[Roy] I'm beginning to think this game isn't worth the candle. [/Roy]
I'm with you. What with Mr. Hope & Change revealing himself to be the Clinton redux I suspected he was all along, and with the less-awful party poised to go down as only they know how -- viz., with a 50-foot bellyflop into an empty swimming pool, and with the prospect of a President Snowbilly or Aw-Shuckabee getting less absurd by the day, I'm feeling an ever-greater need to disengage myself from this whole pathetic spectacle and leave it to the pathetic people who inhabit it. But that would mean no longer enjoying the high-octane snark of Roy and those of his ilk, and snark is one of my basic food groups.
What to do?
Which, mind you, doesn't prompt me to offer advice, fer chrissakes, but to consider that I've been trying to answer this since the '68 elections, and if anything I'm further asea. "Become a Midwestern suburban schlub, yell at the teevee, and grow your own pot in the basement," well, it doesn't work for everybody.
Yesterday Brave Indiana blogger Doug Masson pointed us at Oliver Willis' "The Liberal Blogosphere Goes Fox News," a remarkable document, assuming you need to be reminded that the argument never fucking ends, or changes:
"Oh, if only everyone to the Left of me would agree to see things my way purely out of fear of a Republican planet, what a bright shiny place this world would be. Instead, they're ruining it for everybody!"
Or maybe my mind's playing tricks on me. Could'a sworn, though, that I heard this 1) through the slow-motion Health Care cave-in; 2) in the run-up to Surge II: Smack Down in Smack Town; 3) after the Nobel speech; 4) as both President and Candidate Obama reneged on FISA; 5) about Tim Geithner, and pretty much everything Tim Geithner has done; 6) as Candidate Obama shamelessly pandered to the anti-choice Right after securing the nomination; 7) excusing the 98% Centrist Democratic field that spawned him, except for Hillary Clinton, who was pilloried for being a Centrist; and 8) enough other times that I could have made it a Top Ten list if I'd bothered to think before typing. Come to think of it, the only time it stops is when the people such types don't agree with are in power, at which point it's just ducky to rail against our corporate imperial masters, at least until we get close enough to an election for Amy Sullivan to lecture us on how to behave in church.
So, lemme just ask ya: Who's in charge here? Who asked for the nomination? Who's supposed to be courting whom? I've got a lot worse to say about that other "major" political "party", but at least it doesn't stint on the lip service to its base, come Hell, high water, or a brick wall Reality facial.
Y'know what else? Spare me th' fucking "Well, those are the positions he took as a candidate" routine, and the attendant "It's the voters' fault if they thought he'd suddenly transform into Howard Zinn" crap. It was the President's stanchest supporters I heard trawling that Mystical, Post-Inaugural Metamorphosis during the campaign (and when those of us who had read his positions pointed them out, what I heard was The Sounds of Silence). Ditto that "Sure, Democratic Presidents don't do enough for their base"--wait for it!--"but…." Acknowledging the facts ("by God you'd better!") doesn't grant you license to ignore them from then on out.
(Incidentally, nice job of defining yourself, Barack Obama, and, by extension, Joe Lieberman, as "center-leftists". When I need Ronald Reagan's opinions I'll ask him.)
Let's try this another way. Suppose that you love country music, and as a young person decide it's the career path you'd like to follow. You have, more or less, two choices: try to insert yourself into the star machinery, at whatever cost to yourself and your self-esteem (maybe none, maybe considerable), or you can do what you want to do from day one, and hope to get recognized for it at some point (probably the only possible path in this day and age if you happen to have been born ugly). Barack Obama wanted to be a star. He's not exempt from critics pointing out he's flat. That goes with the fucking territory. He's obliged to play for applause. He's also obliged to sell a persona. He chose "Really Thoughtful, Well-Spoken Guy Who Considers All Sides of the Issue Without Regard for Ugly Partisanship". This alone calls his judgment into question, not to mention the depth of his understanding of the Reagan Presidency. This was the absolute wrong fucking choice at the absolute wrong fucking moment. It was precisely the time for the anti-Reagan. There's no protecting him from the fallout of that choice. Go argue with the Republicans who claim he's the first Commie in the Oval Office.
Which brings us to that other party. And, as is so often the case, there's a near-perfect example of our point to be found among the cornfields and the steel mills, the limestone quarries and the Linens 'N Things of the great state of Indiana. We mentioned last week, after the Brown victory (damned Leftists!), that there was a sudden groundswell of sump water over a potential challenge to Evan "Damn Leftists!" Bayh by Congressional Choirboy Mike Pence; this was followed by a poll showing Pence leading a theoretical head-to-head matchup. We asked, at the time, what Under God would possibly keep Pence from running, under the circumstances. After all, Bayh's vote is 1% of the Senate total, and (Gentle Reader, hold onto something!) he's pretty much, oh, Howard Zinn with a $500 haircut to the Hoosier Republican laity. And we answered: that shitpot full of money he's been sitting on rather than helping actual Democrats in the actual Indiana. And yesterday Pence announced he wouldn't run, since his expectation of enormous secular power in the Kingdom of the next Republican majority in the House is so great. Meaning that the entire episode played out so we could get one half-truth once it ended. In other words, par.
(By the way, actual Republican functionaries in Indiana--at least the ones who aren't secretly whipping themselves in supplication, or in a men's room, at this hour--know that Bayh's a not-so-closeted Republican. But they also know he's capable of just about anything where money's involved, so they try to keep him on his toes now and again.)
In other words, furthering the cause of True Conservatism, of which Mike Pence is said to be the purest-hearted champion, is less important than holding onto your own fucking perks, even when the Son of a Castroite is in your sights.
So, to return to the real world, Whaddya do when Reason has been dealt out of the hand, and you're escorted from the casino for kibitzing? Wish the fuck I knew. What I do know, though, is this: the Republican party--and the base it manages to cater to, at least in words--is just as fucked as always, and more fucked than ever. Whether this President decides, belatedly, to fight 'em, or just continues to collude, the die is cast. I am at heart a humanitarian; I would sincerely regret seeing my neighbor devoured by wolves, or governed by Mitch Daniels (more than he already is). But what's the prospect of Palin 2012? What th' fuck do they do with the ongoing Reagan-Bush disaster? Cut taxes? What taxes? Figure out how to toss what's left of the working class on the street, and what used to be the middle class into poverty? For a while even Reagan understood he couldn't risk invading even half-assed countries with a depleted military, though you always knew the itch was there and he'd overstep in the Middle East at some point. There are only so many Grenadas, or reasons to send Armadas to 'em. One more military blunder and we'll be fortunate to find the troops to defend Sault Ste. Marie. You don't fix healthcare, the economy follows, and your soft power is tottering, too, not that Repugs care much for that. Sure, Oliver, I admit that a Republican majority means we'll be relaxing pollution standards so they can maximize profits before the Big Flood; who's to blame for letting them up out of the muck in the first place? We've got a party that can't govern, and a party that's afraid to, and both have had a shot in the past decade and chose to keep things just the way they are. I got nothing left to cheer about, so it sure ain't gonna be your custodianship. And, really, I've got little left to fear from a resurgent GOP that I won't get from the "Center Left", except up a different orifice. The American public has decided--in no small part with help from a tenth-rate actor with memory bubbles--that it will have to drown before it recognizes moisture. You can send in the therapists, or send in the clowns. I think regular readers know my preference.