Casey on Obama and the 2012 Election
by Louis James, Editor, International
by Doug Casey:
Is a US-Iran War Inevitable?
Doug, with all the US election gossip in the news, readers are wondering
what we make of the circus. The Republicans haven't settled on which
walking ethical disaster they are going to pick as their candidate,
and neither of us thinks the only decent man in that contest
Ron Paul will get the nod. With recent economic numbers seeming
to bolster the president, your fear that the Democrats could pick
a left-wing general instead of Obama seems to be evaporating. So,
what do you think is it looking like four more years of Obama?
Well, as Clinton correctly said, "It's the economy, stupid."
This is hands-down the determining factor in how most people will
vote. Unfortunately, most people don't have a clue what actually
makes for a strong economy. In the unlikely event that the economy
does not exit the eye of the storm this year, my guess is that people
will vote for Obama. The economy seems better to those who are not
looking too closely; it'd be "Don't change horses midstream"
and "Steady as she goes" type thinking.
if you're right about the economy exiting the eye of the storm?
Then the Republicans should have a shot. But the leading candidates,
other than Ron Paul, as you mentioned Romney, Gingrich, and
this horrible new contender, Santorum are all extremely dangerous,
rabid warmongers. On top of that, Santorum appears to be something
of a religious fanatic who poses a dangerous threat to the social
fabric of US society. Of course all of them thump the Bible, catering
to Americans' atavism; the US is the by far the most religious of
the world's developed countries
so maybe Santorum is what
talked about Ron Paul before; still no hope there?
No. It's a pity, because he's the only real antiwar candidate consistently
polling at significant numbers 15% to 20%. He's also the
only real voice for fiscal sanity, rolling back the police state,
deregulating the economy, and many other positive things. But he's
got no chance. He speaks fairly well for the libertarian minority
in the US, but certainly not for the entitlement-mentality majority,
and not even for the majority of Republican voters. The Republicans
have become the warfare party, and Dr. Paul doesn't fit in. The
Democrats have long been the welfare party, so he doesn't fit in
there either. It's just not going to happen for Ron not because
of any fault with him, but because the whole system is so corrupt
and the electorate is so degraded. If the US is to be compared with
ancient Rome, then we're far beyond the days of the early republic,
when heroes like Horatio and Cincinnatus could provide inspiration
and save the day. We're more at the stage where US leaders resemble
emperors of the third century, every single one of whom was a disaster.
Men like Elagabalus and Caracalla, and finally Diocletian, who transformed
the empire into a proto-feudal police state out of desperation.
Leaders tend to reflect their constituency, and the state of a country.
The US empire is in severe decline.
But let's talk
about Obama. I've been accused of being soft on Obama, even though
he's arguably an even worse president than Baby Bush was. I've even
been accused of pandering to racism, because I haven't lambasted
Obama in the same way I used to take pleasure in lambasting
you did lambaste Obama, I'm sure you'd be criticized for speaking
ill of the first black US president. But if you also get criticized
for not calling him out, you're damned if you do and damned if you
Yes, saying anything unkind about the first black US president is
clearly proof of racism. [Laughs] That just shows how completely
degraded political discourse in the US has become. Pundits don't
see people as people to be praised or criticized on the merits of
their words and deeds, but as members of groups. A president, in
this view, should not be judged on his ideas, policies, and actions,
but on which groups he can be seen as part of.
It also helps
to be totally vapid, so no one can find any dirt on you; I suspect
that's Santorum's main virtue. And smarmy like Mitt Romney
and Rick Perry smiling at each other during the "debates"
when they each really wanted rip the other guy's lungs out. Anyway,
they aren't real debates, where ideas are discussed intelligently
and explored fully. They're just charades where the candidates try
to remember good quips and funny one-liners that their handlers
have written for them.
refusal to judge a person based on his or her own merits is pure
Exactly. One of the driving forces of this prison planet we live
on. The candidates just want to be alpha monkeys, in order to lord
it over the beta monkeys.
Back to Obama.
