Thursday, September 10

Why I Love The Internets

WHAT Lance said.
The debate is between those who think the job of the government is to make the already rich and powerful more rich and powerful, the Republicans, and those who think the job of the government is to make more of us rich and powerful. It's between those who think the job of government is to serve the interests and protect the money of rich businessmen and those who think it is the job of government to increase the odds of more of us who want to wheel and deal, buy and sell, becoming rich businesspersons. It's between those who think that the government shouldn't get involved with the business of buying and selling except in the cases when it's to save the money and privileges of those who've already made their wads from buying and selling and those who think that the government should always be working to increase the buying and selling of everything and anything because that's the way to spread the money around.

Reagan won.

Read, as they say, the Whole Thing.

It's beyond my poor power to add anything, but, then, that's never stopped me before. Reagan won by hanging around long enough that his natural entourage of True Believers, snake-oil manufacturers, bloodthirsty draft dodgers, and business executives (that is, various combinations of the first three) were joined by sufficient numbers of Americans fed up that it was no longer 1951. And he succeeded, or "succeeded", as is absolutely clear in retrospect, by convincing large numbers of voters that sugar-coated dog turds were in fact the delicious Tootsie Rolls of their youth.

And he could not have succeeded if the opposition party pushed back.

I'm not saying that Mammon Rapine Quisling Bigot and Cheney, LLC, wouldn't have won out in the end, anyway. Or that it hadn't actually won the war during the Truman administration. I'm saying that perhaps, today, 1 in 3 or 1 in 5 Teabaggers might be more concerned about their health, and their futures, and their children's health and futures, being stolen by Wall Street sharpers than they are about the President's birth certificate. Democrats didn't simply avoid making forceful arguments to counter Reaganism. They adjured. They ran screaming from the potential loss of campaign contributions and sinecured seats, and cosy franking and banking privileges, and they lost them anyway. For twenty-five years. And at the same time they lost the ability to make an argument and have a wide swatch of what came to be known as Red State America take it seriously.

Y'know, a handful of international traders nearly (or maybe not nearly) wrecked the global economy, in large measure because we took our hands off the wheel, and because we considered enforcing what was left of our sensible, hard-earned regulation of such shenanigans little more than a leg-pull (and because of forward-thinking, eh, Governor?). And we promptly bailed them out under threat of exponential disaster. If this is not being gobsmacked, what is? Democrats should have established a fifty-year reign atop it, or at least until a future generation willfully blinded itself to the reality. Instead they run in terror of being called Socialists--or they conveniently go through the motions. Tough guys. Like Rahm Emanuel.

You're in politics. How'd you get bamboozled by a faux-genial GE spokesmodel like The Gipper unless you agreed to? How do you get shouted down today by a "minority" party? I'll grant you that the Republican trick of getting absolute adherence from the very people whose gold teeth it was swiping is less likely with Democrats. But it's Scissors, Rock, and Paper. If True Belief took every pot we'd all be facing Mecca five times a day.

This may, by the way, explain my obsession with local news, assuming "obsession" and "American age-group record for indolence" go together. It's like tuning in a gaggle of Reagans every night, cheerleaders for a vast system of mutual swindling based on no one mentioning the Grift. There are still three or four holdovers from the Seventies around, people I personally remember as having come on in their youth like little Woodsteins (or Jeff Greenfields), friends of the Little Guy, speaking the Truth to You Know Who, who are now contented aluminum siding pitchmen. Today two African-American women occupy 25% of the main anchor slots on Indianapolis' two top channels; an African-American male is half the team at the also-ran. It's a city which is 25% African-American only because it annexed the white suburbs to the county line in 1969 in order to dilute the voting bloc. It's a city that was once run by the Klan. And listening to the publicly-licensed users of the public airwaves you're about as likely to hear anything approaching a minority take on the "news" as you are to hear any of 'em slagging their network's prime-time lineup. It's as though the whole point of diversity is increasing visual interest. Not to mention that the Pom-Pom routine is now marrow deep; having spent the gubernatorial election year praising Indiana's relative (and fabulous) economic miracle they've been mostly at a loss on how to cover its skyrocketing unemployment (and how to sham empathy), and have settled on just assuming everyone knows so they can get to the Economic Bright Spot corner (really; 8 has a graphic), where they tout a potential forty new jobs in Muncie, with a long-term prospect of forty more.

You'd worry about the hidden costs to everyone's colon health, except that 8 has a nice series of promos about their new iPhone ap. Another reason to treat yourself once you land that telemarking job in Terre Haute.


Brian M said...

This may be your single best column yet, ever. And I love everything your write.

The Democratic Party is utterly useless.

Lance Mannion said...

Thanks for the link and hooray that you didn't stop yourself from adding more.

Scott C. said...

Speaking of Muncie, once Michael Ledeen's nightmare of an Iranian EMP attack comes true, and the U.S. regresses to a steam- and draft-animal driven society, the Ball Mason Jar empire should experience a nice spike in sales.

B'Hommad said...

Sure, everything you say is true, but there must have been some bright spots. Harry Truman, maybe? It always makes me feel better to lean back and think about ol'Harry giving them hell, no matter how badly your understanding of that guy was skewed.

Watch out for that Lance Mannion. The guy can talk curmudgeon like a native, but he's probably hardly cracked forty. This is a cat who takes "Mad Men" seriously.

If you haven't heard about "Mad Men", it's a television show about how people in the '60's smoked in the office and obsessed on Ann-Margret and left their trash lying around on the grass after a picnic.

(Come to think of it, you might be in the exact demographic that actually did obsess on Ann-Margret, but believe me, nobody else did. Which is not to denigrate A-M's unmistakeably marvelous attributes.)

You know, if you hold your head right, squint your eyes, put a little cotton in your ears, and relax with a brew, all the neighbors' firecrackers before, on, and after all America's holidays are a thousand points of light twinkling from a city on a hill, or something.

Also, if you garden diligently through late July and early August rather than waiting for Walter Cronkite to come back and do it for you, the late-August tomatoes are sweet, and just firm enough.

On the other hand, I just went to the home-owners meeting, turned around from the cookie tray and the group was three lines into the Pledge of Allegiance. at about the part where ever since first grade you hold your breath while the believing folk say "under God." At a neighbor meeting. They had a flag, hung backwards in violation of the flag code. By the time I figured out that I should take my hat off and hold it over my heart, it was over.

Power to the people, dude. And try to think about what's right about America. There are probably a lot of things.

Anonymous said...

adjure? or abjure? Whatever, I don't doubt they did it.

I had a fantasy in which one of the fittest of the new democrats, maybe that Weiner cat, marched up the aisle and went to caning Joe Wilson. (not canning, no; not enough salt to make him palatable.) Pound him down before his homies had a chance to decide whether they should intervene or not, whether it was a good calculation to take a few for ol' Joe, maybe it would become their big moment on Beck's show, maybe with some sutures visible. My guess they would stand there gaping, frozen, like W with the Goat book in his lap, fail to intervene, and it takes that old fart Sergeant of Arms to come down and tase the democrat. I can imagine Coulter expressing solemn appreciation for the violence but condemning the motive.