Monday, November 6

Lessee, Civil War? Loss. Vietnam? Loss. Iraq? Maybe We Should Let the Elitists Call the Next One.

David Brooks, "The Fighting Democrat" NYT, November 5

And thanks, I think, to Philips for sponsoring a week of free TimesSelect.

Once upon a time, the Democrats were the majority party, but then came the 1960s and many middle-class whites like Jim Webb drifted away. Webb served heroically in Vietnam and came back disgusted with the liberal elites who reviled the military and, as he wrote in 1997, “were trying to destroy the foundations of American society.”

Once upon a time some right-wing pundits could be counted upon to write interesting columns which challenged the reader whatever his political persuasion. This was, of course, some time before David Brooks filled as much of that description as he's capable of.

Can I ask again, without boring however few of you are left, just what the freakin' deal with the Sixties is with these guys? For David Brooks, born August 11, 1961, it can only be remembered, if at all, as a decade of clarinet lessons, orthodontist visits, and an introduction to the Multiplication tables, yet he can't help but write about it as if it robbed him of a) Ozzie, b) Harriet, or c) both. If he must write about it as an adult it would be nice if he'd bother to learn something, like how Once Upon A Time the half-dozen or so Negroes who were allowed to vote in the South, just a little, were all Republicans, and how they didn't drift away but were hurled bodily by the Goldwaterites.

Webb, on the other hand, may think what he likes about a decade he lived through, but I'm going to climb out on a limb and guess that Jim Webb, US Naval Academy '68, son of a career Air Force officer, admirer of Massa Robert, opponent of them Civil Rights carpetbaggers, was not exactly your average trade unionist forced to turn Nixon Republican because you couldn't tell the boys from the girls in those days.
He began to see an America riven by a social divide. On the one side were people like himself: tough, independent, hard-working traditionalists who know how to shoot, fight and endure; and on the other side were what he has at various times called the “drug-drenched,” “sex-enshrined” narcissists, who cower in their parochial elite enclaves and pass judgment on everybody else.

See Voltaire's prayer.
Webb named his son after Robert E. Lee, and wrote a book, “Born Fighting,” which is a full-throated defense of “Rednecks. Trailer-park trash. Racists. Cannon fodder. My ancestors. My people. Me.”

No, really, a full-throated defense of racism is apparently an admirable thing, provided it's at the service of some Manichaean fantasy about poor oppressed White Southern Protestant Sons of Robert the Bruce.
As Andrew Ferguson noted recently in The Weekly Standard, he took white Protestants — who have always been the villains in movies from “M*A*S*H” to “Remember the Titans” — and he described them as an oppressed minority group. And their oppressors were the highly educated liberal snobs from New York, Washington, San Francisco and L.A.

Always, since M*A*S*H. Yeesh, what a sentence. And it really is a shame Brooks is so unfamiliar with the more esoteric film fare of that era, like Clint Eastwood's overlooked Dirty Harry flicks, or the careers of Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, and that guy who used to be governor of California, or the little-known James Bond franchise. I guess he missed The Siege and Rules of Engagement. For that matter, I understand the villains of The Passion of the Christ were other than white Protestant males.
“For the last 50 years,” he wrote in “Born Fighting,” “the Left has been doing everything in its power...

Which is considerable.
"to sue them, legislate against their interests, mock them in the media, isolate them as idiosyncratic, and publicly humiliate their traditions...”

Christ Almighty, this is the sort of thing that gets praised as "a straight-shooter speaking his mind" in the likes of the Weekly Standard. I wonder at what point it will occur to these people that the reason everything they touch turns to shit, the reason they get pushed around by elitist collectivist narcissist terrorist apologists, to the extent that they do, is that being wrong at the top of your lungs will only take you so far.
Jewish culture produces a lot of lawyers, Webb has argued, but Scots-Irish culture produces fighters,...

And drunks, and pederastic priests. I love this game. The Chinese are inscrutable. Negroes are very good at basketball. Mexican food is spicy. This shit was in the New York Times.
and he has spent his life defending the interests and values of these manly, individualistic, brawling populists.

