I hate to be cynical but the next conspiracy theory I am waiting to appear concerns the tanning bed tax. I’m sure the spin will be that the tax was designed to be a whites’ only tax since blacks and Hispanics are unlikely to need a tan. Then the logic will leap to a black President forcing whites to underwrite the health care reform bill since the tanning tax is to help fund the health care system, much like the new super speeder fine will be funding Georgia’s trauma centers. They might even say the tax is revenge for the tea party movement, 99.9% white, which did not exist until a black man was elected.
However, I have a conspiracy theory of my own and it concerns the Republican strategy for the November elections. Key elements that drive an election are fear, financial desperation, and a bleak view of the future. Obama was elected because he brought hope during the financial disaster of 2008 and, in fact, actually turned the economy around. Okay, so the recovery has been very weak but the situation is not dissimilar to a dying patient being brought to the ER and resuscitated but still hanging to life by a thread. Slowly, the patient has been clinging to life and gradually getting better even if much of the progress has been from life sustaining machines. Now, at a critical juncture, the Republicans want to pull the plug. They have been doing everything possible to kill off the patient and now they may actually, and tragically, succeed.
After eight years of reckless spending and wild partying — and doubling this nation’s debt — they have become purveyors of fear over that debt. Suddenly they want us to feel the full effects of their feckless behavior. They want to remove life support and let the patient die. They say they do this because the debt is too much and must be immediately addressed, regardless of the pain. This argument is a red herring.
Their strategy is really quite simple. Since they lost power by decimating the economy, they believe they can regain power by making sure the economy does not recover. They may have voted to bail out the banks but since then they have voted or blocked every measure designed to ease this country back to prosperity. They voted against the stimulus package last summer, voted against re-regulating the very institutions they voted to salvage, voted against health care reform designed to reduce the future burden of those costs on the economy, voted against those lazy people who would rather draw unemployment than go find a non-existent job, and voted against any further stimulus as soon as the economy shows signs of revival.
They know that if the economy improves, people will most likely vote to maintain the status quo and that leaves them in minority status. You have to hand it to them, their strategy may work. Saying no like a petulant child and crying wolf may just be enough in these times to drive the voters to put them back in power. The same Republicans who drove us off a cliff are still in Congress. If they are successful in regaining power, I hope their driving skills have improved.