EZ Money: Bush in 2004
You can Bet on Empire, in the Near-Term.
by Shelton Hull
April 15: Local elections were today, and there was no money on the table! The action on political betting is not as strong as one might expect of Florida, which drops hundreds of millions on the lottery every year and routinely gambles with its own future between electoral cycles. With the stakes of American life as high now as they’ve been in at least 35 years (if not 60 or 70 or 100), I find it alarming that people aren’t willing to put their money behind races whose broader implications dwarf anyone’s personal cash-flow. What are they afraid of, losing? Why, when Mr. Bush is polling at 73% as of today and seems capable of dragging even the most dumb and/or corrupt GOP functionary to the pay window in his wake?
The absence of Action suggests that people think the game is fixed, like pro wrestling– and it is. The people know that the game is about over by the time the actual election begins, and that only. However, I find it both easy and quite logical to bet on either sport, if the terms are clear, because someone decides who wins, and those decisions are often based on market forces that can be read and bet upon to rather profitable ends, if you know what you are doing. And I do, which is why no one will bet against me, certainly not on what passes for the democratic process in these United States today.
If one were an active political gambler, and had bet Republican in every single election since 1996, one would be far enough ahead to start leaning on one’s debtors with the sort of arrogance characteristic of a permanent power imbalance– and one’s debtors would be selling their spare body parts to keep their accounts straight, because anyone who’d bet Democrat across the board in this political environment is probably still hopeful about 2004. Who knows? Maybe lightning will strike the Bush family twice. Somehow, though, I can’t imagine W doing the job if he can help it; the results of 2000 demonstrate that he can indeed help it, if he needs to, one way or another.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are in a state of public collapse, much like the 1973-1980 post-Watergate GOP, except with no obvious excuses. It’s possible that the current generation of Democrats is simply incapable of getting over, in the way that some mid-card wrestlers seem incapable of raising their game or their body-weight enough to get the push that should be theirs. (For example, Rob Van Dam, who’s still better at his job than most big-name Democrats are at theirs.) Without an extraordinary face like Bill Clinton, and solid back-channel workers like Ron Brown and James Carville, it’s not yet been proven that Democrats can win big important elections.
The average stranger will take up a $20 bet on any given football game or boxing match, if the terms are reasonable, but only journalists and academics will even entertain the thought of jumping in on any side of a political bet. I had Jeb Bush and ten points last year, at a time when he was only ahead by six and falling, but could only find one person to bet Bill McBride. Too bad: Jeb surged ahead in the final weekend to win by 12– and I voted for McBride. Of course, I don’t know if I could trust anyone who would put money down against Bush; such a person, if they lost badly, might just fake their own death and disappear, rather than honor their debt. That’s the kind of attitude that’s given this country a $70 trillion collective debt-load and which threatens to destroy our Dollar’s credibility in international trading.
Like Kenny Rogers said, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em/Know when to walk away, know where to run.” The world is full of gamblers, and the ones with real Money are placing wagers on our future. They may not call it that, but they are. With Iraq now American property and the Bush Doctrine successful, smart money’s on the proliferation of proxies and fronts for our new global empire. Empire, having been the eventual of all who’ve tried it before, is not likely to work for us. The bottom line is that America has no real allies who would not stand to profit from the failure of Bush’s ambition, which means that any “international consensus” from now on is about as reliable as the line on Rock vs. Goldberg on April 27.