then our preaching is in vain."
I have always thought that this admonition by Paul to the Christian community of Corinth (1 Cor 15:15) was one of the most brilliant and starkly honest moments in the New Testament. It is not the interpretation of Christianity to which I subscribe (like Jefferson, I prefer my Jebus without a side order of miracles) but I admire its magnificent simplicity: Paul acting as Attorney for the Defense, reducing the totality of Christian doctrine as he understood it to a single hypothetical syllogism --
- If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen.
- And if Christ has not risen, then everything we believe is a nonsense.
Keep that reasoning in mind when considering Joe Klein's latest sudden shift from Sad Clown mode to Angry Clown mode, which might have been just another death erection spasm of Left-hating left over from getting his sack spanked off with a folding chair by Glenn Greenwald, but I tend to think not.
I tend to think that that maybe old Joe had been waiting by the phone for his New Year's Eve Prom Night Big Media call for a long time.
Waiting for days. Weeks.
And still they did not call.
Every now and then he picked the receiver up -- just to check the dial tone -- and then immediately slapped it back down again in terror that that was The Exact Moment when the Big Media people had been calling to ask him -- beg him, really -- to shove his face in front of a camera and burble out some mildewy Centrist drivel for the umptee-umpth time.
Sometimes he had to pee, but did it fountain-like, leaning backwards out the bathroom door limbo-style it with one ear cocked for the brrrring...and never flushed or washed his furry little paws for fear the white noise of running water would drown out the sound of Opportunity Calling...which is also why he hadn't done laundry for a month, and why his sink was piled with sticky, old dishes.
And so, as he sat in his stink, panic closing slowly over him as a tiny voice whispered to him that The Call wasn't coming -- that he was finally facing a long-overdue oblivion which would have engulfed him 20 years before in a Better Universe -- Jokeline decided to take matters into his own hands, and do the one thing GUARANTEED according to the ancient and sacred rules of his lodge to earn him the approbation of the douchebag gatekeepers standing between him and the warm, healing light of the teevee cameras.
Punching some imaginary hippies for nonexistent crimes.
From Time Magazine, where this goof still inexplicably has a column:
The Left's Idiocy on Health Reform
By Joe Klein Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009
In the snarkier precincts of the left-wing blogosphere, mainstream journalists like me are often called villagers. The reference, so far as I can tell, has to do with isolation: we live in this little village on the Potomac — actually, I don't, but no matter — constantly intermingling over hors d'oeuvres, deciding who is "serious" (a term of derision in the blogosphere) and who is not, regurgitating spin spoon-fed by our sources or conjuring a witless conventional wisdom that has nothing to do with reality as it is lived outside the village. There is, of course, some truth to this. Washington is insular; certain local shamans are celebrated beyond all logic; some of my columnar colleagues have lost touch with everything beyond their armchairs and egos.
But there is a great irony here: villagery is a trope more applicable to those making the accusation than to those being snarked upon. The left-wing blogosphere, at its worst, is a claustrophobic hamlet of the well educated, less interested in meaningful debate than the "village" it mocks. (At its best, it is a source of clever and well-informed anti-Establishment commentary.) Indeed, it resembles nothing so much as that other, more populous hamlet, the right-wing Fox News and Limbaugh slum
The prejudices of the tea partiers, birthers, deathers, Palinites and other assorted "real" Americans are well known; the historic conservative opposition to universal health care isn't news. The dyspepsia of the left blogosphere is less easily explained, though. It has its roots in an issue the left got right and almost everyone else got wrong: the war in Iraq. There is still intense, unabated anger on the left because its opposition to the war was often ridiculed and almost always ignored in 2003. The anger at so-called moderates — actually, Democratic conservatives like Joe Lieberman — who supported the war is especially intense. This was the anger that fed the Howard Dean movement in 2004, and it sets the emotional parameters for other issues far more complicated than the war, like health care. Those who were wrong about Iraq can't be trusted on anything else.
...When the public option was killed — by Lieberman, of all people — the left saw Iraq redux and rebelled. ... Bloggers at sites like Daily Kos, the Huffington Post (including Arianna herself) and FireDogLake held a village bonfire. ...
Notice how buying this plate of Villager Feculinni al Dente hinges completely on first accepting -- grudgingly -- that while Left might have gotten one thing right -- once -- the act of being right about Iraq has somehow cursed the Left, making us as insufferably awful as the "right-wing Fox News and Limbaugh slum".
But of course, as Jokeline and his clubhouse pals know full well (but would rather tear their own eyes out than admit) year after year after year, the scurvy dogs on the Left have gotten got quite a number of other things right. Important things: real honest-to-God matters of life and death.
US Attorney firings.
The millions -- billions -- looted and lost in the sands of Iraq.
The Plame Affair.
The radical deregulation of everything.
Campaign finance reform.
Global climate change.
The destruction of the middle class.
The Swiftboating of John Kerry.
Our failures in Afghanistan.
These are some of the many issues around which we Idiots on the Left were organizing and rallying support while comedians like Jokeline and his friends were still desperately pretending that the filth the Neocon/Theocrat Republicans have been peeing into their mouths for 30 years was Chateauneuf du Pape. Frantically contorting themselves to play every issues down some nonexistent "middle"between an increasingly nihilistic, pig-ignorant, rage-drunk "I just don't fucking care if we napalm the Constitution as long as it makes some Liberal somewhere more miserable than me" Right who have been shown to be repeatedly and catastrophically wrong about virtually everything...
