Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fredo In Havana


Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times is fulfilling his pledge to finally get outside the Acela corridor and talk to real Americans just like any real American would -- by flying to Cuba on the taxpayer's dime and pondering Hemingway.
Getting to Zero

David Brooks APRIL 26, 2016

Havana — Ernest Hemingway’s house in Cuba seems like such a healthy place. It is light, welcoming and beautifully situated. There are hundreds of his books lining the shelves, testimony to all the reading he did there. There’s a baseball diamond nearby where he used to pitch to local boys.

Yet Hemingway was not a healthy man during the latter phases in his life...

Mr. Brooks adds to humanity's existing store of Hemingway scholarship by noting that Hemingway was:
drunk much of the time;
But could also be:
lively and funny
But could also be:
depressed, combative and demoralized
He was a man who became a:
prisoner of his own celebrity.

But eventually rediscovered"
something authentic
Sufficient to --
write books like “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea”
-- and other stuff like that.

 Mr. Brooks even leaves enough padding in his C- high school book report on Carlos Baker's 1968 Hemingway biography of to slip in an assurance to his bosses back at the New York Times that eventually his work will not suck, just like Ernest Hemingway!
Then in middle age, out of softness, laziness and self-approval, he indulged himself. But even then, even amid all the corruption, he had flashes when he could distinguish his own bluster from the good, true notes.
Mr. Brooks' new beat as the New York Times' roving culture-dabbler-without-portfolio must keep him very busy.  Hell, he hasn't even had time to join in the "A Third Party Could Save Us!" mania currently sweeping the Beltway.  And it would be so easy!  By taking full advantage of the Beltway's iron rule against ever mentioning any stupid shit Mr. Brooks has written in the past, all he really needs to do is dust off his tearful, 2006 plea for a "McCain-Lieberman" Party (made of the very finest Centrist pixie dust and Tinkerbell claps) --
...
There are two major parties on the ballot, but there are three major parties in America. There is the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the McCain-Lieberman Party.

All were on display Tuesday night.

The Democratic Party was represented by its rising force — Ned Lamont on a victory platform with the net roots exulting before him and Al Sharpton smiling just behind.

The Republican Party was represented by its collapsing old guard — scandal-tainted Tom DeLay trying to get his name removed from the November ballot. And the McCain-Lieberman Party was represented by Joe Lieberman himself, giving a concession speech that explained why polarized primary voters shouldn’t be allowed to define the choices in American politics.

The McCain-Lieberman Party begins with a rejection of the Sunni-Shiite style of politics itself. It rejects those whose emotional attachment to their party is so all-consuming it becomes a form of tribalism, and who believe the only way to get American voters to respond is through aggression and stridency.

The flamers in the established parties tell themselves that their enemies are so vicious they have to be vicious too. They rationalize their behavior by insisting that circumstances have forced them to shelve their integrity for the good of the country. They imagine that once they have achieved victory through pulverizing rhetoric they will return to the moderate and nuanced sensibilities they think they still possess.

But the experience of DeLay and the net-root DeLays in the Democratic Party amply demonstrates that means determine ends. Hyper-partisans may have started with subtle beliefs, but their beliefs led them to partisanship and their partisanship led to malice and malice made them extremist, and pretty soon they were no longer the same people.

The McCain-Lieberman Party counters with constant reminders that country comes before party, that in politics a little passion energizes but unmarshaled passion corrupts, and that more people want to vote for civility than for venom.
-- and have his assistant run a few "Change All" macros!
...
There are two major parties on the ballot, but there are three major parties in America. There is the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the Rubio-Ryan Party.

All were on display Tuesday night.

The Democratic Party was represented by its rising force — Bernie Sanders on a victory platform with the net roots exulting before him and Susan Sarandon smiling just behind.

The Republican Party was represented by its collapsed old guard — loud, loutish Donald Trump poised to capture the nomination. And the Rubio-Ryan Party was represented by Marco Rubio himself, giving a concession speech that explained why polarized primary voters shouldn’t be allowed to define the choices in American politics.

The Rubio-Ryan Party begins with a rejection of the Sunni-Shiite style of politics itself. It rejects those whose emotional attachment to their party is so all-consuming it becomes a form of tribalism, and who believe the only way to get American voters to respond is through aggression and stridency.

The flamers in the established parties tell themselves that their enemies are so vicious they have to be vicious too. They rationalize their behavior by insisting that circumstances have forced them to shelve their integrity for the good of the country. They imagine that once they have achieved victory through pulverizing rhetoric they will return to the moderate and nuanced sensibilities they think they still possess.

But the experience of Trump and Bernie Sander who is really just a mini-Trump in the Democratic Party amply demonstrates that means determine ends. Hyper-partisans may have started with subtle beliefs, but their beliefs led them to partisanship and their partisanship led to malice and malice made them extremist, and pretty soon they were no longer the same people.

The Rubio-Ryan Party counters with constant reminders that country comes before party, that in politics a little passion energizes but unmarshaled passion corrupts, and that more people want to vote for civility than for venom.
Why it's so easy, even an idiot like me can play!

Unfortunately, an idiot like me does not have anywhere near the audience or influence that Mr. Brooks has, and Mr. Brooks himself is currently very busy writing about "Cuba: A Land of Contrasts." and cannot be bothered.

Fortunately, the Beltway is full of idiots that have both access to very large audiences and a great incentive to spin fairy tales about Imaginary Third Parties which can be quickly conjured into existence (using an eye of Newt and a Gipper's wing) to save all Good Americans from being subjected to the unprecedented horror of having the two biggest vote-getters in America's two major parties face off against each other in a general election.

