Thursday, July 07, 2016

Those Were The Days My Friend


They thought they'd never end.

Legend tell us that in the days of old, the Great Temple of Both Siderism was one of the seven wonders of the media world.  Hastily constructed on top of the ruins of the old Beltways "Competent Conservatives, Reactionary Liberals" paradigm, almost overnight the Great Temple of Both Siderism went from a shitty little safe house for Neocon hacks fleeing blowback from their Bush Administration proclamations to the sacred home of Beltway's dominant political faith.

But however bright and shiny if might have looked during its heyday, because it was tossed together by desperate men with all the care of a peak housing bubble McMansion, under the weight of the stomping madness of the GOP over the past 10 years, the fundamental, structural defects of the Great Temple of Both Siderism are now on display for all to see.  Crumbling stairs.   Load-bearing walls made of Funyuns and paper mache now swaybacked and moaning.  A roof with holes big enough to see the entire Milky Way.

And in the ruins that they built on top of other ruins, the desperate men still hold mass.  Still perform the rituals. Still say the holy words.  Still pretend that the elements cannot reach them.  Which is why Meet the Press did an extended, sermon on Mr. Jon Rauch's article in The Atlantic -- "How American Politics Went Insane" -- the centerpiece of which is this:
The Republicans’ noisy breakdown has been echoed eerily, albeit less loudly, on the Democratic side, where, after the early primaries, one of the two remaining contestants for the nomination was not, in any meaningful sense, a Democrat.
You see, the style book of the the Great Temple of Both Siderism permits the holy text to be written in one and only one font: Horserace Sans Serif. Which is ehy they really, really, really need every god damn story to be an abject object lesson in how Both Sides have let us down. Even when they have to flat out lie to bend their holy words into place:
Political disintegration plagues Congress, too.
And what makes this lie especially insulting is that it is a silly lie.  A stupid lie.  A lie that requires no more effort that a couple of mouse-clicks to debunk (from AlterNet):
Nancy Pelosi: The Most Effective Speaker of the House in History

As Nancy Pelosi hands off the Speaker’s gavel to John Boehner today, she also hands him a tough act to follow. Despite insistent attempts to malign her during her four years as Speaker of the House, the California congresswoman turns out to have been arguably the most effective person in that post in U.S. history. And it’s not just rah-rah Democrats saying so.

“We’re looking at an extraordinary set of accomplishments over a brief period of time,” said Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “She ranks with the most consequential speakers, certainly in the last 75 years.”

Pelosi faced a House so divided along party lines that she couldn’t count on a single Republican vote for legislation–which means that she had to wrangle fellow Democrats to demonstrate a discipline and unity they have not been famous for. Out of that unity emerged a record of public policy triumphs unmatched since the Great Society legislation of the 1960s, according to University of Oklahoma political science professor Cindy Simon Rosenthal. “And much of it is because of her,” says Rosenthal.
...
See, when the party that believes (however imperfectly) in a vision of government beyond dynamiting the whole damn thing and letting oligarchs and theocrats rule by decree, are in charge, they tend to get a shit load done.

And when the party of witch-hunts and sedition and sabotage and shutdowns are in charge, we get witch-hunts and sedition and sabotage and shutdowns.

So why can't Mr. Rauch just tell this simple truth?

Because within the corporate media there is absolutely no market for that story.  Because if he does, Chuck Todd would never, ever butter him up and sit him down in front of a "Meet the Press" camera.
CHUCK TODD:  ...Well, the changes all sound good, but my next guest says the effort to create a more transparent democracy has in fact created chaos and given us the politics we see today. Jonathan Rauch is the author of the cover story in this month's Atlantic. It's a provocative piece called How American Politics Went Insane. And he joins us now. Mr. Rausch, good to see you, sir.

JONATHAN RAUCH:   It's great to be here, Chuck, thank you.

CHUCK TODD: It's probably the best summation of trying to explain how did we get here, right? It's the number-one question all of us get, which is how did we end up with Trump and Clinton, and how did we end up with this politics?...
Because the simple truth that most of our political problems are caused by a dangerously insane Republican party does not support the Beltway establishment's proposition that our political problems can only be fixed by returning to the good old days when the Beltway establishment ran the whole casino from behind closed doors:

CHUCK TODD: You know, it's interesting, in your piece, as you also write this, "Our most pressing political problem today is that the country abandoned the establishment, not the other way around." Obviously we've been hearing that word, whatever it meant, the "establishment." "I'm running against the establishment." "We don't like the establishment." And you're contending, no, the problem is the establishment's not working.
...

