I'll be glad when this election is over. The battle of the shape-shifters is entrenching the whole country into polarized tribes convinced that the Apocalypse is nigh if their candidate loses, even as both now drift to within kissing distance of the center.
Obama's supporters have been bitterly disappointed by a whole catalog of betrayals and reversals: Failing to close Guantanamo and stop torture; escalating the Mideast wars; retaining the same economic clowns responsible for the 2008 crash (Larry Summers and Robert Rubin); delivering health care reform that enriches the insurance companies (that was devised by the conservative Heritage Foundation and modeled after Romney's prototype in Massachusetts). Yet close to half the country actually believes Obama is a communist. Or a crypto-Muslim. Or a fascist. Or an Unholy Trinity of all three combined. Here's a clue for the uneducated: A real communist doesn't get his top campaign donations from Wall Street, nor obliterate hundreds of hapless Third-World peasants in drone strikes.
Romney has already proven to be even more of a cipher. For most of the campaign, he was SuperHawk: America must "shape history," police the world, and give Netanyahu whatever additional wars he wants to safeguard Israeli lebensraum colonization in the east. But in the third foreign policy debate, he sounded more like John Lennon. Give peace a chance.
As the Salt Lake Tribune noted after endorsing his opponent, "Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?"
Most worrisome, Romney's whole foreign policy staff is crowded with warmongering Neocon retreads from the Bush era, including Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon comptroller who "lost" $3.4 trillion before 9/11. While railing against the deficit, Romney promises to recycle the same trifecta - massive tax cuts, increased defense spending and more foreign deployments (Syria and Iran, probably) - that ballooned the deficit under Bush. The hands-off financial regulation that resulted in Bernie Madoff and the Great Crash of 2008 will be reinstated. And although "government does not create jobs," as Romney has repeated endlessly, as head of that government he promises to create 12 million of them. How? Hopefully, not by this route:
During the GM bailout in 2009, Romney and his wife, Ann, who had a blind trust with the Elliot Singer group, made an estimated $15.3 million from the bailout of GM parts supplier Delphi - all enabled by TARP money. There was a deal to keep about half of Delphi jobs in the U.S., but Elliot quashed it, closed 18 factories and sent 24,000 jobs to China. A big payday for the vulture capitalists, another downward notch in the unemployment rate for the working middle class. Now we know why Romney has refused to release his 2009 tax statement.
If unleashing the fertility of his Wall Street colleagues is part of Romney's plan to create jobs, could he at least guarantee that they'll be created in Detroit, Akron or Bakersfield this time, not the People's Republic of China? Ross Perot was right in the 1992 election about the "great sucking sound" of American jobs departing if the free trade pacts were enacted, as they were under Clinton. Twelve million new jobs as Walmart greeters or the costumed hawkers on North Avenue is not going to revive this economy. We need manufacturing jobs.
Which leaves many people feeling pressed between a rock and hard place, forced to vote only for the lesser of two evils. But there are alternatives: Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party, among others. Both agreed that the 40-year drug war was a disastrous, costly failure and needed to be de-escalated. Not a peep about this in the shape-shifter debates. Stein suggested bringing back the WPA; instead of just handing out the dole to our chronically unemployed, put them to work refurbishing some of our decaying infrastructure. They also agreed that the two war parties are eroding our civil liberties, and crippling our economy by massive malinvestment.
It's regrettable that most Americans don't to get to hear the refreshing honesty and novel ideas from these other voices in the wilderness, but ever since the Commission on Presidential Debates took over from the League of Women Voters, it has rigged the system against any third-party candidates.
In a swing state as tight as Colorado, I understand it will be tough to bow out of the binary choice we have all been hustled into, but I'm fed up with this cattle chute. If you're fed up as well, consider the alternative that our mind-control masters prefer you ignore: If you lean left, vote Green. If you lean right, vote Libertarian. Both offer this special advantage: They speak sincerely because they are not bought and paid for.
Travis Kelly is a web/graphic designer, writer and cartoonist in Grand Junction. See his work or contact him at www.traviskelly.com.