...and the Left, who have proven to have been repeatedly right about a whole lot of Very Important Things Besides Iraq.
But journalistic grubworms like Jokeline would literally be out of work tomorrow without a nice, fat Center into which they can burrow and poop out their ridiculous little "both sides are equally wrong" diatribes.
And like mercury in the water, the poison is now everywhere.
Because of the need to appease the God of Centrism, smack in the middle of his column in the Liberal New York Times ("Profiles in Cowardice") excoriating the Modern GOP for its long, violent devolution into a roaring, wrecking mob of bigots and goons...
...Timothy Egan felt the need to stop along the way and take a completely gratuitous and unsupported shot at "the fringe Democratic left"
"In many ways, the budget vote 16 years ago ushered in the modern era of hyper-partisanship. Right-wing talk radio hosts were just entering their steroid phase, threatening any Republican who voted for a bill that ultimately led to budget surpluses.
"From then on, nobody could “respectfully disagree.” Moderates were called wussies, traitors and socialists."
"When Republicans gained control of everything, the fringe Democratic left took their rhetorical cues from their angry counterparts on the right."
By which I assume he means me.
The next day, in a mealy, Centrist bit of hand-wringing over the awful partisan awfulness now reaching its nadir in Washington D.C., David Herszenhorn Jokelines his column into all kinds of exciting shapes to obediently apportion the blame equally on both sides for partisan shithole D.C. has become:
In Senate Vote on Health Care Overhaul, New Partisan Vitriol
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
"For more than 30 years, the major parties — Democrats and Republicans — worked every angle to transform politics into a zero-sum numbers game. State legislatures redrew Congressional districts to take advantage of party affiliation in the local population. The two-year campaign cycle became a never-ending one.
Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who worked on many bipartisan health care bills over the years, often with a close friend, the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, said that the both parties were to blame but that external factors including ethics rules also discouraged senators from fraternizing.
“Both parties have become very polarized,” Mr. Hatch said. “A lot of that is because of the stupid ethics rules. We can’t get together at various events. A lot of people complain about taking foreign trips, which are really critical for us to understand foreign policy. The Internet is constantly badgering everybody. In the process, it’s gotten pretty doggone partisan, both ways. It’s bad.”
But of course this is not a "both ways" problem and never had been. That is simply, factually wrong.
And to make that point, yes, we Idiot Liberals really can go on and on, day and night. All the way back to the Clinton Years if we have to (snipped from a long list of Clinton-era GOP quotes compiled for your convenience in June, 2009):
...But we're tired of it. Speaking for every Liberal in America, it has long since gone well beyond annoying and bizarre that, year after year, we have to repeat and re-prove this same point to the same, wingnut-doting Villagers over and over again.
These were a tiny sampling from the irrational exuberance of the Great Wingtard Prose Bubble of the 1990s. Back when the entire Republican Party was propped up by endless, frantic, terrorist-grade-teevee-smashing rage over Bill Clinton’s bad land deal, Christmas card list and penis.
In their tireless, hysterical stabs at a coup d'état, the Right left scattered behind them the now-discarded fruits of a thousand staffers banging away on a thousand computers burning through a thousand thesauruses as they looked for just that right alchemical mixture of faux-indignant and maudlin self-righteousness that would get their bosses into the morning paper and on the evening news.
And the minute George W. Bush took the oath of office, every trace of that roaring, weeping, podium-pounding concern over the fate of the United States Constitution evaporated completely.
Boom. Gone. Just like that.
Because they never meant a word of it.
Not a Single. Fucking. Word.
Their eight years of “founding Fathers, “duty” and “rule of Law” maundering was nothing but incantory flapdoodle, scribbled onto RNC cocktail napkins and stuffed into the skulls of the Base to send them stomping into the world in their millions bleating over and over again that even the smallest hint of an infraction against the Constitution by any President under any circumstances needed to be smote with a Holy Patriotic Fire, screw the cost and fuck the consequences.
And so it was, in Age of Bush, that of the suddenly-inconvenient "Smash Authority" software was all wiped clean away, and the mindless lumps of clay were effortlessly reprogrammed again and again to hate whatever new thing their Dear Leaders wanted them to hate.
We now fully and finally understand that it doesn't matter.
We know that Newt Fucking Gingrich -- one of the hands-down, all-time Kings of Bile and the Politics of Personal Destruction -- will continue to be welcomed onto the Mouse Circus forever, where he will continue to say things like "You can’t build on bitterness!" without being laughed into the street.
We know that Joe Lieberman will continue to leave his slime trail of sanctimonious hypocrisy from one teevee studio to another.
We know that, if David Gregory found Karl Rove passed out face down in a puddle of his own sick, covered in blood, clutching crack pipe in one hand and and the rigor-mortised cock of a dead gay hooker in the other, Rove could be 100% certain that the worst thing that would happen to him would be waking to find himself in Gregory's guest room with a note next to his tea and toast asking him if he would pretty please agree to go on "Meet The Press" this week.
Because we know that, in the end, reflexively loathing Liberals for being right and excusing the grotesque failures of Conservatives to create a wholly false "Sensible Center" will always be to Villagers what the Risen Christ was to Paul: the central pillar of their theology, without which their entire world would fall apart.