What difference does a few years make?
A lot, and none at all.
3.4 years ago, when I wrote this:
Secret Republican Training Film revealed
Morse says those three little words at the heart of all that is black in the Republican soul:“Deny, deny, deny.”
“But what if…?”
“But suppose she walks right in and finds…?”
“Right there. In her bed. Right in front of her…?”
Deny everything. As your wife stands over your marriage bed, deny that the woman she is staring at even exists. When your wife demanded to know who this woman is as she (and you) get hurriedly dressed two feet away, just repeat “What? What are you talking about? What woman?”
I had to put on a verbal puppet show because there was no YouTube available to pound the point home with a blacksmith maul.
However, while technology keeps jackrabbiting forward, our political discourse "creeps in this petty pace from day to day" and from it we seem to learn our lessons only fitfully if at all.
Which is why, when I read this:
McCain Campaign Piles Up New Falsehoods On Bridge To Nowhere
By Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld - September 8, 2008, 6:23PM
McCain and his advisers are now conceding that, yes, Sarah Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it -- but they're casting this as more proof of her reform credentials.
In so doing, the McCain camp is piling new falsehoods atop the old ones.
McCain himself rolled out the new push-back on the campaign trail today, saying the following:"The fact is that Gov. Palin learned that earmarks are bad and she did say, we don't need our bridge to nowhere, and we will pay for it ourselves if we need it. I mean, that is just a fact."
Meanwhile, McCain adviser Tucker Bounds appeared today on MSNBC, where he acknowledged that Palin used to favor the bridge, but said she turned against it for good reasons.
"But as it became more wasteful, the budget ballooned, it became a staple for wasteful spending, she said No," Bounds said. "And she was the one that drove the nail in the coffin that killed the bridge to nowhere."
It's bogus to say that Palin turned on the project because the costs ballooned. The real reason she came around to opposing it was not that the overall costs went up -- the project was always a boondoggle, and costs were always going up -- but that one particular element of the project's cost ballooned: The portion that Alaska would have to pay, instead of getting the money through federal pork.
In her statement finally ending the project, Palin explicitly lamented that fact. "Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329-million short of full funding for the bridge project," Palin said at the time, "and it's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island."
I couldn’t help but think how simultaneously important it is to work carefully and persistently to demolish the lies the Right promulgates, and how ultimately "necessary but insufficient" that exercise is.
Because underpinning the effort is the idea that somehow, some way, if you just given them enough of the right facts in overwhelming numbers, some statistically significant number of Republicans will see the error of their ways and come some number of inches towards the light.
But if the last 30 years (and especially the last seven) have proven anything, it is that this proposition is ridiculous.
No reform will fix them and no remediation is possible, except of ourselves.
We must stop beginning sentences or thoughts with "They must be made to understand...", "When the people finally see..." or "When Americans wake up and realize..."
No such thing will ever happen, because there really is no monolithic entity called "America" to wake up.
Instead you have around 45% of the voting public who are either well-informed, or at least interested in issues and policies. They are anxious to fix the mess the GOP has created and will be voting Democratic in the Fall.
Then you have another 45% who are basically our own, homegrown Stalinists. Loyal, mentally-flatlining, cult-of-personality Bush-worshipping lemmings. These are the people have been calling you "traitor" for 30 years. Who gird the GOP with a solid ring of diamond-hard stupid.
A week ago they had no fucking idea who Sarah Palin was. A week later she is their Joan of Arc, and they stand ready to slit their own economic throats at her say-so and perish in ignorance, cursing some mythical "Liberals" who are somehow to blame.
It doesn't matter to them whether or not the "Bridge to Nowhere" turns out to be horseshit.
How many of their rationalizations for going to war in Iraq turned out to be horseshit?
Their rationalizations for torture?
Their rationalizations for suspending the rule of law in America? For domestic spying? For global warming? For the re-election of George W. Bush?
If you want a real education, take a pen and paper back to the 2003-2004 debates and note how many different times Bush, Cheney and the Republican machine flat-out lied to the American people.
What took our breath away in 2004 was not that the Democrats had lost an election. You win some; you lose some, and such is life.
No, what absolutely stopped us cold in our tracks was the "Why"
Why millions upon millions of Americans gleefully voted a simpering sadist and war criminal right back into office? Why did they brag about it?
Why? Because it was a fucking game to them.
They set the Constitution on fire, pissed on the ashes and sold their children’s futures to monsters for no other reason than Rush told them it would piss Liberals off.
They are barbarians, and in 2004 we finally had to confront the terrible, irrefutable fact that what is wrong with America is not the fault of a handful of DeLays and Bushes and Roves, but millions of our fellow citizens, who are soul-sick in a way that can never be cured because their tiny, angry, lizard brains simply do not work like ours.
They are not simply uninformed, but proudly, hatefully ignorant, and no matter what you or I say, no matter how many mountains of facts are laid out in front of them, they will go right back to the polls again this Fall, vote to sink another shiv into democracy's back, and go home thinking they've done God's work.
And in order to have any chance at winning, John McCain needed every last one of them. Needed them lit up with crazyfire and ready to put one more hollow point through Lady Liberty’s chest.
And so he gave them a WalMart soft-core porn sugar high.
This is a Party that impeach for blowjobs if you’re a Democrat and turn 180 degrees in a heartbeat to cheer itself hoarse for dry drunk traitors and illegal wars when they’re sold under Brand Republican.
Hell, if the election were between the Risen Christ (D) and Satan’s Fiery Cock (R), come election day polling would still peg it at “too close to call”: 45% Risen JC, 45% Lucifer’s Penis, 7% undecided (“My friend Laura says that Mr. Jesus is good on the economy, but I just trust that Fiery Cock fella a little bit more on keeping America safe. And his running mate is so feisty!”), 2% Ron Paul and 1% Ralph “Not a dime’s worth of difference between them!” Nader.
This election was, is and will continue to be over that oblivious 8%.
And it’s about the difference between an out-fighter and an alley brawler.
A out-fighter is methodical. Surgical. He climbs into the ring with a plan and works it relentlessly every round. He’d be delighted if Nevada Santa Claus gave him a magic moment where he can take his opponent down with one punch in the first round, but doesn’t pin his hopes on it.
The brawler, on the other hand, depends entirely on the Magic Punch. He’ll come at you wild, throwing haymakers and hoping that enough of them will connect to knock a superior fighter off his game. McSame is an aging, clay-footed brawler and “Palin” is a wild punch that drew a little blood.
“Experience” is one that hit nothing but air.
On the other hand, Senator Obama has managed to work the word “stupid” into at least three major speeches in the last three weeks, and probably more. Also he and his people have been relentless in not getting baited into talk about unwed mothers and small town virtues, whatever the fuck they are; every stray topic gets firmly rounded up and herded away from gossip and rage and plugged right back into the campaign’s twin power plants: “Issues not Personalities” and “Change”.
None of this is accidental, because the Obama team are out-fighters.
Rather, it is a hard-headed recognition that, two months from now, about 8% of the electorate is going to make what amounts to several million monstrously uninformed, impulse-buys, and as their whim goes, so goes the nation.
It is not a cheerful thought that the next two months are not about making me happy and screaming “Fucknozzle!” into the face of every Conservative under the sun.
But it also may just be how you win elections our sad, fractured nation in 2008.