It's interesting to observe that in spite of some of his rather
extreme positions on some things, he doesn't act aggressively, like
his Republican competitors would do. He's slick, with everything
he says couched in reasonable-sounding language. He never comes
across as a radical. Yet bad ideas seem to seep out of the White
House like swamp gas in the night. They rarely change greatly from
one moment to the next, but mutate slowly like a cancer, eventually
building up a fog of deceit in reasonable-sounding, smarmy doublespeak,
so that it's hard for most people to know what's right. That was
the nice thing about Bush: he was outspoken, albeit in a stupid
kind of way. He constantly stuck his foot in his mouth, so it was
hard to take him seriously.
take Obama very seriously. Everything he has put forward has been
terrible policy. And he's surrounded himself with about 20 "czars,"
all of them hardcore statists. I think the practice started with
Jerome Jaffe the drug
czar under Nixon but it's gotten out of control under
Obama. Strange, I don't see the word "czar" anywhere in
for specific policies, there was, for starters, his healthcare reform;
he managed to take the US further down the road to socialized medicine
than anyone since Lyndon Johnson.
Yes, he took that title away from Baby Bush, who added the massive
prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. But I have to
object when you say "health care," because what we're
really talking about is medical treatment, which is care when you're
sick. It's not actually health
care, which is about eating well, exercising, and things that
keep you from getting sick.
know, I know
that's just the terminology of the day; I should
know better than to let the enemy define the terms. For example,
I've long thought that it's a mistake to use the word "capitalism"
when discussing the free-market system. Capitalism was Marx's term,
and not only was his view of capital as wrong-headed as the labor
theory of value, it mistakenly encourages the idea that industrialists
have more power in the marketplace than their customers. Just ask
the former heads of General Motors, IBM, Kodak, Xerox, and other
fallen giants if they had more power than the customers who stopped
consuming their products. "Consumerism" is a dirty word
in today's world, but it's a more accurate word for free enterprise,
if you want to define it in terms of who calls the shots.
It's critical to be careful with your words; these collectivists
and statists have won half the war if you let them define the terms.
That's why we so often start these conversations with a definition.
The sloppy and undefined use of words leads to sloppy and undefined
thinking, and that leads to stupid and destructive actions.
should we define Obama?
That's hard to do. You know, it's funny. When Trump was running,
I criticized him. It's hard for me to say anything good about Trump
under any circumstances but he at least had the brass to
ask questions about Obama that other public figures wouldn't touch,
questions about who Obama really is and how he seemed to appear
from nowhere. To my knowledge, no one has stepped forward to identify
themselves as a school friend, or even a college friend of his.
I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I have to say that as far as
I know, none of these questions have been satisfactorily answered.
don't need to believe any conspiracy theories to notice that there's
something odd about the man. He seems like a big zero to me, not
a big O. Even when he's reading the speeches people write for him
to pull on the population's heartstrings, he comes across almost
completely wooden. Sometimes I'm sure he's pausing not where there
are commas or periods, but where the lines wrap on his teleprompter.
He has the personality of a frozen mackerel.
It's interesting that you point that out I've often wondered
if the special interests behind him couldn't come up with anyone
better. I'm not saying he has to be another George Carlin or Dave
Chappel, but it would be nice to see that someone is home. Obama
is so flat, I can't even be sure whether he's intelligent or not,
although I initially assumed he was very smart. With Baby Bush,
it was clear that he actually lacked intelligence. With Obama carefully
plodding through his teleprompted speeches, I actually can't tell
if he's smart or not. He was president of the Harvard Law Review,
which would seem to argue for intelligence, but that could have
been finessed as well. And exactly who paid for all his schooling
and related expenses? I honestly don't know who we're dealing with.
almost as though he were literally a puppet. Maybe there really
is no Obama.
He's an empty suit. But then, so are Romney and all of the guys
who actually stand a chance of becoming president of the US. This
actually softens my dislike of Gingrich, among those who seem to
have a chance this time around. He's outspoken. A lot of his ideas
are manifestly dangerous or goofy, but at least he comes out and
says them at least he actually has ideas and that
makes him interesting at times. Nor does he attempt to hide his
arrogance. There's something to be said for exposing your vices
as opposed to hiding them; hidden vices are much more dangerous,
like hidden IEDs.
to be said for entertainment value?
Sure, although it's entertainment on the level of farce. There's
no element of nobility in any of these people. The ancient Greek
tragedians wouldn't have considered putting any of them in a play:
These aren't great men with tragic flaws; they're pathetic clowns.
They're all play-acting, pretending to be something their pollsters
think the electorate wants, pandering to the unwashed mob.
