Washington Mutual Bank just went broke. The government bailout package for the financial system has yet to go anywhere in Congress. Several thousand more families lose their homes every week due to the mortgage crisis. In Texas, theyre still cleaning up the mess left by Hurricane Ike. In the United Nations General Assembly, where everything is usually as exciting as a folklore presentation, the United States is verbally getting its ears boxed while Sarah Palin, the potential Vice-President, polishes up her foreign policy experience by appearing in photo-ops with Hamid Karzai. Shes reported to have mainly been interested in the names of Karzais children.
It makes one want to cry God bless America one more time, because they really seem to need it. Not only are the superpowers political stocks tanking, the American dream is turning into a bad loan for more and more people.
And the candidates? Like the late Moses, theyre both looking for ten (or at least three) commandments showing a way out of the crisis while looking as much as possible like Moses himself.
As far as Barack Obama is concerned, we ask ourselves why the guy doesnt finally lose his patience (in a controlled manner, of course), turn toward the White House, and scream Enough of this bullshit! The financial crisis has given him momentum in the polls, but in his public appearances hes always as cool and distinguished as Sidney Poitier in one of his movies. The enthusiasm he develops in front of his supporters always appears extraordinarily polite. Just dont look angry Obamas camp seems to think that would frighten whites.
Its the economy, stupid, was Bill Clintons campaign slogan in 1992. He won not only with political ideas, but with a lot of smooth Southern emotionalism as well. Now, in 2008, the motto is Its all about fear and anger, stupid.
Fear of going broke, of losing your home or your pension. Anger about Wall Street, about hurricanes, about the Iraq war. Nothing is further from Obama than Bill Clintons I-can-feel-your-pain appearances. But a little carefully measured indignation might go over pretty well with the middle class.
And whats with John McCain? He suspended his campaign with a lot of hoopla in order to rush off to Washington to save his country and its banks and also hoped, in the bargain, to postpone tonights scheduled debate with Obama. That plan has now failed.
That doesnt look Moses-like, it looks like the zigzag course run by a frightened chicken. McCain, who once admitted with totally likeable truthfulness to knowing nothing about economics, then went on to prove that by pronouncing the American economy strong right at the beginning of the financial crisis. Within 36 hours, his advisors convinced him that total crisis was a more appropriate description.
Since then, the man has been looking for appropriate words and the appropriate posture and has to be asking himself whether the most important women on his team arent becoming a burden to him as well. Sarah Palins handlers still wont allow reporters within earshot when she addresses any factual issues. The reason for that is the justifiable fear that her economic ignorance would put a quick end to Americas romance with their moose hunter.
McCains wife also has image problems in view of todays hard economic realities. Carly Fiorina, known as chainsaw Carly, McCains chief fundraiser and advisor, was CEO of computer giant Hewlett-Packard and fired 15,000 employees after overseeing a merger with Compaq until she herself was fired a couple of years later because she lost too much money. She scored a $20 million severance package, naturally. A typical American success story from the highest levels. But not one that voters today would necessarily appreciate.
Its all about anger, stupid!