Thursday, July 14

Olio: Default Edition

[Ron] Paul will leave Congress next year as arguably the most intellectually influential member of the House of Representatives in a generation. (I write "arguably" even though trying to think of a runner-up is a deeply depressing task.)

Hell, it's a lot less depressing than parsing either "intellectual" or "influential", Dave. But, yeah: even if it were true it would be an honor on the level of being named KISS's greatest musical influence.

And none of that can match contemplation of those Too Smart To Be Republican Libertarian-Republicans who imagine they can praise Paul's influence one day and puzzle over how their party became too ideologically hidebound to maneuver the next.

• By the way, what is there in Eric Cantor's America that's worth saving, anyway? Not corporations; they've got no allegiance to America, or none beyond our willingness to provide Gunboat Diplomacy at little or no cost to the beneficiary. Not the people John Boehner called "jobs creators" the other day without turning red-orange. (It's funny: we can't tax Jobs Creators, and we can't expect them to create actual jobs in the US. This sorta leaves only one possible reason they even qualify as a category to Republican politicians.) It's been instructive to watch Murdock get piled on from all sides in Britain. Sure, sure, it's a mass outbreak of Captain Renault Syndrome, but how much Congressional Republican outrage do you think that'd garner over here? How much Democratic, for that matter? Y'know, if these fucks really were concerned about the Federal deficit the first thing they'd do is resign en masse.

Michael Tomasky, "How Bachmann Could Win":
…when movements capture parties, strange things happen. The antiwar faction captured the Democratic Party in 1972, giving us the candidacy of George McGovern, and the tea party movement has captured the GOP now.

First, as a first step to finally ridding ourselves of the National Nightmare of Boomerdom, could people who don't know what th' fuck they're talking about quit talking about it? In terms of influencing the 1972 Democratic primaries, the "anti-war movement" "capturing" the Democratic party, in addition to Not Actually Happening, ranks behind 1) Chappaquiddick; 2) Ed Muskie, the Ur-John Kerry; 3) Ed Muskie's tears, the '72 replay of George Romney's Brainwashing for the Mass Market News; 4) George Wallace; 5) Arthur Bremer; 6) an excellent campaign organization run by some sharp cookies; 7) the democratization of the primary process after 1968; and 8) just about anything else you could dream up, provided your sense of history doesn't come from Happy Days reruns.

Let's us say this again: in 1972 something like 50% of the American public opposed the continuation of the Vietnam War, then in its eleventh or sixteenth or fifty-fourth year, depending on who's counting. That number included George McGovern, and he benefitted from that support during the primaries, and was hurt by it (Abortion, Acid, and Amnesty!) in the general. His crackpot economic ideas gave us the EITC, one of the most important additions to the tax code in the Tax Lawyer Era. McGovern did not represent a "takeover" of the Democratic party by "The Left"; he represented the mood of the liberal half of the country at the time. (It's funny that one never finds the Early Middle Aged complaining about how anti-Iraq war sentiment gave us Barack Obama.) Finally, the tragedy of 1972 is not that the Democratic party nominated a Way Out Leftist Kook. It's that Richard Nixon won reelection. After, by the way, a team of burglars employed by the President of the United States broke into Democratic National headquarters. This made all the papers at the time, but seems to've been obscured in the interim by the Bill Ayers Era.

There really was an anti-war movement during the Vietnam war. It represented something of a break with the hyper-militarism of the Post-War era, though it also echoed domestic opposition to Korea. It came about only after the public had been lied to, nakedly and repeatedly. Its influence continues to be felt today, despite the concerted effort to rewrite the history and remilitarize the popular sentiment; it survives because the truth never quite goes away. Cf the Teabagging Revolution, which amounts to the latest in a long line of Republicans doubling down on anti-government insanity every time "reality" smacks 'em in the face, this time while pretending not to be Republicans. Michelle Bachmann may very well lead this Lunatics' Parade down Pennsylvania Avenue some benighted day, and it might change a lot of things, but not by virtue of being correct.

• My Poor Wife gave me the DVD set of The World At War some years ago, and I pull it out every now and then and watch a half-dozen episodes and marvel at it (and Olivier's narration). It's always interesting to be reminded that the Brits, while giving him his due as a wartime leader, never really lost sight of the fact that Churchill was a colossal asshole.


scripto said...

Once again we let the dipshits define the narrative. Mitch mentioning "job creators" when he actually means wealth accumulators and conflating middle class small business owners with guys shopping for a new Gulfstream.

R. Porrofatto said...

Used to watch World at War every Sunday night when I should have been studying for exams. Found every bit of it incredibly well done, even the Carl Davis music for it (Carl eventually became Paul McCartney's orchestration factotum and co-composer of what's officially entitled Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio, sad to say). Excellent gifting on the part of your PW. As to Cantor, Bachmann... oh never mind.

DocAmazing said...

I grew up listening to Olivier's lugubrious descriptions of man's inhumanity to man. He actually made me feel sorry for the Wehrmacht a couple of times.

Of course, I have the series on DVD, too. I pull it down and watch it about every two years, as an antidote to the History Channel.

Kathy said...

I'll have to get it for my husband, who is English, and likes the "Military" channel or is it the "History" channel? Hard to tell apart. But if I sit thru The Last Days of Hitler as told by his sexy (at the time) secretary... eew. Though I prefer it to yen another episode of Battlestar Galactica.

About 5 years ago I visited Bleinheim Palace, Churchill's birthplace. We were shown the very room he was born in... which was right next to the ballroom & dining rooms. Odd place for a bedroom. We Americans gaped in AWE, I can tell you. Churchill was obviously a Liberal, believing in that Hippy notion of Home Birth.

DWhite said...

Nixon should have been put on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific with 3 days rations. Instead he was allowed to rehabilitate himself as an "elder statesman"

bill said...

Well said, scripto. That's the best 30-word distillation of the "job creators" and "small businessmen" lies I've read yet. Keeper.

M. Krebs said...

Thank you, Doghouse Riley. It is comforting to know that someone actually remembers the last 40 years.

marksmall2001 said...

Ditto to the comment of M. Krebs.

Fiddlin Bill said...

Mr. Bachmann ain't gonna be the White House house-hubby. Mrs. Bachmann has an anchor around her ankle.

prairie curmudgeon said...

And RFK would likely have beat Nixon in 68.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Its influence continues to be felt today, despite the concerted effort to rewrite the history and remilitarize the popular sentiment; it survives because the truth never quite goes away.

Speaking of the latter, compare the New York Times and Washington Post of that era with the war-propaganda mills that they are today.

James Stripes said...

It was Happy Days that first turned me on to history, but they weren't reruns when I was watching them.