WE'RE only gonna say this once. Okay, we're probably gonna say it a few hundred times, but this is the only time we're gonna say we're only saying it once. You cannot bi-partisan your way out of partisanship. I know, I know, its sounds a bit formulaic, doesn't it? If you want to push something down, you have to pull it up. If you want to go left, you have to go right. It-- It's-- The Centrist Democrat playbook is as tattered and out of date as the Bush playbook, but without the diversion of pitchforks and torchlight. You don't lead by tacking to the Center; you lead by leading, and expecting the Center to come to you. This is the same default position--rudderless--the Obama campaign fell into time and again over the past two years, the same one that's held steady for the Democratic party for thirty-five years. I remind you that during that time the two two-term Republican Presidents we or our Courts elected were hailed as geniuses, at least for a time, despite evincing no evidence of intellectual curiosity, familiarity with discourse, or higher cortical event, while the one-point-five moderate Democratic Presidents were hunted like tundra wolves, or gays. People did not vote for Barack Obama because they thought that was the best way to get Colin Powell back into the cabinet, or return Joe Lieberman to his chair. Nobody gives a fuck about Joe Lieberman except the people who will hate him forever. Give him a gold fucking watch or something, a comfy pillow and a 10 volume set of Six Day War footage, and let him pass away in his sleep.
I mean, you're on notice; the script is being prepared right in front of you, from the Bush retrospectives which attempt--against the bounds of sanity, let alone decency--to find positive things to say about him, through the post-election Dancin' With the Stars Palin coverage, to the inevitable "How Will Obama Satisfy the Left?" (like he intends to try) stemwinders, the stage isn't exactly being set quite yet, but somebody's sure going around with the fluorescent orange paint marking boundary lines. Digby:
Tweety and other gasbags, including Christopher Hitchens(an extremely thoughtful critic as always) are all wringing their hands about Obama's possible choice of Clinton as Secretary of State because he promised change and this is so not it. He's destroying his mandate before our very eyes.
In other news, Obama is also known to be considering keeping Bush administration cabinet member Robert Gates as secretary of defense, and former secretary of State and war architect Colin Powell is breathlessly mentioned being on the short list for a number of posts. This strikes everyone as being a perfect example of how Obama is bringing change to Washington.
That Times Magazine cover story Sunday looked to be the cake topper. Condi Rice's advice to the next President! The mind does not reel. The mind intuitively recognizes the insufficiency of reeling and goes ahead and throws up in its own mouth, in hopes of speeding up the process a bit. Newt Gingrich's Tips for a Successful Marriage comes to mind. Or Paris Hilton's 100 Books That Changed The World! Then the mind throws up again.
In the event the goddam thing reads like a failed attempt at that 20 Questions deal, except Deborah Solomon was busy interviewing Karl Rove for the same issue. (Karl Rove? Please. I'm not about to suggest that the spoils should go to the Victor, but could you at least find someone to talk to you who had something to do with the Loss, aside from being its model of assholicity? Anybody who wants Rove's opinion can tune in FAUX News and, at any rate, isn't likely to be looking for it in the Times.) Maybe Condi's depressed; she should be grateful if that's all she is. Maybe she was drunk. Maybe she just dislikes Helene Cooper as much as I do. Nah, that's not possible. Anyway, if this thing represents an accurate portrayal, or even a mostly un-blurry snapshot, of her mental processes the world has dodged a bullet (we are, by the way, approximating the Times' actual typography, believe it or not):
WHAT ALL THOSE ELECTIONS IN IRAQ AND UKRAINE AND LEBANON MEANT.
It’s not that you deliver on it tomorrow. Maybe 2005 was a bit deceptive in that way because you had the Iraqi elections, the Cedar Revolution, the Orange Revolution, the Rose Revolution and the Palestinian election. So maybe people came to expect too much too soon.
Really, this is like the Amway salesman telling you you shouldn't have expected that detergent he sold you wouldn't dissolve fabric.
WHAT ELECTIONS COULD MEAN FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T TEND TO HAVE THEM.
I’ve seen too many peoples dismissed as not ready for self-government. First it was Asians, and then Latin Americans and Africans were there for a while. I know for a while black Americans were, too.
Th' fuck? "I know for a while black Americans were dismissed as not ready for self-government"? What exactly is your definition of "a while", lady?
THE PROBLEM RUSSIA HAS.
They’ve got problems, and the basis of this is that the legitimacy of the Russian government is not ideology; it is not a pretension to a different route for human development as Communism was. It is the ability of Russians to, if they can’t afford those Cartier shops near Tverskaya, to be able instead to go to the Ikea store that now completely dominates the Tank Trap Monument that celebrates the repulsion of the final push of the Germans into Moscow.
I'm sorry, really. I'm sure there's something in there somewhere to be snarky about, but I can't figure out what th' fuck any of it is supposed to mean. Is it a good thing that Russians can shop their brains out while ignoring the defeat of the German armies at the Gates of Moscow in 1941? Or a bad thing that they don't remember it? "The basis of [the problems] of the Russian government is that [its legitimacy]...is the ability of Russians to...shop at Ikea". I've read that through eight times and I still haven't got a clue as to what the fuck it might possibly be turned into in an effort to make some sense out of it. I'm not even sure that parse is correct. And the room is spinning again. Maybe she was trying to tell Scooter Libby when the aspens would start turning.
THE BIGGER PROBLEM RUSSIA HAS
Russia has an aging population that’s not being replaced and unfortunately a sickly population, and an economy that did not take advantage of higher oil prices to diversify. It’s still an infrastructural nightmare if you get outside of major cities and certainly if you start going toward the Far East. So I think we should be calm.
Look, Lady, either you can be Secretary of State or you can tell us to be calm. You can't do both.
SOMETIMES EUROPEANS ALSO COME FROM MARS.
I remember telling my European colleagues that I know they always think that America is going to be more aggressive on fighting extremism than they. But you know, we could never, within our context, have passed the law like the basic incitement laws that the British have passed.
Wow, funny thing...Great Britain has different libel laws from us! It's a funny, funny old world. Not that we've paid any heed to our own laws. But it's still funny.
Bonus Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Friedism:
RUSSIA AND US — THE MORAL DIFFERENCE.
The West does not go out and conquer countries by using force, try to deprive countries of a choice. It didn’t insist that Poland join NATO. Poland wanted to join NATO. It didn’t impose NATO membership or E.U. membership on Estonia; Estonia chose it. That’s a difference, and it’s a moral difference as well. . . . If you validate the assumptions of Russians who believe that the only proper relationship between Russia and its neighbors is one of subordination and intimidation, then how do you expect a more cooperative Russia to emerge in the future? The United States has learned that it is in our interest that our neighbors, Mexico for example, be prosperous, successful and free. And Russia needs to develop a normal set of relations with its neighbors. The notions of privileged relations or its sphere of influence . . . which the Russians demand is not the formula for greater stability; it’s the formula for greater tension. I’m not stating these things as a fiat; I’m suggesting that the next administration will have to think this through.Got that, Mexico? Make with the prosperity. Pronto. Just because we've never used force before...
Y'know, I keep telling myself these people have done everything they can to surprise me, and yet, every time I read them I find myself taking renewed interest in those jet contrails and refusing to eat at Church's Fried Chicken in black neighborhoods.