Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Walker is Not the One After All + Grexit Still Predicted

I haven't had the opportunity to process much of the coverage regarding the nuclear deal with Iran. Republicans were fast out of the gate with promises to kill the accord. Hillary voiced her support. GOP presidential candidates pulled Neville Chamberlain comparisons off the shelf. Republicans are pissing in the wind on this one. They might be scoring points with hard-shell Zionists and various Bircher paranoid types who vote in GOP caucuses and primaries; but for every bit of alarmist militarist keening indulged in now, the possibility of winning a general election recedes farther into the temporal mists.

While on the topic of general election campaigns, I want to amend an earlier assessment that had Walker besting Hillary in the 2016 presidential race. Watching video clips of his official campaign kickoff it struck me -- I don't know why I didn't react this way to Walker before -- that he comes across as too much of a dullard, too much a low-watt middle-manager type to win the allegiance of your average voter. Your average voter, whomever that may be -- mythic suburban "soccer mom"; independent; Oprah acolyte -- wants more star power in her/his candidate for the White House. Walker is too plain (and, let's not be shy, too homely). Plus, he's staking out hard right positions, not just on collective bargaining rights, but now on Iran and Russia as well, that are out of step with the mainstream.

So at this moment it looks to me as if the early predictions of a dynastic clash of titans, Hillary vs. Jeb, for the 2016 presidential race are going to be proven accurate. This assumes that the Trump boom fades.

Yves Smith argues this morning that a Grexit is still the most likely outcome. The IMF's declaration that debt relief must be included in any new bailout package will make it difficult for the various euro nations -- Finland, Germany, Portugal, among others -- to approve any new deal in their respective legislatures. And there is no guarantee that Tsipras can pass four out six creditor demands out of the Greek Parliament today.

It seems odd to me that so many Greeks appear to be sticking with Tsipras. The explanation is that there is no one else to turn to. I guess an abused spouse will tend in the short term to stick with a lying, cheating mate for fear of the unknown, of being alone. Eventually though, as the lying continues, courage is plucked up and one moves on. This is what will happen in Greece.

As a Grexit chaotically unwinds the question will be asked, "How can Syriza  have bargained with the troika for half a year without making at least rudimentary plans for returning to the drachma?" Varoufakis has asserted that currency conversion takes a lot of time, which I am sure it does. But Syriza leads Greece. It was foolishly irresponsible given the obvious intention of Germany to force Greece out of the eurozone not to prepare for the possibility of a Grexit.

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