Friday, September 12

Plus, We Owe Deer Trapped In Headlights Everywhere An Apology

Michael Smerconish, "Why this lifelong Republican may vote for Obama". Salon, September 11

OKAY, you gotta love that illustration, meant, I guess, to show the bittersweet cooling of bloodlust as though it were akin to a lost summer love and not its twisted pathological replacement for the likes of Michael Smerconish. Of course, to the wizened veteran of a thousand mall encounters with American cartoon spokesrat Mickey Mouse giving Iran the finger (it was funny on so many levels, though it would have been even funnier if Disney had, as is its custom, sued loudly), through what seemed like the first two decades of the 80s, the message is more along the lines of "Hey, World! You've pissed US off, and we've got T-shirts!"

First off, I think I can safely say I join with Americans of every political persuasion in saying I don't give a fuck who Michael Smerconish may or may not vote for, or who he actually votes for, and I can't imagine the circumstances under which that would change. I mean, the obvious one--that he's on a jury, deciding my fate--does not apply the way it would seem to at first glance, since if he's on a jury deciding my fate I've already slashed my lawyer's throat, right there at the defense table, and the whole thing's moot.

I'm a little more interested--but not much--in why Salon seems to continue to believe the lunatic ravings of a tedious, overeducated professional self-promoter (see, make that do not see, Paglia, Camille) represent some needed counter-weight to the likes of Glen Greenwald.

Who's supposed to be swayed by Smerconish's brave declaration that he "might" vote for somebody? For Salon readers common sense dictates that the likely outcome (after "None", I mean) would be a mass defection from the Obama camp, on the grounds that anyone who can inspire even conditional agreement on the issues with Michael "I Went To Fantasy War Camp!" Smerconish--let alone granting the man two interviews--is suspect.

Which he is; Obama's "hot pursuit into Pakistan" was an enormous gaffe, the first official confirmation that his campaign had been crafted in 2005 and was about as navigable as a supertanker. McCain rightly, but tellingly, criticized him for the least egregious feature of this nonsense, that of "tipping his hand". Of course, this was ameliorated somewhat by the fact that McCain's foreign policies contain 80% more batshit, which was then followed by his nominating for Bi-Monthly Acting President While McCain's Under Anesthesia a woman who was overmatched sitting opposite Charlie Gibson, a woman whose foreign policy c.v. includes helping her children with their civics homework. And that's the top of the list.  

(I mean, look: it's over. Not the election; I have no real idea of how America will vote, and though I have to believe her people, as individuals, are generally smart enough to prefer practically anyone, an African-American, the real Tina Fey, even someone outside their own species, to four more years of Republicanism, I'm too old to discount the IQ-lowering effects of crowds, television, and alcoholic beverages made from corn. I'm not banking on sanity. I'm just saying there's no way a sane person could possibly pull a lever thinking it would help put Councilwoman Palin a metaphorical 72-year-old heartbeat away from a metaphorical button. Nor, for that matter, would he or she help make the guy who pulled the stunt which put her there The Most Powerful Man on Earth, Formerly. Not that I, despite my misogyny, do not appreciate the bold move that made the GOP the second major party to nominate a woman for Vice-President, and the first to nominate someone, regardless of gender, from an alien culture. But let me just speak from my own experience: you fucked up. Bad. The best thing for all concerned is to fake Bristol Palin's death, have Commander Choo-Choo resign in grief, and move the whole family further up the glacier for the next two decades, there to await The Rapture. As for the public demonstration of severe psychosis on John McCain's part, well, he'll just have to live with it. Never stopped him before.)

Okay, Pakistan, which we are glad to learn that extensive training by Republican operatives can get someone which no previous experience to identify as "a country" and "vaguely threatening" in just one week: it's a nuclear power. You can look this sort of thing up. India's nearby, somewhere, and they don't like each other much. The Bush administration--it is difficult to exempt the Loyal Opposition or the American people from shared responsibility for this particular fuck-up--decided the attacks of 9/11 required a satisfyingly lethal military response, justified under international law by our having given Afghanistan until the day before 9/11 to turn over the culprits. This required our dealing with Pakistan's military Thug-in-Chief Musharraf, because there were actually some people involved somewhere who are less rash than Michael Smerconish. Surprising, yes. Musharraf wound up with all the people we were chasing moving into Waziristan--totally unexpected, of course--as well as a robust new personal account in Zurich. Fortunes and Fogs of War aside, it was an utterly predictable result, and reckless, and if Michael Smerconish complained about it at the time I haven't yet found the record.

Let's note here that it is the Pakistanis, not the United States of What's Right, which captured the actual mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and did some of the early loosening up work on him and his family for us. This was, Musharraf apparently believed, Value for the Money. Since then, Musharraf's lost his job, former Prime Minister and uranium mule Benazir Bhutto lost her life, and her deadbeat husband was elected President. So it's hard to see how there could be any problems there in the near future. Oh, did I mention the nukes?

