To supplement his NYT sinecure-for-life and his job as cranker-out-of-terrible-books-to-be-purchased-by-the-job-lot-by-clueless-CEOs and his job as real-estate-mogul-by-marriage, Tom Friedman also clearly wants one more career as the trusted confidant and counselor to power.
However while his money and position can get him golf dates with presidents and kings, no one in their right mind in either major political is going to anoint him their next Clark Clifford, which is why Mr. Friedman has been working so very hard to create a third political party based entirely on the Big Lie of Centrism.
In case you are unfamiliar with the Big Lie of Centrism, it is eerily similar to, say, the Big Lie of Iraq in that both are of the "Emperor's New Clothes" variety. Both involve a denial of observable reality and betrayal of the facts on a massive scale. Both rest heavily on objective statements that flatly wrong and are easily debunked. And most importantly. both rely on those who control access to our media to be deeply committed to maintaining the fraud, which is why every single day Mr. Friedman can fart a new ziggurat of third party bullshit into existence out of nothing but Centrist moonbeams and narcissism and nobody outside of a small cadre of second tier reporters and vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers of the Left says "boo" about it.
All of which I find interesting.
The Right itself does not interest me because, really, what more is there to know or learn about Hate Radio or Regnery Press or Fox News?
The shock that many major American media corporations, churches and think tanks are, in fact, wingnut propaganda charnal houses run by oligarchs and fascists wore off long ago. We know they are incredibly dangerous. We know they lie constantly about everything. We they pay very well. We know they play to the howling mob. We know that people who get their "news" from Fox are lobotomized, programmable sheep who are unfit for the job of citizen in a democracy.
It's an ant farm, where you can actually, transparently see the sickening lies generated by the gorgons on bigoted fury and paranoid outrage side of the wingnut keiretsu being carried over to the "news" side of the house to be reported as the latest "controversy".
Culturally and politically, Conservatism is a dead planet populated by shambling zombies and shiny robots that are piloted like Predator drones from the Koch brothers' command bunker. Sure it should be nuked from orbit just to be sure, but what of it?
This is not news.
What is news is that the rest of the news categorically refuses to report on the wingnut keiretsu as such.
In the age on a berserk GOP that has spent 40 years rocketing to the ultraviolet Right and an depressingly accommodationist Democratic Party that persists in the delusion that if they would just compromise a littttttle more...it is objectively ludicrous to treat Centrism as if it were a ideology or a principle. It is a shibboleth: a code word used to distinguish insiders who will be permitted beyond the rope line, and dirty fucking hippies who can't be trusted not to say something rude and inconveniently truthful at just the wrong time.
A reader emailed this link from NPR (Nice, Polite Republicans) to me and it drops so perfectly into place here that I thought I would just go ahead and drop it perfectly into place here:
Thought you might be interested in this article from NPR.
I think it represents a new benchmark in the "both sides do it" meme. Two researches analyze the polarity of the two parties since 1879(!) and find that the Republican party is the most conservative that it has been in history -- or at least since 1879 -- and has undergone a drastic shift to the right since 1976. At the same time Democrats have stayed relatively unchanged during the last 30 years.
Yet true to form, the author of the article and even the researchers themselves couldn't take the data at face value. Frank James, the author of the article writes,
"Of course some, and not just conservative activists, will be quick to point out that Democrats also have their take-no-prisoner liberals who aren't prone to compromise on their core issues, either."He goes on to quote the Karlyn Bowman, a senior hack at the "American Enterprise Institution" (of course), who says,
"Clearly, I think both parties have moved to the extremes since I've been watching politics. I don't think there's any doubt about that. The Democratic Party has been pulled to the left and the Republican Party has been pulled to the right. Part of that is redistricting."
That's not what the data shows, but apparently it was necessary to add this nonsense statement to provide some "balance." Otherwise, Republicans might come out looking bad, and we wouldn't what that, would we?
But it doesn't stop there. Even one of the researchers gets into the act. Researcher Keith Poole of the University of Georgia who is described as "the go-to expert on this issue", says,
"It is true that the Republicans have moved further to the right than the Democrats have moved to the left. That's absolutely true. On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be much impetus on the part of the leadership of either political party to really do something serious about our budget crisis. I doubt very seriously we'll see much improvement. "People forget how utterly irresponsible our political leadership has been for the last 30 years. ... The current political class of the U.S. just isn't in the same league as Truman and Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. You just don't have that kind of leadership now, just when we need it."Let's let me get this straight. So even though the Republicans have shifted to the extreme right in the last 30 years, the Democrats are equally to blame for the polarization and gridlock in Washington. I'm glad he explained that, because otherwise someone looking at his date would never know.
Isn't it good to know we have smart people in the media and academia telling us that the "truth" that "both sides do" is so existentially true that it transcends objective reality.
Take that, reality-based community!
Back when the Big Iraqi War Lie was the hot, new fraud on the block, those who went along with the program reaped all the worldly rewards the Beltway Whorehouse had to offer.
Those who didn't go along, got marginalized or pulverized.
Sure, the droolbuckets who fell into lockstep behind President Cheney were, in the end, shown to be completely and criminally wrong, and the dirty fucking hippies were completely vindicated: this is an unreservedly good thing and hopefully the reputations of America's warpimps will one day dangle from the righteous gibbet of history. But it is also true that here-and-now there is no court of appeal or office of professional rectification to whom the perverse judgement of our Beltway Overlords can be appealed; that, for the most part, the scum kept their spoils and even traded up and, for the most part, those who were driven out of the public arena out have been kept out.
And this has been a powerful lesson.
Here is MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell vivisecting lying Teabagger goof Joe Walsh
Here is MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell taking on lying Birther goof Orly Taitz
Here is MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell pulling apart Ron Paul's happy Libertarian horseshit and showing us the ooey-gooey racist center:
So it's not Mr. O'Donnell doesn't know how to construct an argument against a purveyor of bullshit or how to mount that argument with mucho gusto.
And yet, when the High Priest of the Church of Axiomatic Centrism sits down across from him to pimp his latest book, on go the kid gloves and out comes the cocoa butter...
Which is not to pick on Mr. O'Donnell, who usually does a fine job, but rather to point out that a lot of people on teevee lie about a lot of things.
When the lies are about birth certificates, or civil rights or the budget or about ACORN, there is a phalanx of people with microphones and cameras on hand who take on the liars and push back hard.
But when it comes to the Big Lie of Centrism, everyone except the rag-taggiest of dirty fucking hippies -- even people who are normally on the side of the angels -- fall ominously silent in the face of a powerful, invisible force-field of professional deference leaving liars like Tom Friedman to spout their destructive idiocy unmolested.