Somewhat related to the previous post about how the health insurance industry was able to use their new freedom to pump unlimited and anonymous amounts of money into the electoral system is that it has become so much easier to befuddle Americans in the screech of a 30 second political ad.
Consider these exit poll numbers from the recent election.
35% of voters blamed Wall Street bankers for the current econimic crisis.
29% blamed George W. Bush
23% blamed Barack Obama.
For anyone who had spent the last year stuck on a deserted island with more sense than a five year old would look at those numbers and automatically assume the Democrats would do quite well in the election, knowing that Republicans and Wall Street Bankers tend to be rather fond of each other.
Except that 56% of people who blamed the Wall Street Bankers voted for the Republican candidate. Republicans campaigned on reform, though they adeptly sidestepped exactly what they wanted to reform other than platitudes to the "usual way they do business in Washington".
They were quite specific when it came to health care and wall street reform. In those two cases they campiagned on reforming the reform that had already been signed into law and reforming it back to what had created the current mess in the first place.
All that this proves is that even though you can't fool all the people all the time you can fool enough people to get elected, especially since the Supreme Court voted to let those with the most resources spend as much as they want to fool the American people.
The 'Reform' that people voted for will allow banks to go back to squeezing as much as they can out of the average citizen with credit card interest rates, bank fees, overdraft charges while not letting customers opt out of the privilege of being overcharged. It will also allow investment banks to borrow taxpayer guaranteed money from the Fed at current interest rates which can be lower than 1% and use that money to create new derivatives with minimal capital requirements, make money betting against them while simultaneously selling them just the way they did business in the past few years.
They will also do their utmost to kill or cripple the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which, according to Jeb Henserling, a Republican congressman from Texas, "assaults the liberties of the consumer." I assume in his up is down world the average citizen needs to have the right to allow himself to be bamboozled by a credit card agreement with 25 pages of legalese in fine print that is almost impossible to read, never mind understand.
After the 2004 election defeat of John Kerry I consoled myself by accepting the idea that America needed another 4 years of George W. Bush to come to its senses and to finally rid itself of the far right fanatical version that is the current GOP. That obviously wasn't enough. The anarchist in me is starting to think we will need 4 years of President Palin with a GOP majority in both houses to wake this country up except that by then it will be far too late.