Monday, August 13, 2012

Four more years....

I’m looking into the future, to August 2016 to be exact.

It is not a pretty picture.

Sure the unexpected can happen (and likely will) but assuming the “normal” course of events given what we know, the government will either be hamstrung or following ruinous right-wing policies.

The hamstrung scenario has Barack Obama as president and the Republicans in control of both houses of Congress. Yes, governing will be even more difficult than it has been for the last four years. At best, the nation and the government will be on hold. The question in August 2016 is, who will the Democrats choose to run for the presidency and will they be able to take back Congress? The answer to the first part is most likely Hillary Clinton. And, no, the Democrats will not be able to take back Congress, whose major function will have become to blame everyone, including fellow members of Congress.

The economy will be even worst than it is today and the Republicans will still be in their Grover Norquist, drown-the-government-in-the-bathtub mode. The Republicans will no doubt choose, yes, Paul Ryan to head their ticket. He’s such a nice, “refreshingly thoughtful” man. At some point the GOP might change its name to the “Tea Party.” Perhaps a real Republican “party of Lincoln (and, Oregonians please note, Hatfield and McCall)” might re-emerge.

On to scenario #2. The country is run by the Romney/Ryan administration with the Republicans controlling both houses of Congress (Okay, they might lose one or both in the 2014 mid-term elections, but you get the idea.) The rich get even richer (anyone want a sixth Caddy and a seventh home?) and everybody else tanks. Under this scenario, Bernie Sanders decides to run for president (as a Republican Socialist?) and the Democratic nominee is...hmmmm. Your choice. Could it be that no one wants the job?

Pulling the levers on all the above will be the very, very rich and the very, very secretive. Casino owners, TV wrestling magnates, defense contractors and corporate carbon-belching global warmers. (Did I mention that the drought and weather extremes will worsen over the next four years?)

Meanwhile, in the streets, expect food riots, Romney-ville or Obama-ville homeless camps. The Occupy movement of 2011 will look like a picnic in the park compared to what’s coming.

If reviving the economy means declaring yet another war, we may finally see veterans take to the street to demand an end to the madness. It is a madness that is literally leading them to take their lives in appalling numbers. This too will not abate.

Back in the world of electoral politics (if it can be called that), the options are grave. Of course someone will chime in to say that at least scenario #1 is likely to produce a more moderate Supreme Court. When the choice boils down to the future of the Supreme Court, you know we are in trouble.

The best way to spend the next four years is to do some serious blank-slate rethinking about the state of the nation, its constitution, its values and its role in the world. What say devolve into very small, autonomous manageable states? Switzerlands come to mind. Split Oregon down the middle, East and West.

Ecotopia anyone?

At the very least, the thinking might provide political talking points as the election campaign gets serious in late summer of 2016.

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