Postcards from Ecotopia

old new lefty

old new lefty
alienation, discontent
September 16
Making trouble whenever possible
virgin novelist, middle school teacher for the morally handicapped, government bureaucrat, most famous unknown photographer in LA, PhD dropout, coat hanger sorter, presidential campaign worker, sewer worker, and retired guy -- but not in that order.


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AUGUST 1, 2011 7:44AM

It's 1973 all over again!

Rate: 15 Flag

Well not exactly, but close. Mark Twain said that history doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes. Daniel Ellsberg is off a few years, but Julian Assange and Wikileaks will do just fine as a stand-in.  Earth Day was a few years old, but we still have Al Gore.  China took Taiwan's place in the United Nations, but Palestine is standing on deck to make a big splash in September. In any year, The Sting should be required viewing in Washington, DC. Vietnamization was taking place then, and we're getting out of Afghanistan now.

Perhaps the most surprising event of the era was Richard M. Nixon's visit to China.  We are certainly watching with amazement as the debt limitation TV marathon winds its ways down to the final hours. And in the time warp concept, Barack Obama makes an excellent stand-in for Tricky Dicky.  Why? It was Richard Nixon who famously said, "Watch what I do. Not what I say." While Obama didn't say this, he demonstrates it with each move he's made during this entire crazy-making  debt limitation process.

Who else but a hardened anti-communist could meet with Mao Tse-Tung?  Who but Democrat Obama could seriously propose "cutting back on entitlements?" In other words, #44 expressed regret just this last evening that he couldn't do "entitlement reform" in eviscerating Social Secuirty and Medicare -- the two castles of what it means to be a Democrat, the left and right ventricles in the heart of the liberal principles.

You may have missed it, but in all of the confusion, the final compromise that is awaiting House approval (as agreed upon by Obama and Congressional leaders) calls for an immediate $395B in cut to Homeland Security and the Defense Department!  Up until now, cuts like these have never even been mentioned as far as I can see.  I suppose Nancy Pelosi gave this idea to the group. But this is what I read on the Washington Post before I went to bed. Yes, the headlines say no new taxes. But then you get under the hood, and that's what you see.  No cuts to Social Security or Medicare, and a Super-Congress to make up more cuts in the future.

We'll all have to see whether the  Tea Party people bite on this.   The House and Senate can still reject this proposal, and if they do, then Obama will reluctantly invoke 14.4, which in my opinion would still be the best outcome.  Certainly as old Tricky Dicky weaseled and hip swiveled his way through the morass of Washington politics, so has Obama played a Nixonian role in this whole debt limitation issue.

To expand the 1973 analogy, it came to me that the TPers could very well stand in for an alternative universe where 87 people from the New Left somehow actually got into Congress back then.  Asking myself how they would act if we had Rep. Abbie Hoffman, and the answer is -- probably not too differently than the teabaggers.

Rank amateurism shows with every move they make, and while their outrageous Revolutionary War costumes are as quaint as love beads, neither group would be inclined to compromise in DC. And DC is built on compromise.  Therefore, it's easy to predict what will happen to the 'baggers in Congress.  Not long for this world, is the answer.

The analogy about the death of the New Right in the near future, and the death of the New Left back then are 100% appropriate.  And Barack Obama is 100% appropriate as Richard Nixon. Nixon represented the death knell of New Deal liberalism and the ushering in of the conservative era.  In order for him to survive as long as he did as POTUS, it was necessary for him to make concession after concession to the left.  Remember, Nixon was our last liberal president, giving us the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission among other things.

The downside of the 1973 analogy is that it was the year of OPEC.  Once OPEC started raising the price of oil, the economy started going into the tank big time.   As sure as we cut government spending right now, we're guaranteeing as vicious an economic downturn as occurred in 1973-74.

Hopefully, we won't see a repeat of the 1973 Yom Kippur war.  But then China hasn't replaced Taiwan in the UN yet, I suppose. Oops!  I guess I was talking about Israel and Palestine.


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This is the biggest Hoax since the Howard Hughes fake autobiography. I think that was 72, 73. What have they accomplished? Why didn't they just raise the ceiling and cut of the drama? They all look like idiots!
this was terrific--such a perfect comparison that ties up many of the puzzle pieces...1973 redux! rated
So Nixon was a crook, and Obama? He is just a fool!
I agree. I've been for the 14.4 solution for a good while. Many reasons. r.
Wasn't 1973 the year that September eleventh first became famous, at least in South America? I think Naomi mentioned this in "The Shock Doctrine" which may come to America soon assuming it hasn't already arrived.
obama ain't no fool - he's just a spineless liar.

My memory of '73, just out of college: gas prices are through the roof and no jobs to be found. You may be right.
Lenin may have said that --^^--yes, tho I'm not so sure his vision for Russia worked out so well.
Perhaps the most important thing about 1973 is that's just about when real middle class incomes stopped rising. They haven't risen since.
Perhaps the most important thing about 1973 is that's just about when real middle class incomes stopped rising. They haven't risen since.
Vintage OldNewLefty - superb. ooops, I, already had rated it.

I thought of this analogy yesterday. I agree with you. And yes I think tomorrow will be an insane day. I enjoyed reading your blog.
And appropriately, the biggest grossing movie of 1973 was The Exorcist. Come to think of it, that was set in D.C. too.

Astute analysis, disturbingly right on target.

I remember 1973-74. We bought a Datsun 1300 that got 29 miles to the gallon. In 1974! Gas was going through the roof at 57 cents a gallon! That sounds low to you now, but I do recall once paying only 29 cents a gallon to fill up the tank of the Datsun when my brother (the driver) and I just cruised around town. It cost us a dollar to fill a quarter tank. Ouch!

Jobs were hard to find, but that didn't bother me, I was only 13 going on 14. I could still set up a lemonade stand, or shell and sell walnuts door to door. Today, I'd get cited for operating a business without a license, even if I was only 13 and to do so, I'd need to spend 250 for a health certificate, which I couldn't possible get for just a summer money making enterprise. I also wouldn't have the money (about 150 dollars) for a business license.

What have we come to?

Even so, I love the parallels of the Nixon/Obama and Conservative/Liberal wackiness and agree that they are essentially stand-ins for each other. Great bit of writing.
Sorry, I forgot to add, that in that time, I saw gas go over a dollar a gallon for the first time, too.
Old New Lefty, I remember the events very well from '73! The beginning of the year was in the middle of my freshman year at college and there was a lot of discussion going on with my classmates about what was going on in the nation. Just prior to '73, I went downtown in Providence to hear Noam Chomsky speak at Grace Episcopal Church about the bombing in December by Tricky Dick. I borrowed a copy of The Pentagon Papers out of the school library to read up on all of that and in the summer of '73 I remember reading about what was known so far in the Watergate scandal in the NY Times.
I agree that the 14th amendment solution would be preferable. Except I would predict that if that happened, the result would be an impeachment circus in Congress that would further distract attention from the avalanche of problems our country is facing.
Ah, I thought this current scenario all sounded so familiar! [R]