Monday, July 27, 2015

Saruman The Centrist

Today Nobel Prize-winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman spent some time firing spitballs at the mile-high iron walls of the Beltway Centrist fortress: 
What I would argue is key to this situation — and, in particular, key to understanding how the conventional wisdom on Trump/McCain went so wrong — is the reality that a lot of people are, in effect, members of a delusional cult that is impervious to logic and evidence, and has lost touch with reality.

I am, of course, talking about pundits who prize themselves for their centrism.

Pundit centrism in modern America is a strange thing. It’s not about policy, as you can see from the many occasions when members of the cult have demanded that Barack Obama change his ways and advocate things that … he was already advocating. What defines the cult is, instead, the insistence that the parties are symmetric, that they are equally extreme, and that the responsible, virtuous position is always somewhere in between.

The trouble is that this isn’t remotely true. Democrats constitute a normal political party, with some spread between its left and right wings, but in general espousing moderate positions. The GOP, on the other hand, is a deeply radical faction; even its supposed moderates are moderate only in tone, not in policy positions, and its base is motivated by anger against Others.

What this means, in turn, is that to sustain their self-image centrists must misrepresent reality.

On one side, they can’t admit the moderation of the Democrats, which is why you had the spectacle of demands that Obama change course and support his own policies.

On the other side, they have had to invent an imaginary GOP that bears little resemblance to the real thing...
This is, in sum, the critique I have been pointlessly leveling at the political center since the day I took up my pseudonym, ten years and +6,000 columns ago.

The scale of the lie is so vast and the power and wizardry of its adepts and acolytes is so lethal that no one but a few, scrofulous Liberals with no constituency dares to speak of it by name.

And in all seriousness, there is something weirdly reassuring about the sight of Special K being completely ignored in exactly the same way that the rest of us denizens of America's permanent Invisible Liberal political underclass are ignored every day.


Unknown said...

Krugthulu is of course hamstrung by the fact that he can't name two of the worst Centrist Scam offenders by name, as they are fellow NYT opinionators.

But it's good that he's on this beat and I hope a column follows from this blog post. It may not move the needle today, but we have to start somewhere.

The problem is that some of the faux Centrists of whom Krugman speaks take it as a badge of honor, and proof of their righteousness, to be humiliated by rude foul-mouthed libruls like Krugman. Morning Joke and Ron "Severe Dementia" Fournier are probably the worst in this regard.

The only sense in which I would part ways with Krugman is that most professional Centrists are not in fact true-believers in the Ideology of Centrism, but rather are GOP enablers playing their assigned part in the media puke funnel. Ron f'n Fournier is not actually a centrist in any meaningful way. He's a GOP flak and he provides cover for them by preening about as a "Centrist" who is just so, so disappointed that that mean ol' partisan Obama can't leeeeeeaaaaad and get the Teabagger dipshits in the GOP House to do anything he wants. He is trying to insert this "Obama can't lead" bullshit into the conventional wisdom, and he's doing it on behalf of the GOP. Most self-described "centrists" are performing similar performance art on behalf of the GOP. David f'n Brooks, as well know all too well, dances to his own tune but to the same end.

Tom "Moustache of Understanding" Friedman, however, seems to be a true believer and is guilty of all the fatuous dipshittery Krugman described in his post.

dinthebeast said...

Wow, I haven't heard anyone use "scrofulous" in a long time. And I guess there actually are some people who are getting sick of the bullshit level:

-Doug in Oakland

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

Going Full Driftglass, explained a different way...

“He stretches. He’s not telepathy. His mind stretches, and worms out, and lays eggs. And reproduces. Anyone who’s been within a hundred hyperlinks of Driftglass...probably IS Driftglass. Including you. Including me.”

---Warren Ellis’ “Planetary,” paraphrased

Be seeing you.

Robert Burchard said...

You may have written 6,000 columns, but I am looking forward to 6,000 more.

Kathleen O'Neill said...


Thank you for that link. I loved the article.

jim said...

Chomsky & Herman used their media model in Manufacturing Consent to predict exactly how said media would respond to the model ... which they then obediently did, even with that very unflattering prediction staring them in the face.

The loudest voice in modern history is That Tiny Violin: $$$!!!