You know what's broken?
"Congress" is broken.
Which is very sad!
I had a tour of the place back when I was in Junior High and cool shows like Columbo were still on teevee. Back then, "Congress" looked very impressive, but apparently now it's just a shithole full of back actors and noble-citizens in the thrall of bad actors.
So why can't we, as Americans, have nice things like Columbo or "Congress" anymore?
Well, Peter Falk is dead, so we I suppose we can chalk the nonexistence of new episodes of "Columbo" to that. Also they have reruns of "Columbo" on nostalgia teevee every now and then, so I guess we're really in no immediate danger of a national "Columbo" shortage.
But what about "Congress", where death and reruns cannot save us? Why can't we unfuck that mess up?
And more importantly, does it make you feel better knowing that nationally syndicated former Bush Administration Employee Michael Gerson cries himself to sleep at night, asking an indifferent universe this very question?
Many American institutions — starting with the House and Senate, and extending to the manner in which we tax ourselves, fight poverty, care for the old and educate the young — are in disrepair. This must be recognized and confronted.
Hear, hear, former Bush Administration Employee! Well said! And do you have anything else to say in the subject?
America is in desperate need of a politics of repair, not a politics of demolition and rebuilding. We need leaders who take populist discontent seriously but direct it toward projects of practical reform.America’s distrust of institutions is a fact. But it is a problem, not a goal. The proper response is the renovation of institutions that allow us to live a decent, compassionate, orderly life together...
Amen! Our civic institutions have indeed been slashed, slandered and otherwise fucked into a cocked hat. So in the spirit of moving recognition and confrontation, let us compose ourselves, find a comfortable divan on which to sit, and listen attentively to nationally syndicated former Bush Administration Employee Michael Gerson explain how exactly things went from functional to bedlam since the good old days of Columbo...
Tumbleweeds fill the Universe...
Because that line of questioning quickly leads to the terrible political truth which the entire Beltway media has sworn a blood-oath to never mention. That Rove which dares not speak its name.
See, it was Mr. Gerson's political party which killed comity on purpose in this country. It was Mr. Gerson's political party which built its future on institutionalizing, industrializing and televising lies and madness. It was Mr. Gerson's political party that was perfectly content to ride the monster they had created as long as the monster did what it was told.
But their monster turned on them -- as monsters will -- and ate Congress.
Which is very sad!
So instead of the truth, what we get from former Bush Administration Employee Michael Gerson is -- surprise! -- an indictment of...
"...the populist wings of both political parties".
Sure populism can be tasty, naughty fun, and when administered by Serious People in tiny, harmless, doses, Republican hacks like former Bush Administration Employee Michael Gerson need never worry about being ripped from their decadent nests and cast out into the cold world. But (warns Mr. Gerson) if you add more than a teaspoon of populism to the toxic swamp of Beltway Establishmentarian Wisdom where Mr. Gerson lives and works --
-- grave and terrible consequences will ensue:
But some populists thrive on further delegitimizing institutions. They use Congress as a stage for their anger, not as an instrument of reform. They set unattainable goals that encourage political alienation. They adopt a conspiratorial mindset, in which systems are not just broken but rigged by scheming opponents. They demand to do “something,” but end up doing things that serve narrow political and fundraising goals.
And who are the leaders of the mob that's made for you and me?
C'mon, it's Michael Gerson. You know who he's going to blame.
On the Right, Ted Cruz, the ambulatory manifestation of 40 years of carefully cultivated Conservative rage and paranoia:
The challenge from the populist right is now familiar, but it is far from spent. Conservatives offended by the omnibus — and even more offended by Obama’s immigration executive order — wanted to do something. This is often the whole substance of conservative strategy: “do something.”
After blowing up the Senate process and disrupting the travel plans of their colleagues, Cruz and company demanded a point-of-order vote on whether Obama’s executive order was constitutional. Only 22 senators supported it.
On the Left, Elizabeth Warren, the personification of Liberal intelligence and compassion:
The open revolt of the populist left is more novel. In this case, it was a rebellion against a sitting Democratic president, joined by former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, forcing the White House to conduct a last-minute scramble for votes. The main provision at issue was the swaps “push-out” rule of the Dodd-Frank financial services reform bill. But Warren used the occasion to throw a large rock into the Democratic pond. The ripples radiate.
Because this is the prime directive function of our Beltway Media: to deliberately misdirect any meaningful conversation about the disaster our politics has become into a meaningless parroting of the Both Sides lie.
This is why no Columbo's are allowed anywhere near the Beltway Media clubhouse. Because if the good lieutenant excelled at one thing, it was quickly dispensing with the distractions and sham alibis of the real villains and moving patiently and inexorably in for the kill: