Sunday, April 19, 2015

10 Years After: 2013 -- Sunday Morning Still Comin' Down

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

In 2013, I was still on the Sunday beat.  Getting shin splints and my back wasn't what it used to be, but still at it...

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

24 Hour Petty People Edition

Congressional inaction finally worked against me personally this week when the Worlds Greatest Deliberative Body -- exhausted from weeks of dozing fitfully in Congress during their 3-day work week -- packed up themselves off to spend a month of quality time with their lobbyists' families and forgot to reauthorize my government "Loyalty Stipend".

Damn you Barack Obama!

I can say that now because (as longtime readers know) that the twice-monthly government check which I receive for subtly weaving Administration talking points into my posts has been my main source of income since losing my last full-time job five years ago.  Sorta like The Atlantic's relationship with Scientology or Joshua Trevino's relationship with Malaysia but with many fewer zeroes. However, thanks to the giant, mindless, chomping gears of the sequester and my inability to get my payola stuck into an anti-abortion bill or defunding Obamacare amendment somewhere, I find myself once again blogging old-school:  writing stuff on my blog that has not been vetted by my White House minders, dancing for dimes, sending out resumes and waiting for that big influx of traffic from Huffington Post and Salon and The Atlantic and MSNBC and the Daily Beast to lift me up and up and up!

Hey, here's something you don't see every day.

America's Most Famous Conservative Potted Plant.

On America's most-watched Sunday Morning Gasbag Review.

Mocking bloggers and predicting the end of the brief, terrifying media interregnum when people of which David Brooks did not approve had any say in anything...and a return to the Authoritah of Quality People:
I think the audience has changed online. I think there's been a return to authority. You know, I used to read blogs and kind of be reading something interesting and then the blogger would write, 'Well, I got to quit now, I'm going off to junior high.' I realized I've been reading a 12-year-old. I think there has been a turn away from some of that, toward whether it's online, or in print, a return to quality people who actually make the calls, who are not speculating in their reporting. And I think there's been a return to that sort of stuff.

I'm a little more of the belief that the old media is going to continue. Look at e-books, they've hit a plateau. Look at online. It's hitting a plateau, I think. I think we're going to be stunned by how much of the old media, whether it's delivered online or not, is going to be around as the audience returns to authority.
For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Brooks oeuvre, for all of his ubiquity and for all of the deference he is paid by his colleagues, to my knowledge, never actually broken a single story of any kind. Instead, he has made a massively profitable career out of pimping a whole series hideously wrong, disastrous, crackpot Conservative policies, virtually all of which have ended in catastrophe and tears.  

It was a long, wild and wildly-profitable orgy of bigoted stupidity, and Mr. Brooks rode it all the way to the end: offering his services as the respectable, soft-spoken, teevee-friendly face of a movement made up of sociopaths, thieves and tin-pot demagogues.  Never once did he apologize for or even acknowledge that he and his merry band of looters and goons had ever gotten anything wrong. Instead, once the monster in Conservatism's basement kicked down the laboratory door and went a'rampaging across the land in broad daylight, like most of the rest of his ilk, Mr. Brooks simply and smoothly transitioned into another wildly-profitable line of bullshit. 

Centrism.  False Equivalence.  Both Siderism.   

No matter what reeking, Gohmertian madness blobs up out of the Republican sewer, Mr. Brooks can be counted on to plug the hole with a handy hippie.  No matter how many trend lines show the Right plunging inexorably into a genuinely medieval darkness, Mr. Brooks will be right there with his big, shiny, history-flensing knife to excise any inconvenient facts from the Whig Fan Fiction he passes off as cask-strength Herodotus.

And no matter how dense and visible an obstructionist stasis-field the GOP throws up between the very real and critical problems of the American people and chance of constructively solving those problems , Mr. Brooks can always be counted on to explain the complete collapse of of responsible governance with a once more variation on the Lack of Leadership scam:
[Obama] used to have a lot of loud personalities who were hard to work with.  Larry Summers. People like that. Big Ideas!  He's opted in his second term to have good team players but who don't have as many big ideas. 
And so it seems [to] the outside like they're occupied with the normal daily business of running the government but there's no sense of urgency about the two or three gigantic things they want to accomplish domestically or in foreign affairs. And so I think from the outside it feels like there's a lack of big projects that they want to do right now.
For more than ten years, in the face of the unified, ongoing scorn of virtually the entire mainstream media the only people who have been consistently right about people like David Brooks-- the only check on people like Mr. Brooks at all -- has been a tiny band of amateur bloggers.  

