Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

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.

Or 1996.

Or 1998.

Or 2002.

Or 2005.

Or 2007.

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.


John said...

If Newtie is elected we may breathlessly expect many fundamentally AND profoundly historic initiatives.

Of course, we'll have the "first" lady (in a manner of speaking) and the "first" dog. But I can hardly wait for the congressional funding debate for the "first" Concubine Corps.

John Puma

Reamus said...

Nicely done and well said, even if it is almost too depressing to contemplkated for very long.

steeve said...

When Romney looked like he'd run away with it, Fox News was falling right in line.

Mark it here: if Romney wins the nomination, there'll be no "worker" tea party uprising, no dissatisfaction, no 3rd party threats. The hard-line conservatives will be told that Romney is one of them, and that'll be the end of it.

Capt. Bat Guano said...

"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."

Fuck it, might as well start calling him Hal Romney,....Daisy, Daisy,......

Mister Roboto said...

And speaking of The Pretty Hate Machine...

Don't click on this link if you don't want to see something that will just make you damn sad. If I could justify inflicting the isolation torture they were using on Bradley Manning for a while on anybody, it would be people who do things such as this at the behest of sick fucks such as Gingrich.

Suzan said...

Thanks, Dg.



On to the coronation!

And then comes the Revolution?

The Tim Channel said...

I dunno. Who's in charge when the collapse actually happens is less relevant to me than the fact that neither party seems to be in a position to do much about it. It might have been nice had the captain of the Titanic (or that cruise liner idiot) captain) had actually noticed the impediment he was about to meet, but precious little value since the size and momentum of the craft meant that failure would be imminent in either case. If you wait until you're in the shadow of the iceberg it's too late. I can't be the only one who sees the shadow.

The systemic dismantling of the US economy started with Reagan and hasn't really abated since. It's why I don't blame Obama for his economic troubles and why I doubly dam him for not doing simple shit (like reclassifying marijuana) that he could easily accomplish. For fucks sake people. Are any of you old enough to remember when a REPUBLICAN imposed PRICE RESTRICTIONS on the US economy to prevent inflation? Obama could have done that with healthcare costs if Nixon could do it to the whole fucking economy!! And what excuse for uncontrolled healthcare costs are there in a world where every other commodity has held steadfast?

But I digress. The points of failure are too numerous to catalog, and I'm talking American, not Republican or Democratic varieties though you'll get no argument from me that the variety offered most lately by the flying monkey circus of the Republican right are especially ludicrous and mockable. I just see too much needing to be done within the current framework in which to get it done.

The government is so inept that it is unable to prosecute criminals at the highest levels even when those crimes are of the most abhorrent or antisocial nature imaginable. I don't think Americans have lost the concept of justice, but the implementation thereof is so distorted as to boggle the mind.

The future of America is bleak no matter who gets to be president. It will take at least thirty years to rebuild what has been destroyed in the last thirty, and that assumes the conditions and support for same are universal.

To be blunt, it's going to be a rough slog for a country where some significant portion of the population thinks that planning for the future is nothing more complicated than reading the collected works of Tim LaHaye and making sure you are wearing a pretty dress when Jeebus comes down to rescue you.


The Tim Channel said...

Some people might think I'm being a bit of a pessimist. I suppose my age and experience predisposes me to a bit of cynicism, but here's a concrete example of just how fucked the US really is. I live in Germany and it's a happy coincidence that Germany is the only western economy that has survived and thrived in the maelstrom created on Wall Street. I'm constantly told that it is folly to compare German economy to US economy, but I thought you guys might like to chew on this bit of info:

Gas/Fuel prices here are staggering. Gas costs enough here that driving a small car in the US costs less in fuel than driving my 50cc Tomos moped over here! It's roughly eight bucks a gallon US dollars for fuel here.

Electricity: Three times the kw/h rate I was paying in the US. I'm sure the additional taxes I'm paying are helping with the one billion euro PER MONTH solar installation subsidy here (Germany is committed to closing all nuclear post Fukishima) I think Germany has something like eighty percent of the world total output in solar now.

Labor: labor costs here are much higher than in the US. They have unions. Even being a waiter is a CAREER POSITION here (OJT training begins at 16) and pays a minimum wage of around ten bucks an hour without tips.

Environmental laws: strong enough to make a tree hugger smile. With industrial output on scale with China, in a place as big as Iowa, you either enforce tough environmental laws or you live in filth. The Germans have opted against filth. It's expensive I'm sure and I'm also sure they are happy to pay for it.

Infrastructure: They have it. In spades. Hell, even the lowly bike lane than runs from Epe to Ahaus (next to the highway) has it's own signal light and crossing arm at the commuter railroad crossing. They also have special street sweepers just for the pedestrian/bike lanes. How cool is that?

Work: They work fewer hours per year than any industrial nation on the planet. They also have excellent healthcare and generous vacation time.

Taxes: They're high. There's a nineteen percent tax on everything you buy. I only wish my business here was taxed at Mitt's I would have been happy to have stayed in the US and have my taxes tripled if it meant I'd have the kind of society I see around me here. Most of us would still come out ahead, if just on the savings in healthcare costs alone!!

So here's where I come to the conclusion that America is screwed. The cost of doing business in Germany is staggeringly higher than in the US. Even with all the built-in structural advantages of cheap labor, lax environmentalism, low energy prices, tax havens etc. American business complains that it can't compete against cheap Chinese labor. What they're forgetting to tell you is that they can't compete against expensive German labor either. I'm always hearing of the vaulted American efficiency when it comes to business, but in the actual application of building and running a business (one that doesn't just involve juggling mathematical derivatives for fun and profit) they obviously don't have a clue.