Thursday, September 11
LAST week the staff of The Daily Show had an incredible run, even granting that a political convention is, for them, a four-inch putt. From a McCain bio that portrayed him as the maverick reformer of the previous John McCain, through a three-minute segment that flattened, in rapid succession: Karl Rove (Tim Kaine's inexperience--3 years as governor, 4 as lieutenant governor, plus a bonus ridiculing of the size of Richmond, Virginia, vs. exorbitant praise of Sarah Palin's c.v. less than three weeks later): Bill O'Reilly (the "private matter" of Bristol Palin's vs. the "pinhead parents" of Jamie Lynn Spears who are to blame for her pregnancy); Dick Morris on the pervasive sexism behind the "attacks" on Palin, vs. Hillary Clinton's whining ("In his defense," says Jon, "Dick Morris is a lying sack of shit."); and that McCain spokeswoman and former Ladies Against Women president Nancy Hasenpfeffer or something, playing the same game, objecting to Clinton "playing the gender card", then objecting to the criticism of Palin on behalf of all female woman ladypersons. The week ended with some genius virtually syncing McCain's acceptance speech promises of a new tone in Washington with George W. Bush's from eight years before. It underlined a couple of things: one, that the Galloping Vapours which meet the occasional public notice that some Americans actually get their news from a mock news show is seriously misplaced, and, two, that the real shame is that more don't.
Yeah, I know: it's shocking. I'm not trying to tell you something new. I've been watching this shit for forty years myself, ever since Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement convinced Republicans that not only were the facts against them, but that they had essentially washed away the metaphorical tripod holding the Dry Erase Board of their Sales Program. They weren't just on the wrong side of the debate, or the wrong side of history, they were on the wrong side of democracy, and the only way out was The Electoral Strategy That Dare Not Speak Its Name, Not Too Loudly, Anyway, and the resultant forty years of lying about its racist underpinnings.
(Memo to Mr. Colbert: Yeah, I know it's a comedy program, and the bit was funny, but this is why the Sixties still matter. Not because of some mystical Boomer vibe, or because a bunch of fogies chose to tie up our current politics through a combination of nostalgia and undying hatred. It's the wellspring of the wholly-fictional Reagan Revolution, which has informed everything since. )
Including its informing the current political climate. I'm way too old to be a starry-eyed idealist. I realize truth doesn't win every argument. I just like to think it's usually the way to bet, and I think Democrats abandoned it as a defense prematurely, having lost two elections sandwiched around a win by a guy they didn't really like and helped shoot down. As a result, little truth is to be found, and what is found isn't recognized, and a guy can go on teevee news programs and loudly annihilate what he said just over two weeks previously--not slide around, not finesse, self-annihillate--and not even feel he's trying to get away with something he ought to be hiding. Why is this so fucking difficult to understand? How is it that people ignore the result of this faux-balance crap, which is that one party doubles down on Dissimulation every freakin' time?
I find it impossible not to link this sort of thing directly to the fact that the holiest of Holy Days on the Republican calendar (incidentally, correct me if I wrong, but is this not the first such anniversary without Homeland Security warning of possible celebratory attacks?) dawns with the major campaign issue being lipstick on a pig. And it's not just the usual crackpot yammerers--the candidate himself repeated it. John Maverick McCain, the brave Republican who actually came out and moderately deplored the swiftboating of a fellow veteran, before ducking for cover, now looks at the camera and tells America something he knows no one can honestly believe is true, on the grounds this might swing a Swing State. Honest John McCain actually said that "lipstick on a pig" was a personal attack. It's certainly not the first, nor the lowest such attack of all time, but it may well be the most poignantly stupid. Would you hire such a man to work on your car? Does he really want to be President of the Land of Three-Hundred-Million Self-Serving Liars? Is there any possible excuse for this, or any possible outcome that does not include the word "doomed"?
Labels: Meet the Candidates