And I say it again. I will gladly stake David Brooks to an entire race weekend in the infield at Darlington, provided that he agrees to speak on the glories of Scots-Irish populism at the next NAACP convention.
He’s criticized affirmative action and women in combat.

Oh, do tell. (He's called affirmative action "state-sponsored racism", by the way, and apparently with a straight face. )
He at one time opposed the Vietnam memorial, which seemed to rebuke the warrior virtues.

Yup. We don't hear about that little sample of the manly, individualist, populist code triumphing over snobby Eastern elitist tastes these days, do we? Seem a photo of Vietnam vets reaching out to touch that godawful Soviet-realist sculpture people like Webb forced the government to erect as a tribute to their tooth-deprived hillbilly aesthetic?
“Watching the white phallus that is the Washington Monument piercing the air like a bayonet, you feel uplifted,” he said. But the “degrading ditch” of the Vietnam memorial seemed to do no such thing.

Okay, I admit it. I went through this whole thing just so I could use that quote.
And we may be about to learn if the party of Nancy Pelosi can make room for the Jim Webbs of the world. We’ve already learned that the party of George Bush and Tom DeLay did a terrible job making room for its own mavericks and moderates.

Yeah, and it's a shame your column had gone on so long there wasn't room to name any, David.

Jim Webb is a Republican running as an Opportunist. They only interest any Democrat could have in him would be in using him to take over committee chairmanships, excepting maybe the schadenfreude of watching "Presidential hopeful" George Allen, Jr. suck the gas pipe. But then there's plenty of schadenfreude available these days, Dave. You can barely scrape the damn stuff off your shoes in some spots.

This election is about the desperate need to turn out the Den of Thieves in the Capitol. "Democrat" is just the only means available to do so. That's still the party of Toothless Acquiescence to the Iraq War, the looting of the Treasury, and the Rape of Civil Rights. One more Webb or Lieberman or Crazy Zell signing on means nothing; those people are, simply, so wrong about things that "reality" will take care of them sooner or later. And patience is a virtue we elitists have had long practice of. You can wake me when the Democrats are finished throwing Bush administration officials in the slam and have moved on to putting Ken Starr and Dickie Scaife in the docket. In other words, don't threaten me with how long I might have to hold my breath, Mr. Brooks. I've already been doing it for decades.


golombek said...

It seems to be a Republican meme that it would just be unseemly for the Democrats to investigate the various crimes of the Bush administration. On NPR this morning, some shill (I didn't get his name) blathered on about how, if the Dems take Congress, they wouldn't be able to both govern effectively and conduct investigations. I think if they do take Congress, an onslaught of mail, blogging, and protests should leave the Dems no alternative to investigating. Don't let the wimps roll over again - force them to grow some spines. Impeachment is probably too much of a reach, but there are many heads that should roll, at least metaphorically. Don't let the Repubs steal history again.

R.Porrofatto said...

doghouse, I suggest, for your own well-being, that you stay away from the Orson Scott Card piece that's fouling the air presently. It's a kitchen sink of crapola—he even throws in the "Congress lost the Vietnam war" turd. It would be like bungee-jumping without the big rubber band. Seriously, unless you're seeking a personal best systolic level or something.

In an enlightened world, they'd hire you to be Mark Shields on PBS.

Anonymous said...

Damn, boy, that was some great bitch-slappin', even if it was kinda easy. Let's git a half rack and go shoot up some rats down at the dump. Good times.

D. Sidhe said...

That was marvellous. I can't wait to see you take on Brooks' Wednesday column lamenting the democratic party's purge of the highly liberal Joe Lieberman for just not being liberal enough, and explaining that he was the best chance we had to become a relevant player on the American political scene again.

Christopher said...

Going after the low-hanging fruit, are we?

You know, I'm surprised nobody else mentioned this, but I think this is the closest you can get to being a Nazi without actually, you know, being a Nazi.

I mean, the overt racism, the conflation of "degenerate" with "feminine", the idea that one's opponents arrived where they are by being underhanded cheaters, the idea that violence is inherently superior to thought...

I mean, I agree ith Brooks that Nazis are a fairly marginalised force in the US, but, to be honest, I kind of think that that's a GOOD thing.

RobW said...

Looks like Jimbo's going to lose. And the Dembots are already blaming the third party candidate.