CHUCK TODD: Well, here's what I hope. I hope at least every elected official reads this. I think many Americans need to read it, but it's an important piece, it may become a seminal piece for all we know. Jonathan Rauch, congratulations. Thanks for coming on.

JONATHAN RAUCH: Thank you, Chuck.
Seminal?

Well I for one sure feel like "Meet the Press" just jizzed on me.

Which brings us around at last to the high priest of the Great Temple of Both Siderism, standing in the crumbling wreck of the pulpit of the temple. preaching the Good Word to no one but the choir:
Choosing Leaders: Clueless or Crazy
Isn't is a shame that all of our leaders suck.  All such terrible choices.  

Where oh where are the Great Men of old! And why oh why can't we find "a political Pope Francis-type figure"?
We probably need a political Pope Francis-type figure, who comes up from the bottom and understands life there, but who can still make the case for an open dynamic world, with free-flowing goods, ideas, capital and people. Until that figure emerges, we could be in for a set of serial leadership crises.
Actually, we have a leader right now who came from relatively humble circumstances.  Who worked for the betterment of the disadvantaged, rose to a position of great power and was elected with large margins twice.  Who faced some of  the worst foreign and domestic crises in a century, made some mistakes, offered compromise and conciliation at every turn and stayed remarkably calm and even-keeled through all of it.  

And for the last seven and a half years, your fucking party, Mr. Brooks, has dedicated itself openly and single-mindedly to slandering, delegitimatizing and destroying his ability to govern by any means necessary,  

See, Mr. Brooks, we don't need a "a political Pope Francis-type figure" to lead us.  

We need a political William Tecumseh Sherman-type figure to drive a stake through the heart of the Party of Jefferson Davis once and for all.  

21 comments:

n1ck said...

Perhaps Strongman Trump will drive an orange reverse mullet through the heart of the Republican party.

Bob Muir said...

Would that could happen but alas the Democratic Party keeps making reach across the isle mouth noises in the press even though all they have been getting back is a bloody stump with a weasel attached.
To push the civil war metaphor a big, it's like they keep offering Appomattox Court House terms after the Battle of Gettysburg.

Charlesdillon said...

Well, here's what I hope. I hope at least every elected official reads this. I think many Americans need to read it, but it's an important piece, it may become a seminal piece for all we know. Mr. driftgalss, congratulations. Thanks for coming on.

Charlesdillon said...

Well, here's what I hope. I hope at least every elected official reads this. I think many Americans need to read it, but it's an important piece, it may become a seminal piece for all we know. Mr. driftglass, congratulations. Thanks for coming on.

Jimbo said...

I'm surprised the Toddler didn't have Ron B-S Fournier on too so as to complete the Trifecta of Liars: Toddler the Horserace Announcer, Rausch, the Dems and GOP are equally extremists and insane and then Ronny to bemoan the wholesale absence of any leadership from Obummer. My two journalist brothers never pay attention to any of the Sunday Showz since they're utter garbage at the best of times and nothing like actual journalism.

trgahan said...

Poor Beltway Media. Funny how Democrats having a normal primary is the equivalent of 17 unelectable conman being bested by a racist, pig ignorant, Reality TV star with no real interest in actually serving as President.

Now that the FBI refused to become a arm of the RNC and slap Clinton with made up charges, the media is faced with four plus months of slathering coat after coat of "both sides" white wash that on an effectively already decided election. It is just damage control at this point.

Also, Mr. Brooks once again shows he has absolutely no idea who makes up his own party by advocating "a political Pope Francis-type figure." Does he not know how much Republicans (from the oligarchy to the base) HATE Pope Francis? Most fundamentally distrust Catholics regardless.

Lit3Bolt said...

100 years from now, our great-grandchildren will learn in school the reason the Republican Party Just Fuckin' Lost It was mainly due to the end of the Cold War.

Sure, the political realignment was already happening due to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Vietnam. But the mask truly slipped when Communism died its permanent death and capitalism went immediately from benign bourgeois bureaucracy to full-stop Neo-Feudalism.

