Cruise Control

 In terms of the GOP primary race for President of the United States, the establishment candidate seems to be doing fairly well. He is well ahead in the delegate count and, though it is often portrayed as a nail biter, when you look at the numbers it isn't very close at all. That's how it is with establishment candidates. The point of them is that they have the most money behind them, the most clout behind them and the majority of their party elite lining up like good soldiers ready to march. After a while it seems the rest are all just kind of background texture highlighting the reasons the establishment pick is the right one.


In the GOP there is the constant drama, especially in the news. Oh boy Mitt better win one or he's in trouble; now he's fine; now he needs to win again or else. The drama, the scandals you never know what's going to happen next. It's all live. As the saying goes, political elections are the original form of reality entertainment. Most of us tune in interested and ready to find out the latest scoop as if it were somehow out of our hands. And the media's hyped up twists and turns make it seem even more so.

Even when Mitt Romney was way ahead on the delegate scorecard news outlets were saying “it's neck and neck!” There's still the sense that it's constantly up and down despite the fact as of right now the delegate count for those still in the race is Romney 563, Santorum 263, Gingrich 135 and Paul 50. ( Relatively speaking, it hasn't been neck and neck for a long time and the establishment candidate has thus far left his opponents in the dust. The race is nowhere near close.

It demonstrates the power of having the establishment behind a candidate. Both those with the money and those with the political power making or breaking individual candidates by endorsing them and contributing large sums to their campaigns. These people can contribute far more than you or I. We may be able to convince ten to fifteen neighbors to vote for candidate A, but all they can contribute is $15 to $100 each. A wealthy candidate may convince ten of his or her neighbors to do the same, but they can each contribute tens to hundreds of thousands, maybe even greater sums.

As such the latter are not just votes. Those tens to hundreds of thousands go towards advertising, analysts, strategists, phones for volunteers to man, vehicles to drive people to the polls, coordinators, managers etc. Those fifteen wealthy neighbors equal their own votes multiplied by hundreds to thousands and beyond. That is how the wealthy establishment wield their power.

All the online conspiracy theories about trilateral commissions, illuminati, aliens, commies, this race and that one or whatever other “evil powers bent on taking over the United States” theories in existence may be, are as crazy as they sound if you ask me. It comes down to those that have and those that do not and the power money has over our elections here in the US. It's all about buying our elections through the power monied interests have to contribute to certain candidacies.

That power of influence does not mean hypnotizing laser beams shooting out of their eyebrows or people exceptionally talented at inserting the phrase, “you are getting very sleepy” into their sentences. They are people that have come to gain the confidence of people in positions of wealth and power due to certain skill sets like polling, analyzing, strategizing, speechwriting, marketing, putting together convincing media advertisements, management and coordination of campaigns, etc.

Not only is it people behind the scenes that hold sway in picking suitable candidates, it is those in front. Influential members of the two parties hold the power to affect voters, behind the scenes strategists and even their peers. They can point a finger and like a magic wand send attention, money and interest a candidate's way.

In the general election these candidates can become the face wealthy interests favor. The president is a symbol and the face of our country at any given time. As such he or she represents who we have decided represents what we want most at a specific time and even what we want the world to see regarding our national image. In 1980 most voters in our country felt among other things the president at the time was soft and weak militarily – however fair or unfair that brand was.

This was true for the elites with the wealth and power also. Aside from the problem of a weakened economy, the American goal at the time was to expand and maintain our sphere of influence while containing, controlling and lessening that of the USSR. The person most of the money and behind the scenes power and influence wanted as the tough on communism face of America was Ronald Reagan. The majority of the voting public was also convinced he would be the better candidate to fight all manner of scourge abroad, be it religious fundamentalists in Iran or the USSR and those nations under its sphere of influence. The money put into branding him worked, and Americans elected him president.

Today, with the tarnished image the Republican Party still has abroad from the George W. Bush administration regarding likeability, the elite want the man that became an overseas symbol of the old America, where anyone could work their way up from nothing and achieve their dreams, being alive and well. No son of influence and wealth is he. No job working for the finest firms reaping huge salaries and navigating the company he helmed to huge financial profits did he have before getting into politics (though he is a millionaire now). He was a community organizer and came from a mother that worked in different capacities in various places overseas and married eclectically. He came from a bi-racial middle to lower middle class, at times below the poverty line, background.

In terms of image the symbolism of Barack Obama represented everything that the Bush administration did not. No son of privilege that spent time blowing off school, military service and work, that would just invade nations when the wind blew that just happened to have things rich people like himself wanted to get their hands on, was Barack Obama. Indeed he had to work very hard to get where he was, whether he got into politics or remained a community organizer.

