Monday, January 16

Why Johnny Can't Read (The New York Times Book Review Without Tripping Over The Wingnut Press)

Sam Tanenhaus, "History vs. the Tea Party". January 14

SEVENTEEN-hundred forty-two words which begin with this:
FOR more than two years, conservatives have been riding a wave of Tea Party insurgency that has formed the most dynamic force in American politics, a protest movement that promised to slash taxes, close the federal deficit and remake Washington.

then spend the next 1702 trying to explain why that insightful analysis of the American political scene hasn't meant squat on the Republican Presidential trail. (SPOILER ALERT: it's not because the analysis is wrong.)

This incredible turn of events (so completely unlike 2008) has confounded poliscientists such as Matt Bai and the great minds at Politico, which is enough for Tanenhaus to conclude that the whole world is out of whack.

Oh, I'm sorry; I must've had the wrong Sam Tanenhaus there. This is the Sam Tanenhaus who wrote The Death of Conservatism in 2009, because his new Centrist Democrat in the White House was about to Ring in the Changes, sending the "revanche" wing of the GOP into a deserved, permanent life of dumbfounded Gooberness and FOX News at whatever Heartland trailer park or church basement they crawled out of in the first place. After which we'd all be able to vote for Nelson Rockefeller again, and the Republican leadership could quit pretending to be insane.

Listen, say what you like about American politics in what is for the rest of Christendom the 21st century, but it has certainly disproven earlier notions about cognitive dissonance and the incidence of exploding heads.

On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for recycling. And I have to admit that when someone says, in 2009, as the Teabaggers were gathering unwarranted free press--and as the astroturf the operation stood on was being revealed to everyone but Beltway insiders--that the revanche wing of the Republican party was going the way of the authoritarian wing of the Nazis, or the powdered hairpiece wing of the Whigs, or the flightless wing of Raphus cucullatus, and then turns around and calls them, in 2012, "the most dynamic force in American politics for more than two years", you have to admire the élan of the thing, after the vertigo passes.

And you can't argue with evidence:
An organized grass-roots revolt, its influence was decisive in the 2010 elections, when an energized base propelled Republicans to enormous gains in the House, helped secure Senate victories for fresh faces like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio and captured as many as 700 seats in state legislatures.

Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, just to use two of two names you mention, replaced, respectively Mel Martinez (the last man elected to that seat) and Jim Fucking Bunning. Jim Fucking Bunning, who, experts agree, was not the smartest man ever to figure out how to throw a ball, was reelected in 2004, at a time when he was already addressing his office door as "Mr. Ambassador". Some fucking accomplishment, Republicans snagging that seat, thanks to Teabagging.

S'funny how the Centrist Democrat routine is no more amenable to evidence than "Conservative" Republicanism, the movement it--purely dispassionately, natch--thinks we should give everything it wants, in exchange for which guys who have decided this will be even better off than they are now, and all the distasteful 19th century backwoods shenanigans which currently run the Republican party--at least its pronouncements--will magically disappear into whatever trailer park their mommas and sisters gave birth to 'em in. The evidence of Barack Obama is right there, Mr. Tanenhaus, just as the evidence that the Republican party is a collective noun for criminals, lunatics, and the irredeemably White. Its pretense to an intellectual history running from Edmund Burke to William Buckley was a joke in 1964; the people who cling to it now are public frauds. Its electoral successes have been an unmitigated disaster for this country. There's no Teabagger Revolution pushing the party to the Right; there's just the same modern Republican party, the one that only knows one direction. Aground.


heydave said...

Like a fucking cruise ship in the Med.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

S'funny how the Centrist Democrat routine is no more amenable to evidence than "Conservative" Republicanism...

Why it's almost like they're owned by the same small group of wealthy, powerful people.