Friday, March 25

The Devil Has All The Good Tunes. But He Has To Outsource The Lyrics.

I'M NOT sure why I'm so adrift. I understand that the country at large is mazed by current events, accustomed, as it is, to the combination of "Japan" and "nuclear radiation" being automatic Big Box Office, and its periodic alarums and excursions bombing sand being preceded by a much better, and louder, trailer than the one it got this time. I'm not part of the intended audience for such things. I know, for example, that Barack Obama is, in fact, about six months late in starting his own war, given our post-WWII average. Somehow I'm not placated by this.

ITEM: It might be that I'm trying to figure out how, in 2007-2008, one could have designed the inevitable Democratic administration which would follow the worst, most venal, and least competent administration in the history of the Republic and yet manage to put the Pugs back in power within two years.

Look, you can think anything you want of the President: quiet, competent, embattled maker of tough decisions and godawful compromises, or Yet Another Corporate Democratic Centrist; you may even feel that, on a scale of Kosovo to Vietnam, enforcing yet another No Fly Zone is more Necessary Evil than Regular Evil. To me, if you profess an admiration for Ronald Reagan--however rephrased later--and you are not a) one of his legion of hagiographers, or b) too fucking young to have a clue, then you are suspect; if you profess an admiration for Ronald Reagan, gain the Presidency, and then behave as if an aura of competence is the way to recreate his legacy then I, like Donald Trump, would like to know where you grew up. Yes, indeed, Reagan had the advantage of knowing that there was little likelihood of a major conflict during his Presidency unless he himself created it, so he could sputter like Yosemite Sam on the international stage while killing off a few thousand Mexicans and US Marines to keep the faithful happy. But the point is he did it. I'm not quite sure how you manage to get this backwards, how you send in the Marines without conducting a victory parade first. Fer chrissakes, recall Ollie North, give him a helicopter, and send him in in a blaze of glory. At least you'd have Victor Davis Hanson on your side.

I'm a lefty. In American politics, to me, "bone" is a verb, not a noun. Maybe you could throw me one, Mr. President, just to see if I'd know what to do with it. Just fucking explain why we don't care about democracy in Bahrain, or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt. C'mon. We all know the answer. Just come out in public, one time, and say it. Th' fuck's it gonna matter?

ITEM: Do I have to? Is there some difference between this David Weigel piece ("Michele Bachmann for president? Among Republicans, she's more popular than you think.") and a Jonah Goldberg thunker that 5 IQ points doesn't explain? Really, the implied You here being smarty-pantsed liberal-on-social-issues Slate readers with a modicum of language competence, and the explicit Popularity being what twenty-six Iowans (likely future straw-casters, of course) told Frank Luntz when he went there on FOX News' dime. Oho! No answer for that, is there Mr. Rational?

She'll push the Republican field to the Right! which, from my perspective, anyway (full disclosure: Michelle Bachman is a fucking loon, and, furthermore, an ignorant fucking loon, and nothing whatsoever can change that) means they'd all take the stage in tinfoil hats and bandoliers while walking on Muslims. She'll fill the hole left by that is Sarah Palin! Y'ever play that game as a kid where you repeat a word or phrase until it lost all semantic meaning? Try repeating "But as that Luntz focus group showed, Bachmann is taken more seriously than Palin in some circles." and see if the reverse is possible.

Someone, please, explain to Dave Weigel just what it is that someone who's been conscious of American politics for more than his seventeen years would have to have acknowledged if the rubric "Seems popular with the idjits in Iowa" were applied across the board. And, look, I ain't kiddin': if "popular among Republican voters" were the arbiter, Martin Luther King Day would now be known as "another Monday in January".

ITEM: I couldn't figure out how to single this out yesterday; today I don't care:
To fund her cause, [Michelle] Rhee announced in December that she would create a counterbalancing interest group called StudentsFirst, modeled on the NRA, for which she is hoping to raise $1 billion.

I know I've mentioned this before, but in the perpetual Fast Food advertising war we've turned public education into (on the grounds that it's all we understand anymore) Indianapolis Public Schools was the only major metropolitan district which jumped feet first into the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Small Schools Initiative. IPS completely reorganized every high school in the system over the course of a single summer to participate in a program which had, at its center, an untested and frankly absurd little homily about "small learning communities" (absurd because all the suburban schools IPS is compared unfavorably to are the size of blimp hangars). The thing lasted about two years before it was quietly done away with, but in the interim not a single dime of the Foundation's money found its way to the classroom. It went for teacher training, administrative junkets, and the costs of administering the program, which was done by a local college. Michelle Rhee wants a billion dollars, not for poor children, not for poor school districts, but for Michelle Rhee. That is the "cause" she's funding. How did we get here?


KWillow said...

The people ostensibly in charge of things are so laughably stupid, greedy and corrupt- it's as if those pulling their strings have also degenerated into dull-witted versions of Harold Hill.

Brendan said...

I have to admit that I thought you were the outsourcee and as such, were indulging in a little satanic license with your statement about twenty-six people being focus-groped by Frank Luntz.

But for some reason, I clicked over, and that's EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS.

I couldn't close that tab fast enough. The horror. The horror.

Anonymous said...

"how, in 2007-2008, one could have designed the inevitable Democratic administration which would follow the worst, most venal, and least competent administration in the history of the Republic and yet manage to put the Pugs back in power within two years ?"

How about believing the "post-partisanship" hype despite 1993 [Every Republican voting against Clinton's budget-balance bill and torpedoing healthcare reform] and 2001 [Bush imposing harshly partisan measures despite losing the popular vote & Republicans harassing Jeffords even though it cost them control of the Senate] ?

mds said...

"Among Republicans, she's more popular than you think."

I elevated my blood pressure charmingly by chewing on this a bit, thinking on how I'm perfectly aware that a stupid, ignorant, mendacious, deranged, far-right fundamentalist twit would be extremely popular among Republicans. Especially the ones who turn up to caucus in Iowa. Then I remembered that Weigel was writing for regular Slate readers, who presumably like to think that moderate Republicanism is still alive and well in President Oba-- er, Governor Daniels.