Monday, November 03, 2014

Sunday Morning Comin' Down: The David Brooks Election

We join our 2014 midterm hostage drama already in progress...

A "hostage drama"?

Well sure.

Because the core GOP proposition is simply this: they will consider slowing down their campaign of torching any part of the federal government they can get within Molotov-cocktail range of if the country will agree 1) the real problem isn't Republican arsonists who are torching the joint; it's the Democratic fire department which just isn't getting the job done and, 2) to top off their tanks with  twice as much gasoline as they already have:
Mitch McConnell: Vote For GOP Because We'll End Gridlock
That's a hostage situation.  And it looks like the country is about to accede to their demands.

And to understand why the country is on the verge of once again making the cataclysmic error of handing the Party of Bigots and Lunatics even more power, you need to understand two words:  David Brooks.

In Issac Asimov's 1955 story, Franchise, the power of America's "half a mile long and three stories high" Multivac computer had grown so prodigious that a new age of modern electronic democracy had swept aside the old, "one man/one vote" system and replaced with with a process of statistical narrowing and sorting of trillions of bits of information until one and only one voter was selected to represent the dreams and aspirations of the entire nation, for good or ill:
"When they talk about the Ridgely administration of 1988, do they say he won them over with pie-in-the-sky promises and racist baloney? No! They talk about the 'goddam MacComber vote,' as though Humphrey MacComber was the only man who had anything to do with it because he faced Multivac. I've said it myself - only now I think the poor guy was just a truck farmer who didn't ask to be picked. Why was it his fault more than anyone else's? Now his name is a curse."
And so, as we stand on the verge of the 2014 midterm elections, with every social and economic indicator in vastly better shape than it was during heyday of the fiery wreck (h/t res ipsa loquitur) the Bush Administration left in its wake, we nonetheless have a large swath of the electorate who hate everything to do with politics, hate both parties equally, and are poised to take their free-floating angst and high pissed-offedness out on Barack Obama because, uh, well, there he is, just standing there, talking calmly when the situation -- every situation -- clearly calls for a lot of running around and shouting and saber-rattling.

I mean, just standing there, reasonably insisting that the Republican Party needs to have some agenda beyond vandalizing our democracy, and refusing to use his Green Lantern powers to make them behave like the stewards of a modern democracy instead of Alaric I leading the Visigoths into the Eternal City on a shopping spree.

And in that spirit, this year is the year of the "Goddam Brooks Vote."  Because no single member of Team Bush has more successfully reinvented himself than David Brooks, and he has done it by focusing like a laser on relentlessly hammering home the same message over and over again, in virtually every column, and in front of virtually every microphone and camera.

Both Sides Do It.

Nothing is ever the fault of Conservatives...because Both Sides Do It.

Government is broken because...Both Sides Do It.

20 years ago next month is the anniversary of the fete the GOP threw for Rush Limbaugh to thank him for refining their paranoia, rage and racism into electoral gold:
Mr. Limbaugh was made an honorary member of the class as its members tonight finished a three-day orientation here sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and Empower America, two conservative Washington research organizations.

Barbara Cubin, an incoming freshman from Wyoming, told Mr. Limbaugh that because 74 percent of the nation's newspapers had endorsed Democrats, "talk radio, with you in the lead, is what turned the tide." On behalf of the women in the class, she gave him a plaque that said, "Rush Was Right." He also received a pin like the ones the freshmen wore, saying, "Majority Maker."

"Rush is as responsible for what happened here as much as anyone," said Vin Weber, a former Representative from Minnesota, now of Empower America. Citing a poll taken after the election by Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, Mr. Weber said that people who listened to 10 hours or more a week of talk radio voted Republican by a 3-to-1 margin. "Those are the people who elected the new Congress," he said.
1994 was the "Limbaugh Election" and, two decades later, the rubble and ruin of that victory is all around us for anyone to see.  And for much of that 20 years, David Brooks has led a band of Beltway elites and "moderates" through the wreckage of what Limbaughism left behind and teaching his tribe of useful idiots a New Media Covenant.

Both Sides Do It.

And Mr. Brooks and his imitators have been so successful in their single-minded evangelism of this Bad News that an entire generation of "moderates" have been taught to look at naked GOP sabotage and blame "Washington".

So successful that an entire cohort of our elite Beltway Media has been trained to look upon premeditated Republican atrocities and reflexively think "I Blame Both Sides".

