The Town Hall Debate: Political Business as Usual
At least neither of them told us to go shopping. Not that we have the money to shop with.
The Great Depression got a mention in the second, not-so-great presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. So, even, did Herbert Hoover. But there was no Franklin D. Roosevelt on the stage at Belmont University in Nashville.
A questioner from Chicago who lived through the Depression and the Second World War demanded to know why Americans haven’t been asked for any genuine sacrifice since those made by her own generation. Well, God love her, as Joe Biden would say.
I’ve been wondering the same thing as the financial crisis has cascaded around us, and few -- if any -- politicians have mentioned that the have-it-all, have-it-now craze infected not just Wall Street kingpins but millions of credit-happy, average Americans. And, of course, officeholders in both parties who obliged their every whim.
Obama and McCain both refused to budge from any of their expensive promises for tax cuts and spending, though pretty much all the pledges made during this campaign are going to have to be re-thought, if not shelved, no matter who becomes president. McCain came closer to straight talk when he said there are “some programs” that will have to be eliminated. He conspicuously failed to name them. Obama mentioned President Bush’s insulting call for Americans to shop after the terrorist attacks of 9/11-- but the single sacrifice he asked the majority of us to make was to “think about” how we’re using energy.
So this seems to be the not-so-New Deal for a generation faced with the worst economic crisis in memory: It looks remarkably similar to political business as usual.
| October 7, 2008; 11:11 PM ET
Categories: Cocco | Tags: Marie Cocco
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