Monday, March 30, 2009

Fear and Anger

Jeffrey Feldman comments on the unrest being generated out in the country:

Fear and anger are rising in Michigan: Fear that things are about to get much, much worse than they already are; anger that the federal government is strong arming the Mitten State just a short while after opening up America's coffers to Wall Street with no strings attached. New York gets what it wants, when it wants it from Washington, Michigan gets slapped in the face. The fat cats on Wall Street caused this problem, they sank the economy, and they got paid off by a robber-baron president as he scuttled out of office and tossed the keys to the new guy. Executives in Detroit get tarred and feathered and escorted to the door.

Fearful, angry arguments are never subtle, never accurate, but always hotter than molten steel. Fear and anger reduces politics down to the simplest of all logic: they did this to us, and they will pay for it.

The Obama administration must think--really think--or the fear and anger could explode into something much hotter.

In all likelihood, Jennifer Granholm does not think it will, which means Obama's auto industry plan is about far more than restructuring. The half-life of hope has come and gone in Michigan. What the White House, GM and Chrysler do this week--and the next six weeks--could be the moment students study 100 years from now. This was where the 2009 recovery worked or, god forbid, this is where it failed.

What I can see happening is a political insurgency occurring that puts forward a third-party candidate for 2012, splitting the liberal-left-populist faction of the Democratic Party away enough to throw the election to the Republicans. It would be the mirror image of the 1992 election where Ross Perot pulled a large enough vote to foil George Bush Sr.'s reelection and elect Bill Clinton with only 43% of the vote.

That would be not only a tragedy but a catastrophe for this country.

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