The new normal

  • 10% unemployment.
  • Dead civilians at a political rally.
  • Bombs on Martin Luther King Day parade routes.

Don’t let anyone tell you the recovery is here.  If we start believing that, we’ll have accepted what we have as the new normal.  There are certainly those among us who are doing just fine with the way things are, but as a society we have to commit to the belief that things could and should be better.

They’re starting to recognize the depression…

For the last few years, we’ve been in the initial stage of a prolonged financial crisis, but its just now that many popular pundits are starting to recognize the fact that we’ve entered a new depression.  In particular, even Krugman is now saying that the depression has pretty much arrived despite the massive deficits and government spending (or perhaps because there wasn’t enough spending).

In the meantime, job growth isn’t exactly keeping up with demand and real estate shows no signs of recovery.  Financial and health-care reform bills in Congress don’t seem to really address the fundamental dysfunctions of our institutions, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of a legislative alternative…  At least not one that is politically viable.

Is Massachusetts turning Purple?

In a relatively surprising and somewhat last-minute victory, Republican Scott Brown has won the late Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat.

While Mr. Brown counted partially on the support of various “Tea Party” organizations, his platform sounds typical of the “moderate” Republicans that manage to get elected in heavily Democratic districts in solidly blue states. While still being staunchly on social issues like gay marriage or abortion, they are somewhat more willing to negotiate spending plans – especially the ones that bring pork back to their local constituents.

So how will Scott Brown’s election impact the future of Obama’s agenda? Early signs aren’t encouraging, because the 60 vote supermajority they once sort-of enjoyed is now utterly reliant on at least one Republican breaking ranks with party discipline.

Democrats Face Election Fears

It is fairly rare in American political history for any party to long maintain a super-majority above 60 seats in the Senate, so its a natural fear that they may lose some elections in the coming term.

Complicating this is the fact that the final healthcare bill was relatively unpopular by the time it had been compromised down to little more than a big corporate giveaway.

Unfortunately, a loss on this legislation would potentially be worse than a victory, so the partisan reps will continue to support it despite the damage that they’ll still receive for doing so.

Of course, any losses the Democrats suffer do not necessarily become gains for traditional Republicans.  In many polls, voters would support “Tea Party” Republicans over GOP-insiders, but since the GOP controls the Tea Party PACs it probably doesn’t matter too much.  Republicans who do get elected will probably run on a more populist platform than we’ve seen in the past, and many of them will set themselves up in opposition to both Obama and other aspects of  Bush’s legacy.

Another source of danger for the Democratic super-majority is the rise of progressive parties and the general drift of those on the farther parts of the left who have so far been disappointed with Obama’s progress in changing or undoing many of Bush’s administrative trends.

In the coming years, voter dissatisfaction and Congress’s inability to please both sponsors and voters will lead us to a wild ride that re-aligns American political alliances for generations to come.  Some of the players are starting to group up and get ready for the coming election rounds, but we probably won’t conclusively know what the new scene looks like for another six or eight years.

Its Getting Hard to Talk about Politics

The worse things get, the harder they are to discuss in a calm and rational manner. Indeed, compounding the issue is the chilling effect of surveillance and the paranoia this adds to the equation.

The polls have established that the government is incredibly unpopular – and the vast majority of citizens see the country headed in the wrong direction. But what of it? What are you going to do about it?

Law after law is passed; dollar after dollar spent. Those who resist the edicts are likely to see an in-depth and long-term prison tour. Simply suggesting passive resistance can also be interpreted as a crime in our legal system…

So for all intents and purposes, I can only advise that you do exactly what they tell you. Pay your taxes on time and ignore all those loopholes and deductions that the ruling class regularly feasts on – they were not meant for you. Keep your papers and registrations and permissions up to date and on hand – you never know when you’ll need to prove that you’re allowed to stand on that sidewalk over there.

Why stand out of line? Why separate yourself from the safety of the herd mentality? Its not like the future of an entire nation is at stake… Its not like the legacy of liberalism and the reputation of a government by the people is on the line…

All I can legally tell you is to obey…

Don’t Go to College for Politics

Don’t make my mistake.

There are plenty of happy things you can learn at school, like math or chemistry.   The last thing you really want to know and understand is how a government works.

Unless you’re a power-hungry sociopath…  Then you should probably major in politics after all.  There will be a nice well-paid career ready for you, as long as you don’t have a soul.

If you do have a soul and studied politics, leave a comment.  I’ll link to your blog or something.

IndyPundit – Now With More Political Microblogging

Well, this site has been around for a while now but it wasn’t much more than an experiment in building websites for a long time.  I had another domain doing politics, so there wasn’t much use for this one aside from a weekend project to test a few skills.

Anyway – a lot has changed and I feel like I’ve really got a place for IndyPundit now.  The political site has been taken down due to unforseeable security issues, so this will be my primary platform for political and economic micro-blogging.

That means, everytime I come up with a silly political concept or I just want to rant a bit off the record, I’ll be adding a short post here.  Hopefully, these little bits of reaction will add up to a clearer worldview that takes strategic positioning and institutional power into consideration.