The Ownership Society.
One Sunday, the Mouse Circus confirmed for the thousandth times that, for the most part, media has largely given up on asking any really important, substantive questions about anything. And yet, despite their best efforts, the highly paid spokesmodels for the leadership caste of the our political infotainment industry found themselves stuck trying to publicly cope with a genuinely substantive question: Who owns the Conservatism in America?
The answer varies wildly on who you ask.
For example, to keep their personal Conservative brand-identification from completely collapsing every time they publicly screw the pooch, pretty much every one on the Right who rides the mainstream media gravy train -- from Joe Scarborough to Andrew Sullivan -- insists that they are the only, true Conservative left on Earth by simply defining Conservatism as whatever the Hell they say it is this week. Whatever catches their fancy is "real" Conservatism; whoever happens to be pissing them off at the moment is not a "true" Conservative.
On the other hand, for those on the Right who draw their paychecks from Fox News, Hate Radio, or the political system, Conservatism is defined as hating imaginary Hippies as hard as humanly possible. Crazy, treasury-bankrupting tax schemes? No problem. Promises to invade imaginary enemies with non-existent armies? No problem. Putting a police cordon around every vagina? No problem. An endless cataract of ludicrous lies and Bircher conspiracy mongering, all spoken and believed without batting an eye as long as it comes beribboned with "...because Barack Obama is a Kenyan Commie who hates America."
All frauds in their own way, all trading on their allegedly special, privileged access to the True Conservative Cross, and it works most of the time because on the Right there are almost always enough rubes to go around. But come election time the question of who are heroes and who are heretics sharpens itself to a stabby point because the answer to the question of who "owns" the Movement and what "ownership" means has real, national consequences.
The two loudest claimants this Excalibur of Conservative Authenticity have, of course, been on display all along, but they have almost never been so clearly limned as the were in South Carolina Saturday...and in the mass pants-crapping GOP parade at the Mouse Circus Sunday morning.
And I must say, I found it morbidly hilarious to watch the Party of God and Capitalism locked in a death struggle over the answer to the oldest Marxist question of all:
Who shall control the means of production?Will it be the money men who are bankrolling the slow-motion plutocratic takeover of America, or the rank-and-filers who knock on the doors, stuff the envelopes and, rain or shine, march to the polls every other November to hand the plutocrats what they paid for -- an electoral mandate for their horrible, horrible policies?
It has -- no kidding -- come to this: to a struggle between the Wingnut Factory owners and the Wingnut Factory workers, and each side has found its perfect champion.
In one corner we have Willard Romney, the pure distillate of Vulture Capitalism. Robotic, soulless, and hideously uncomfortable around the non-millionaire peons he needs to get himself elected. In his every word and gesture you can imagine him calmly killing David Bowman -- telling him that, no, he will not open the Pod Bay doors.
In the other corner, we have Newton Leroy Gingrich, the bloated, red-faced articulator of the very real rage and paranoia of the Pig People.
The voice of the America Hunter Thompson wrote about as "...a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable." The man who wrote much of the "call your opponents 'traitors'" operating system that now drives the entire Republican machine and who has now hacked his way back into that machine using the back-door he left open for himself.
The cold, efficient power of infinite money versus the white-hot, broken-bottle vocabulary of bottomless hatred.
Fun to watch!
Also fun to watch in this struggle over the ownership of the Party of God and Money are Prominent media-creature Republicans like Joe Scarborough banking on the fact that the Party will soon turn on Gingrich because they will remember what a lunatic he was in 1995...while somehow conspicuously ignoring the fact that his Party doesn't give a shit about anything that happened in 1995.
That their Party has, in fact, spent a fair-sized fortune training the Base not to give a shit about -- or even remember -- anything that happened in 1995.
That their Party has, in fact, only remained in power by investing millions of dollars in the Strategic Forgettery necessary to convince the Base to belligerently ignore everything that happened before the Kenyan Usurper somehow tricked his way into the White House on January 20, 2009.
So congratulations Joe; just as Lenin warned, the GOP money-class has indeed sold their Base the rope with which they are now being hung.
Of course, in the end only a damn fool bets against money, so I have no idea how this bare-knuckle pig fight will all end, but I can make some fairly astute predictions.
1. David Gregory will continue to pay the vig on whatever unholy debt he has incurred with Newt Gingrich by letting Newt tread the "Meet the Press" boards whenever he chooses and spout whatever happy-horseshit he wishes under Gregory's iron-clad guarantee that Newt will NEVER be asked any tricky or embarrassing follow-up questions.
2. Billionaire Tom Friedman will continue to produce embarrassing heaps of wretched prose like this, whining that everybody should be nicer to everybody and strongly hinting that a billionaire-funded Third Party which reflects billionaire Tom Friedman's Reasonable Centrist values would make such a world possible, and for which the New York Times will continue to pay him handsomely.
3. At some point in the next seven days, David Brooks will explain the Gingrich win by writing another 800 words of maudlin godawful about Dirty Hippies ruining American values, and for which the New York Times will continue to pay him handsomely.