Thursday, June 2

What's The Opposite Of "Epiphany"?

George Eff Will, "Jon Huntsman's thorny path to the GOP nomination". June 1

ROSS Douthat has a job at the New York Times because he spent fourteen months or so giving the Republican party free advice on changes it needed to make post-Bush. This did not exactly catch on, even with Douthat. (There is also the fact that the man knew the HTML for linkage, and could do it fifteen-twenty times per 800-word copy without flagging, which whatever Sulzberger is responsible evidently figured put him right in the middle of the Youth movement.)

Leave us remember: three years ago it was possible for Republicans to try to tell Republicans something. Not successfully, maybe. But possible.

George Eff Will, as any student of pop culture in the Middle Ages knows, has a job at several popular mass-market "journalism" troughs because he wears bowties. And because he remembered enough of his Greek & Latin Derivatives class to confuse the suits at ABC about his role in Briefingate, at least long enough for Reagan to win and the rules of broadcasting and ethical behavior to change.

Now, if you've ever found yourself suddenly plunged into seawater several hundred nautical miles from shore, and noticed a small assortment of straws floating by, you can understand what both Douthat and Will faced in 2009: a supposedly grassroots, supposedly transpartisan supposed political movement which was, obviously, just a cover for the base of their party, a base neither Douthat nor Will really chooses to share a neighborhood with. Or even a section of the country. Sure, both eventually "came around" after the third of fourth gulp of saltwater, but not altogether happily.

So it's interesting, really, to find that as another election season draws nigh they're right back where they started, their party un-transfigured, their Teabaggers returned to the red-meat-stocked fold, and no fucking chance in Hell they're about to change our politics for anything except the Even Worse.

How'd this happen? Sure, Will's just a wizened reprobate, but his schtick has always included sneering condescension at the base. How'd they both get cowed? What fucking difference does it make to establishment Republicans whether John Boehner is the venal, idiotic House Majority Leader, or Minority? Is either of them really afraid his marginal tax rate will be raised by any noticeable amount in either his own lifetime, or that of the Republic, whichever ends first? Was there some danger that, trapped in one two many lies, idiotic predictions, or just pure ennui and relieved of their high-paying gigs they'd find the Hudson Institute wasn't hiring?

Just how th' fuck do you look at 1) the Republican caucus in either or both houses, or 2) the Republican 2012 presidential sweepstakes, and not say to yourself something really needs to change? I don't understand it. Yeah, hope springs fucking eternal, for some reason; I'm not exactly sure why it grows at all, but there it is. But the Republican hope is that Barack Obama will fuck up, be hit by disasters domestic and foreign, and enough average Americans will join their rabid racists to defeat him. This is your hope for America? It ain't worth the cost of a lapel pin.
Donald Trump’s pathological political exhibitionism has ended, Newt Gingrich has incinerated himself with an incoherent retraction tour, Mitt Romney has reaffirmed his enthusiasm for his Massachusetts health-care law, rendering himself incapable of articulating the case against Obamacare and the entitlement state generally, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels, aware of the axiom that anyone who will do what must be done to become president should not be allowed to be president, are out.

First, among the many things Donald Trump is, or was, is "leading candidate for the Republican nomination". Yes, indeed, polls at this point mean nothing in terms of the eventual nominee, but being favored by 20% of the party's stalwarts because you're out there calling the President a foreign-born Affirmative Action hire does mean something, regardless of the calendar. Second, Newt Gingrich has always been an embarrassment; the question is how he managed to be one for a generation. Third, it's interesting how Mitt Romney got 25% of the vote in the 2008 primaries despite having done a Jim Rockford 180 on his record, but now he's toast because he once suggested government-run healthcare. Not only does that say something pretty unflattering about the Republican party, but the fact that you people bring it up anyway says something even worse.

