Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

Lawrence O'Donnell's Dr. Jekyll-personae showed up to the Dancin' Dave party, knives out, and immediately and promiscuously violated The Gingrich Rule against bringing up the ugly, mendacious, hypocritical professional histories of any of the parade of wretched wingnut propagandists who -- for reasons that no one will ever explain in public -- keep getting handed unobstructed national platforms on programs like "Meet the Press":


Fortunately, unmoored drift-net Bob Woodward was on hand to... 

"...something.   something."
 re. lit. i.gate.
"the. 19. 90s."
prevent Lawrence O'Donnell from following his right cross with a fast, fatal left uppercut.

Like, say, a quick history lesson about a certain grifting adulterous bigot who cannonballed about as deep into the moral sewer as humanly possible to exploit grotesque tragedy for partisan electoral advantage:

Gingrich & The Susan Smith Case 
Even after a South Carolina jury declared Susan Smith guilty of murdering her two sons, reporters are not pressing Gingrich about the Smith case. Many seem to have forgotten that nine months ago, he loudly proclaimed the infanticide to be a campaign issue. 
April 25, 2000

Newt Gingrich has gotten away with it. Again. Even after a South Carolina jury declared Susan Smith guilty of murdering her two sons, reporters are not pressing Gingrich about the Smith case. Many seem to have forgotten that nine months ago, he loudly proclaimed the infanticide to be a campaign issue. Back in early November, the motor-mouthed Gingrich had much to say about the case -- offering a treatise so wrong-headed that it's almost laughable.

Except there's nothing funny about the Susan Smith tragedy...or Gingrich's attempt to exploit it for election-eve advantage.

Here's what Gingrich said three days before last November's election -- in response to an Associated Press reporter who asked him how the campaign was going: "Slightly more moving our way. I think that the mother killing the two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things." Gingrich concluded, "The only way you get change is to vote Republican. That's the message for the last three days." Two days later, less than 24 hours before the polls opened, Gingrich defended his comments on the Smith case as no different than what he'd been saying for years -- that violence and related ills arise from a Democratic-controlled political system: "We need very deep change if we're going to turn this country around."

Asked if the change he was offering the country would stop killings like those in South Carolina, he replied, "Yes. In my judgment, there's no question."

Today, reporters should ask Gingrich an obvious question: Does he still impute blame to the Democrats for Susan Smith's deed? Journalists might also ask Gingrich about Smith's stepfather, Beverly Russell. Prior to the kids' disappearance, Russell was busily campaigning not for the depraved Democrats, but for Newt Gingrich and his minions. Russell was a Republican leader in South Carolina and local organizer of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition.

During the nine days that Susan Smith had the country hunting for a nonexistent black carjacker, Russell urged nationwide prayer for the two missing kids: "All we can do is pray. This is a nightmare." A prominent businessman and stockbroker, Russell married Smith's mom after she divorced Smith's dad (who later committed suicide). From the age of six, Russell raised Susan Smith in an upper-middle-class, church-going home. Gingrich's campaign comments notwithstanding, the home was free of counterculture and welfare-state influences. But Susan Smith attempted suicide at age 13, and at age 15 told authorities that her stepdad had been sexually molesting her for at least a year. Her mother helped talk her out of pursuing charges against Russell. (At age 18, she attempted suicide again.) 
The child-abuse case against the well-connected businessman smells of a cover-up. It's not known exactly how long the molestation went on, because the case file mysteriously vanished. And Susan Smith was not even represented in court by a lawyer or guardian, as required for minors. The social-service worker who investigated the molestation testified at the murder trial that although Russell admitted the abuse and agreed to seek counseling, she was "concerned" that law enforcement closed the case so quickly. Whatever counseling Russell underwent had little impact. The murder trial revealed that he was still having sex with his stepdaughter as recently as two months before she killed her kids. 
Anyone with a functional memory who actually gives a shit about the deplorable shape of our politics knows perfectly well that Newton Leroy Gingrich is the gleeful, sociopathic Patient Zero of the disease that rots our country's civil society.  For his entire public career he has been the busy, busy plague rat of bomb-throwing, no-limits, slaughterhouse politics, and yet there he is, on teevee week after week after fucking week, invited again and again into America's living rooms by the very same pundits who spend much of the rest of thier tim whiiiiiiiiining about how shrill and mean and unserious our civic discourse has become.