Brother Charlie Pierce take the measure of one such sensory-deprivation-tank masturbatory exercise here:
At 6:41 p.m. Monday night, a column appeared on the Wall Street Journal's website. It was written by Jim VandeHei, one of the founding geniuses of Tiger Beat On The Potomac. The column was about how the good real white Americans of the author's hometown in the Midwest are hungering for a third-party presidential disruption, possibly by Mark Zuckerberg, perhaps bankrolled by Michael Bloomberg. It took less than an hour for political Twitter to eat VandeHei's column, bones and all. You rarely see a single piece disemboweled so completely and so immediately, and from so many directions. It was like watching pack predators descend on a wounded wildebeest. And, not for nothing, but the scorn blizzard was richly deserved.
And if you could not afford the oer'leap the Wall Street Journal paywall, Bloody Bill Kristol was invited right into the heart of what used to be Liberal teevee this very morning to explain to Mrs. Alan Greenspan that building a viable third party overnight from scratch was actually very doable.  

Just like Iraq! 

Because obstacle, schmobstacle, all that is required that we have the will to do it! 

Just like Iraq!  

Of course, Bloody Bill is not going to do any of the actual heavy lifting.  

Just like Iraq!  

But he is more than willing to toss out helpful suggestions (just like Iraq) and report (without citing a single credible source) that various Very Influential People are secretly making Very Awesome Plans to get this done, and the troops will definitely be home by Christmas!




Welcome to Washington -- Land of Comcasts:




(h/t LeftofCenter at Crooks & Liars)

6 comments:

banker puppy said...

Speaking of Charlie Pierce, a makeshift comments section has been set up on facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/esqpolitics/

D. said...

Thanks for the reminder that I still haven't seen The Godfather: Part II.;-)

Third party, eh? Oh, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeze let them pour money down that rathole!

RUKidding said...

VandeHei:
"Exploit the fear factor." WTF rock does VandeHei live under?? Like this hasn't been happening 24/7/365 since 9/11/2001? He wants to amp it UP?? Lordy! Please spare us from this jerk.

"The candidate should be from the military or immediately announce someone with modern-warfare expertise or experience as running mate." Paging General Pinochet on the white courtesy telephone! Maybe Henry Kissinger can dig up someone to VandeHei's liking?

"People are scared." Those that are happen to be ARE that way bc highly compensated fear-mongers like you keep riling them up.

"Terrorism is today's World War and Americans want a theory for dealing with it." Yadda yadda yadda, lather rinse repeat

"President Obama has established an intriguing precedent of using drone technology and intelligence to assassinate terrorists before they strike." Will the TeaPers now commence to droning VandeHei for actually, you know, speaking positively about Obama? Heresy! Attack! Actually Obama's Drone Tuesdays - and how do I know about this but TeaPers do not? - are one the things I like least about the Obama Admin. Of course, VandeHei wants MOAR!!

"A third-party candidate could build on death-by-drones by outlying the type of modern weapons, troops and war powers needed to keep America safe. And make plain when he or she will use said power. Do it with very muscular language—there is no market for nuance in the terror debate." Uh, I think both Hillary & Trump are doing this now. Well, Trump is doing it cluelessly and completely ineffectually and insanely, but it's what he's ALL ABOUT, fer fucks sake. And no one met a WAR, Inc, that they didn't love love love as much as Hillary.

Like Mark effete I steal your business idea Zuckerberg is gonna Do. This. Thing!! And Sheryl Sandberg will, you know, LEAN IN and push the drone button?

Sheesh. Drifty, I must say, you force me to peer into the dark underbelly of the GOPer's soulless whatevers bc I've avoided these puling barking idiots like the plague... and it's clear I was really ONTO something by doing so.

Unreal. ALMOST makes DFB's C- "What I did on my fabulous Cuban Vacay" Term paper look, uh, ummm, well sort of normal-ish. Yeesh.

You say the hyenas attacked and took down VandeHei's column in minutes? Good to know. Jolly good to know. At least some semblance of sanity exits in the USA. Fer the love of all that's holy...

bowtiejack said...

The dark soul of the GOP seems to have a, uh, technology gap. Trump [and god knows he is just one of thousands of them ] really doesn't get it that reality TV includes playing back video of crazy shit you've said and done before and you can't get away from that just by calling people names. And the VandeHei's and DFB's really don't get what subjects of mockery and derision they are to the little people on the Intertoobs. The fact someone does not have a syndicated column or get invited to Village cocktail parties does not mean they are wrong about the Emperor having no clothes. Truth, facts and logic may seem to have taken an extended holiday, but they'll be back.

DrBB said...

@banker puppy: Thank you thank you thank you thank you. I was starting to get the shakes 'n' everything.

trgahan said...

Of course a privileged, self-centered, not-as-smart-as-his-interns-tell-him-he-is, middle aged white man sent to "report" on Cuba, would do the privileged white guy thing and visit Hemmingway's house in an attempt to find his own soul.....

I am interpreting media "Third Party" cries as conservatives who STILL don't want take responsibility for this shit storm they created and are tired of their liberal friends, families, and/or coworkers who have been laughing at them everyday since Trump won his first primary.

They just want to quickest path to early days of Reagan/Bush administration when they claimed liberalism "rejection," conservatisms long term "ascendency," and the only solutions were tax cuts and deregulation.