Wednesday, January 13, 2016

He's Told Us Not To Blow It...

...'Cause he knows it's all worthwhile

                                 -- David Bowie, Star Man

Last night, President Obama gave one of the most thoughtful and consequential State of the Union addresses in living memory.  So it should come as no surprise that it was instantly panned and reflexively hated by all the same tin-pot demagogues --
-- seditious myrmidons, rambling bigots and unhinged wretches who have panned everything this President has said and done since he put his hand on the Bible seven years ago and began the hard work of trying to clean up the wreckage left behind by the worst President in history.

Arnold Toynebee once said that history is "just once damn thing after another". History doesn't slow down or take a day off for drought or meteors or the fall of kings.  It just keeps on going, and I find comfort in the knowledge that while President Obama will go down in history as one of our great presidents, the loud and bitter claques of scheming wingnuts and squabbling Beltway twats with which we are currently afflicted will either be paved over by history entirely or remembered only as Obama's Rufus Griswolds -- a pack of petty hacks and malformed losers who made their sordid wages and reputations by trying to take a bite out of their betters.

But the judgments of history are slow in coming, and in the here-and-now the braying of America's bitter squabbling Beltway twats is still loud and continuous as they try to push back their inexorable march into irrelevance and oblivion. For example, in the here-and-now you can watch in amazement as post-SOTU Ron "Severe Dementia" Fournier correctly identifies (from quite a long way away) the toxic disease that has killed his party:

And then pivot immediately to the important business of allocating responsibility for the genesis and virulence of that toxic disease.  Take a wild guess where the Blame Stick lands in 3...2...1...

In his shitty column in the National Review, Mr. Fournier goes on to declare that President Obama has "No Hope for Greatness" because of his unforgivable failure to break the back of the mob of bigots and lunatics that was once known as the Republican Party. Or, as Mr. Fournier puts it:
In a rare em­brace of fail­ure and hu­mil­ity, Barack Obama said Tues­day night that “one of the few re­grets of my pres­id­ency” is the fact that par­tis­an ran­cor has worsened un­der his watch. The pres­id­ent seems to fi­nally real­ize that break­ing the found­ing prom­ise of his polit­ic­al ca­reer will hurt him in the eyes of his­tory. 

In his fi­nal State of the Uni­on ad­dress, Obama called for “a bet­ter polit­ics,” say­ing the na­tion’s large and linger­ing prob­lems can only be solved if Amer­ic­ans “can have ra­tion­al, con­struct­ive de­bates.”

Had it been de­livered by a pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate, the speech would have been tre­mend­ous. But in the hands of a time-worn lead­er sev­en years in­to a pres­id­ency that began with such prom­ise, Obama’s sen­ti­ments were sadly fa­mil­i­ar, almost hol­low: well-writ­ten and well-in­ten­tioned but, like the bal­ance of his pres­id­ency, a dis­ap­point­ment...
It is a fact that the Republican party passed from lingering coma into death long ago.  

It is also a fact that the GOP has been replaced by a loose confederacy of oligarchs, mollusks and stink bugs who are so far gone that they won't even applaud American enterprise or digging out from the Great Recession for fear of getting Kenyan Kooties and being primaried from the Right in the next election by the reanimated corpse of Curtis LeMay.  

It is also a fact that this American Fascist Party has no greater ally in the mainstream media that skulking Both Siderist parasites like Ron Fournier, whose entire career now consists of blunting and dismissing every criticism of overt, drooling Conservative madness with the same magic, never-fail conjure words over and over again -- "But the Democrats..."

And given those facts, I am not naive enough to believe that this witchbag of true-believing thugs and calculating opportunists have never and will never give President Obama fair shake.  After all, we have all seen these same goof and swindlers conspire to make the seven years of Clinton-era Republican show trials and witch-hunts and all the pious words about holding presidents to the highest possible standards just....vanish once Dubya was handed the White House by five of his daddy's friends.  They rebranded a bottom-feeding pervert like Newt Gingrich into a respectable sage, and a blood-drunk sociopath like Bill Kristol into a "brilliant thinker" fit for a seat at the head table. 