If they were
to appear in a play, Perry might be cast as an assistant manager
at a Target store, Gingrich as the vice principal at the local community
college, Romney as an aspiring actor who wants to play the father
in a 1950s-style sitcom, Santorum as goody-goody DMV employee, and
Obama as a community organizer
whatever that is. Ron Paul
is too authentic to appear in such a low farce.
escape from their lackluster lives, they go bowling together on
Wednesdays. Even though they're quite similar or maybe because
they're basically so very similar they don't like each other
and get into arguments centering on two things: each other's poor
character and their uninformed and unsound political and economic
views. You could just use lines from the debates and Obama's speeches
for the dialogue.
But I fear
it would be a boring show unless Saturday Night Live or The
Onion did it. No way would Aeschylus
touch the material; they liked heroic characters with tragic flaws.
It's impossible to write good tragedy about nonentities.
to lack any personality unlike, say, Clinton, who's a genuinely
engaging guy, even though his ideas are almost as uniformly bad
as Obama's. I have to ask myself: What kind of a person can become
president of the US at this point? Clearly no one with strong principles
will ever make it, partly because such a person can't make the insipid,
inoffensive, statements that appeal to the lowest common denominator.
I wonder where they find these people? It might be a good new reality
show call it The Lowest Common Denominator.
but we've probably crossed the line to making personal attacks
though I think those who presume to rule over others deserve greater
public scrutiny of their persons and ideas. Let's get back to policy.
for clunkers" was, if I'm not mistaken, an idea backed
by the Obama administration, and in my view a clear attempt to simply
open the spending spigots to try to bribe the electorate.
Yes, that was a great idea. Subsidize the destruction of perfectly
good vehicles with billions of borrowed dollars, in order to keep
mismanaged auto companies afloat. Then there was the housing credit,
which induced scores of thousands of people to get into the collapsing
housing market at taxpayer expense. And keeping interest rates near
zero, in a desperate attempt to keep old bubbles inflated; that
will just inflate new bubbles while it destroys the currency. Obama
is disaster incarnate for the economy. Everything he's doing
and pushes the Fed to do is not only the wrong thing, but
the exact opposite of the right thing, as we've commented on many
times. I honestly can't think of a single good thing about Obama.
There must be something
perhaps he neither kicks his dog nor
beats his child. But he's a sociopath; he's got all the signs of
one that I spell out in this month's Casey Report
Clinton. But not so much like Bush, who was helpful in defining
the often fine line between "stupid" and "evil."
about foreign policy? He did bring the troops home from Iraq. I
wish he'd bring them all home, but that was a step in the right
direction, wasn't it?
Yes, bring them home so they can practice the bad habits they picked
up as invaders in the Middle East as cops in the US. But it's true
he did get US troops out of Iraq. On the other hand, the
Obama administration has put new troops in other places, like Uganda
and Australia, participated in the bombing of Libya, and who knows
what he'll do if Egypt falls apart. He may yet intervene in Syria,
where the US is already sending arms to the insurgents. I suspect
he and his minions are now negotiating with the Taliban mainly to
arrange a semi-graceful exit for the troops next year from Afghanistan.
It wouldn't do to have a running gun battle while the last people
are evacuated from the embassy in Kabul, holding on to the skids
of helicopters, like in Saigon. And it looks like they'll start
a war with Iran.
he can hardly claim to be a man of peace when he likes to take credit
for ordering the extrajudicial
execution of Osama Bin Laden.
What are you talking about? Don't you know he was awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize? Actually, I'm glad he got it: it serves to fully
discredit the prize as an overrated scam. And how about this new
Defense Authorization Act that allows the military to detain
US citizens indefinitely? That was hardly a bill a defender of civil
liberties would sign into law.
and whatever he is, is just bad news all around. If he's reelected,
people are going to get exactly what they deserve. That's one good
definition of justice, and you have to be in favor of justice. The
only problem is that it's unjust for the maybe 20% of the population
who've fought against the descent of the US into a police state.
if the economy doesn't blow up and the election is likely to go
to the Democrats and not the Republicans, do you think that a guy
as boring as Obama can actually get reelected?
If the economy doesn't blow up, I do think Obama will be reelected.