Unless you wanted to breed an passel of catatonics and sociopaths, you wouldn't think of raising your kids this way, but somehow, at the national level, our Beltway Elites have decided that it's A-OK to not just completely divorce behavior from consequences, but to actively reward anti-government saboteurs by blaming "gridlock: and "Washington" every time the GOP decides to frag another piece of the commonweal.

This is the real problem and, rather like Iraq circa 2005, not only will no one in the media talk about the horrible dysfunction happening right in plain sight, but no one will talk about why no one is talking about it.  The whole subject is verboten, its rotten fruit is all around us.

Now if you are wealthy, your stock portfolio has made you vastly wealthier thanks to the Obama recovery, but statistically you are likely to vote for the GOP, because that's what most rich assholes do.  So you don't really need any new reasons to vote for the Grand Old Party/

And, if you're poor, your life is not only still harder than most of us can imagine, but it is made harder every day by a Republican Party whose entire domestic political agenda consists of beating your teeth out, then kicking you in the stomach for mumbling (h/t Raymond Chandler).   So putting steel toes on the boots the GOP is already using to kick you cannot be something you want.

But what about our rapidly-disintegrating middle class?  How do you convince tens of millions of Americans whose lives get measurably better when Democrats are in charge, and get measurably worse when Republicans are in charge, to hand over power to the party that will stomp on their fingers as they cling to the crumbling edge of the middle class?  Sure, the economy is still a minefield you are obliged to traverse, blindfolded, on roller-blades.  And if you got creamed as a result of the Great Bush Recession, you probably haven't made up even a fraction of what you lost.  Your savings are probably gone, maybe along with your house.  The bills still come, but what you make on your new, part-time job(s) barely covers the cost of not living under a bridge.  College for the kids?  Maybe, if they hold off until their 30s.

So much has been torn away from you, including, for many, their security, dignity and sense of self-worth.  The fences came down.  The walkers got inside the perimeter.  And once again, wearily, you have to start over.

But as shitty as that is, and as poorly as the Democrats have served you, all of could have been so much better but for Republican sabotage and all of it is vastly better than the poke in the eye with the very sharp stick the GOP has in store for you.

Also eye-pokes are now covered under the Affordable Care Act which the Party of Personal Responsibility has pledged to tear out "root and branch".

So how do you convince these frightened burghers and shoe salesmen and shopkeepers to vote out the Slow But Steady Recovery Party and vote in the Saboteurs and Oligarchs?

Simple!  All you have to do is get the entire Beltway Press to repeat "Both Sides Do It" every single fucking day, year after year after year.

Which brings us to Shuck Todd, and another diamond-perfect example of how completely in thrall the Beltway press is to Brooksism.  During the course of tossing softballs to Senator and free-range scalp tribble rancher, Rand Paul, this, with emphasis added:

So, on Tuesday, if you guys, the Republican Party gets control of the Senate.  Have the voters said they're voting for the Republican Party?  Or have the voters simply said they're voting against President Obama and it's not a mandate for the GOP?  How should the GOP interpret winning control of the Senate, if that does happen?

I think it'll be a combination of both.  This is going to be a repudiation of the president's policies.  The president is on the ballot, in a way.  This is a referendum on the president.  So, no question this is a big message to the president.  But also, it's a message that people are tired of nothing getting done. 
The gridlock in Washington has largely been from the Democrats, who haven't allowed any legislation to come forward in the Senate.  So, I think if we win, you will see legislation passed and you will see legislation sent to the desk of the president.

You know, a lot of Democrats would say House Republicans, you know, and Ted Cruz, and some other people were responsible for the government shutdown.  So, both parties share the blame here.  But I want to ask you something about something you said the other day in Michigan.   You said, "Remember Domino's Pizza?"

A sitting, United States senator tells a bald-faced lie:
The gridlock in Washington has largely been from the Democrats,
And rather than stepping on the brakes and telling him to wait one god damn minute, Shuck Todd automatically channels David Brooks:
So, both parties share the blame here. 
And quickly and obsequiously changes the subject --
But I want to ask you something about something you said the other day in Michigan.   You said, "Remember Domino's Pizza?"
-- thus letting the Big Lie stand,

Further down the dial, paid Republican operative, Matthew Dowd, was joyously singing from the same hymn:
In 2004, Karl Rove predicted there was a permanent realignment for the Republicans.  2006, Democrats win the election, 2008, Barack Obama, they win this big election, predict realignment, 2010, they lose a series of elections.  2012, Barack Obama has reset the country.  The demographics are going to say Republicans can't win.

