John Colson: Hit and Run | AspenTimes.com

John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

Seems to me as though we could be gearing up to re-elect President Barack Obama, thanks to the fact that the Republican party no longer knows itself or its mission.

This is a good thing, and could happen only because there probably is no way the U.S. electorate can imagine a White House inhabited by a former pizza magnate who hassles women to get his jollies and then lies about it, and who wants to further enshrine the rich (Herman Cain); a newer and even dumber version of George Bush (Rick Perry); or a Mormon with questionable ideological and intellectual bona fides (Mitt Romney).

I leave out, of course, the non-candidacies of two women who clearly don’t understand history, politics or economics (Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman) and a libertarian who is as desperately out of touch with reality as the two women (Ron Paul).

In Paul’s case, his standing has slipped to the point where there’s talk of his running as an independent in the 2012 race, an apparent admission that even he knows he can’t win the Republican nomination.

All of this, naturally, must be taken with a mountain of salt, just as Obama’s seeming reacquaintance with his populist roots must be viewed in light of his abandonment of all semblance of his “progressive” agenda.

It’s amusing, though, to check in the with Tea Party, which is still caterwauling about Obama’s supposed “socialist” plan for taking over the U.S. and handing it to some dark, unknown cabal of international origins.

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The latest salvo from the tea baggers comes in the form of warnings about a connection between the Occupy Wall Street movement, Obama and that hated financier of progressive politics, billionaire George Soros.

The tea baggers maintain that Soros, whose philanthropy has funded some remarkably progressive initiatives, is behind the Occupy movement, just as the Koch brothers are behind the Tea Party machine.

This is simply too funny.

We have two “movements” that both claim egalitarian, popular roots, each of which is accusing the other of being the tool of ultra-wealthy ideologues as a way of drumming up support for their particular causes.

Actually, it would be funny, if it weren’t so frightening. It’s frightening because it could mean that not only have our political parties succumbed to the lure of lucre from the well-heeled 1 percent, but even our fringe splinter groups are now tied to the big-money tree, like hungry dogs slavering for a bone.

All of which, to return to my original point, is likely to end up in the re-election of President Obama out of sheer fear.

Which I believe, as I noted earlier, is a good thing. Or, I want to believe it is.

I have lately been harboring the hope that Obama really has a plan, one that’s been at the back of his mind all along.

In this hopeful scenario, Obama understood that his first term would be hobbled by Republican no-nothing, do-nothing fanaticism. He would be able to keep the U.S. from falling into complete economic ruin by catering to the self-interest of the wealthy class, and maybe accomplish a few of his less controversial, progressive goals along the way.

But the real work would begin with his second term, when he would be free of re-election pressures and able to throw all his weight behind a move to get money out of politics, reassert the rights of common people and put the brakes on the rampaging Korporate Kulture that is riding roughshod over the nation.

As I said, this is my hope, tempered by the knowledge that Obama is a member of the ruling class himself, and that he has as much vested in keeping to the status quo as anyone else.

I could be completely wrong, and our first black president may very well be a stalking horse for the 1 percent, lying through his teeth about holding progressive ideals in his heart.

If I accept that, though, then I accept that all is lost and that the dictatorship of the almighty dollar over our lives will only strengthen. That the corporations will soon entirely supplant people as the deciders of national policies, and that the masses will be relegated to the role of slaves, producing a fabulous lifestyle for the rich and famous while subsisting on scraps and cast-offs ourselves.

But I’m not there yet.

jcolson@aspentimes.com