Small wonder he longs for a return to the days when Quality People of Authoritah 

like David Brooks authoritatively heave around  turds like this --
The New Stupid Party  LONG AGO, the Republican party was nicknamed the Stupid Party, and at times Republicans have done their best to live up to the label. But after the past week, it is perhaps time to acknowledge that when it comes to brainless, self-destructive behavior, the Democratic party has achieved a level of excellence that will be unsurpassed in our lifetime. 
Last week the Congressional Budget Office came out with a budget forecast. The report immediately got submerged in a chatterstorm about whether Congress or the White House would dip into something called the Social Security trust fund, but the essential facts are these: The CBO economists estimated that the federal government will run a surplus of about $150 billion in 2001. That’s a lower surplus than the CBO estimated a few months ago, before the economic slowdown, the Bush tax cut, and the recent congressional spending splurge. But even in these adverse circumstances, the surplus is still projected to grow to about $200 billion a year in 2004 and close to $300 billion a year by 2006. 
The Democratic party proceeded to work itself up into a collective aneurysm. Dick Gephardt—who, when given the chance to play the demagogue, never goes halfway—said that the United States now faces "an alarming fiscal crisis." Democratic national chairman Terry McAuliffe said on Face the Nation that it had taken Bill Clinton eight years to build up the surplus, but Bush was able to "blow it in eight months." Other Democrats rose up en masse to declare that the Bush administration was going to bankrupt Social Security/the federal government/western civilization because the administration was going to have to "raid the Social Security trust fund."

-- and this --
In other words, if you wade through the economic literature, it's hard not to agree with the Cleveland Fed's Jerry Jordan: We are living at a once-in-a-generation moment of economic opportunity. As productivity grows, the economy will grow. As the economy grows, revenues will grow, maybe beyond what the CBO projects. The real question about the Bush tax cuts, then, is not, Can we afford them? The real question is, Why are they so small?
-- and this --
Competent Conservatives, Reactionary Liberals
JAN 15, 2001
We seem to be entering a period of competent conservatism and reactionary liberalism. George W. Bush has put together a cabinet long on management experience and practical skills. But liberal commentators and activists, their imaginations aflame, seem to be caught in a time warp, back in the days when Norman Lear still had hair.
-- and this --
The Collapse of the Dream Palaces 
Mass destruction of mistaken ideas. 
APR 28, 2003

... Now that the war in Iraq is over, we'll find out how many people around the world are capable of facing unpleasant facts. For the events of recent months confirm that millions of human beings are living in dream palaces, to use Fouad Ajami's phrase. They are living with versions of reality that simply do not comport with the way things are. They circulate and recirculate conspiracy theories, myths, and allegations with little regard for whether or not these fantasies are true. And the events of the past month have exposed them as the falsehoods they are.
Finally, there is the dream palace of the American Bush haters. In this dream palace, there is so much contempt for Bush that none is left over for Saddam or for tyranny. Whatever the question, the answer is that Bush and his cronies are evil. What to do about Iraq? Bush is evil. What to do about the economy? Bush is venal. What to do about North Korea? Bush is a hypocrite.

In this dream palace, Bush, Cheney, and a junta of corporate oligarchs stole the presidential election, then declared war on Iraq to seize its oil and hand out the spoils to Halliburton and Bechtel. In this dream palace, the warmongering Likudniks in the administration sit around dreaming of conquests in Syria, Iran, and beyond. In this dream palace, the boy genius Karl Rove hatches schemes to use the Confederate flag issue to win more elections, John Ashcroft wages holy war on American liberties, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and his cabal of neoconservatives long for global empire. In this dream palace, every story of Republican villainy is believed, and all the windows are shuttered with hate.

My third guess is that the Bush haters will grow more vociferous as their numbers shrink. Even progress in Iraq will not dampen their anger, because as many people have noted, hatred of Bush and his corporate cronies is all that is left of their leftism. And this hatred is tribal, not ideological. And so they will still have their rallies, their alternative weeklies, and their Gore Vidal polemics. They will still have a huge influence over the Democratic party, perhaps even determining its next presidential nominee. But they will seem increasingly unattractive to most moderate and even many normally Democratic voters who never really adopted outrage as their dominant public emotion.
In other words, there will be no magic "Aha!" moment that brings the dream palaces down. Even if Saddam's remains are found, even if weapons of mass destruction are displayed, even if Iraq starts to move along a winding, muddled path toward normalcy, no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, "We were wrong. Bush was right." They will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future. Nevertheless, the frame of the debate will shift. The war's opponents will lose self-confidence and vitality. And they will backtrack. They will claim that they always accepted certain realities, which, in fact, they rejected only months ago.
-- and so many, many, many other greatest hits with no one around to stand athwart this bullshit shouting "Stop".

I'd write more, but I'm pretty sure my language arts teacher is planning to drop a quiz on us tomorrow so I really have to hit the books.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I have been a fan of SMCD since it showed up. Many bloggers do the review of the Sunday Gasbags, but you do it the best, my friend....


Mike Lumish said...

I read these old columns from David Brooks, and I look at the aftermath, and I look at the Naderites & purity trolls who are - even as we speak - prancing about while squealing that there is no difference between the two parties, and I despair for America.

Maybe it's a race between two horribles: will it get so bad that the good people of America rise to install the progressive saviors before it gets so bad that even the progressives will admit that maybe the Democrats aren't quite so murderous as the Republicans?

Stay tuned.