Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election 2010 Post Mortem

On election night two years ago we were in the throes of the Great Recession. We were depressed, unemployed and scared. We knew we’d had enough of politics as usual and were feeling hopeful that a new, vibrant administration would be the answer.

Two years later, we’re still depressed, unemployed and sacred – perhaps even more so since circumstances have not substantially improved. So add anger to that mix.

We’ve been through an election season, rife mudslinging, partisan bickering and out-of-control spending. Politicians are more concerned about abortion rights and gay marriage -- two very personal, individual issues -- than fixing corrupt corporations and helping people screwed by them.

The Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org), which has a ticker on its web site with running totals, estimates that campaign spending will total $4 billion. What can $4 billion do to stimulate the economy? Wait! The television stations must be experiencing a boon in revenue, and newspapers must be breathing a sigh of relief that they can print a few more editions before evaporating into the great archive in the sky.

The fact that candidates have been spending millions out of their own pockets demonstrates how unattainable political office is for the average person. That Linda McMahon in Connecticut and Meg Whitman in California have millions (McMahon, $50 million; Whitman, $141.5 million) to spend just on their goal of getting elected is indicative of the imbalance of wealth.

When Obama was elected two years ago, the nation was already in the grips of a Recession that had been a long time in the making. We probably expected too much. He got caught up trying to accommodate both sides of the aisle. There’s too much broken to be fixed overnight, including stagnant hiring and a system of excess compensation within financial institutions and large corporations. Now he needs to buck up and confront those who are undermining the economic recovery.

We are angry and tired. Rather than speaking to the needs of the people, this current crop of candidates simply swung the pendulum to the other side. Will they be able to do any better? Methinks not.

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