Many years ago, a Republican political operative told me political advertising was like planting seeds in the garden of democracy. To me, it’s more like spreading the manure of propaganda.
The total amount of political contributions for presidential candidates, local officials and state legislators could probably pay off half the national debt. What a waste of money. The only thing we really remember about the TV and radio commercials is, “I approve this message.”
All the candidates on most levels tell half-truths, promise to bring about change, exaggerate their opponents’ stand on issues, attack personal character and present themselves as the pied piper of moral, fiscal and political salvation for all of us.
The opulence of the Democrats was evident last week when Sen. Barack Obama aired his half-hour informative commercial about himself and some of his ideas for the future. The rumor is, he only spent $5.5 million on the advertisement. Only, in this case, it meant the Democrats really got a great deal from the networks and some cable broadcasters. Maybe it would have been more to Obama’s advantage if he didn’t make the info-commercial and donated the money to worthy organizations and charities who actually spend their donations feeding the hungry, not on cathedrals or administrators. On second thought, I don’t think they exist.
Obama, sounding like a true Fabian socialist, says he wants to share the wealth by raising taxes on the people who make more than $150,000 a year and spread it around to the lower classes who need help. Interestingly, last year he said only those earning $1 million annually would have their taxes raised. Then, he lowered his target to $250,000 and, in his half-hour special, he said his tax plan would increase the taxes for those earning $150,000 or more. I hope that’s not an indication that he has the same short-term memory as Sen. John McCain.
Obama shrewdly outmaneuvered McCain’s campaign fundraising strategy. McCain was instrumental in getting new laws passed regarding campaign contributions. The McCain-Feingold bill promised a more honest way to accept contributions. But McCain, if he had any political savvy, should have known what was coming from Obama.
McCain is crying foul about contributions, claiming Obama wasn’t truthful about campaign financing last year. McCain promised to limit his campaign contributions to public funds if Obama would do the same. Obama agreed, but after Obama saw the green light of money fall on his political star and how popular he was becoming, he changed his mind. So much for political integrity. But everything is fair in politics. Another word for politics should be “deception.”
McCain, in a sense, underestimated Obama. McCain agreed to accept the public’s matching funds of $84 million in campaign contributions from the public financing system. By accepting, he agreed he would not raise or spend any more than $84 million. He immediately leveraged the matching funds and loaned himself money for his own campaign.
In June of this year, Obama decided not to accept matching funds. This allowed his campaign to raise and spend as much as they could. He already has millions in his war chest while McCain limited himself to only $84 million in comparison. No wonder McCain is losing. His mistake started with a bad decision on campaign finances.
Regardless of the outcome today, it is clear the America as I knew it will slowly change. The positives of capitalism and some forms of socialism will be woven together with democracy, forming a new political philosophy, a different form of government and a successful new economic system. It could be the Fabian society is gradually achieving its goal.
The Fabian society was formed in the late 19th century. Its purpose is to advance the principles of a social democracy using gradualist and reformist rather than revolutionary means. The society laid the foundation for the labor party and our unions.
If only some of the prominent socialist members such as George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, Oliver Lodge and Bertrand Russell could see us now. I‘m sure they would say they have gradually converted us to socialism, even if it did take 100 years.
Today, Wells would argue that in the future, instead of giving money to large corporations waiting for their stock to go up and the trickle-down effect, the government should create jobs, promote small business, tax the rich and circulate currency to the working public. The more we spend, the faster corporations will grow, forming the ubiquitous flow of jobs, income and wealth.
Shaw would say that large energy-producing corporations using our natural resources as a monopoly and cash cow should be nationalized, eliminating stock manipulation, corporate bonuses and profits that should be used for research and production, not dividends.
Russell, the pacifist, would promote health care for every American. He’d propose legislation lowering the age for full retirement beginning at 60 and prohibit the government from borrowing from the Social Security fund to finance its wars.
Lodge, a physicist and developer of the wireless telegraph, would push for a one-party system to replace our current two-party fraud. He’d call it the new “American party.” With the liberals on the left, conservatives on the right and intellectual centrist as the political fulcrum.
Since the modern-day Fabianist Obama is openly promoting distribution of the wealth and promising social change, I wonder what our new America will look like four years from now?
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at firstname.lastname@example.org.