In my post The United States of Bulgarian Consumers, I quote James Bovard thus:
But was it the will of the people to have to choose between George W. Bush and John Kerry, or between Al Gore and Bush, or between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole? (Third-party candidates provided good protest votes but could not block career politicians from office.)
That is like saying that it was the will of the Bulgarian consumer in communist times to choose between an unreliable, ramshackle Trabant from East Germany and an unreliable ramshackle Skoda car from Czechoslovakia. Many American voters felt as frustrated by their choice of presidential candidates as did Eastern Bloc car shoppers in the 1980s.
It is possible to have an exaggerated notion of the discernment of the American voter. I am afraid large parts of the voting public were hysterically demanding the Trabant Model Barry. And to this day, many Americans are happy with their new Furzkiste, as the Trabant would be called: the farting box.
Thomas Sowell analyses president Obama's callously double-dealing approach to the debt ceiling issue:
Barack Obama's political genius is his ability to say things that will sound good to people who have not followed the issues in any detail -- regardless of how obviously fraudulent what he says may be to those who have. Shameless effrontery can be a huge political asset, especially if uninformed voters outnumber those who are informed.
President Obama's big pitch in his Monday night televised talk was that what is needed to deal with the national debt crisis is a "balanced" approach -- not just spending cuts but revenue increases as well.
What could sound more reasonable -- especially to those who have not been following what Obama has actually been doing and not doing? This is the same Barack Obama who, earlier this year, called for a "clean" increase in the national debt ceiling.
In this context, the soothing word "clean" referred to an increase in the national debt ceiling without any provisos. That is, no spending cuts at all. In other words, a blank check to keep spending. How balanced is that?
Another word that sounds good to people who don't stop and think is "fair." President Obama says that he only wants the wealthiest Americans to pay their "fair share." But he says zilch about just what that fair share is, or even how to determine it.
Is the "fair share" of the top 10 percent of income-earners 20 percent of all taxes? 40 percent? 60 percent? Those who talk about paying a "fair share" of taxes don't want to be pinned down.
This is another blank check that Obama wants. "Fair share" in plain English means "more," regardless of how large a share of all income taxes is already being paid by a fraction of the population, while nearly half pay no income taxes at all.
What President Obama says may not make any sense if you stop and think about it -- which he of course assumes that most people will not do. But that does not mean that he is a confused man. He is crystal clear in what he is doing, however confusing his words may be to others.
At the heart of the political games being played in Washington is taking credit and putting blame on the other guy. That is the game that Obama played flawlessly in his speech.
Read the entire article here.
See also My Debt Ceiling.