Marc Carlisle: If everyone promises change, will it all remain the same?
On the Marc
They’ve got a sell-out on their hands down in Denver the last week of August. For those of you who remember World Youth Day in 1993, the faithful booked every hotel room for 80 miles around Denver, including Summit County to see Pope John Paul II.
A similar scenario seems likely for the Democratic Convention, where I believe Hillary Clinton will, like her husband, find a way to grab the nomination. With Barack Obama on the ticket for the vice-presidency, the two will ungraciously give one middle-aged white guy (as yet unnamed), and a Super Senior, to use professional golf’s term, a serious beatdown.
This election, to listen to the Democrats and even to the Republicans, whose national campaign theme is, incredibly, “The Change You Deserve,” will either usher in an era of permanence to the change wrought by President Bush, or roll his record back so that it will seem to have never happened. Regardless of which party wins, however, will 2009 witness a sea change, big changes that will differentiate the past from the future? The answer is no. For all the difference it will make, you might as well elect Ron Paul or Ralph Nader.
That’s not to say that there aren’t real differences between the two largest political parties. For the rich, the 5 percent of Americans who own 95 percent of the wealth, a Democrat would surely try to take away the tax cuts given them by Mr. Bush. For those of us who consider ourselves middle class, and that covers a range of incomes from $25,000 to $500,000 a year, we won’t see a difference. We got no such tax cuts.
Interest rates are in the hands of the worst chairman of the Federal Reserve since Jimmy Carter appointed G. William Miller, he of mortgage rates and a rate of inflation more than 20 percent.
The price of oil, and with it home heating and gas, are managed by a disparate group of the self-interested, ranging from Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil. President Bush, a pale conservative all along, and with a Republican Congress for his first six years, ran up the sort of budget deficits that put him in the history books as the red ink king, even surpassing LBJ, he of the Great Society and Vietnam.
The Democrats, cast by necessity during the first Clinton administration as the party of fiscal responsibility, won’t be able to outspend or outdeficit him, nor will they be able to trim spending, i.e. national security, by any appreciable amount. In Iraq, the President’s plan has the U.S. out of Iraq by 2010, and a Democrat won’t expend the energy to advance that, fearing the bloody civil war that will begin when our involvement ends.
Domestically, a Republican President and Congress did not advance their party’s No. 1 priority, other than to block stem cell research for fear that the use of such cells compromised the rights of the unborn. They have, however, ensured that a Democrat President and Congress will be as helpless, through the appointments of the Justices Roberts and Alito. Despite wide consensus on the need for change to our health care system, the only thing that has changed is the cost, and the only thing likely to change, after the election, is the cost.
Here in Colorado, we changed the party standards over both the Assembly and the Governor’s Mansion, but spent pretty much the same dollars on education and highways, and blindly authorized more and more prisons to incarcerate 1 out of 18 residents, without a glance at our approach to either drugs or guns. Interstate 70 will remain two lanes, and the number of new reservoirs is zero, despite the warning summer of 2002. To combat forest devastation estimated at 8 out of 10 trees, Summit County is spending $15,000 a year. The form and pace of development continues relentlessly, flowing over political and civic opponents like a river over stones in its path.
At all levels of government, election outcomes, winning or losing, has become an end unto itself like the Super Bowl, remembered the next day mostly for the commercials.
In Colorado, the election is a big deal, but only if you have a room within 80 miles of Denver to rent during the last week of August.
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