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The American Tragicomedy – The Republican Primaries

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This week the focus of attention has been on the country’s Budget. I will refrain from commenting on it since I have not been able to read and digest the Budget Address. Really you have to have the necessary stamina, time and mindset to listen to the Prime Minister/Minister of Finance’s marathon address. I have, therefore, opted to read it. The populace’s reaction from what little I have been able to catch appears to be as is expected with taxation measures. I have heard concerns being expressed about the Property Tax and about VAT. Not many people appear to be focusing on what should be a central part of this year’s budget, the provisions to be put in place to get the country’s economy moving for the benefit of the people of the country.{{more}} We had in the past been told that we were on the cusp of an economic take off. Now we are battling to roll start the economy. Something other than the global economic situation is wrong, and we have to find that before we could move forward. This is the extent of the brief comments I want to make at the moment.

In this article I am going to focus some attention on what is happening in the US being fully aware of the impact that country has not only on us but on the rest of the world. I had initially given up on its politics, having been completely turned off by the Tea Party mess and the Republican primaries. However, when the US sneezes the rest of the world, to a great extent, catches a cold, so it is necessary to be concerned. What renewed my interest was an email sent to me by someone with extracts from a Journal called “The Week” quoting the reactions of several foreign newspapers to Republican politics. The three references were all good, but the one that struck me most was from the German “Der Spiegel”, with the author Marc Pitzke commenting on the Republican presidential primaries as a “freak show”. The article “The Republicans’ Farcical Candidates – A Club of Liars, Demagogues and Ignoramuses”.

“Africa is a country. In Libya, the Taliban reigns. Muslims are terrorists; most immigrants are criminal; all Occupy protesters are dirty. And women who feel sexually harassed…well, they shouldn’t make such a big deal about it.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the US Republicans. Or rather, to the twisted world of what they call their presidential campaigns. For months now, they’ve been traipsing around the country with their traveling circus, from one debate to the next, one scandal to another, putting themselves forward for what’s still the most powerful job in the world. As it turns out there are no limits to how far they will stoop…They are ruining the reputation of the United States…They lie. They cheat. They exaggerate. They bluster. They say one idiotic, ignorant, outrageous thing after another. They’ve shown such lack of knowledge- political, economic, geographic, historical—that they make George W Bush look like Einstein and even cause their fellow Republicans to cringe.”

The article is a gem and really sums up what I think of the Republican cast for the presidential primaries. The Republicans have been lost for some time, with many of their candidates trying to outdo each other in clinging to the madness of the tea party. The Republican cast is an amazing one. Sarah Palin has for some time now decided to opt out and perhaps try and see how much money she can make on the lecture circuit. Herman Cain is now in the background, badly wounded by tales of his sexual misadventures. This has really robbed us from seeing another side of the Republican community. They were going to go along with him for a while before dropping him. His politics, his unfamiliarity with foreign affairs and geography, his mad 9-9-9 tax plan would really have made him very much at home. But then there is the racism. There is nothing that can convince me that the hatred the Republicans have for Obama, even questioning his place of birth, is not racist. Katie Halper in a January 10 article in the Nation captioned “Seven Days of GOP Bigotry” points to the issue of racism. Rick Santorum, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them someone else’s money.” When challenged about it, he claimed that what he was referring to was “blah people” not black. Then there is Newt, “And so, if the NAACP invites me, I’ll go to their convention and talk about why the African American community should demand pay checks and not be satisfied with food stamps.”

All of this is amazing in a country we refer to as the leader of the free world and as the most powerful country on earth. Its politics stinks, and with the trends developing in the US these days, it will only be a matter of time before that country loses its number 1 spot. It is really on a downward trend and Republican politics will only make it get there faster. American politics has to do with being macho, and those who are prepared to do the most outrageous things to show that they are can be expected to get a favourable response. Fortunately, there are sober Americans who are embarrassed by this kind of posturing and idiocy.

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian.

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