Putin’s ads today are those of America’s future

Elections offer choices to the people.  In modern America the choices are often fake.

  • In 1932 FDR ran as a budget-balancing fiscal conservative; in 1940 he promised to keep us out of the war he was already preparing for.
  • In 1964 Johnson ran as the peace candidate (while he prepared to expand the Vietnam War).
  • In 1968 Nixon ran not only implying he had a secret plan to end the Vietnam War, but as a conservative. In fact he continued the war, and was the 2nd or 3rd most liberal president of that century.

It’s a process of decay.  The 2008 election allowed us to choose between different candidates with almost identical policies.  That was not obvious to those that voted for Mr. Hope And Change.  Four years experience has shown that Obama’s economic and national security policies are almost identical to Bush Jr’s.

Now we have a new election, new choices.  The banality of the 2012 slogans — Romney’s “Believe in America” and Obama’s “Forward” — cannot be exceeded, and the reality-free nature of this campaign will prove difficult to top.  The news media expect little (rightly so), and cover the election as they do figure skating at the Olympics.

So what is the natural evolution of elections in the post-Constitutional era, as we slide from the Second Republic into plutocracy? We can look to Russia to see our future, where they run campaigns — but few expect anything serious from them.


In the last scene, the words on her t-shirt say  “I will tear my clothes off for Putin“.



This need not be our fate. We can change. We can do better.

For More Information

Too see all posts about this go to these FM Reference Pages:

Other posts about our dysfunctional elections

  1. Lilliput or America – who has a better way to choose its leaders?, 19 November 2008
  2. About campaigns for high office in America – we always expect a better result from the same process, 17 June 2009
  3. The economy speaks – and votes, 12 August 2010
  4. The winners and losers from this election, hidden amidst the noise, 3 November 2010
  5. Why do awesome people – like us – have such inadequate leaders?, 2 April 2012 — Because we vote.
  6. The presidential debates are performance art. They’re Kabuki., 4 October 2012
  7. A reminder that debates are fun, not politics: Reagan had Alzheimer’s in 1984 and we didn’t notice., 5 October 2012


10 thoughts on “Putin’s ads today are those of America’s future”

    1. Thomas More makes an excellent point: Because it makes no difference which candidate you vote for as far as policies are concerned, but you will be seeing the victor on TV and YouTube, the only logical decision is vote for the one you’d rather watch. Pick the Bikini Girl of your choice.

  1. Perhaps the wisest thing would be to not care anymore, and simply look at wealth disparity and whether the economy appears to be going OK. That seems to be what the Chinese and Russian citizens are doing. What happens when the plutocrats (inevitably) screw up? The tumbrils roll. As long as the plutocrats’ genetic legacies are wiped out, it will have a salutary effect on the next batch.

    1. For China and Russia the present situation seems an advance from what came before. Progress they can feel OK about, like that in England during the centuries from monarchy to democracy. That’s not true for Amererican, where it’s decay.

      “What happens when the plutocrats (inevitably) screw up? The tumbrils roll.”

      The French Revolution was an extraordinary event. Usually when tyrancial governments screw up, there is no system change. Like at a mega-corp, the names change at the top — but little else.

    2. My experience at mega-corps was that the time between re-organizations was about 9 months and I always got further from the top.

  2. Sorry, but I see an opportunity for hair splitting, and I’m driven to leap on it:

    “The 2008 election allowed us to choose between different candidates with almost identical policies. That was not obvious to those that voted for Mr. Hope And Change. ”

    That’s only because they weren’t paying attention. He was never explicit about it — he had to keep the faithful blissed out — but months before the election Obama signalled pretty clearly just what a small-bore, status quo regime he had in mind. So rather than argue for a less or non-military-centric foreign policy, early on he claimed that we needed 100,000 additional “ground troops”. (Typical Dem have-it-both-ways spinelessness: We won’t take a stand on imperial wars per se, only how they’re managed.) And later, when he chose wheezing Dem relics like Clinton and Biden, who could square that with any meaningful definition of “Change”?

    I voted for Hope’n’Change, but that was only because a vote for the crazy old guy was essentially a vote for a war with Iran. I couldn’t stomach voting for him now, even though Romney and his gang really are repellent. It’s lucky for me that I live in a state where the Dems would win if they nominated a ham sandwich. I’ll be voting Green.

    Otherwise, I think the parallels with Putin and Russia are apt. If anything, the Russians deserve our admiration, because I don’t think they have any illusions about Managed Democracy, and don’t seem to feel our need to dress it up with happy myths. However, lets not forget that Putin’s distractions seem to be running up against diminishing returns.

    1. While pedantry and hair-splitting are always in order on the FM website, IMO sglover goes to the heart of our recurring election dilemma.

      Voting for the less-bad among two ugly choices can at best slow the evolution of the Second Republic into whatever replaces it (probably a plutocracy). Buying to act does little if we don’t use the time.

      As described so often in these posts, IMO we are in the earliest stage of the reform process: building awareness of the problem and possible solutions among a large (but not majority) of the citizenry.

      We have along road ahead of us. Perhaps we can save the Second Republic. If not, somewhere in our future lies the Third Republic, laid on the foundation of lessons learned from the Second.

  3. “Voting for the less-bad among two ugly choices can at best slow …..”

    FM those are some of the most profound words you have ever said. I have friends that do just that (from both sides by the way). In one sense that is a fair strategy, but most (not all of course) then go into cognitive dissonance.

    So their choice is justified. Everything ‘their candidate’ does is ok, if it is bad then it is ‘because they have to live in the real world’ (that is a quote from a friend). If they do nothing that you want it is also ‘because they have to live in the real world’. So (in my friend’s case Gillard or Obahma) they can do nothing wrong, because if they do anything wrong it is the ‘other sides’ fault.

    It can go then move onto desperately wanting to get rid of those annoying people who actually have ethics.

    In this personal case I got into a fight with him slagging of the Green party here. It was over our horrible ‘boat people’ policy which doesn’t work, is ridiculously expensive and inhumane to boot.

    “They are not living in the real World” he thundered. Now this is a smart person (much smarter than me) and even more ‘left’ (whatever that means) than me and very caring. But he is caught in an internal logic – they are good and can do no wrong, if they do wrong it is because of other people … and I hate those people that remind me of that our side does something wrong.

    1. ” I have friends that do just that (from both sides by the way). In one sense that is a fair strategy, but most (not all of course) then go into cognitive dissonance. ”

      From your description, they’re applying the first part of my formula — but not the second (use the time gained for deeper reforms). That way lies madness.

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