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Caseythoughts My political wakening, or perhaps nativity, was in 1964 back in the Dark Ages. That was the publishing date of a tome entitled "The Unmaking of a Mayor" by William F. Buckley. Buckley is credited with the birth of the conservative movement in the late 1950's and this was your father's conservative party, not the bastardization of a concept that calls itself "conservative" today.

Anyway, Buckley's book was about his serious (but tinged with humor) run for mayor of New York City against John Lindsay (the Hollywood-esque New Man of the New Republicans) and Abraham Beame. Buckley won 12% of the vote but his real contribution was the book. He had brought humor and unpolitical common sense to a very jaded America and the book was something of a primer for a demolished national Republican party and the coming Nixon/Reagan conservatism.

Buckley opened the book with a self-interview which he admitted was a biased attempt to promote and explain his candidacy. Although I am running for nothing (admittedly I am running from a few things) I am going to give you a self-interview this week---this week of transition and week of true fear and loathing on the political and pandemic trail.

So Casey, where do you want to begin this interview?

How about if I remind my readers of one of my original 'thoughts' in the Lansing Star back in 2017. I wrote about a secret fictional meeting in the Kremlin a few months before a 2016 election. Vladimir Putin was presented with two opposing KGB proposals to influence the American election in 2016. The winning proposal's main objective was not to win the election for either candidate but to destroy the confidence of the American people in the last institution they believed in: not religion, not Congress, but the concept of free and fair elections. Inadvertently, the next four years proved me right. No one, including me, ever wished to be wrong, but there you are.

Do you think the election might have had some benefit that isn't being touted by the media, Casey?

Yes, but I think it's a subtle erosion of so-called common knowledge.

What do you mean?

There seems to be a long-standing assumption that Wall Street is more comfortable with a Republican in the White House. The belief is that Republicans are "good for business." Trump's term seemed to engage positively with that belief, although I believe that Trump merely got lucky with the maturation of 21st century technology. That technological progress has yet to find answers for the unemployable or the threatened millions of Americans that technology has, or will, leave behind. Trump's luck ran out with the onset of COVID-19.

But notice please, exhibit A: the stock market has gone almost crazy since the media declared Biden the winner. If a Democrat like Biden wins with a definite tilt toward universal health care and government spending why has Wall Street gone on a tear as of this writing?

Easy. The myth of a political party being 'friend or foe' of Wall Street must give way to the better concept of "stability." The markets hate confusion and uncertainty. The market, excluding contrarians, will buy the "bird in hand" versus the unseen "two in a bush." Consider this a steady "unseen hand." No great thinking here, not even original thinking. Just a return to the dogma of 'steady'. The markets tell us much. Not all, but much.

Ok, Casey, O pundit, tell us your idea of who the winners were in the 2020 election?

Did you know where the word pundit came from? It is the Sanskrit word 'pandita' meaning learned. The Hindi version was 'pandit' for wise person. When the Portuguese landed in India their westernized version was 'pandito'. It was Americanized in the 19th century and politicized. In 1854 the Pundits were a Yale Senior Society known for elaborate pranks. Michael Kinsley (remember him?) coined the term "punditocracy" in 1987 to describe the rise of so-called wise men of television commentary.

First, the domestic winners: Those who want to concentrate on the pandemic as its deadly fingers reach out into America's heartland and more of my friends and neighbors express depression and downright fear. We can now hopefully move the election stories to the back burner and focus on the reality of America's pandemic plight. This includes the emotional and the practical, including the dire situation facing our health care infrastructure. It's no longer a question of insurance, is it?

Women were big winners in this election, not only to elected office but increasingly seen as a potent political force, both in numbers and policy direction.

And let's not forget that attorneys are the winners too, at least for the next few months. Aaurgh!

On the foreign front, the winners appear to be our European allies who may be historically frustrating, but in a pinch they know which side of the bread the peanut butter is on. Trump nearly ruined 70 years of a frustrating but fruitful marriage with Western Europe. For better or for worse, Biden will eventually be able to start mending fences with NATO and the European Union.