As a candidate in 2008, he spoke of implementing programs aimed at jobs like those of the New Deal. He talked of scaling back infringements on everyday people's rights through overstepping pieces of legislation. He talked of bringing the troops home as soon as possible from Iraq and as soon as Bin Laden was brought to justice in Afghanistan. He talked of repairing our image abroad and mending fences with the global community so badly damaged by the designed to be manageable turned slipshod quagmires those dual wars became and the damage the bursting our housing bubble unleashed on the rest of the world.

Once he got into office few of those changes were followed through on unfortunately and domestically he didn't do much different on the larger issues than did the GOP the way he said he would or at all when you total things up, save the image repair. But that image repair went swimmingly. Our damaged standing as members of the global community was repaired. For the wealthy and influential it went much better.

As special interests, the wealthy and influential rely on global markets like the oil industry, factories for cheap labor, mines for precious metals and so on. For them projecting the right image abroad is more than just ensuring people will get our backs come another conflict or in economic matters and trade etc. For them it is ensuring we have an image the common folk and leaders alike in other nations – nations wealthy and influential Americans have interests in – see as one they want to do business with. And there's no time like the present for those companies to be rushing in brief cases in hand and political handouts ready saying “we're here!”

But if the common folk in those countries cause too much of an anti-American uproar, leaders may be skeptical about being seen as selling out to the “bad guys.” The party of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney still have that greenish brown cloud hanging around them overseas. The party of Barack Obama? Totally different.

The establishment wants the money and the power that comes from being doing business in those strategic locations. They tell us on TV all the time these are nations that are “our” strategic interests. But there are no Americans working there.

Those factories were specifically re-located there so union member belonging, rights having and decent wage earning Americans would not have to be employed. They wanted people they could treat however they wanted and not have to worry. That isn't of interest to most Americans – you and I. In fact it is of interest to less than one percent of Americans.

Those oil companies don't hire Americans in those foreign locations save a few of the top spots. The labor is carried out by poor people often imported into countries like those in the Middle East from the poorest countries in the world. That doesn't benefit you or I, it benefits less than one percent of us.

I say all this because one of the things you may notice hasn't changed is the US military presence overseas. Sure there's been talk about cutbacks and some implemented, but if you look at the numbers it isn't that drastic. We pay for that. Not the less than 1% - they pay some – but the brunt of the burden is shouldered by us. We are not a communist or socialist country nor do we want to be. We don't get dime one back on our investment.

Sadly there are those among the majority of us that will die arguing we should keep paying to give those wealthy interests free security services paid for by us. These are the same people that would hold up picket signs at town hall meetings if they found out their neighbor was getting free cable. All the while certain wealthy interests get their sources of wealth protected on our dime while we lose houses, have to work more and more jobs, our kids education is going downhill and our way of life is slipping to nothing.

But that is of no concern to those with the million dollar to billion dollar salaries and accounts. In some existential way some might get it perhaps, but it doesn't impact them. They don't go the winter keeping their thermostat set at 45 degrees all bundled up because that's all the can afford. They don't go hungry. Their kids don't have to worry about the quality of their education or being able to pay for college which is becoming further and further from the grasp of people like you and I.

What matters right now is what people see in those countries when they drive past a large American owned oil tank. They don't really see Chevron or ExxonMobil as much as they do America, and when they do it's the symbol of America at the time. When Ronald Reagan was in office it was an imaginary picture of him whether consciously or subconsciously. That was the symbol. “That's Reagan's oil tank.” When George W. Bush was in office it was a picture of George W. Bush. Now it is a picture of Barack Obama. The same goes for those factories, mining operations and even the military bases protecting them.

When people see a representation of Barack Obama they feel soothed and relaxed – at least when compared to that picture of George W. Bush. That latter representation just made people feel burned, imposed upon, oppressed, angry and so much more – and you can believe it still does. Many people have not gotten over that. Mitt Romney or any of the others, with one exception, would represent the same thing, only that exception represents pulling military support immediately from all those wealthy people's interests. They will put all their money and resources into ensuring that doesn't happen and that not only him, but his very ideas are linked to kookiness and wackiness in the minds of most people whether they in fact are or not.

If you're thinking “that has nothing to do with me and the people in my neighborhood – the majority of Americans,” you're right. If too many people catch on, then it's just a matter of making sure to brand someone from the other party deemed suitable gets in – least threatening to those with the money. Plan B; same stuff less desirable image. But again as the dominoes – all two of them – are lined up there isn't much in it for us. The only way to change that is over time to elect non-Democrats and non-Republicans to Congress, and find ways to level the playing field regarding money. It's killing us.

All the wealthy and influential have to do as things currently stand with our political system is script the drama, set things up just right and then set the ride on cruise control. Like the scariest and wildest amusement park ride – controlled chaos with an exhilarating feeling of unpredictability that those selling the tickets hope to profit from as much as possible. This year we will buy the tickets again – we have no choice. It's the only game in town. But that can change as time passes.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to



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