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Democratic scare tactics

September 30, 2010

It’s a bit out of character for me to go on ranting politically and not tackle some WoW-related or skeptical topic. Have to get some in later. But I have been listening to an interview on the Diane Rehm show today with David Plouffe, who managed the Obama presidential campaign in 2008. And it has seemingly crystallized a tactic that, sadly, I think Democrats are wise to employ. It is the politics of fear.

Fear after 9/11 led the American people to hand Dubya a political blank check. We went to war, our civil liberties got trashed, our privacy invaded, our government’s budget sank into debt, our economy bubbled and popped; and by and large, no one cared, no one checked out the man behind the curtain. We’re scared, we’re mad, let’s go kill somebody.

Not that Obama has really stopped this. He’s managed to accomplish a good deal, and they talk about keeping us out of a new great depression, and they’re probably right. But our rights, our country’s pride of purpose remain trashed, and the fleecing of the middle class continues. I was reminded of it this morning in a commercial starring (ex-)Senator Fred hawking reverse mortgages, proudly touting government insurance of mortgages designed, I suppose, to finish taking away the property and inheritance of the middle class, and to allow baby boomers to literally take it with them.

Makes one wonder who they think will buy all these houses once they’ve thoroughly destroyed the middle class. But that’s the corporate way. Profits today, don’t think about tomorrow.

Of course, Mother Jones (linked above) also has some interesting articles on Goldline, Glenn Beck, and another form of fleecing of spooked Americans. I am perhaps a bit unsympathetic of the conservatives fleecing their own stupid flock, but they are. And I see vultures likewise in my own city, spamming cable TV with their eagerness to buy gold, silverware, and other valuables (on the cheap, quick, cash of course) as the morons who have some means buy gold and drive the price up. Interesting. Good Ole Tom’s is a Connecticut institution. I thought the premise of trustworthy old-timey Tucson folk was a sham.

Doh. I digress.

Anyway, the running theme of Plouffe’s interview was the standard bad vs. worse scenario, although he tries of course to paint the past two years in the best possible light — not easy considering the state of the economy. Easier by far (and more frequent) were his reminders of what the Republicans wish to do should they regain power. Roll it all back, do what they’ve been doing, more of the same. It’s scary. He actually used the word several times, scary. He wants his base to be scared of what the Republicans will do.

As we saw in 2001, fear is a great motivator, after all. It’s a pretty harsh judgment, though. While the right wing fears terrorists, or, say, brown people, it seems one Democratic strategy is to get its base — me — to fear Republicans (Republican Tea Party included). It’s a dispiriting point of comparison. What should scare us more, what did more damage to the country? The planes on 9/11 or the popped housing bubble? Terrorists or toxic assets? The only thing to fear is…the other side. Perhaps we’re right to. But it is sad to see politics come to this impasse.

So, hope and change. But also,

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