11/22/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Shock and Awe of a Second Financial Meltdown

What happened to trying to unravel last fall's financial meltdown, for that matter what happened to the meltdown altogether? The stock market is back to almost pre-meltdown levels. The bonuses continue to be spread around the boardrooms. The high-end restaurants have filled back up to bursting here in LA and in NY. The media's excited about the economy again. Where did it all go right?

And why do I have this nasty feeling that on the right, the big boys are happier than ever -- not just because trillions of untraceable dollars from the US Treasury have come their way, but that perhaps this was exactly where they were hoping Obama and the Democrats would be about now -- no reforms, no meddling in the existing structure except a few articulate words and the memory fast fading of who caused that last meltdown, namely eight years of Bush, Cheney and those big boys on the right (not to mention a peppering of the Clintons, Daddy Bush with Granddaddy Reagan handsomely bringing up the rear).

But what happens if a second meltdown hits? What if those boys with all those trillions go short in the market, pull enough of their money out to leave the rest of us holding the bag? Then won't Obama and his Democrat's take the full hit? Won't the right wing boys walk away clean this time, not to mention lugging a windfall from all that short selling, plus all that untraceable taxpayer's cash?

"Survival of the fittest." Although many on the right claim not to believe in Darwin, I don't buy it. Isn't "survival of the fittest" the driving mantra of capitalism? Or maybe it's better to trace it back to Calvinism -- the concept that those who were to go to heaven were proving it by getting rich in this material world. Either way the screwing of the "little guy" while you become as rich as Midas has been the American Way from the very start so why shouldn't it be playing out now?

And what about that quote "to get government down to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub"? Do we really believe those guys have gone away -- the Karl Roves, the Cheneys, the Norquists and so on? Our government's treasury is being drained at an unimaginable rate. War rumbles on in the Middle East unabated with Afghanistan now desperately in need of more troops. Now...imagine a second meltdown, say, around the midterm elections or, perhaps even better, a year or so before the next Presidential Election.

I want to be wrong -- very, very wrong. But I remember Bush's brutal and conniving eight years. I remember that awful couple of weeks when he and his people stole that first Presidential Election in 2000 with the help of a tragically immoral Supreme Court and a simpering Al Gore. I remember 9/11 and that nasty second election victory focusing on Ohio, not to mention torture and Iraq.

Today I watch the calculated stoking of rage around the health care debate. I watch the lies and spin from the shadows of the right wing and it gives me serious pause.

I don't want to be unprepared for the kind of end game that could well be executed by the people who brought us shock and awe. I don't ever want to be shocked or awed again, which is why thinking the worst today seems to me so important for what may well come our way tomorrow.