And now the Republicans are facing a great night.  What is clear to me is even though those seem mixed, the voters are sending a clear signal in all this.  They're just tired of the way Washington operates, both D and R.

In 1994, the GOP won because thugs like Limbaugh had spent years teaching the Conservative base to aggressively embrace their inner klansman and go slash-and-burn all the time against us Commies and "feminazis" and, of  course, The Liberal Media.

In 2014, the GOP is on the verge of another victory because rodents like Brooks have spent years teaching the media to 1) aggressively ignore the fact that the Limbaugh horde exists and has nearly wrecked this country, and 2) to automatically punch a hippie every time a Conservative lobs another cinder-block into traffic,

So welcome to The David Brooks Election.

Enjoy the ride.


bowtiejack said...

I have two friends, both very decent guys, worked all their lives, both very easy going, good senses of humor. Both are getting hammered by the new economy (i.e. more work for less money).
One works for an airline. The other is a long distance trucker.

The airline guy sends me links to stuff like Glenn Beck’s The Blaze.
(Well, actually he doesn’t anymore since I was always sending back links to debunking it.)
And the trucker guy obviously listens to a LOT of talk radio on the road.

Now the interesting thing is that neither of these guys is a Republican or a conservative or a libertarian or a RWNJ or whatever.
Because if you ask them, they will honestly, sincerely tell you they are “independent”.
They “don’t belong to any political party” or “buy any of this political stuff “ from either side.
They make up their “own minds” (as they take another pull on the Kool Aid and bitch about “Obama!”).

So yeah, it’s working.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

While it might seem utterly incredible that a sitting Senator would be so testicle crushingly out of touch as to suggest that Gridlock is the fault of that dastardly Harry Reid and his toxic partisan gamesmanship, in some parts of the country this bald faced lie is accepted as a platitudinous truth on the order of all babies are beautiful, apple pie should be eaten with cheese, and Ralph Nader did not sabotage the 2000 elections because 200,000 nominal Democrats voted for Bush and what are you going to do about it.

You are absolutely correct that opinions like these deserve to be handled with neoliberal applications of the Clue Bat, but if you spend any time in the fever swamps of the Salt Lake Tribune or the Burlington Free Press you will find that such opinions and worse are as common as sexual assault at a freethinker convention.

More's the pity, and God save the Republic.

Redhand said...

The way I look at it, DFB is simply the biggest whore in this "both sides" hussle, but not the whore master. That role I assign to Pinch Sulzberger and the other "newsmedia moguls" who have seen fit to sell out to our governmental and corporate oligarchs.

Compare the NYT of the "Pentagon Papers" era to the gutless and fatally wrong cheerleader of the Iraq war represented in Judith Miller's NYT Iraq articles. Compare Walter Cronkite during the Vietnam War, and indeed the whole American media at the time, to the likes of Dancin' Dave and Chuck Todd.

Consider Murdoch and Fox News, who function more like Goebbels than a traditional news organization.

Our traditional news media is dead and gone, at least in the 1960s sense. Until we get a viable replacement in the Internet age, our democracy is probably history too.

I still feel that Obama squandered a once-in-a-generation chance to change this country by deluding himself that he could work with the Repubs. We needed more confrontation with them than the "let's reason together" horseshit that opened the door to the "both sides" media of today and the power structure behind it. If Obama has started out as a fighter and champion of a new New Deal in 2008, maybe we would not be where we are today, where "both sides" are to blame.

Smartpatrol said...

"Dick Morris knows which end of a prostitute to lick"? Thanks a bunch Driftsmartass. I can't eat w/ that image in my head.

Kathleen said...

Yes, Chuck was peeing his pants this morning on the today show as he flicked through an electronic map babbling about "the races" like the Rethug side of the equation offered rational, sane candidates.

steeve said...

The media actually doesn't like saying "both sides did it". They'd much rather say "democrats did it", and they'll say that again the moment they get a chance.

The prevalence of "both sides", the fact that we hear it every single day over and over again, is entirely due to the fact that conservatives screw up every single day over and over again. The media is desperately hoping for that to stop, however briefly.

wagonjak said...

Love your phrase about Republicans "vandalizing our democracy!" Says it all in three perfect words dg!