As for Huck, Haley, and Head Injury, forgive me, Mr. Eff Will, but haven't they all actually run for President? Not making it to the point of creating an official campaign doesn't change the fact that Barbour and Daniels were pimping themselves to Republican donors before finding convenient excuses not to test their 2% poll results. The whole Daniels for President thing was based on his enormous ego, unfettered willingness to lie in public, and the fact that there was Money urging him to run. If that's not a collection of the worst traits required to become President I must be missing a page.
So it is difficult to chart Huntsman’s path to the Republicans’ Tampa convention through a nominating electorate that is understandably furious about Obama’s demonstrably imprudent and constitutionally dubious domestic policies.

No more so than to chart the governing success, if not the electoral, of a party so lost down the Rabbit Hole that its leading intellectual mouths this "constitutionally dubious" shit. Somebody somewhere needs to put your party out of our misery.


ice weasel said...

Such good questions.

The base, the insane 30% of the electorate will always push harder to the edges.

It's the other (almost) 20% or so that mystify me. So uninformed that to them, bush and gore were the same. So frighteningly dim that most of them saw nothing wrong with mccain/palin.

I guess it's bias of some kind, but I don't understand, at all, why the republican exists anymore. Aside from their stalwart bigots, prudes, fundies and lunatics, how do they actually garner serious support from that other 20%?

There's no doubt that a spineless, most pointless and self-immolating other choice lubricates these "undecideds". I get that. It's tough for me, as a committed progressive, to support them sometimes.

But seriously, when one choice is a whacked-out, fringe and by most accounts deranged group hell bent on your financial destruction and obsessed with being your moral proctors and the other choice are some incompetent geeks, is it that difficult a choice to make?

Obviously the answer is yes. And I'm done waiting for the next generation to see these differences. Trust me old folks (which includes me), it ain't happening. Just as many of these kids are brainwashed, stupid or intent on maintaining the privileges their parents enjoy as not. There is not an enlightened generation waiting in the wings. And given our overall education policies, it won't ever happen.

mb said...

"Somebody somewhere needs to put your party out of our misery. "

Would that such a thing were possible.

Digby read my mind, as she often seems to do, a while back when she wrote something to the effect that she had never understood the violence of the French Revolution until the current crop of gopers had come along. I think she was probably referring specifically to W, et al., at the time, but it goes for this batch as well, maybe even more since I'm not sure W would have played games with the debt limit. The GOP seems to be a party desperately looking for the "bottom" like a dope addict spinning out of control. But I don't think they have a bottom. This could go on for a while if the dems don't pull up their socks and get in the game.

Falmouth said...

Just want to say I love your writing. I agree with the above comments. I just don't understand how such complete idiots have control over such a large part of our population. Outright lies seem to have no negative effect and are even rewarded. How did we get to this condition ?

Maturin42 said...

The irresponsible wealthy have learned which buttons to push on the useful idiots to make them saddle up and ride to protect their rights to no health care or to eliminate reproductive freedom or to defend the one true superstition.

Kathy said...

Outright lies seem to have no negative effect and are even rewarded. How did we get to this condition ?

When political affiliation became a matter of Faith rather than reason. Legalizing abortion was a huge gift to Repugs, it enabled them to enthrall the simple minded, and religious extremists and the women-haters and bigots in a Just Cause: Saving Babies!

Current repugs believe all the lies of sLimebag and Cheney and Ryan because they want to believe.

StringonaStick said...

"But the Republican hope is that Barack Obama will fuck up, be hit by disasters domestic and foreign.."

They pretty much insured that would happen domestically by first grossly limiting the stimulus spending, and then making sure it would dry up in time to tank the economy for the 2012 elections. It was obvious to many of the non-rethug commentariat at the time, and time has marched on. And waddayaknow, the economy is slowing, drastically.

When the economy is crap, the sitting president isn't re-elected, period. The rethugs are more than willing to go for Depression 3.0 if it gets them back in power, and so they did. Watch for plenty of "Obama killed the economy!" ads; the 'Murikan people have such a short memory that they'll forget it was Bush and rethug economics that caused this mess, and Even Worse will be the outcome. Bastards.