Funny: for all of the pants-shitting (on both “sides” of what passes for the “political spectrum”), nobody has stopped to think about the single most important fact: Presidential “power” is actually extremely limited — by design.
- The president cannot “make” law. Actually, no single individual or aggregate (not even “Congress”) can “make law”, the way most people mistakenly assume.
What typically happens is: somebody in the House of Representatives proposes something.
IF that gets enough votes, it goes on to the Senate. If not: DEAD.
If it fails to get enough votes in the Senate? DEAD.
IF it manages to get through the Senate intact, then it goes to the President — where it can be severely injured by way of the “veto” pen.
In most cases, a law vetoed by the President stays dead. However, given enough votes, that veto can be e”over-ridden”, anyway.
Further, even if a particular “law” does manage to end up on the books, there is *still* the (fairly likely) chance that it could be killed by the Supreme Court — IF they give enough of a shit about it, to do so.
So, let’s think about the above facts in terms of the upcoming presidential election:
- Hillary/Bernie/Trump can talk any kind of yip-yap they want, so as to energize their particular “base”. Guess what? Unless they have enough people in Congress willing to collude with them, they can’t really do dick (excepting, of course, whining about congressional “obstructionism”, and/or ass-licking their opponents on the other side of “the Aisle”, while yip-yapping about the purported virtues of “bipartisanship” and “compromise”. (For example: the last 6+ years of the Obama administration).
- NONE of the three possibilities are popular. Bernie (as a self-proclaimed “Socialist”) is essentially guaranteed to get no support whatsoever from any Republicans/most Democrats. Trump is basically the mirror-image of that scenario.
- Hillary’s administration is slightly more likely to accomplish….something (most likely 4 years of the same sort of gridlock we’ve experienced with Obama, coupled with a tremendous up-surge in pants-shitting over conspiracy-theories about Vince Foster.
In any case, it is unlikely that anything substantive will take place over the next 4/8 years: the Teabaggerization of the Republican party will continue because that is literally all that the “Conservative” movement has left: the Fundies lost on Gays, abortion, women in the workplace etc. — and are now to the point where they are having to choose between “Young Earth” literalism or….any other subject, whatsoever (paleontology, biology, chemistry, physics, the “secular” historical record, etc.)
The Objectivist/Libertarian “movements” have (mostly) deteriorated into apologists for the real-life equivalent of Orren boyle (the corrupt business tycoon from Atlas Shrugged). There’s really no way forward for “Conservatism” (or any movement which superficially resembles “conservatism” — such as Objectivists/Libertarians) barring some serious “outreach” to non-Whites/Women (which is pretty much impossible at present.)
So, yeah: the next 4 (or 8) years will consist (politically) of the same sort of “gridlock” we’ve become used to since Obama was elected, coupled with ever-worsening “partisan” bitching.
As for the broader culture? Quite frankly, the Sarah Palin/Bachman/Teabagger/Trump “evolution” should give you some indication of where “Conservatism” is headed:
- More stupid
- More sexist
- More racist
- More Becky Wegner Rommel-style “culture war” panic from Fundies
The thing that’s going to be particularly interesting to watch is how Fundies react to two trends happening within Christianity itself: the “Emerging” church, and the LGBTQ-“Affirming” denominations.
From what I can figure out, the “Emerging Church” amounts to a clumsy — and timid — recapitulation of the Hippie “Counterculture” of the 1960s — or rather, what would be left over after you remove anything even remotely interesting about that “Counterculture”:
- The “sexual revolution”
- Interest in Non-western religions
- Curiosity about other cultures
Basically, the “Emerging Church is exactly what you’d expect to happen if some guy from some “Bible Belt” jerkwater had spent time at “Haight Ashbury” back during the “Summer of Love”: a timid, vaguely hippie-ish surface, concealing what amounts to a dumbed-down version of what John Shelby Spong has been trying to do for years, now.
I personally consider the “Emerging church” to be (mostly) ineffectual at present: On some level, if makes perfect sense (given that the central premise of Fundie Christianity has been the systematic rejection/insulation from “the world” — it makes perfect sense that dismal idiocy (money-grubbing “megachurch” scumbags, the “Creation museum” in Kentucky,, etc.) would eventually result in a subset of the Fundies own offspring who think reading the Tao Te Ching (0r Quran), is “subversive” or “edgy”.
As inherently silly as this is now, the “Emerging church” will eventually have a more substantial impact on at least some segments of Christianity.
The much more subsantive “threat” (from a Fundie perspective) currently comes from: LGBTQ-“affirming” denominations (including LGBTQ Christians themselves), and/or denominations which permit female clergy.
Implicitly (or explicitly) even Fundie women are no longer passively tolerating their “traditional” status as mere organic breeding/cleaning/cooking machines: Ironically, the most eloquent examples of that trend are: female clergy from “Mainline” denominations, Joyce Meyer, and Becky Wegner-Rommel, herself.
To some degree, Right-wing “Conservatives” are in a bind with this one: for approximately the last 15 years (post-9/11), the enemy Du Jour has been (in the immortal words of Becky Wegner Rommel): “Islamic Extremists” (including — according to a certain particularly delusioanl strain of Fundie ‘reasoning’, the “Kenyan Usurper”, himself).
The Fundies have been relentlessly hammering on the (undeniable) fact that so-called “Sharia Law” is not particularly tolerant or inclusive toward dissenters, and is really oppressive toward those individuals unlucky enough to have been born female, in Muslim-controlled regions. (The “burqa” comes to mind).
The thing is: Fundies can’t really afford to push too hard on their “women = obedient submissive clean/cook/breed machine” traditionalism while at the same time frantically denouncing “enemies” who do EXACTLY THE SAME THING TO “THEIR” WOMEN — only more thoroughly.
One of the central problems with the “Muslim world” is the fact that it is far better at enforcing “traditional” values than even the “Tradition”-fetishists in the West could ever dream of being.
For example: here in the U.S., Trump has a “woman problem” (in that he is utterly unappealing to the vast majority of female voters). In the “Muslim world”, that wouldn’t be an issue: females who dissent (such as Malala), end up dead with rather alarming frequency.
So, yeah: Fundies have a really difficult time marketing “traditional” values when everyone can see exactly how those “traditional” values play out among the Muslim version of “Fundies” (who are much more consistent, and — in many cases — utterly unapologetic about their willingness to enforce those “Traditions” by way of mass slaughter).
Another (surprisingly relevant) Ayn Rand quote:
When a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law—men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims—then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket.
Hint: the two “best” Fundie Christian “arguments” are the “diabolic mimicry”/”Snare for the proud” stuff mentioned in previous posts. Muslim “Fundies” tend to dispense with this sort of thing: heterodoxy = heresy = apostasy = “Shirk” = A BULLET IN THE HEAD.
(This is part of why Conservatives can’t seem to find “moderate” Muslims: Muslim “moderates” are typically the first ones annihilated by ISIS/the Taliban, etc.