Tuesday, June 1

The Reset Button

David Brooks, "The Oil Plume". May 31

READER, let us pretend you are the sere and drooping stalk of a left-leaning American midwesterner, born when the hydrophobic post-War American Right was barely out of its proverbial knee pants and yet, in some ways, at its peak: Edward Teller was a geo-political theorist; Curtis LeMay was a military genius; Richard Nixon was Vice-President, having been added to a Republican ticket headed by the victorious Supreme Allied Commander to make it more warlike. Roy Cohn had just kept the world safe, forever, from Ethel Rosenberg. Relax; it's just a fantasy. You lived through, or were taught by people whose recent experience included, outrage over the workable, real-world agreements made at Yalta being kept, but widespread approval for wholly arbitrary support for postwar Colonialism east of Suez and south of the Mediterranean; the dumbed-down Cold War; the losing Korean War, undertaken because a couple of patrician bureaucrats convinced a Missouri haberdasher that a transparent piece of shit entitled "The Testament of Peter the Great", a sort of "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", but with more Slav, was a) genuine; and b) could possibly mean anything even if it was, which it wasn't; Quemoy and Matsu; the not-so-crypto militarization of the space program; the Missile Gap; dumbed-down outrage over Castro, and global thermonuclear brinksmanship in response; a decade when much of the South simply ignored Brown, and the North redlined itself into cozy superiority; the losing Vietnam war, undertaken because Presidents of the Democratic persuasion had to prove they were so rabidly anti-Communist they'd waste American lives in doomed and useless efforts just for show; what's good for GM being good for the country, Q.E.D.; the Kennedy assassination; the other Kennedy assassination; the King, Evers, and Malcolm assassinations; Heinz Kissinger, geo-political strategist; George McGovern, the Leon Trotsky of American politics; Jimmy Carter, the Vidkun Quisling of American politics; Ronald Reagan, the George Washington of American politics. The eight-year Blowjob Presidency. The astonishing discovery that there was a Bush even more incompetent than George Herbert Walker, and more venal than Prescott.

Th' fuck is there to scare you, or astonish you, after that? Even the fact that people keep trying is discountable. David Brooks, May 31:
The failure of the top-kill technique in the Gulf of Mexico represents an interesting turning point on the Obama presidency. It symbolizes the end of the period of lightning advance and the beginning of the period of nasty stasis.

David Brooks, September 18, 2005:
On Thursday, President Bush went to New Orleans and gave the second most important domestic policy speech of his life. Politically it was a masterpiece, proof that if the president levels with the American people and admits mistakes, it pays off.

But in policy terms, the speech pushed the journey toward Bushian conservatism into high gear. The Gulf Coast will be a laboratory for the Bushian vision of energetic but not domineering government….

On Thursday, the president was honest about the cost of all this, but he only began to lay out a plan. The Bushies are still trying to figure out how to help people from broken families and those with mental disabilities. They're trying to figure out where to cut government to offset the costs. There are arguments about what New Orleans should try to be, a smaller controlled-growth Portland or a booming and spreading Houston.

Brooks, yesterday:
Everybody is comparing the oil spill to Hurricane Katrina, but the real parallel could be the Iranian hostage crisis. In the late 1970s, the hostage crisis became a symbol of America’s inability to take decisive action in the face of pervasive problems. In the same way, the uncontrolled oil plume could become the objective correlative of the country’s inability to govern itself.

Brooks, when his own fat was sizzlin':
Like Franklin Roosevelt in the New Deal era, Bush doesn't have a complete vision of what he wants to achieve. But he does have an instinctive framework.

His administration is going to fight a two-front war, against big government liberals and small government conservatives, but if he can devote himself to executing his policies, the Gulf Coast will be his T.V.A., the program that serves as a model for what can be done nationwide.

What perspective would have taken our hypothetical Midwesterner there? How did the Iranian Hostage Crisis come to symbolize "the inability to take decisive action" when there was none to be taken (except, perhaps, negotiating some arms trading behind the government's back), and when the massive futility of Korea and Vietnam, (supposedly) real pervasive problems, not petty religious thugs run amok, was tossed down the Memory Hole, when it wasn't blamed on Fifth Columnists? For the fucking life of me there has never been any way to understand this short of Personal Dishonesty on a Massive Scale. The difference between Jimmy Carter allowing that Pahlavi character into the country for humanitarian reasons, and what would have occurred had Reagan, or Nixon, or either Bush been at the switch is that the Republicans wouldn't have given a shit about humanitarianism, and would have thumped the tub about the old puppet terror merchant being Our Trusted Ally. The exact same crisis would have ensued, but no one on the Right wouldn't been talking about Taking Decisive Action or Pitiful Helpless Giants. What exactly did all the Tough Talking Deciders get us? In Cambodia? In Lebanon? In Kuwait, Iraq, or Afghanistan? Let alone in Darfur, Somalia, Tiananmen Square, y'know, the places we Let Alone?

Same with this bosh. The party of Drill Baby Drill wags its finger at the Obama administration? For what? Agreeing with it? Things'd be different under President Palin, Dave? Or Michael Chertoff? This highlights the fucking distinction between the Founder's 18th century, Pre-Industrial Revolution Vision Thing and the sadly philosophically-flawed sort of Decisive Action a Democrat might take? Why weren't you saying so five years ago?

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that a good 98% of Americans oppose massive hurricane damage, and at least 89% continue to do so even if the victims are poor. Most want to play both sides of the fence when it comes to Oil, though. Which means if they're looking to fix the blame they can start with the mirror. And laissez-faire Republicans can...lie about shit.


Kathy said...

If only Smug Wrongness was as deadly as drunk driving or smoking. There would still be plenty of it, but the Smug Wrongers would receive some sort of retribution, eventually.

Anonymous said...

Hasn't BoBo always been the punditocracy's topkill? (If by column you mean a noxious cloud of mud and junk just sufficient enough to hide the really nasty stuff.)

jaye said...

If BP added Brook's columns to the mix, it would have plugged the hole.

Franklin Roosevelt knew exactly what he wanted to do. He may have been a pragmatist in that he said, if something doesn't work, drop it and try something else, but he knew where he was going to take the nation.

Where does Brooks get off comparing Bush to Roosevelt. What a complete jackass--well, that is being hard on jackasses.

PR said...

Is The NYTimes thinking of trying to charge for this crap next year?

nanute said...

PR: Yes. And then the exec's will wonder why subscriptions are declining.

scripto said...

"The failure of the top-kill technique in the Gulf of Mexico represents an interesting turning point on the Obama presidency. It symbolizes the end of the period of lightning advance and the beginning of the period of nasty stasis."

These words. I don't understand them. What's Obama supposed to do - get in a wetsuit, dive down and plug the leak? Wash a couple of pelicans? Run around in circles screaming like a little girl ala Bobby Jindal?

The trouble with Mightiest Nation on Earth Syndrome is that you don't realize when your options are limited.

Anonymous said...

Bushian ... hahahahahahahaha

aloha from hot honolulu