Thursday, February 25, 2016

What Are They Saying? My Wingnut is a Little Rusty

It's the Trump people. They're telling us how to act when they come marching in.

From Matt Taibbi's excellent article "How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable":
But, in an insane twist of fate, this bloated billionaire scion has hobbies that have given him insight into the presidential electoral process. He likes women, which got him into beauty pageants. And he likes being famous, which got him into reality TV. He knows show business.

That put him in position to understand that the presidential election campaign is really just a badly acted, billion-dollar TV show whose production costs ludicrously include the political disenfranchisement of its audience. Trump is making a mockery of the show, and the Wolf Blitzers and Anderson Coopers of the world seem appalled. How dare he demean the presidency with his antics?

But they've all got it backward. The presidency is serious. The presidential electoral process, however, is a sick joke, in which everyone loses except the people behind the rope line. And every time some pundit or party spokesman tries to deny it, Trump picks up another vote.
Trump understands the mob. Understands what they want. Understands that the people who are most responsible for (and have profited most handsomely from) the corruption of our media and our politics are the very people who are now having the mass fainting spells and public fits of howling fantods over Trump pointing the finger at them and calling them weaklings, mama's boys and bought-off whores.

Of course America's media and political establishments never saw any of this coming because America's media and political establishments have been (as the kids say) getting high on their own supply for decades now. They have closed themselves off behind their own increasingly-absurd fairy tales which everyone from Michael Steele to David Brooks to Chuck Todd keeps repeating to each other in the belief that by the sheer power of their repetition (and the sheer tonnage of the money they are willing to spend to sling their bullshit on every media outlet in the land) they could force reality to abide by their delusion.

Ironically, having been routinely demonized at 180 decibels every single day for the last 50 years by the Right, and having been alternately hippie-punched and held at a disdainful arms-length by the Democratic Party establishment, Liberals like me have been granted an unexpectedly privileged vantage point from which to survey American media and politics. 

We are so unwelcome in the day-to-day political intrigues of America's ruling cliques and their sycophantic claques that we are able to observe the entire freak-show as outsiders. As foreigners in our own country. So while Chris Matthews or Matthew Dowd or the entire Bush political machine all see this country from the pampered, contented perspective of their various seats in the Owner's Box, we Liberals outside the walls see as peons who have been locked out of Prince Prospero's castle and left fend for ourselves:
THE "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal --the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.

But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince's own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the "Red Death."...
The mobs that Trump has conjured to his cause understand that somebody screwed them out of their homes and their life's savings. Somebody got rich shipping their jobs and their kid's jobs overseas. Somebody marched them off to the wrong war and then fucked that war up. And since it sure as shit wasn't them (Spoiler: It was them) they are by God going to throw their lot in with someone who isn't beholden to anyone and who promises to take their misery out of the hides of the well-heeled weaklings, mama's boys and bought-off whores who brought this country to it's knees.

And right now that someone looks to be a debauched, loutish New York billionaire with a hot, fashion model wife. Taibbi again:
Cheryl Donlon says she heard the tariff message loud and clear and she's fine with it, despite the fact that it clashes with traditional conservatism.

"We need someone who is just going to look at what's best for us," she says.

I mention that Trump's plan is virtually identical to Dick Gephardt's idea from way back in the 1988 Democratic presidential race, to fight the Korean Hyundai import wave with retaliatory tariffs.

Donlon says she didn't like that idea then.

Why not?

"I didn't like him," she says. Trump, though, she likes. And so do a lot of people. No one should be surprised that he's tearing through the Republican primaries, because everything he's saying about his GOP opponents is true. They really are all stooges on the take, unable to stand up to Trump because they're not even people, but are, like Jeb and Rubio, just robo-babbling representatives of unseen donors.
In other words, the Red Death has gotten inside the castle.  And, as I wrote 10 years ago: the end, the world endures and fixed fortifications do not, and we can either go out and meet the threats of our era – and home and abroad -- with confidence, compassion, strength, humor, flexibility and intelligence…or hunker in our bunker getting dumber and drunker and pretending it’ll all just go away and leave us alone.

In the end we cannot hide.

Even if we were itty bitty we couldn’t hide, but we are far too big, too rich, too prominent and too powerful to even pretend such a thing is possible or desirable. We are all in this together, and if we allow ourselves to be scared into cowering in our fortress of fear and ignorance we doom ourselves.

The Outside will always, always breach the walls.

Red Death always will come for us in our resplendent spider hole…
“…like a thief in the night. 