And for their greatest trick, they made the entire Bush Administration disappear right before our eyes, and transformed tens of millions of committed, preening Bush Regime dead enders into born-again political virgins, sporting adorable tri-corner hats and swearing on the lives of their children that they had never even heard of George Walker Bush or Richard Bruce Cheney.

In other words -- and not to sound too self-serving -- they did exactly what I predicted they would do a decade ago:
In five years, having voted for Bush will have become the parachute pants of this decade.

It will become the “Oh my GOD. What the fuck was I thinking?” shameful secret people will occasionally and elliptically allude to by piping up with, “well, he did good after 9/11”...
But however hard they may try to deface the record of the Obama Administration, it's never gonna happen.  President Obama was not cast out of office after one term and is not limping out of office after a series of witch-hunts and a large, self-inflicted scandal left him politically damaged.  He will still be a relatively young man when he closes out his eight years as our 44th president: a relatively young man with a great mind and a powerful voice who will also be the best possible spokesman for his own legacy.

Unlike Bush, Obama does not leave behind shattered cities, a collapsed economy, a broken army, a looted treasury and a record of incompetence, shame, belligerent failure and outright treason stretching endlessly in all directions.   Instead, President Obama will leave behind a solid record of real, institutional changes which have materially improved the lives of millions of our fellow citizens and which will be all but impossible to undo.  A solid record...which future historians will regard as fucking miraculous when they factor in the lockstep and fanatical opposition he faced from his first day in office until his last.

And what of that opposition?

In the short term, they will continue to remain defiantly ignorant (for freedom!), torching everything they can lay their sticky little paws on (because that's what Baby Jebus would do) and blaming imaginary hippies under the bed for the fact that they're as dumb as a bag of hammers and that their world is on fire.  And, of course, America's crackpot wingnut billionaires will continue to throw bales of money at  them because they're the only game in town.  But let's face it, any political party whose front-runners are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump?  Whose one Big Idea is stripping health care from millions of Americans?  Who needs round-the-clock support from ghouls like Ann Coulter and Beltway hacks like Ron Fournier just to prop it up, rouge its cheeks and give it some some semblance of animate life?

That has a Reince Priebus behind the wheel fer chrissake?

That's not a party in trouble.  That's a party which is as dead as Ronald Reagan.   Not a party at all, any more, but a tribe of moochers and con men who have stashed Reagan's corpse in the basement and who take his name and forge his signature because they want to continue sponging off of his pension.

And that tribe of moochers and con men no longer represent a force capable of summoning anything like the strength or discipline it would take to unmake the Obama Legacy.  Instead, as time inexorably drags them kicking and screaming from the stage, history will record them for what they were: a gang of parasites, bigots and demagogues who tried and failed to make America small enough and weak enough and dumb enough and scared enough for them to rule it.

Instead history will consign them to the same grave as Rufus Griswold -- a grave which  they have dug for themselves and which will entomb their reputations forever:
...Ann S. Stephens called him two-faced and "constitutionally incapable of speaking the truth".[76] Even his friends knew him as a consummate liar and had a saying: "Is that a Griswold or a fact?"[77] Another friend once called him "one of the most irritable and vindictive men I ever met".[76] Author Cornelius Mathews wrote in 1847 that Griswold fished for writers to exploit, warning "the poor little innocent fishes" to avoid his "Griswold Hook".[78] A review of one of Griswold's anthologies, published anonymously in the Philadelphia Saturday Museum on January 28, 1843, but believed to have been written by Poe,[79] asked: "What will be [Griswold's] fate? Forgotten, save only by those whom he has injured and insulted, he will sink into oblivion, without leaving a landmark to tell that he once existed; or if he is spoken of hereafter, he will be quoted as the unfaithful servant who abused his trust."[80]


Frank McCormick said...


