Melissa McEwan: Republicans won't accept responsibility for the Wall Street crisis:"What a difference four years makes. In August of 2004, when he was running for re-election, George Bush turned what had been a nebulous idea encompassing various privatisation and investment ideas into a formal objective, releasing a 'fact sheet' detailing his policies that would promote this capitalist utopia known as the 'ownership society'."
The ownership society – built on the shoddy foundation of corporate deregulation, unchecked lending, massive deficits and tax cuts during a time of war – has failed.
And its failure is owned by precisely no one.
Bush, once the golden boy of modern conservatism, has now been disowned by the entire Republican party, who are seemingly just as eager to disown the name of the party itself: The words "Bush" and "Republican" were hardly spoken at the Republican National Convention earlier this month. And the bloody scene on MSNBC's Hardball yesterday – in which host Chris Matthews went after Republican congressman Eric Cantor like a starving dog on a steak, tenaciously exhorting him to take political responsibility for his party's economic policies – was a slaughter, with Matthews declaring at one point: "I have never in my life seen a party run from its own record like the Republicans have."
Matthews: The problem you have is that your colleague from Virginia, Tom Davis, who once ran your campaign committee, said that if the Republican party was dog food, they'd take it off the shelves. And you haven't used the word "Republican" tonight; your party didn't use it in the acceptance speech; John McCain never said the word "Republican"; he never said the word "Bush"; you're trying to take off your uniforms and run from the field of political battle and claim you're not Republicans. You're claiming - you're running against this administration! And I'm not going to let anybody get away with that kind of foolery! You have to take responsibility, sir. The policies of this administration that has gotten us into this mess - you can't walk away and say, "Oh, we had nothing to do with this".
But that is, of course, exactly what the Republicans are now trying to do. Bush is persona non grata. The ownership society? Never heard of it! Gee, it's a terrible situation we're in – how'd that happen? Well, never mind. Now is not the time to point fingers and lay blame! Let us tell you about a hot little commodity named John McCain.
Had he brilliant economic proposals, or even different ones, it might legitimately warrant their abandonment of Bush and his antiquated fiscal sensibilities. But McCain is merely a new face on the same old swill. They won't own it with Bush's name stamped on it, but they'll line up behind near-identical policies in droves, hoping no one will notice – hoping to help sell those policies again to the American people.
It's stunning, really.
The hypocrisy of the personal responsibility brigade brazenly, utterly refusing to take responsibility for this mess, and the irony of these great champions of the ownership society flatly refusing to own the economic policies which have resulted in massive losses among American families, would be positively hilarious if it all weren't so goddamned tragic.
He now stands at the front of the Republican party, poised to lead them back into the White House, given the right number of electoral votes, and he refuses, like all the rest, to accept any responsibility for the current economic crisis, or to own up to the reality that he's got nothing new up his sleeve, nothing that will effectively and significantly alter the course we are already on – a dearth of ideas that, comically, is owed to the unwavering fealty to partisan doctrine he had to affect in order to become his party's nominee, genuflecting to the precious tax cuts that no one wants to own. Not anymore.
So much for the ownership society.
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