And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. 

"And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. 

"And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all."
So should Democrats be cheering about running against Il Douche in 2016?

Taibbi thinks not. In fact...
Every four years, some Democrat who's been a lifelong friend of labor runs for president. And every four years, that Democrat gets thrown over by national labor bosses in favor of some party lifer with his signature on a half-dozen job-exporting free-trade agreements.

It's called "transactional politics," and the operating idea is that workers should back the winner, rather than the most union-friendly candidate.

This year, national leaders of several prominent unions went with Hillary Clinton – who, among other things, supported her husband's efforts to pass NAFTA – over Bernie Sanders. Pissed, the rank and file in many locals revolted. In New Hampshire, for instance, a Service Employees International Union local backed Sanders despite the national union's endorsement of Clinton, as did an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers chapter.

Trump is already positioning himself to take advantage of the political opportunity afforded him by "transactional politics." He regularly hammers the NAFTA deal in his speeches, applying to it his favorite word, "disaster."...

Trump will surely argue that the Clintons are the other half of the dissolute-conspiracy story he's been selling, representing a workers' party that abandoned workers and turned the presidency into a vast cash-for-access enterprise, avoiding scrutiny by making Washington into Hollywood East and turning labor leaders and journalists alike into starstruck courtiers. As with everything else, Trump personalizes this, making his stories of buying Hillary's presence at his wedding a part of his stump speech. A race against Hillary Clinton in the general, if it happens, will be a pitch right in Trump's wheelhouse – and if Bill Clinton is complaining about the "vicious" attacks by the campaign of pathological nice guy Bernie Sanders, it's hard to imagine what will happen once they get hit by the Trumpdozer.
Secretary Clinton can and probably will eventually earn the support of almost every faction inside the Democratic coalition, but if Trump locks up the GOP nomination early and if the labor vote is still up for grabs come July, get ready for the ugliest election you have ever seen.

And if that day comes, expect to see me over in some far corner, singing La Marseillaise with the rest of the rank sentimentalists.


Green Eagle said...

Get ready for the ugliest election you have ever seen, no matter what happens from here on out. For the Republicans, every election is the ugliest election you have ever seen. Just when Democrats think right wingers have plumbed the lowest depths of political depravity, Republicans come up with more, because it is all they have.

RUKidding said...

We hippy liberal outsiders - I like the depiction of us as foreigners in our nation (buncha f*cking r*tards who need drug testing, after all) - have sat back and witnessed Il Duce Donald's evisceration of the Bush Crime Syndicate, which was, after all, a thing of beauty. There's lists of his insults out there, and most of them are spot-on and totally factual.

Not that I'm a Trump supporter, just saying.

That said, we ain't seen nothing yet. Trump's just warming up for the championship match v Hillary. Hoo boy baby, just you wait. It's gonna get really really ugly really really quickly. Can Hilz stand up to it?

Wait and see.

Not sanguine about the outcome.

Unsure how things would roll should Sanders somehow make the grade, but my thinking - pulled directly outta my butt cheek - is that GOP establishment is gonna do what it takes to get HRC the nomination. I suspect they'll be secretly working overtime to get HRC in the White House. She's their poodle, after all.

Pile on if you must. Just calling it as I see it.

Marc McKenzie said...

@RUKidding--Hillary is the GOP's poodle? Oh man, come up with something better. They fucking hate her guts and have done so for twenty-plus years. Have you forgotten the recent Benghazi bullshit hearings?

And yet, despite everything tossed at Hillary by the GOP, she's survived. She's stood up to their worst. What can Trump do--call her a dried up c*#t? Because that's what quite a few Sanders supporters have done.

(Notice I did not say "all Sanders supporters". Because I do believe that there are good people who support Sanders and I give the man respect. But there are those who claim to support him who are all too ready to repeat GOP BS against Hillary and show themselves to be sexist jerkoffs who are just fine with Trump winning.)

RUKidding said...

I'm talking about the powers behind the throne/curtain. Not talking about politicians, judges, pundits, the MSM or the voters. You know, like Wall Street and the MIC.

keith gargus said...

Good read, Driftglass. Speaking of good reads, Taibbi's piece is excellent. I've been sending around my little network all day.
Two things. One, to understand trump the candidate just look at his cameos on WWE. He plays the same part in those "everyman" melodramas as he does on the campaign trail. Two dimensional good guys and bad guys (wink wink), wild overheated rhetoric, combined with a frenzied audience letting loose their basest emotions. TV wrestling has great ratings, so does trump.
Two, I have always believed once you go "there" you can't go back. Which means now that the discourse has been dragged into the gutter, there won't be any more facades of civility. Looking at debates from the mid-twentieth century, then to the current ones is all the proof I need. It's a reality show world now, welcome to it.

