hard rain

In a weird, ‘don’t make me go through this’ way, 2012 promises to be a fine political season.

I mean that in the way Bruce Springsteen once sang ‘Sky’s been cleared by a good hard rain.’ The race for President may after all be a hard rain, not least because Springsteen will be on the road touring behind a new album. The first song from it, “We Take Care Of Our Own,” is worth quoting in its entirety:

We Take Care of Our Own
by Bruce Springsteen

I been knocking on the door that holds the throne
I been looking for the map that leads me home
I been stumbling on good hearts turned to stone
The road of good intentions has gone dry as a bone
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own

From Chicago to New Orleans
From the muscle to the bone
From the shotgun shack to the Super Dome
There ain’t no help, the cavalry stayed home
There ain’t no one hearing the bugle blowin’
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own

Where’re the eyes, the eyes with the will to see
Where are the hearts that run over with mercy
Where’s the love that has not forsaken me
Where’s the work that’ll set my hands, my soul free
Where’s the spirit that’ll reign rain over me
Where’s the promise from sea to shining sea
Where’s the promise from sea to shining sea
Wherever this flag’s flown
Wherever this flag’s flown
Wherever this flag’s flown

We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own

We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own

He nails what 2012 feels like at least twice, once when he observes “There ain’t no help, the cavalry stayed home,” and again when he demands “Where’s the promise from sea to shining sea.” These are things patriots say, though if he says it loud enough long enough I’ll bet the noise machine tries jihad against him.

Let ’em. I want Springsteen out on tour all fall, howling so loud from sports arenas the politicians can’t hear themselves.

Which brings me to a second issue: last night CBS asked the Tax Policy Center how much the tax plans of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich would add to the deficit, and came up with big numbers – $185 billion for Romney, $850 billion for Gingrich.

And then after announcing that, anchorman Scott Pelley noted that both candidates believe so many businesses would be created, so many jobs, that tax revenues would actually go up.

I don’t blame Pelley. Really I don’t. This is, after all, the “position” of Romney and Gingrich. But it just isn’t true, was never true, and even ardent defenders of tax cuts have acknowledged it. It’s a 35 year old sugar-coated lie, and here’s the galling thing: we just saw a pretty good demo of how it isn’t true in the form of former President Bush’s cuts, and yet it’s as if that recent experience never happened. The incredible ability of the radical right to force contradictions down the memory hole puts me in a foul mood, one that demands a preacher sweeping across the country, calling out the empty suit liars, summoning a hard rain. Let it be this year.

(Sidebar – And let me only add that Barack Obama, a decent man who has accomplished much in the real world of his Presidency, has utterly failed to make an effective moral case against the above. Maybe he never set out to; Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker piece suggests as much. But I fear he will be remembered as a timid man at a time when many of us needed someone who could fight.)

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