Small wonder industrial wind machines like Woodward don't want to litigate, re-litigate or otherwise bring up the past: if we did, most of their pals and colleagues would be in prison or terminally unemployed.

Which is why it is a new and notable thing when someone who has both the method and the opportunity also summons the huevos to shank Newt on live teevee.

So good on you, Mr. O'Donnell.

Down the dial, Dr. Krugman played unfairly with the other children by smuggling "facts" into a bullshit frolic, cracked wise (putting Jim DeMint at the head of the Heritage Foundation "takes the 'Think' out of 'Think Tank'"),and appeared generally perplexed by the fact that ABC keeps reanimating the corpse of George Will 

and rudely flinging it at people.

But the shambling, rambling, embarrassing remains of George Will seems positively sizzling with vitality and brio compared to Zombie Mary Matalin.  I tell you, it is downright creepy to watch the woman who James Carville hired to breed him a passel of snake-headed swamp babies continue to work her waxy face hole and snap and snarl and bite long after her soul and ideas have died and purified and drooled out her eyes.

A season of "The Living Dead" had girded me for such an experience, but I wanted to Tweet Dr. Krugman that all chunks he was carving out of her would do no good:  to turn a Walker like Matalin into a harmless pile of chip-chop, nothing short of a snow shovel to the brain stem will do.

And speaking of Twitter, further on down the dial, Pappy O'Daniel's one-time senior press flak, Bob Schieffer, 

carefully explained to all of his Del Webb closed circuit day room viewers that "this generation of politicians" has been rendered incapable of good, old timey compromise due to all this new media and the internet and Twitter and the rock and the roll and suchlike.

I give three points for having Joe Klein explain to the same audience that it hasn't been "this generation of politicians" who have fucked everything up so much as it been the Republican Party.  That in 2009, President Obama heaped the altar high with all kinds of  offerings that he offered to give away to the Right for the sake of "compromise" and the GOP told him to go pound sand.  That having gone all-in on the compromise thing once and pulled back a bloody stump and having just decisively won an election, President Obama does not have much incentive to give the GOP a fan dance to provide cover for their terrible ideas this time around.

Then I take those three points away for putting former Dubya speechwriter and boot-scrapper, Michael Gerson, on the same teevee machine to explain what Barack Obama  must do to be a "historic" President.  Which is not exactly the same as having the Hindenburg's purser on to explain how to make a spectacular entrance, but it's in the same area code.

As it does every Sunday Fake Centrism again stalked the Sunday Mouse Circus, with inexpiable creatures like Matthew Dowd skittering around the corral insisting that, in the name of sacred compromise, "both sides" need to hold hands and take the hit for the GOP's profoundly awful proposals.

Lastly, it is worth nothing that you could not find anyone on any Mouse Circus political panel who thinks that hitching one's political star to a campaign of hating gays and denying them basic civil rights is a good idea.  Mind you, more than half of these same assholes were pro-Bush at 150 decibels back in 2004 when Dubya slithered back into office running a campaign that promised 1) a brutal death for your loved ones at the hand's of terrorists if you voted Democratic and, 2) Teh Queer would destroy what was left of America after the terrorists and Liberals were done if activist judges and the ACLU ever allowed them to be treated as first-class citizens.

Which was immediately followed by Team Dubya's attempt to privatize Social Security by  inventing a fake crisis and bulldozing organizations like AARP out of the way with rancid shit like this:

Or don't you remember?


ScarabusRedivivus said...


You were definitely on a roll here. Thanks for the fun, and thanks for watching the whole thing so that I didn't have to.

Incidentally, in using the term "fun," I didn't mean to trivialize. I take fun seriously. Thinking is fun. Learning is fun. Arguing is fun. And having a good time throughout is the most fun of all.

Didn't remember the Gingrich/Susan Smith connection. Did see the G-O'D exchange.("GOD? Pure coincidence or divine manipulation?) My recollection? O'D said, "We raised taxes, and created prosperity."