Moderate African leaders, what few there are, are also the winners with the administration in Washington which hopefully will extend its hand and be less caustic, not to mention outright racist in its outlook.

India, Viet Nam and South Korea can look forward to a Biden administration. No two-faced Janus with a carrot and stick coddling the dictators on their borders. A return to the Trans-Pacific Trade Pact and the World Health Organization could be quiet goals of Biden/Harris, though domestic policy must occupy most of the first year.

Domestically it will be tough sledding but it could be the country is in a mood to attempt reconciliation if the "center" can come to the fore and expand: not to separate factions but to find common ground. Expect no huge moves in domestic policy but slow and steady could gain much. Remember Wall Street's dismay with uncertainty. Wall Street is, like it or not, the mirror image of Main Street.

That brings us to the losers, right, Casey?


The losers in 2020 begin with Mitch McConnell. The more America saw and heard from that ugly dinosaur (T-Rex, anyone?) the more we realized that he thought he was in charge—what a loser. I hope.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were losers because they could not express anything that could be called a winning philosophy. "Dump Trump" was not a direction. It was merely a phrase. Their Blue Wave again turned out to prove the Democratic party as hollow and as anachronistic as their major party counterpart. Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez and her squad are losers because their message is nihilism and could not resonate as a battle cry on a national level. The so-called progressives will continue to be back-benchers and will try to throw a bomb at every initiative that Biden/Pelosi/Schumer put forward. This will cast doubt on any coherent message coming from a practically decimated and leaderless Democratic House. The good news here is that Pelosi and Schumer may have to reach across the aisle. That could do wonders for division.

The American military stands to gain from a respectful American Commander-in-Chief, but is in a very dangerous position if Trump gets desperate. If the "Chest-Thumper-in-Chief" decides to pull out of Afghanistan because he wants to show us "he can" then we could lose lives and prestige, which is again at a post-Vietnam low. This is not to mention the fear of a president who refuses to leave. Are there adults in the Pentagon who might be put into position of disobeying the orders of their commander? Let's not go there.

How about losers in the world after this election, Casey?

Did you notice who has not congratulated Biden? It took a week for Xi Xing Ping to give a back-handed thumbs up to Biden. The rest of the world's dictators aren't being coy—they are embarrassed that their buddy, their dictator-in-training let this election actually pan out. Russia's Putin, North Korea's Kim, Turkey's Erdogan, Saudi Arabia's Bin Salman, and Brazil's Balsonaro as of this writing have been ignoring the Little Dictator.

By the way, the Palestinians, God bless them, are sitting in their "bunkers" and hoping for justice. Remember the BLM phrase: "No Justice No Peace?" The Palestinians do.

Casey, is there anything that either party may have learned from this election?

I think the Republicans have to go back to the drawing board and rebuild a party on principles and not personalities. They came damned close to being destroyed by Trump and what's left is not a party but a seriously wounded faction, and wounded animals are the most dangerous. They had better come up with some new and innovative leaders if they want to fend off Trump-ism in the next four years.

The Democrats are also wounded, rowing the same boat they were in after the disaster of 1968. Split down the middle by old style moderates (Humphrey) and wild-eyed Liberals (McGovern) they had nothing to offer the electorate but 'anti-this' and 'anti-that'. The Democrats will need to see beyond Biden and build their "bench." They have less than four years to groom a new generation of leaders. Schumer, Pelosi, and Biden are already old and in the way.

Did the American people learn anything from this election, Casey?

As Chou en-Lai said when asked his opinion of the French Revolution, I repeat his wisdom: "Too soon to tell."

Casey, let's wrap this up. Seen any good bumper stickers this week?

Yes, two of them.

"Stupidity Kills, But Not Fast Enough" and:

"You know that 'X' at the grocery store check-out? I've seen too may Road-Runner cartoons to fall for that one."

Take care of each other. Thanks for listening.
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