Most US citizens are recipients of government largess of one sort
or another these days, and they won't vote for Republicans who might
cut or reduce their handouts. And maybe Americans want witless and
boring; that makes things seem normal. It's grasping at a straw
appearance rather than reality.
Though I still
think that if the Democrats really wanted to lock in a win, they'd
get a left-wing general to run. It's a scary world out there, and
people want security, not just in their pocketbooks, but from all
the threats they've been told are menacing them from all around
the world. Americans have apotheosized the military. They idiotically
believe it's efficient, when actually it's just a heavily armed
version of the post office or the TSA. And they idiotically believe
it isn't corrupt even though all the top generals are politicians
first and Pentagon spending is like a billboard advertising corruption.
you think that could actually happen? Obama seems pretty strong
with his supporters wouldn't he have to be caught in the
closet with a sheep or something like that to lose his party's nomination?
That's probably right, so again, if the economy doesn't blow up,
we'll likely get four more years of Obama. Even if the economy really
blows up, the possible Republicans are so unappealing that it's
hard to believe any of them could get traction. That and the fact
that half the country relies on government benefits that they fear
a Republican would take away means we might get four more years
of Obama anyway. Although there's no chance elected Republicans
will actually cut spending; Republicans are chronic hypocrites who
talk the talk in order to gull naïve voters in the diminishing
middle class. Perhaps we'll get The General only after the Greater
Depression has a lot more people living in tent cities. And after
the US has bombed and been counterattacked by Iran and maybe
had a few more wars as well. A "strong" leader will have
great appeal in 2016.
Man on a White Horse. Sigh. Investment implications?
Well, I do think the economy will
take a nosedive soon, in which case the recommendations are
the same as we've been making. We're not a trading service
entirely apart from the fact that I don't believe in trading. But,
under the four more years of Obama scenario, we'll almost certainly
see massive inflation, which would be bullish for industrial metals
and could even be good for stocks in general, even though I don't
think they are cheap at this point in time. There could be many
new bubbles created by the massive amounts of liquidity they'd have
to pump into the economy, and we'll watch out for those.
On a more fundamental
level, whatever they do and whatever amount of paper money they
throw at an economy suffering from decades of distortion and malinvestment,
I just don't think it's possible to return to real prosperity without
going through the wringer first. Even with massive liquidity injections,
life for the average guy is not going to get better, it's going
to get worse. I expect chaos, but I'm not looking forward to it.
Chaos will present opportunities, but it's also quite unpleasant
but let's say Helicopter Ben starts throwing billions of bushels
of new $1,000 and $10,000 bills out of his fleet of helicopters
where would be the best place to stand with a net to catch
some of those?
Well, in spite of my many differences with him, I am partial to
what Warren Buffett says about investing in basic businesses. You
want to be an owner of a well-run business that produces simple
things everyone needs and wants even if their standard of
living is collapsing. But the key is to buy such companies at bargain-basement
prices to succeed as a speculator, you have to buy low and
Well then, in addition to our usual calls on the precious metals
and energy, this seems like a good time to point out certain sectors
within the tech markets. New innovations that make things better/faster/cheaper
would be even more in demand in a depression, and new medical devices
and treatments are always going to be things people want and need,
regardless of economic conditions.
Right. And stepping back from intelligent speculation to intelligent
investing because they're two different methodologies
I want good, solid companies. High dividends, low P/E ratios, and
solid growth are the holy grail. But I think it's too early to buy.
Too much turmoil and uncertainty ahead, even for the best-run companies
with the most essential goods and services. I'd rather buy after
we're in the middle of the turmoil, not before it appears.
I also feel
compelled to remind readers of the urgency of diversifying the political
risk in their lives by internationalizing. This is the best sort
of thing discussed over a cigar and nice glass of wine, which maybe
readers will join me for at our upcoming
Harvest Celebration in Argentina. I understand that there are
few a still spots left.
then. A look at the situation from a slightly different angle. Thanks
for your thoughts.
A pleasure, as always. I know you're in the Congo as we speak. Perhaps
next time we can talk about Africa
offers some of the best profit opportunities we've seen in years,
but to capitalize on this exciting sector you must avoid
falling prey to these three tech-investing myths.
Casey (send him mail)
a best-selling author and chairman of Casey
Research, LLC., publishers of Casey’s
© 2012 Casey
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