The press played a significant role in this journey by mainly dying a long, protracted death. Actual journalists who knocked on doors were already being replaced with actors from television commercials and faddish, pop-lit authors. While these people generated content for hungry eyeballs, they did very little actual journalism and barely knew who anyone was on a day to day basis, much less their agendas.

The managers in corporate offices crunched the numbers and saw the results: sports journalism was the most profitable segment they had. Now they just had to apply that model to every other aspect of journalism: science, op-eds, community, business, and politics. The model was simple: generate an authoritative sounding number, then build a narrative around it. Always react, never act. Always yearn for the good old days, because our clients are old. And never offend anyone with reality, so always give equal credit to every viewpoint, except for African-Americans. Never even put their picture in the paper, unless you have to with the sports page. Ugh.

Thus we have the bobbleheads of today, who don't even realize they are paid actors burping out a pre-arranged narrative using the simplest cliches possible to make it more accessible to the audience. They actually think they are journalists. But they are not.

They are the Howdy-Doodys of Big Brother.

RUKidding said...

When Pope Francis visited the USA recently, I recall a plethora of these Acela bubbleheads lecturing the Pope on how completely wrong he was about helping the disadvantaged, etc, including various instructions on how the Pope could change to better reflect GOP viewpoints. Ross Douthat, in particular, had quite a bit to say whilst spanking the Pope on his "bad view" of Roman Catholicism. So suggesting that a "political Pope Francis" show up on the scene is risable in the extreme. Forgetting Obama for the moment, should anyone who is like Pope Francis show up on the political stage, he or she would be resoundingly excoriated, yelled and jeered at by the Acela bubbleheads, plus Fox, Hate Radio, and most especially "Christian" broadcasting.

Sure: the D primary was exactly, precisely and so totally the same same same as the douchebaggery and ridiculousness exhibited by the R party primary. Well Chuckles has to say that in order to fellate his paymasters and give the base some additional slings and arrows to toss at the dirty hippies.

Yeah, right, a good tight race between 2 sane politicians in the D (or sorta D) party discussing issues of import to citizen voters are so the same to 17 idiots on the R Team who talked about the size of their penii, except for Fiorina who talked about witnessing fetuses murdered with knives on a table (but could never produce the video, but who cares that her inflamed rhetoric led to murder of adults in Colorado. Feh? Adults murdered? Macht nichts).

Yeah: exactly the same.

Robt said...

The GOP base is fuming that the GOP cannot hang a Democratic presidential candidate from a white oak tree while whistling Dixie.

Moat Conservatives I have heard of late have been so angry with the "establishments" dog whistling Dixie and only they have heard it. As proud racists. They want everyone to see and hear it. "Whallah" enter Trump.
But the anger from not having follow through with putting HRC in GITMO for all the accused crimes the GOP spittles on everyone. Well, when promised and it does not happen. You find yourself looking to become a Donald Trump building contractor that does not get paid.
They faithfully listened and believed the lies. Only to find that they cannot admit in front of others, they have a stain on their blue dress.
Because you know,
DAH DAH Da Dumm--Both sides.
Can't wait till the media figures out how many sides there are to a triangle???????

stratocruiser said...

We have a Pope Francis. he does not share your views.

Neo Tuxedo said...

100 years from now, our great-grandchildren will learn in school the reason the Republican Party Just Fuckin' Lost It was mainly due to the end of the Cold War.

Sure, the political realignment was already happening due to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Vietnam. But the mask truly slipped when Communism died its permanent death and capitalism went immediately from benign bourgeois bureaucracy to full-stop Neo-Feudalism.


The only problem I have with that is the word "immediately". ("I have an aversion for adverbs." -- S.L. Clemens' possibly imaginary gardener Sam) There was time enough to stop it happening, if we'd know what was coming.

("But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men?"
-- the philologist quoted in Milton Mayer's They Thought They Were Free)

Well, okay, I have a problem with the first paragraph. It assumes that "we" (as a nation, as a civilization, hell as a species) will be around in 100 years, and that the history our great-grandchildren learn will be reality-based. Neither of these is in any way guaranteed.

("There must have been a moment, at the beginning, when we could have said --no. But somehow we missed it. Rosen--? Guil--? Well, we'll know better next time. Now you see me, now you--"
-- probably Guildenstern, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard)

dinthebeast said...

