Wanna Bet about the Next Four Years?

Anyone care to place a wager with me some time between today and Inauguration Day on January 20, 2009, over how incapable — whether due to philosophical unwillingness, the intractable nature of circumstances, or more likely a mixture of both — the imminent presidency of Barack Obama will turn out to be, when it comes to addressing nationally and globally urgent matters of the kind raised last Thursday (for example) by the UN General Assembly’s Interactive Panel on the Global Financial Crisis?

I know.  I know.  This bet won’t mature until the 2012 election results are in, and this won’t occur until late Tuesday evening, November 6, 2012 — at the earliest.  (Sorry.  But this is the best I can do.)

But isn’t it already clear that one of the best people for understanding the scope of these tasks, let alone tackling them, now chairs the UN Panel: Columbia University‘s Joseph Stiglitz?  Doesn’t Stiglitz’s acceptance of this post show that Stiglitz knows he won’t be asked to play for the Obama economic team?  (And do be sure to take a look at the Stiglitz presentation at the UN.  As well as the one by Nehru University‘s (New Delhi) Prabhat Patnaik.  Great stuff therein. Great stuff all around.)

On top of which: Doesn’t today’s "controversial" commentary by Paul Krugman for the New York Times ("The Republican Rump," Nov. 3  ), wherein Krugman, flushed with victory from this year’s Nobel Prize in economics, argued that the diehard Republicans left standing after John McCain’s November 4 defeat will be of the same ilk that "attend Sarah Palin’s rallies, where crowds chant ‘Vote McCain, not Hussein’," that, like Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss, "observing large-scale early voting by African-Americans, warn[ed] his supporters that ‘the other folks are voting’," and that will be "more, not less, extreme" than were even the Reaganites and Gingrichites of recent decades, genuine throwbacks via some kind of weird social-Darwinian – slash – devolutionary process to decades long ago, acquire its real significance in this context, and this only: That a failure by an Obama administration between January 2009 and October 2012 to tackle the severe deterioration in U.S. living standards, and to bring to a halt or at least to slow-down the runaway locomotives of the military-industrial complex and of predatory, speculative, country- and welfare-destroying financial capital, is bound to cede the White House back to this white-nationalist party, resuscitated after a brief four-year interregnum – with even graver consequences than we’ve witnessed these past eight years?

(Quick aside: As a tireless old friend noted in an email this morning, when MSNBC – TV host Mika Brzezinski "started to read from Krugman’s column on Morning Joe, her co-host, former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, cut-her-off and wouldn’t let her read any more of it, because, Scarborough said, Krugman is calling all Republicans racists, which is against the rules, and not permitted – and Scarborough was joined in silencing his co-host by two other MSNBC regulars, Mike Barnicle and Pat Buchanan." (Gulp!))

At this stage, I honestly don’t believe that John McCain stands a chance.  (See "Obama Leads in Home Stretch," Wall Street Journal, November 3.) All other things being equal, this by itself is a net-positive for the world.


But though Krugman’s "The Republican Rump" is an important commentary, it still felt like Krugman pulled his punches. 


Besides, a far, far stronger case already has been made about the rise of the White-Nationalist Party in the States, otherwise known as the GOP.  (Recall the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ important report, Blacks & the 2008 Republican National Convention (August, 2008).  Also see the accompanying August 29 Press Release.)


"As the cameras panned over the party faithful interrupting McCain’s [acceptance] speech with booming chants of ‘U-S-A‘, few faces of color could be seen in the crowd," the Inter Press Service reported from the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.  "Of 2,380 delegates to this week’s convention, only 36 were black."  


David Bositis, the lead author of the Joint Center‘s report, went on to tell IPS: "As Fred Sanford would say, ‘Y.-T.‘  Say it fast."

(For the record: I will be accepting bets through the end of Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009.)



"More Chickens Coming Home To Roost," ZNet, October 11, 2008  


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