You wound, like Parthians*, while you fly,
And kill with a retreating eye.
-- Samuel Butler, An Heroical Epistle of Hudibras to His Lady
Once again, the fairy tale of a Reasonable Republican Party crumbles to dust right in front of us.
Once again, the true, mad fascist heart of the party that so many of us have been warning about for so long stands reveled as clear and "plain as way to parish church" (as a writer of my acquaintance once said.)
And so, once again the collaborators and co-conspirators whose job it has been to lie about the GOP's basic nature and deflect all criticism of the Right qua Right into impotent hand-wringing about "Both Sides" find themselves right back in the same perilous position they were in during the last days of the Failed Bush Administration -- like hermit crabs caught between residences, once again America's professional Both Siderist are scrambling to simultaneously retreat from and memory-hole their previously held shitty opinions, while at the same time redoubling their efforts maintain Both Siderism as a defensible position.
This fundamentally absurd proposition would be impossible were it not or the fact that maintaining the Both Siderist lie at any cost is clearly the Prime Directive of the powerful, vested interests who own the microphones and cameras and newspapers through which this lie is daily transmitted to the American public.
As I wrote way back in 2012:
...it is this gargantuan gap between the Actual Left and the Imaginary Left -- between reality and the Big Lie of Centrism -- that terrifies our Beltway Media. Scares them so bad that none of them will debate or even discuss the matter in a public forum, or within shouting distance of a Beltway camera and microphone.The Big Lie of Centrism is the Magic Lie. The Philosopher's Stone of lies which has transmuted dozens of mediocre hacks into Very Wealthy and Serious Persons, and hundreds of the smaller lies our political media tells every day into the common wisdom of our Imperial Media.The Big Lie of Centrism is also incredibly fragile, which is why so much effort must be devoted to its constant maintenance and protection.The Maginot Line of the Beltway Media can withstand any assault as long the Big Lie of Centrism remains intact.But once it falls, the world will change.
So how is can the Big Lie of Centrism -- of Both Sides Do It Uber Alles -- possibly survive in the Age of Trump?
The same way it has always survived: by constant, ubiquitous, corporate-funded and unrebutted repetition.
For example, how can America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Public Intellectual possibly explain how his Republican Party's position on climate change went from this --
-- to this --
-- in just ten years?
Was it perhaps due to the concerted effort and billions of dollars spent by the moguls of oil and coal to set up a vast web of climate denial front groups and think tanks? To buy political campaigns? To underwrite right wing hacks on radio and teevee?
Of course not. It was all Al Gore's fault!
From The News Hour (with emphasis added):
DAVID BROOKS: Climate change, in the way it wasn’t 20 years ago, it’s a total partisan issue now.MILES O’BRIEN: Is that because Al Gore ran for… That’s the moment, isn’t it? Yes.DAVID BROOKS: I happen to think he had some positive effects with the movement. I think he had a very negative effect. You used to have John McCain and a lot of Republicans with climate change legislation.MILES O’BRIEN: Right.DAVID BROOKS: And once it became a Democratic issue, the Republicans had to go on the other side. And there was perverse effect of what Al Gore did.
And there it is. An excuse so casually ridiculous that you wouldn't buy it from a four-year-old -- Republicans can't help being evil because Democrats keep trying to do good -- being proffered by on national teevee Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times.
And speaking of venerable new organizations, while Mr. Brooks was pooping what may be the most depraved defense of Both Siderism I have ever heard into The New Hour's perennially weak tea, over at The Washington Post Mr. David Von Drehle was being handed a national media platform to urp out this drivel:
Liberals and conservatives must stand together against the extremesCharlottesville. Berkeley. Houston. Three dots that lead to something urgent about our politics.
Let’s connect them.Wanna-be Nazis parading by torchlight through Charlottesville was a radical moment. Masked leftists marauding through Berkeley was another radical moment. Radical politics are the most dangerous kind, whether they arise from the right or the left...
Today’s parties are accustomed to placating their radical elements with gestures and dog-whistles. But converging forces — including niche media, social networks and partisan gerrymandering — have tipped power from the center to the extremes, where radicals will no longer be placated.
These forces gave us perhaps the most radical presidential election in American history last year. The ostensibly conservative Republican Party was taken over by a man who stands against core conservative values such as prudence, order, tradition and free markets. Meanwhile, the ostensibly liberal Democratic Party was nearly hijacked by a socialist...
Events have proven beyond dispute that Republicans really are the monsters we on the Left have always said they were. And within one or two election cycles their party could be all-but extinct were it not for the fact that well-funded and well-connected Both Siderists in and out of the media are dedicated to driving that monster's getaway car every time it gets in trouble.
Right now that getaway car is falling apart -- rolling on four flats, belching black smoke and bleeding oil. With enough focused attention and effort we could crack it's engine block, stop it in its tracks and finally force the media to do the one thing it is desperate to avoid: start having real conversations about the real difference between our two major political parties as they really are.
But "with enough focused attention and effort" is always the issue, isn't it?
Behold, a Tip Jar!
* The Parthian shot (from Wikipedia) is a light horse military tactic made famous in the West by the Parthians, an ancient Iranian people. While in real or feigned retreat their horse archers would turn their bodies back in full gallop to shoot at the pursuing enemy.