It's also hard to see what Smerconish--or Obama, for that matter--imagines we're going to do about it now when we did nothing about it with a bunch of pretend Duke Waynes in charge. We might--might--get away with military hot pursuit or low-grade combat in the Pakistani Badlands; then again, we might destabilize a government which has thus far been, oh, amenable, and acceptable to India provided we give them enough fissionable material for their wink wink peaceable wink programs wink wink winkywinkwink.  Is the game worth the candle, just so someone in Cairo somewhere can accidentally kink the hose of bin-Laden's dialysis machine? Just so loudmouths like Smerconish can feel vindicated vicariously, the same way they felt victimized? It's been his boy in the White House all along, until it became necessary to disavow him.  Smerconish applauded every step of the way. And it failed, and failed spectacularly, and not because of any convenient post-facto failures of execution, but because it was Stupidity on the March.  And, make no mistake about it; they held that banner high. You fucked up. Some CIA spook's thumb may wind up in bin-Laden's eye some day, but it won't change matters. In the meantime, if you want to gamble with lives, start with your own; Bush has given you plenty of opportunities.  Despite the attraction, I hope Obama doesn't give you any more.


R. Porrofatto said...

Yes, "nuclear capability" is one of those jaw-dropping but no real surprise omissions in recent Pakistan commentary. We're seeing the same gap in all this stuff about Georgia joining NATO, and the U.S. responding militarily to a Russian invasion of anybody. Toe-to-toe nuclear combat with the Russkies is one thing, but I also haven't seen much about their real airplanes 'n tanks 'n missiles 'n stuff that our Hasbro Easy Enemies™ usually don't have. With little more than what the Bushterfuck let them keep from all those overlooked ammo dumps, Iraqi insurgents have still managed to weaken our capabilities where the idea that we might even raise our voice on the phone to Putin is risible, assuming he still takes our calls.

James Stripes said...
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James Stripes said...

and alcoholic beverages made from corn

That's three Thompsonisms in three days. I'm keeping track now. Are you planning a move to Owl Farm any time soon?

Still, my first reaction was of horror. Even though eight or twelve year distilled corn from Kentucky is consumed more often by Republicans than lib'rals, the beer swillin' masses are the real danger in this and every American election. Even Pat Buchanan, although he cannot agree with Hunter on what brand of bourbon they shared on that dark night in Nashua 1968, is not gonna buy the BS McCain is telling about his lipstick either.

Hunter never denied that bourbon begets stupid. But there's a lot of different kinds of stupid these days and soused elitists are not our gravest danger except when they're journalists, and that's really your point isn't it.

doghouse riley said...

I haven't read Dr. Thompson in years, although Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail came off the shelf and onto the gridlocked pile at my bedside about three months ago. I am, in fact, a proud consumer of the great brown eau de vie of my ancestral homeland, specifically Booker Noe's or Blanton's, which taste I owe to Hunter's early influence on me. These days, when the application is more often than not medicinal it's Basil Hayden's and ginger, an abomination, I know, but I do not bother stocking cheap hooch, and at my advanced age the direct application of straight Booker's, while dulling my knee pain, also interferes with their lawful use.

However, if there's a single instance of a single beer being both palatable and corn-fed I've missed it.

I also owe to Thompson my having ordered, on my 21st birthday, a Singapore Sling, having, in my greenishness, apparently missed the joke.

James Stripes said...

Well, I don't know how often good writing comes out of good bourbon, but Hunter's influence is apparent in more than the words I've highlighted and the drinks you've admitted.

I've been driving in the other direction: I developed a taste for Blanton's then Wild Turkey (my limited budget option) before I started reading Hunter. Shockingly, I didn't learn of my appreciation of his writing until I read Better than Sex in 1996. I'm working through his books now, as you already know from what I've said at Patriots and Peoples.

In any case, keep it up. These are weird times, and getting weirder, and we're all doomed. Your good writing helps the medicine go down.

Sator Arepo said...

May I kindly recommend Elijah Craig 12-year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey?

1/2 the price of Blantons, and totally delicious. And by delicious I mean: awesome.

Good day, sirs.

rageahol said...

i'm rather a fan of bulleit these days. maybe that makes me a hipster jackass, i don't know. half the price of blanton's, at least.

and by "fan" i mean buy by the case.

Sator Arepo said...

For the same price as Bulleit (which I like) which carries no age statement (placing at at between 4-6 average age of whiskey in the bottle) Elijah is guaranteed minimum 12 yrs. Similar style, spicy and rye-heavy. Give my boy a try if you can find him,

Anonymous said...

From the lovely metaphor of slashing your own lawyer's throat at the defense table, I presume you to be an appreciator of Deadwood, which might have been written by the late Mr. Thompson, and surely was influenced by him. Can we then hope that when Mr. Obama assumes command in 09, that Deadwood will shortly return with it's 4th season, in which Bullock meets Teddy Roosevelt in episode one, and the Maine sinks beneath Havana Harbor in episode 12. --Beel

Shell Goddamnit said...

The Good Dr's influence led me to the - ah - alternative substances in which he indulged, rather than the beverages. And I read Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas at 12. I don't really recommend it, but it's been a hell of a ride.

"Tedious, overeducated professional self-promoter" - now, to whom in the punditry does that NOT apply? It's practically - no, strike that, it IS the definition of pundit.