Meh Culpa

Reminder to self

Watching bipartisanship get a drubbing by the Republicans this week didn’t surprise me. I was hoping after the Inauguration that they’d settle down and play nice, but I wasn’t surprised when despite their promises (i.e., McCain’s to Obama), the party devolved into the same old harpy that’s plagued us since the era of Gingrich and the Contract on America (a pun).  I was reminded of something, though.  When I was almost of voting age, my dad–a reactionary Republican if ever there was one–explained to me how he came to his voting decisions:  he considered what would benefit him personally and voted for that.

My voting rationale is the antithesis of my dad’s. I vote for what I believe is right for the American people and for the country as a whole. I vote against war because, as a general principle, I don’t believe in war. I believe in direct, not indirect, self-defense.  I vote for choice because even if I don’t like the choice, I’ll defend a woman’s right to choose. If she wants to have a baby, that’s her choice regardless of whether I think it’s a bad choice.  (Case in point,  Nadya Suleman.  I thought she should have stopped by the first disabled child, but she had the right to choose to carry to what passed for term.  She also has a right to live with the consequences of her choices. Unfortunately, her children will have to live with those consequences, too.)

Had I been in Congress last fall, I probably would have voted against TARP because it rewarded the wealthy and the powerful at the expense of the regular people getting screwed.  From my point of view, helping distressed homeowners was the only reason to vote for TARP at all.  Although some people blamed those homeowners for not living up to their responsibilities, not all buyers understood what they were getting into. Many consumers didn’t have the education or they were defrauded by unscrupulous lenders like Countrywide or they simply lost their jobs.  (The actual rate of unemployment was 9.2% in April 2008.)

I also agree with Joseph Stiglitz that banks are in denial about their insolvency, that they created the problems that put Wall Street & Co. in this dire situation.  I believe that the insolvent banks should be nationalized–not as an act of vengeance, but ultimately for pragmatism’s sake–and that the bankers who are still running the show should be dismissed because they keep doing the same old things that don’t work.   Since he’s part of the same system, I probably would have suggested another Treasury Secretary than Geithner, too.  (But who would in her right mind would want that job?)

I was so relieved when Obama was elected that I suppose I relaxed more than I should have.   I even started winnowing my subscriptions to various and sundry progressive organizations. The Reminder to Self truly arose the other day when I discovered the administration will need continuous nudges about the things I believe in.  If I want torture ended, then I need to agitate against torture.   If I think Obama should stick to his campaign promise to get us out of Iraq, then I need to keep reminding him of that.  If I think Israel seems to be calling too many shots in our foreign policy, then I need to argue for an equal playing field in the Middle East.  And on it goes.

I care about so many issues.  I simply can’t tackle them all.  😐


February 14, 2009 - Posted by | bailout(s), banks, Economy, Foreign policy, Iraq War, Israel, Middle East, Obama, Obama administration, recession, torture, Treasury, US Constitution | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Let’s not forget the rolls that Barney Frank, and Chris Dodd had in the mortgage, mess. Accelerating and promoting sub-prime loans to individuals who, had no business qualifying for these loans; has certainly played a hugh part in the present market conditions. What happened to personal responsibility? When you can’t afford something, you don’t buy it anyway! Give me a break!
    Obama, may have not had a direct play in this, but the Dems. are not completely blameless. As a long time Democrat I’am greatly disappointed with the general attitude that winning an election justifies a winner take all magna carta in the “bipartisin” arena.
    I fear the end to this mess is far down the road, and both parties better pull their head out or there will be no nation to govern. A. Gest

    Comment by rollsettravel | February 14, 2009 | Reply

    • I’m not thrilled with the Democrats by any means, but who can forget Bush 43 extolling the virtues of an ownership society? That sort of thinking filtered from the president on down, and seemed to infect almost everyone. And yes, you’re right, not everyone could afford those houses, but some of those buyers, as I said, weren’t educated enough to understand that qualifying for a home loan didn’t mean they could afford to pay the mortgage, especially with the upwardly mobile payments ARMs brought them. They didn’t know it’s folly to owe more than one-third of your income, including that house. I just looked at a GE site that said the debt to income ratio could be 50%, which I think is insane.

      I’m not sure what you mean by a winner take all magna carta. I am disappointed in both parties for failing to set ideology aside in favor of saving the country from ruin. The American people voted for the opposite of what the Republicans offered, but I sure as heck noticed that not only did they fail to get out of the way, some of them wanted a train wreck. What is up with that? Are they so inured they think nothing can happen to them, or to the government? (Not according to Bush’s Presidential Directive 51, which I hope is actually in the past, although I’m not holding my breath…)

      Comment by mehculpa | February 14, 2009 | Reply

  2. Mehculpa, I agree, it appears we are both voicing the same concerns. You are right both parties need to think of the future of our country. The TARP may well save the nation, or it may only be a speed bump. Just enough to jolt the passengers on a 230 year old bus heading to the crusher. Hopefully someone finds the emergency brake before it’s too late. I do like your site. A. Gest

    Comment by rollsettravel | February 14, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the compliment! I appreciate it. 🙂

      Comment by mehculpa | February 15, 2009 | Reply

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