To which the Grinch replied, "Oh, yeah? Well, we had a Republican majority when that happened!"


That isn't responsive, Dr. Grinch. First acknowledge the correlation between higher taxes and greater prosperity. And apologize. Then you can talk about other independent variables that may or may not have been relevant.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

I tweeted about the sudden ubiquity of the verb "litigate" and its many derivatives. Executive summary: Don't know whence the virus originated, or how it spread so quickly. Do think it's a non-benign virus, because it insinuates a destructive "frame" for public discourse.

Carry on, pal. You're doing good!

ScarabusRedivivus said...

Oh, forgot to add—

I agree. Mary Matalin was a lifeless, muttering zombie. (Can zombies make sounds? Whatever. You know what I mean.)

I think she's a monster, but I still felt embarrassed for her. (What can I say? That's the way I've been drawn.) Was she ill? Drunk? Stoned? (On legal prescription pharmaceuticals, of course!)

Regardless, it was a sad spectacle.

steeve said...

Objective fact has a spot on the political spectrum. It's to the left of Krugman. Pretty simple, but 90% of Americans will need a few more decades to sort it out.

ScarabusRedivivus said...

Oh! Forgot to add…

First Mary Matalin. She behaved like a frigging zombie! (Can zombies make sounds? Dunno. Never to my knowledge met one. But you know what I mean.)

I think Mary Matlin is a monster, but I still was embarrassed for her. (Can’t help it. I’ve been drawn that way.) Was she ill? Drunk? Sleep-deprived? Stoned? (On recommended dosages of legitimately prescribed pharmaceuticals, of course.)

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

“Litigated.” Suddenly we find the verb “litigate” and its derivatives everywhere. Whence did the virus originate? How did it propagate so rapidly? I’ve tweeted about this, but since very few people read my tweets …. I think the “litigate” virus is non-benign. I think its effect on the body politic is to insinuate a destructive “frame” into public discourse.

Enough. I won’t further abuse your hospitality, DG. I’ll save my blather for my own blog.


Hef said...

The More You Know. I never heard of the Susan Smith-Newt Gingrich-Perverted Stepfather love triangle before. That story truly should be litigated in all it's tenses.

daver said...

Check out this "Both sides Don't do it" indictment by Mann and Ornstein (via Dan Froomkin):

"...according to longtime political observers Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, campaign coverage in 2012 was a particularly calamitous failure, almost entirely missing the single biggest story of the race: Namely, the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth."

blackdaug said...

You can almost hear them coming up out of their seats when that invisible boundary of beltway decorum is crossed.
The line consisting of bringing up things the sociopath Gingrich actually said in the past.
It triggers the reflexive "both sides" response like a rubber hammer to the knee.
..but apparently everybody knows that Newt's craven attempts at using a deranged mother as a hippie bludgeon is off limits; like DFB blaming the Penn State molester on the country's ever leftward slide into degeneracy.
In a world where real journalists moderated Sunday morning programs, we would never see Newt, because every time he tried to make an appearance since 93, the moderator would quote his response to that Susan Smith atrocity, and ask him to explain himself....and there would be no disgraced has-been insider book hawkers like Woodward around to jump in to his rescue.
Political journalism in this country is the biggest epic "fail" since man started chiseling things on to rocks.
I am sure there is a story in that somewhere...
Oh wait, there is, too bad anyone trying to tell it is relegated to enforced obscurity.

marindenver said...

You are on FIRE this time Mr. Glass! My congratulations and my thanks! Particularly loved:

"Then I take those three points away for putting former Dubya speechwriter and boot-scrapper, Michael Gerson, on the same teevee machine to explain what Barack Obama must do to be a "historic" President. Which is not exactly the same as having the Hindenburg's purser on to explain how to make a spectacular entrance, but it's in the same area code."

I missed La Matalin but the last few times I've seen her on anything I could've sworn she was drunk or on drugs. Seems I'm not the only one. A few years back she came off as obnoxious but vaguely human. Now she's like a botoxed venomous zombie repeating nasty talking points with no discernable facial expression. Not a good way to go through life.