Friday, October 5, 2018

American Politics: Fiascos Galore

American Politics: Fiascos Galore
Peter Schultz

            So many people seemed to have been genuinely shocked about “the fiasco,” as some of them called it, revolving around Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. It was as if these people were shocked that there could be a political fiasco within the American political order. And this, to me, is really quite interesting as our politics is and has been characterized by one fiasco after another.

            This isn’t even the first fiasco revolving around a Supreme Court nomination, as the same controversy arose over Robert Bork’s nomination and, of course, over Clarence Thomas’ nomination. So what’s new here? Not much. Just more of the same old same old. Same shit, different day.

            Moreover, there have been numerous other fiascos as well. I guess these shocked people have forgotten about Bill Clinton and Jenifer Flowers and Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky or about Clinton’s impeachment. Apparently they have also forgotten about the recession of 2008, Bush’s invasion of Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, not to mention 9/11 itself, which seems to me ought to top the list of any American fiascos, right up there with Pearl Harbor. And why isn’t 9/11 seen as a governmental fiasco? The government and more particularly the administration of George W. Bush failed to protect the nation. Seems like a fiasco to me.

There was also the fiasco of the Vietnam War and of the current 17 year long war in Afghanistan. There was also Carter’s fiasco in the desert as he tried to rescue Americans held hostage in Iran, whose taking was yet another fiasco. There was the fiasco of not being able to protect a president when JFK was killed and another one when Reagan was almost taken out by a gunman. I could go on but what’s the point of that? If it isn’t clear that our political order has produced a series of fiascos to you by now, more examples will not persuade you

            The truth is we or at least some of us like to think that each new fiasco represents aberrant political behavior because such fiascos almost never occur in the good old US of A. In fact, just the reverse is the case, even to the point that one must begin to wonder whether our politicians are adverse to fiascos. After all, after 9/11 as after JFK’s failure at the Bay of Pigs, Bush’s popularity ratings went through the roof! As JFK said after the Bay of Pigs, “The more you screw up the more the people like you.” Yes, indeed they do as confirmed by the response to the attacks on 9/11. Interesting, isn’t it? It might be worth pondering instead of beating our chests and wailing about how horrible the Kavanaugh nomination scene was.

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