They're gonna miss Obama when he's gone. Until then, he's gonna be kicking the holy hell out of them to make sure Hillary gets elected. I kind of hope they do something really stupid this summer and we get congress back over it, but I'm not holding my breath.

-Doug in Oakland

RUKidding said...

I kind of hope they do something really stupid this summer
You mean something extra super-duper really megalicious stupid?? Because the GOP and the Donald seem to do something stupid 24/7/365. It's so unendingly stupid that it's quite boring anymore, frankly.

Just today Trump was dancing around whether he'd actually take the job of President should he be elected. Is that stupid enough??

Others who appear to follow Trump much more closely than I do have been reporting that he seems crazier and wackier with each passing day. Going off script, rambling even more than usual. He does look frazzled to me, and on top of it, everyone, but everyone, is running away from being his VP, plus no one wants to speak at or even attend the GOP convention, other than Scott Walker, Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie. Even Mike Tyson ran screaming away from Trump.

I don't know how much more stupid it can get without the universe imploding, frankly. Whether this gets Ds elected to Congress is another question entirely.

But of course, never forget: the Ds/Hillary/Obama are Just. As. Bad!!!! Both sides! Both sides!

dinthebeast said...

I was actually thinking of them turning the convention into such a toxic shitstorm on live TV that even current Trumpers would be appalled enough to stay home... But really, calling for massive war crimes in his stump speech SHOULD be worse than having to put down an organized mutiny at the convention, except for the fact that these are Republicans we're talking about.

-Doug in Oakland

keith gargus said...

With all other modern presidential elections as a reference, the goopers have melted the norm into a slag heap. So over the top that people forget how insane this cycle is. Win or lose, Donnie has tewritten the rules. The new reference point is the WWE.

Li'l Innocent said...

So let's posit that the GOP as it stands (with quivering knees) today did, in some way, get staked thru the vital organs, possibly by a combo of a disastrous Convention played out on TV for the millions 2 weeks from now, and a total humiliation at the ballot box, repeated in 2 years, a Dem Presidential-cum-congressional victor in 4 years similar to the vast Dem sweeps during the FDR era. Followed by re-casting of election districts after the next census.

What would the elected persons who identify now as Republicans do? Heck, what will they do if only the first section of that posited future happens? Can a collective soul that has sold most of itself to Voldemort for power for the last 40 years be reclaimed? That's a generation of politicians who have never known anything but sycophantic infotainment "journalism", hate radio, Kochite PACs and foundations, ratfucking-as-norm, evangelical hucksters, and all the rest of it. Can they imagine any other way to be, or think, or behave?

Timothy Hosler said...

Bravo Driftgass ! And yeah what the last guy said !

Lit3Bolt said...

@ Neo Tuxedo

I agree with what you said. (And thought it was Rosencrantz who said the last line, but alas, can't remember for sure as well hehe.)

Our techno-bubbles are so comfortable now, even to the poorest among us, and the implicit guarantee of American society is that if you keep your head down and don't argue, you will live to be 80 years old (unless you're black, then all bets are off). Survival is taken for granted, the same as the assumptions "Things Will Get Better" or "Who Cares I Got Mine."

But we now live in a world where wealthy capitalist princelings and scions rule, not governments or people. And David Brooks exists to make their world a better place, and rationalize their power disparity as part of the Natural Order.

Bberci said...

May I just say to Norm Ornstein: I love you!

D. said...

"Actually, we have a leader right now who came from relatively humble circumstances. Who worked for the betterment of the disadvantaged, rose to a position of great power and was elected with large margins twice. Who faced some of the worst foreign and domestic crises in a century, made some mistakes, offered compromise and conciliation at every turn and stayed remarkably calm and even-keeled through all of it.

And for the last seven and a half years, your fucking party, Mr. Brooks, has dedicated itself openly and single-mindedly to slandering, delegitimatizing and destroying his ability to govern by any means necessary[.]
"

This needs to be written across the sky.

I'm going to blog this as soon as my brain comes back from the cleaners.

proverbialleadballoon said...

I thought these guys didn't like the Pope, because he's with the looters and moochers. Plus Catholic, ooh scary. Who in any fashion is like Pope Francis on the republican side? In what universe would anyone like he describes win the republican nomination? This argument doesn't even withstand scrutiny, but I guess it doesn't have to, because it's not meant to inform. We better blow these fuckers out in November!