Unknown said...

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, to discover that Ron "Severe Dementia" Fournier clicked the GENERATE button on his "Obama Can't Lead" column macro and tossed out another willfully obtuse bit of boilerplate about how Obama is such a poopyface because he failed to convince a retrograde political party full of knuckledragging dolts and nihilists, who proudly, PUBLICLY declared that their only goal was to make him a failure, to work with him on anything other than his own letter of resignation.

What a fucking clown. A sad, small clown, possibly suffering from undiagnosed head trauma.

Sandman said...

Positively brilliant. Maybe your best ever, and that's saying quite a lot.

trgahan said...

Remember when Haley was one of the good ones? A prime VP candidate that could only help deliver 2016? Instead she's another media anointed "GOP Savior" that actual GOP voters wants put up against the wall with the rest of the RINOS.

I swear the GOP has eaten more of its own since 2008 than of their hated opposition. Just how is this billionaire backed Ron et al. disconnect between conservatives in media and actual conservatives sustainable? Is the plan just to blow up congress and as many states as they can get their hands on until another Reagan emerges?

bowtiejack said...

Rufus who? Ron who?

Neo Tuxedo said...

Bear in mind, though, the depressingly large number of people who believe Griswold's story about Poe having drunk himself to death in the gutter. Hell(TM), I'd still believe it myself if I hadn't stumbled across the truth during a wiki walk a couple of whiles ago.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

"President Obama will go down in history as one of our great presidents"

I'll bite. Why?

Kathleen O'Neill said...

@Sandman What you said.

Mr XD said...

Excellent post, as usual. In the spirit of a minor footnote, let me share this ~
Word Origin and History for twat n.1650s, of unknown origin. A general term of abuse since 1920s.

The T-word occupies a special niche in literary history, however, thanks to a horrible mistake by Robert Browning, who included it in 'Pippa Passes' (1841) without knowing its true meaning. 'The owls and bats,/Cowls and twats,/Monks and nuns,/In a cloister's moods.' Poor Robert! He had been misled into thinking the word meant 'hat' by its appearance in 'Vanity of Vanities,' a poem of 1660, containing the treacherous lines: 'They'd talk't of his having a Cardinalls Hat,/They'd send him as soon an Old Nuns Twat.' (There is a lesson here about not using words unless one is very sure of their meaning.) [Hugh Rawson, "Wicked Words," 1989]

< I found this at>

Robt said...

Sometime when we both have more time. I would be interested in hearing what you really and fully think of the President, The hate writers of the right, How the republicans not became fascists but openly fascist.

I my perspective President Obama will be evaluated in time as others. There will not be a river of money propping up a rewritten legacy as has been done with Saint Ronnie.

Saying this to a conservative will get you retorts of, You are a communist. Wake up!, Must get your news from liberal media. What about Obama crashing the economy in 2009? But Obama was victorious in his jade Helm 15 take over of Texas. how Those bad asses in Dallas fort Worth fell to Obama;s Gay Berets and the Alamo falling to Obama's Black Panthers. But all those white Texas gun toters now being mistreated in Obama FEMA Camps.
Why won't Trump tell it like it is and how he (Donald) will have them release with an executive order on day one?? Why won't the media tell you?

Obama has done more than Even I give him credit for. No, Dodd/Frank did not go far enough. It was done and it was extremely important. The A.C.A. ( which my youngest son got insurance through) is not perfect but what was health insurance like before it? Am I better off today than I was in 2007?
If the President had human legislators, What real change we would be looking at?
Take it from the top;
President responds to press
“When I first came into office, the head of the Senate Republicans said, ‘my number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president.’ Now, after the election, either he will have succeeded in that goal or he will have failed at that goal.”

Much more than ideology and partisanship.....

I fought the lawn. And the lawn won. said...

Not a party at all, any more, but a tribe of moochers and con men.

And why not? It's a business model which has been perfected by the TV evangelists who prey on the same rubes.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Paul Street begs to differ.

