Oligarchic Politics Redux: Carter and Trump
Our oligarchy, when shaken in its legitimacy, behaves in a fairly predictable manner. Consider the examples of Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump.
When these men were elected, Carter in 1976 and Trump in 2016, the oligarchy was being challenged in ways that required a response in order for our oligarchic elites to regain their legitimacy. In 1976, the oligarchy turned to or accepted Jimmy Carter, while in 2016, it turned to or accepted Donald Trump for redemption. Both of these men were suited for their roles because both could be made to appear – perhaps because they actually were – dangerously incompetent. Both could be charged with bringing the US to “the eve of destruction,” as it were. They made it easy for the pros of covert action who are spread throughout the Washington establishment to undermine their presidencies. Moreover, the mainstream media could be counted on the serve these pros and their political agenda.
And if Biden defeats Trump, as seems all-too-plausible to think will happen, then it may be said that both of the failed presidencies of these “redeemers” of the oligarchy will be followed by the election an old white guy of the “golly gee” variety, the kind of guys, who looking back in wonder of “the good old days,” could be easily blamed when things go awry, as they did during what was dubbed “the Iran-Contra scandal.” What “crisis” or “scandal” will afflict a Biden presidency? It’s impossible to know but what we can know is that if and when one does come, Biden’s defenders will trot out what might be called “the Reagan defense,” incompetence wrapped up in a veil that hints at mental dismiss.
But it is good to keep in mind that Reagan’s presidency was defined by much more than the Iran-Contra scandal or that that scandal was a reflection of an imperialism that relied on and, thereby, led to the creation of Islamic fundamentalist extremists, as well as relying on drug-dealing, right wing insurrectionists throughout Latin America. These aspects of the Reagan presidency have been forgotten because the Democrats, during the Clinton presidency, refused to pursue the sometimes-criminal conspiracies of the Reagan years, some of which were under the control of George H.W. Bush. And, of course, the Bush pardons at the end of his presidency served to end any investigation into these matters. It is even plausible to argue that Bush threw the 1992 presidential election to Clinton, with Ross Perot’s help of course, in order to end any such investigations. Whether Bush did that or not, the results were to his, Bush’s, liking.
Insofar as we can expect something like another Reagan presidency from Biden, we should be troubled at his prospects. For those thinking Biden can be pushed to “the left,” I would say: Forget that. A resurgent US imperialism is much more likely. It will be an interesting situation.