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16 June 2009

The New Old Normal

Today (16 June 2009) Ed Schultz made an appearance on Morning Joe where he was asked his opinions about President Obama’s performance and Dick Cheney (among other things). During his discussion with the group, he said something that struck a chord with me. Mr. Schultz was referring to the redefining of what will be considered normal sales firgures for companies like General Motors. Before this economic crisis gripped us GM could count on 15 million new cars sold each year. Mr. Schultz postulates that the new normal sales figures will be more like 10 million.

Is there really a new normal in American society? Or, are we are just singing the same old tune with different lyrics?

During the Great Depression there were dire warnings that Franklin D. Roosevelt would transform America into a Socialist state. Roosevelt’s stimulus package received harsh criticism from the Conservative Coalition. Today, as America languishes in the midst of another global economic crisis, President Obama has followed the old normal by creating a new new deal for America designed to stimulate economic growth by the creation of jobs and stabilization of the economy. The Conservative Coalition in opposition to the transformation of America into a Socialist state is alive and well, and as normal as it ever was.

Ronald Reagan spread the conservative propaganda about socialized medicine as early as 1961. President Carter talked about national health insurance in 1980 when he debated Reagan.

President Obama declared health care a right for Americans. The progressive people in country already know this. The conservatives demand it only when they experience devastating illness or they think their Medicaid or Medicare (created by FDR’s New Deal) is threatened. In many parts of the world, health care is a fundamental right. In America health care belongs to those who can afford it. The health care debate? Here we go again.

When it comes to inflation and the cost of living, the old normal is to blame big government. Eisenhower talked about the honest dollar and an honest dollar’s worth. Richard Nixon’s solution was to freeze wages and prices. The normal has been to ask or to require workers to give up wages Nothing new about that old normal.

Religion was an issue when John F. Kennedy was running for president. But that concern was not a new normal. In the early part of the 20th Century, Protestant Americans were alarmed at the possibility of election of a Catholic President. Americans feared the submission of the United States to Papal influences. Those fears seemed quite normal as the possibility of Kennedy’s election began to sink in. Religion reared it’s ugly head in the 2008 campaign with the Right spreading unfounded rumors that President Obama is a Muslim and would cater to Muslim interests. Everything old is new again.

The American people voted for President Obama on a platform of change. But has anything really changed? Or is it business as usual following the ineffective policies and worn out debates of years past? President Obama is so damed centrist he manages to thoroughly frustrate both the Left and the Right.

The question was put forth by John F. Kennedy in 1960 and we are still asking it today – “Which point of view and which party do we want to lead the United States?”

The new normal is the old normal. The only things new about normal are the faces and the names. Liberals are still calling for equality and justice. Conservatives are still telling people who criticize conservative views to shut up.


There have been only 16 Democratic Presidents since 1837. It is generally accepted that the Democratic party evolved from the Democratic-Republican Party founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

This essay also published:

Flickering Light of Freedom

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