no matter who wins the White House. Rather, some observers think that there may be a disastrous further unraveling of the world economy if, for instance, (1) Republicans refuse, at the end of this year, to cooperate with Democrats to solve the tax-and-deficit problem as would trigger automatic cuts to Government programs across the board; or (2) any major country in the Eurozone collapses (and several are in peril); or (3) Israel launches a military strike against Iran that produces a counterstrike that closes the Strait of Hormuz and draws in the U.S. military in an escalation that produces a sudden, immense increase in oil prices, which in turn throws the U.S. into a second Great Recession that in turn produces a full-scale depression in China, which is in serious trouble as things stand. [Update, 9/7/12: an analysis of the world economy confirms this version of a dismal forecast for the world economy: "Global Economy Faces 'Perfect Storm' With Eurozone Crisis, 'Fiscal Cliff,' Slowdown, Iran Conflict".]
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"Dominos" (now contemplated or surprises) far outside the borders of the United States could fall, one after another, turning a Great Recession into a second Great Depression. And whoever is in power in the United States will NOT be able to disown responsibility for being unable to do a thing about it, on the basis that these triggers happened abroad. When you are President of the United States, you can't simply throw up your hands and claim that anyone in the White House would be equally unable to prevent such a catastrophe, or recover from it quickly.
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If the doomsayers are right, no matter who wins in November, it will be years before we return to anything like economic normality. If the Democrats lose (and those doomsayers are right), Republicans will be completely incapable of calming the maelstrom or rebuilding prosperity for an entire Presidential term, and by the time the new Great Recession (or Depression)'s natural course has run, and the economy is just about to turn around (but has not yet shown any real strength, so voters will still be disgusted with the Republicans), the Democrats will be able to sweep back into power, seizing control of the White House and both Houses of Congress — just in time to fall heir to a naturally occurring recovery.
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There is, of course, one major problem with that strategy: the world economy might NOT plunge over a cliff, so if Republicans win in November, they could fall heir to a naturally occurring, if all-too-long-delayed recovery from the current Great Recession. Altho they will have done nothing to produce that recovery, it will nonetheless occur on their watch, because recessions don't last forever, but invariably end, sooner or later, in the ordinary course of events. The Republicans will then be credited with having CAUSED the recovery, and it is the Democrats that will be ruined for a generation, for being regarded as the party that produced the Great Recession (because, of course, the public will have forgotten, thanks to Republican rewriting of history, that the Great Recession actually started under the Republican George Bush) and then proved absolutely incapable of getting us out of it.
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If we don't fall off the cliff, and Republicans inherit a naturally recovering economy, the Democrats have only one fallback position: to become The Party of (Hell) No!, blocking every single thing the Republicans try to do, since the extremely stupid public, with an extremely short memory easily remolded by spin doctors, will not hold Democrats any more responsible for that obstructionism than Republicans are being held responsible for being The Party of No since January 2011. But if the Republicans win the White House, retain the House of Representatives, and take control of the Senate as well, Democrats will be unable to stop anything, and the extreme, regressive program of the Radical Right will destroy the Nation's economic and social structure.
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The Democratic strategists who are now counseling a deliberate loss this year may have planned for that too: the electorate has become lazy, naive, and complacent, and needs actually to experience a Republican triumph to realize that all the progress of a century has been lost. Only then will they recoil in horror and return Democrats to a filibuster-proof majority to undo as much of the damage as can be undone. So what if 230 million Americans are crushed by the Republican Revolution? If that's what it takes to teach voters to get their lazy asses out to vote, so be it.



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