Redhand said...

I said what I needed to, for now, in the prior post. But La Marseillaise, here, has to be one of the greatest scenes in all of Cinema. It certainly is a reminder that some fights are worth it, especially when one needs to get one's country back.

I downloaded Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here. It'll be interesting to see if there are strong parallels.

SamB said...

Trump University is a metaphor for Trump's Presidential campaign.

Hillary may not read Driftglass's blog's comments, but ideas here filter up.

Don P said...

Glad you included Taibbi's Dem. counter on trade in your post, Driftglass.

trgahan said...

Union leaders siding with politicians that go against membership interest goes back to days when unions were electorally relevant voting blocks. In those days it was largely to support civil rights, which membership was largely against.

Obviously not universal, but white male union members were never bastions of liberalism. Today most already crank Rush to 11, never cared for brown people, and think Alex Jones has some interesting ideas. All while they never recognizing their own contradictions.

In the aftermath of 2012, NPR spent the day discussing the "Otherness" of the voting blocks that led to Obama's victory. While trying to hold back my anger that American citizens voting for a Democratic President was being considered unusual and abnormal, the block that didn't seem to matter was organized labor.

Fonscy said...

The problem with Driftglass: Taibbi points out that HRC and the Clinton's are the soulless sellouts to Wall St. that they are with NAFTA, welfare "reform", mass incarceration, Sister Souljah, no public option....but then Driftglass says, but we have to support her because the free trade, welfare reformers, mass incarecerators, race baiters will take over if we don't!

In Illinois there is a chance that a Republican can win in a presidential election?

Glen Tomkins said...

Please, more ugliness in our elections. They've been way too nice and polite since the days when FDR welcomed the other side's hatred. When the Rs found that they couldn't beat a Truman with a Dewey, they threw in the towel, took on a New Deal Democrat to be their RINO nominee, and our side found it short-term advantageous to accept the pretense that we still had two parties. Too many of us have grown so comfortable with RINOs that we imagine that bipartisanship and a neutral media is the natural state of things, and it's so unfair that the other side believes and says ugly things.

It's actually a good thing that the other side is letting its inner reptile come out of the closet lately. This time, though, after we throw the bums out, can we please take the necessary steps to insure that their party is gone for good, like the Federalists and the Whigs? No more bipartisanship, ever. The other party always, always, remain bums who need throwing out. Them and their toxic SCOTUS judges with them.

Matt said...

"HRC and the Clinton's are the soulless sellouts to Wall St. that they are with NAFTA, welfare "reform", mass incarceration, Sister Souljah, no public option"

1) HRC proposed a public option during her 2008 campaign and presumably supported it during the passage of Obamacare. And her campaign website right now lists it as the prime Obamacare reform she wants to make. She has always been in support of it.

2) She's repudiated NAFTA publicly and voted against CAFTA as a Senator. She supports fair trade and labor protections in trade agreements and enforcement of trade policy.

3) As Senator, she spoke out in favor of regulation of mortgage lending, against making bankruptcy more difficult, against high CEO pay, and she backed up those positions with votes.

There's a bunch of tribal knowledge about Hillary that just circulates and circulates. Much of it was injected into the Clinton narrative in the 90's by the VRWC and has never been able to escape the meme-cycle. Some of it is due to her own paranoia about the media, but some is just lazy political shorthand. The woman served as a Senator for 8 years and Secretary of State for 4. She's run for President once before. It seems like there's plenty of material there to figure out her policy preferences and stances on positions without having to guess at her role in Bill's policy frameworks or how she's evolved politically in the last 25 years.

keith gargus said...


"3)As senator, she spoke out in favor of regulation of mortgage lending, against making bankruptcy more difficult...".
She may have spoken out against it, but she voted for the bill. Just sayin'.

Fonscy said...


Fair enough.

HRC, for her entire career, has represented neo-liberalism at home and abroad.

Currently her role is to defend Romneycare against the perils of a single payer. On the international front her premier achievement as Secretary of State, the overthrow of the Libyan government, is working out fabulously as chaos reigns, ISIS has a new platform and the royal family of Libya plans a comeback.

BTW, when speaking at Goldman Sachs events or when vacationing with Henry Kissinger do you think they get some chuckles about how she got that endorsement from SEIU?