Friday, October 29, 2010

It's the Economy, Stupid (with update)

Remember that expression? I don't even remember who used it, but I'm leaning on it, today, Friday, the last day of the week before Election Day and the probable transfer of power from Democrats to Republicans in Congress. I read this interesting piece on Salon today and watched the video. Basically, it draws parallels between the Obama and Reagan presidencies, and the drubbing Reagan got in his first mid-term, due to a dismal economy.

 What's interesting to me, though, is how nothing ever really changes in politics, and if there's any proof of the concept of maya, or illusion, well, politics is it.

Given the obscene amount of money spent on these elections (with California's gubernatorial race among, if not the, worst of them), I have near-religiously avoided watching any commercials or entered any debates about what's coming. I've read some ridiculously strident conservative blogs and refrained from commenting, and when anything about the Tea Party comes up, I listen politely and then go mainline some heroin. I still have confidence in President Obama, and despite feeling some disappointment and anger at the concessions he's made, I believe fervently that he is one of the few true intellectuals that we've ever had leading our country, in the line of Jackson, Lincoln, Jefferson, Adams and Wilson. And maybe it's just me, but I do feel more comfortable with someone espousing the intellect leading this great and complicated country of ours.

 But given what's probably going to happen next week, I'm taking heart in history, in what is, perhaps, my philosophy of life --

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities!  All is vanity!  

What does a man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?  A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.  The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.  The wind blows to the south, and goes round to the north; and on its circuits the wind returns.  All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow there they flow again.  All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, and ear filled with hearing.  What has been, is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.  ( Ecclesiastes 1:3-9 )


"It's the economy, stupid" was a phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign against George H. W. Bush. For a time, Bush was considered unbeatable because of foreign policy developments such as the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War. The phrase, made popular by Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, refers to the notion that Clinton was a better choice because Bush had not adequately addressed the economy, which had recently undergone a recession.


In order to keep the campaign on message, Carville hung a sign in Bill Clinton's Little Rock campaign headquarters that said:
  1. Change vs. more of the same
  2. The economy, stupid
  3. Don't forget health care.[1]
Although the sign was intended for an internal audience of campaign workers, the phrase became something of a slogan for the Clinton election campaign. Clinton's campaign used therecession to successfully unseat George H.W. Bush. In March 1991, days after the ground invasion of Iraq, 90% of polled Americans approved of President Bush's job performance.[2]Later the next year, Americans' opinions had turned sharply; 64% of polled Americans disapproved of Bush's job performance in August 1992.[2]


  1. As Charlie Brown would say, "AUGH!!!"

  2. I may be an ostrich, but politics depresses me more than nearly everything else in the world today. It seems that the good guys are too smart and balanced to WANT public office; the people who want it, want only to gain from it. What ever happened to the concept of "public service?"
    So I don't watch the ads, don't read the crap in the mail, don't listen to the phone messages (which daily VIOLATE the "DO NOT CALL" LIST!), and work at what is in front of me - that which I CAN do something about, and hope for a better world. My mom has always said, "If you think it's bad in this country, look at how corrupt European politics are!" Small comfort.
    I know that what you posted is true, and that, one day, when my ashes are scattered in the saltwater, someone else will have the opportunity to take up the cause of doing the best they can with what is available.
    I recently read something about Eisenhower's presidency, which suggested that things were as bad then as they are now, and that he remained calm, didn't panic or dramatize what faced him, and made enormous progress on many fronts. If only the news media would GET A CONSCIENCE and STOP SOWING DESPAIR!

  3. I hear you, it's a crying shame. It is hard to understand why some things are the way they are when it seems so simple to at least improve on it.

    It gives the impression that there most be a lot of money at stake that somebody does not want to loose their claim to.

    Love that font though. Look authentically biblicular and magically bellicious

  4. I can't wait to vote Tuesday and neutralize some Democrat's vote. Tee-Hee-Hee....

  5. Kimmie -I hear you!

    Karen - You're eminently more sensible than I am.

    dirt clustit - Welcome! I agree with you -- we live in an oligarchy, no?

    Marion - I imagine that's the best reason on why to vote Republican.



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