I was going to quote your "Republican running as Opportunist" assessment over at Pandagon, but then I figured you didn't need that kind of grief.

Richard Slay said...

I'm here to object to your characterization of Jim Webb as being completely unchanged from his Reaganite days. I refer you to Billmon's column.


Comrade Webb

When I came to Washington in the early 1980s, Jim Webb was best known as a vociferous spokesman for the movement to scrap the design for the Vietnam War Memorial -- or, as he and his fellow protestors called it, "the wall of shame." He was the prototypical Angry Vietnam Vet, convinced that the hippies and the campus radicals had stabbed him and his band of brothers in the back while they were fighting in jungle, then spit on them when they returned home.

He was, in other words, a died-in-the-wool reactionary -- the thinking man's Ollie North. Webb once famously refused to shake John Kerry's hand because of Kerry's role in publicizing alleged U.S. war crimes in Vietnam. Some of his fellow anti-memorial activists later went on to run the Swift boat campaign against Kerry in the 2004 election.

If you'd told me twenty years ago that John Kerry would eventually run for president, I would have expected Webb to be in there Swiftboating with the best of them. Originally a conservative Democrat in the mold of his first political patron, long-time Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sonny Montgomery of Mississippi, made his bones with the conservative movement by crossing party lines to support Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election -- supposedly because of his rage over Jimmy Carter's amnesty for Vietnam era draft evaders.

Webb was rewarded, eventually, by being named an assistant secretary of defense and then Secretary of the Navy in Reagan's Pentagon, where he became a fanatical advocate of a 500 600-ship Navy -- a defense contracting boondoggle so egregious even the Reagan Administration eventually abandoned it. When Webb quit, in a huff, I assumed he would end up pulling a seven-figure salary as a defense lobbyist and spend the rest of his days helping shovel pork down various congressional gullets and tending the shrine of St. Ronnie.

But instead, nearly two decades later, Webb's now the newly elected Senator from my native state (a stronghold of the Confederacy and the national "right-to-work" movement) who's lined up shoulder to shoulder with Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi and is writing op eds for the Wall Street Journal explicitly calling for what the Republican chattering classes sneeringly condemn as "class warfare":

"America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.
Incestuous corporate boards regularly approve compensation packages for chief executives and others that are out of logic's range. As this newspaper has reported, the average CEO of a sizeable corporation makes more than $10 million a year, while the minimum wage for workers amounts to about $10,000 a year, and has not been raised in nearly a decade. When I graduated from college in the 1960s, the average CEO made 20 times what the average worker made. Today, that CEO makes 400 times as much.

In the age of globalization and outsourcing, and with a vast underground labor pool from illegal immigration, the average American worker is seeing a different life and a troubling future. Trickle-down economics didn't happen."

That's beautiful stuff. Paul Wellstone could have written it. So could Bernie Sanders, although Bernie actually might find it a little too radical for his tastes.


I agree. What is happening is that working-class white bigots are beginning to wake up from their 40-year zombie march to the Right. Paul Craig Roberts, Kevin Phillips, and others who appreciate the value of those whites to America and can do math have realized that the capitalists have betrayed them all to create a dictatorial war machine that rules a global slave plantation. It's time for the Left to finally understand WHY white proles were such easy marks back in 1968 for the Phillips/Buchanan/Wallace racist scam that they betrayed the New Deal and lost everything - and then make sure we don't repeat those mistakes now.

We must face the awful truth. The proles don't believe in equality. They believe in getting to feel superior to as many other races, religions and nationalities as their social brainwashing mechanisms can contrive. They also don't believe in global justice, peace, or the environment unless those things can be proven loudly to benefit them more than empire does.

So when they finally do the math and realize they've been cheated by the corporations, the neocons and the Christians, are you going to be there with facts, or with ridicule?

We and they are going to have to learn to respect each other across class and racial divides. We are not going to get the country we want, but the alternative is that we piss off the rednecks again with PC self-righteousness and they resume their zombie march, like the the German zombies did in 1933, and throw all of us in the camps Halliburton is now building and plunge the world into World War III.

[For further study of the whys and wherefores of rednecks, Google "Joe Bageant".]