Redhand said...

This post and your last one are among your very best Driftglass. My hope would be that future generations have a record of a blog like yours so that they can see that Americans living in our time didn't just roll over and play dead in response to the madness of the GOP and the billionaire oligarchy trying to destroy any semblance of democracy in our Republic.

There is a lot about Obama's presidency that leaves me with a sense of disappointment, particularly when it comes to not prosecuting the war criminals in the prior administration. However, when we consider (as you point out) the utter wreckage of our society created by the Bush administration, in terms of vulnerability to terrorist attack, erosion of civil rights, an illegal and criminal war, the creation of torture as a legitimate tool of government, the obscene rise of crony capitalism working hand-in-hand with the debasement of government regulatory bodies run by political stooges, and last but not least the utter cratering of our economy by an out-of-control Wall Street, there is no doubt that Obama faced one of the most daunting reconstruction tasks ever presented to a president.

I wish he had been able to do more, but it is a miracle that he was able to accomplish what he did given the from day one obstruction of the Republicans.

The second great failure of our society is a "private one," i.e. the corporatization and neutering of our so-called "free and independent press." Suffice it to say it is doubly depressing that only bloggers like yourself and other "lunatics" on the left-wing are pointing out the obvious: that in addition to having a grossly dysfunctional government we also have a courtier press that plays along for profit.

Sometimes I think that the chaos in American society caused by the Vietnam War was better than what we have now (aside from the number of dead). At least then there was some belief that the hippies and responsible members of government could bring about real change. Who could imagine in this day and age a president being forced to resign like Nixon was? Need I say more?

Keep up the great work Driftglass. Your posts keep me sane.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

One of Obama's greatest assets remains that too many of his critics criticize him for the wrong reasons. ^_^

bowtiejack said...

What Redhand said.

The Kraken said...

Hard hitting statements for sure. The Republican Party has become the oxbow lake on the river of American history. It's hulk will continue to pollute the sections and regions where it festers, but the rest of us are moving on.

OBS said...

"Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...
Paul Street begs to differ."

From the link:

My strong and educated sense of the 44th U.S. president is that he knows very well that he is functioning as a tool of global capitalism’s endless war on democracy and the common good and that he enjoys it. He particularly enjoys hare-brained liberals and progressives who are still to this day bamboozled into thinking that he is anything more than a slithering neoliberal snake, a shiny tool of the unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire.

Yes, that's clearly a "strong and educated sense" he's using in that article.[/snark]

Yes, we get it, there are better dreamworld presidents out there that will usher in a time of purity and ponies for everyone, when we'll finally throw off the yoke of our crony capitalist overlords and take the country back.

Until then, a helluva lot of people that aren't bloviating, privileged white assholes (I say, as a privileged white asshole) that are way, way fucking better off than they were a few short years ago.

But hey, color this hare-brained progressive bamboozled, I guess. Heighten the contradictions! Vote Trump! After all, how could it get any worse?


Paul Wartenberg said...

For me, I recognize the name Rufus Griswold. He did not, in fact, fall into utter obscurity.

Griswold is best remembered for destroying Edgar Allan Poe's literary reputation after Poe's death, writing slanderous stories about him and making Poe's works unprintable for decades.

Griswold's own works, meanwhile, HAVE fallen into utter obscurity. After that, Edgar Allan Poe's reputation survived the slander thanks to a French readership that promoted Poe's literary skill - in a nation where Griswold held no influence - to such levels that it restored Poe's readership in the United States by the 20th Century.

It shows how short-sighted the haters can be: true genius, true accomplishments survive the fires and slights of your enemies.

Douglas Wesselmann said...

Thanks for the mention of Rufus Wilmot Griswold ... a truly despicable character, rarely resurrected in today's discussion of life, art, and politics... A sad study in jealousy, and professional envy. Or was he?

Joshua Holland said...

Small correction: Ron Fournier's shitty columns run in the National Journal, not NR.