“If you were to design a tailor-made plutocratic villain to run for the Presidency in the post-crisis Occupy era, you could barely do better than Mitt Romney. The guy quite literally has the very job and personality that Gordon Gekko’s character was based on.
And yet nothing in American politics has changed. The majority of the Left backs its own candidate in spite of various backslides toward neoliberalism. Conservatives rally around the plutocratic flag just as eagerly as ever, with the same racist and sexist phobias playing themselves out as usual. And the same old collected assortment of Perot, Nader and Ron Paul voters still stand holier-than-thou outside the system, declaring a pox on both houses and insisting that the whole thing is due to collapse any day now, with all the accuracy and relevance of those awaiting the Rapture.
The Republican Party couldn’t have done more to discredit itself from 2000-2008 if it had tried. Two wars lost, an economy crushed, a surplus squandered and an entire city drowned, and yet nothing really changed at the core of the country’s politics. The nation elected a Yankee African-American named Hussein, replete with a professorial and community organizing background. And still nothing changed: Barack Obama might as well have been playing out Bill Clinton’s 3rd term. The Republicans stormed back into office with one of the biggest midterm landslides in history. No change. Americans started occupying the streets in protest of record income inequality. Still nothing. And then Republicans nominated Gordon Gekko himself as their candidate for President, and still the Presidency hangs on the edge of a knife so sharp we might as well be living back in days of hanging chad recounts.
Things do eventually change, of course. Tipping points come, and then things tend to move dramatically. But if even the course of recent events has not been enough to budge the ponderous weight of the political system, it’s terrifying to think of the catastrophe it would take to force a real transformation of this dreary reality.”