I am delighted that Mr. Charles Blow has carved out a place for himself at The New York Times in which the Liberal critique of the Right for the last 20 years can grow and gain a wider audience:
Instead of being a grenade-throwing iconoclast bent on blowing up the D.C. establishment and the big-money power structures, he has stocked his inner circle with billionaires and bankers, and he has bent to the establishment.Trump sold himself as a populist only to line his own pockets. Trump built his entire reputation not as the champion of the common man, but by curating his image as a crude effigy of the cultural elite.He accrued his wealth by selling hollow dreams of high society to people who wanted to flaunt their money or pretend that they had some.Put another way, Trump’s brand is built on exclusivity, not inclusivity. It is about the separate, vaulted position of luxury, above and beyond the ability for it to be accessed by the common. It is all about the bourgeois and has absolutely nothing to do with the blue collar.
However, there is a flaw in Mr. Blow's otherwise estimable reasoning. It is a flaw deep in the firmware of far too many Liberals that has been ruthlessly exploited over and over again to our disadvantage. It is the pipe-dream that, at some point, the meatheads on the Right will begin to wake up and realize they've been played for chumps by people who only want to use them up, squeeze them dry and discard their husks.
As [The Washington Post’s The Fix] pointed out: “The poll showed just 7 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Trump has performed worse than they expected him to. Fully 38 percent — five times as many — say he has performed better.”This seems to me a fair point, but it requires us to have a better handle on the expectations for him in the first place. After all, the union has yet to crumble into ashes and his Twitter tirades have yet to push us into an impulse war.Furthermore, the stubborn human resistance to admitting a mistake should never be underestimated. Admitting that Trump is failing, even when he is failing you and your family specifically, is an enormous pill to swallow. Acknowledging that your blindness, selfishness and fear compelled you to buy into a man who is selling you out may take more time.But I think that time is coming, because Trump is an unabashed leech and an unrepentant liar...
No, Charles. That time is not coming. It is an intoxicating mirage that even a man as astute as Barack Obama kept chasing right off the cliff over and over and over again, to our lasting and collective detriment. From Politico, June, 2012:
Obama: Republican 'fever' will break after the electionPresident Obama told supporters that he expected the gridlock to end after the election, when Republicans can stop worrying about voting him out of office."My expectation is that if we can break this fever, that we can invest in clean energy and energy efficiency because that's not a partisan issue," Obama said, speaking to supporters in Minneapolis.Obama pointed to deficit reduction, a transportation bill, and immigration reform as initiatives that could well pass in November."In this election, the Republican Party has moved in a fundamentally different direction. The center of gravity for their party has shifted," Obama said.But Obama held out hope of the party moving back towards the center."I believe that If we're successful in this election, when we're successful in this election, that the fever may break, because there's a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that. My hope, my expectation, is that after the election, now that it turns out that the goal of beating Obama doesn't make much sense because I'm not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again," Obama said....
Yeah, that was absolutely never going to happen and anyone with an ounce of political and cultural perspective that is more than a minute long fucking well knew it was never going to happen.
From the Los Angeles Times, September 2013:
Obama's reelection did little to 'break the fever' in WashingtonAround this time last year, President Obama was entering the final stretch of his reelection campaign and repeating a key rationale for a second term: Keeping him in the White House would chasten Republicans and end the dysfunction in Washington.His reelection would prompt self-reflection, he said. It "might break the fever," Obama told Rolling Stone magazine last year. For the campaign, the message was a way of connecting his reelection effort to his 2008 election bid. Even as an incumbent boxed in by the opposition, Obama was still promising to bring change to a broken government.Now, several months into his second term, with Washington on the cusp of the first government shutdown since 1996, the fever of brinkmanship has spiked.Whether the president’s thesis misjudged his opponents or was merely wooing supporters with wishful thinking is an open question.Even as Obama campaigned on the notion, few in Washington agreed with the president’s analysis...
On an emotional and political level, I can understand why any president (and especially a Democrat who is also the first African American president of the United States) would be incredibly reluctant to even hint at the truth about the Republican party, because the truth about the Republican party is so goddamn grim.
You see, the overwhelming majority of the rank-and-file of the GOP are unsalvageably fucked-in-the-head. They are happily brainwashed nitwits and racists who would gladly belly-flop their entire family into a live volcano if Fox News told them to and would spent their last moments on this Earth before being incinerated into iconoclastic ash cursing Obama or Clinton or Nancy Pelosi or Susan Rice for the ouch ouch burning.
After watching Republicans for 30 years marching down and down and down this long and horrifying road to smug, snarling, mindless political bestiality, it is about goddamn time that we started treating this grim fact as a fact. Just as factoring in wind-speed and fuel consumption and the laws of gravity are critical to safely piloting an aircraft from A to B, this grim but immutable fact needs to be factored into our resistance to the Right.
At this late date it absurd to believe that we will find any potential converts on the Right, primed and ready for a Road to Damascus moment if only Trump fucks them over enough. Just as it is absurd to believe that we have any hidden allies in the corporate media who would be willing to put their position an paychecks at risk to help our cause once Trump fucks up enough.
Of course President Obama was never going to say this out loud, or apparently every let himself think such terrible thoughts at all. To him, every Republican pile of horseshit was taken as proof that a pony could not be far away, if only we clapped a little louder, bent over a bit further and were never so crass as to mention that the GOP was run by amoral thugs and hobgoblins.
But just because President Obama could never speak such truths out loud, doesn't mean that New York Times columnists shouldn't. Because our country is now fully Half Fox and Half Free. And as I wrote seven years ago...
In order to avoid wasting his presidency, squandering the opportunity we have given him, and letting the country spiral into a permanent corporate feudal pest-hole, Barack Obama must do the hardest thing of all: he must exceed his design specifications. This is not unprecedented, but like Franklin Roosevelt the capitalist-turned-social-Democrat or Abraham Lincoln the compromiser-turned-Emancipator, Obama must let go of a central pillar of his identity and embrace the brutal fact that our modern house divided against itself cannot stand.
That we cannot endure permanently half-Fox and half-free.
That we will become all one thing, or all the other.
And that this is your fight, President Obama.
This burden has fallen to you: it cannot be shirked and cannot be delegated.
Well President Obama did not rise to that challenge. He failed. And if we on the Left keep on chasing the ensorcelling fantasy that these fuckers on the Right will eventually wake up if only...if only... if only...
...all we will end up accomplishing is "if onlying" everything that is kind and decent and noble about this country right onto the ash heap of history.