Sunday, April 19, 2015

10 Years After: 2013 -- Bad Writing is More Than a Matter of Shit Syntax and Faulty Observation

The 10th blogiversary fundraiser continues with the Snowden Year of 2013.  

As I wrote a few posts back, David Brooks is not just the worst of the Beltways hacks.  Instead, column by column, prestige teevee appearance by prestige teevee appearance, lecture by lecture and radio address by radio address, Mr. Brooks  is creating the context in which the the worst of the Beltways hacks operate.

One of the critters who lives in (and profits from) that context is David Frum, and in 2013 he was still gamboling merrily along,

"Bad Writing is More Than a Matter of Shit Syntax and Faulty Observation;"

“...bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do― to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.”
― Stephen King, On Writing
Ever since David Brooks firmly staked out the genre of Republican Alternate History for himself with his award-ready series of  "Whig Fan Fiction Revisionist Adventures for the Young and Non-Very-Bright Conservative", the question political science fiction fans have asked themselves has been,"Whither the future?"

Where is the lean and hungry young wingnut with the chops to make up fake Republican tomorrows with the same fact-free, devil-take-the-hindmost gusto with which Mr. Brooks has remade its yesterdays?

And because there was apparently literally nothing else to write about, Mr. "Axis-of-Evil" took his his shot at that title with, "How Teddy WreckSpin Became Preznit Because Dirty Hippies."

No kidding.

How Ted Cruz Can Win in 2016

by David Frum Oct 25, 2013 5:45 AM EDT
Forget what you think you know about the next presidential election. David Frum details how the junior senator from Texas can take the White House.

In a frantic effort to mobilize supporters, the Democrats abruptly veered toward more populist economics. Senator Elizabeth Warren began to demand not just fines on JP Morgan, but the actual breakup of too-big-to-fail financial institutions. Too little, too late: instead of the gains they’d been counting on in 2013, the Democrats lost 15 House seats and control of the Senate in November 2014.

That defeat galvanized something in progressive Democrats...

In the painful aftermath of 2014, many Democrats were ready to hear that the party had been defeated because President Obama had been too cautious in his policies and too remote in his style...

The Clinton-Warren fight divided and weakened Democrats. Many pundits compared the contest to the Humphrey vs. Kennedy fight of 1968...

Clinton Democrats took for granted that Cruz was unelectable. They had not appreciated how badly the 2014 recession would hurt them. Disenchanted Latinos and young people stayed home. So did down-market white males, who seemed to react to Clinton with almost visceral dislike. In the presidential election of 2008, almost 58% of eligible voters had turned out, the highest level since the extension of the vote to 18-year-olds. In 2016, turnout dropped below 50% for the first time since 1996.

Republicans turned back the clock on the Obama election map. They recaptured Florida and Virginia, North Carolina and Nevada, Ohio and Iowa: moving back into the red column all the states won by George W. Bush in 2004. It was a desperately narrow victory, but it was enough.
Science fiction works when readers are convinced by the author's command of the material to take that leap of "poetic faith" that Coleridge called a "willing suspension of disbelief".

It does not work when the author's obsessive need to slap around imaginary hippies overrides every other consideration.

It is also worth noting that less than two weeks ago over at his other, other writing gig the same David Frum was wringing his hands over how teddible, teddible it was that Ted Cruz and his Army of Stupid were destroying the good name and future prospects of the Party of Bush and Cheney and Palin and Limbaugh:
Right now, tea party extremism contaminates the whole Republican brand. It's a very interesting question whether a tea party bolt from the GOP might not just liberate the party to slide back to the political center -- and liberate Republicans from identification with the Sarah Palins and the Ted Cruzes who have done so much harm to their hopes over the past three election cycles.

It's worth repeating over and over again. Add Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Ken Buck in Colorado, Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Joe Miller in Alaska -- and you have half a dozen Senate races lost to the GOP by extremist nominations.
On the other hand, whatever some obscure tin-cup Liberal blogger may think of Mr. Frum's efforts, he remains a very well-paid "...contributing editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast and a CNN contributor" who glides almost effortlessly from one gig to the next.  

And that counts for a lot.


Commentor asks how I would predict the near-term political future.

My answer is that, as a fiction writer, I am irresistibly drawn to a scenario which keeps the House barely under the control of the GOP by 2-3 seats (thus making poor health and threats to change parties consequential plot points), and/or the Senate dead-even with Joe Biden taking up permanent residence there because he has to break every tie for the next 2 years.

If 2014 ends (as I think it will) with the GOP still able to hang onto enough power to obstruct everything, we can expect nothing but deadlock, show trials and Fox-induced wingnut hysteria over fake scandals like "Benghaaazi!" and the IRS.

Then, once the 2016 race kicks in hard, I believe Obama will use his last two years to consolidate his legacy, sharpen his attacks on GOP nihilism and sabotage and (if I were writing this as a West Wing episode and I wanted to lock down the youth vote and get some Libertarian-Lites to give my party a second look) use his executive power to pardon every single person doing time for a non-violent marijuana crime.


FYI, in the scant few hours since Mr. Frum hit "Publish", his article has garnered over 1000 1100 1200 1300 comments.

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