Saturday, December 20, 2014

Today In "Both Sides Do It": Who's The Leader Of The Mob That's Made For You And Me

You know what's broken?

"Congress" is broken.

Which is very sad!

I had a tour of the place back when I was in Junior High and cool shows like Columbo were still on teevee.  Back then, "Congress" looked very impressive, but apparently now it's just a shithole full of back actors and noble-citizens in the thrall of bad actors.

So why can't we, as Americans, have nice things like Columbo or "Congress" anymore?

Well, Peter Falk is dead, so we I suppose we can chalk the nonexistence of new episodes of "Columbo" to that.  Also they have reruns of "Columbo" on nostalgia teevee every now and then, so I guess we're really in no immediate danger of a national "Columbo" shortage.

But what about "Congress", where death and reruns cannot save us?  Why can't we unfuck that mess up?

And more importantly, does it make you feel better knowing that nationally syndicated former Bush Administration Employee Michael Gerson cries himself to sleep at night, asking an indifferent universe this very question?
Many American institutions — starting with the House and Senate, and extending to the manner in which we tax ourselves, fight poverty, care for the old and educate the young — are in disrepair. This must be recognized and confronted.
Hear, hear, former Bush Administration Employee!  Well said!  And do you have anything else to say in the subject?
America is in desperate need of a politics of repair, not a politics of demolition and rebuilding. We need leaders who take populist discontent seriously but direct it toward projects of practical reform.

America’s distrust of institutions is a fact. But it is a problem, not a goal. The proper response is the renovation of institutions that allow us to live a decent, compassionate, orderly life together...
Amen!  Our civic institutions have indeed been slashed, slandered and otherwise fucked into a cocked hat.  So in the spirit of moving recognition and confrontation, let us compose ourselves, find a comfortable divan on which to sit, and listen attentively to nationally syndicated former Bush Administration Employee Michael Gerson explain how exactly things went from functional to bedlam since the good old days of Columbo...



Tumbleweeds fill the Universe...

Because that line of questioning quickly leads to the  terrible political truth which the entire Beltway media has sworn a blood-oath to never mention.  That Rove which dares not speak its name.

See, it was Mr. Gerson's political party which killed comity on purpose in this country.  It was Mr. Gerson's political party which built its future on institutionalizing, industrializing and televising lies and madness.   It was Mr. Gerson's political party that was perfectly content to ride the monster they had created as long as the monster did what it was told.

But their monster turned on them -- as monsters will -- and ate Congress.

Which is very sad!

So instead of the truth, what we get from former Bush Administration Employee Michael Gerson is  -- surprise! -- an indictment of...
 "...the populist wings of both political parties".

Sure populism can be tasty, naughty fun, and when administered by Serious People in tiny, harmless, doses, Republican hacks like former Bush Administration Employee Michael Gerson need never worry about being ripped from their decadent nests and cast out into the cold world.  But (warns Mr. Gerson) if you add more than a teaspoon of populism to the toxic swamp of Beltway Establishmentarian Wisdom where Mr. Gerson lives and works --

-- grave and terrible consequences will ensue:
But some populists thrive on further delegitimizing institutions. They use Congress as a stage for their anger, not as an instrument of reform. They set unattainable goals that encourage political alienation. They adopt a conspiratorial mindset, in which systems are not just broken but rigged by scheming opponents. They demand to do “something,” but end up doing things that serve narrow political and fundraising goals.
And who are the leaders of the mob that's made for you and me?

C'mon, it's Michael Gerson. You know who he's going to blame.

On the Right, Ted Cruz, the ambulatory manifestation of 40 years of carefully cultivated Conservative rage and paranoia:
The challenge from the populist right is now familiar, but it is far from spent. Conservatives offended by the omnibus — and even more offended by Obama’s immigration executive order — wanted to do something. This is often the whole substance of conservative strategy: “do something.” 
After blowing up the Senate process and disrupting the travel plans of their colleagues, Cruz and company demanded a point-of-order vote on whether Obama’s executive order was constitutional. Only 22 senators supported it.
On the Left, Elizabeth Warren, the personification of Liberal intelligence and compassion:    
The open revolt of the populist left is more novel. In this case, it was a rebellion against a sitting Democratic president, joined by former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, forcing the White House to conduct a last-minute scramble for votes. The main provision at issue was the swaps “push-out” rule of the Dodd-Frank financial services reform bill. But Warren used the occasion to throw a large rock into the Democratic pond. The ripples radiate.
Because this is the prime directive function of our Beltway Media: to deliberately misdirect any meaningful conversation about the disaster our politics has become into a meaningless parroting of the Both Sides lie.

This is why no Columbo's are allowed anywhere near the Beltway Media clubhouse.  Because if the good lieutenant excelled at one thing, it was quickly dispensing with the distractions and sham alibis of the real villains and moving patiently and inexorably in for the kill:


Mike Lumish said...

Perhaps it was the ripple in the Force, but we all knew that Gerson was setting Senator Warren up for a pissy little slap - even though, by his own definition, Warren is the antithesis of populism. This revelation will come as a horrible shock to the gibbering elwiors of the daily kos.

That said, I love the odd bit of snark as much as the next cpqemp but over the past dozen years I have become suspicious of snark in the hands of craftsmen who have no other tool in the box. That makes one soft in the head and neuters one's ability to engage in effective political struggle. That said,


That Rove which dares not speak its name.

Jesus Christ, you slay me!

Regards, Horace

Mike Lumish said...

Hmmm.... that doesn't read so well on the printed page. Let me make it clear that, in my opinion, Driftglass has plenty of tools in his box. The folks I had in mind were pathetic losers of the digby and PZMyers ilk.

bowtiejack said...

DG, I don't think you understand that "both sides" is the phlogiston theory of the serious classes - both media and political (who are the true "both sides").

As long as the serious people agree on it, it's not necessary that there be any actual evidence for its existence. Class dismissed.

Batocchio said...

That's classic, although my favorite Gerson "argument" is still the one from a few years back when he argued that a generous deal from Obama wasn't fair because Obama knew that Republicans were too ideologically extreme to take it.

(Conservative hacks never admit fault, except as a planned concession before a pivot, and when your side is grotesquely more to blame, successfully selling "both sides do it" is a victory of damage control.)

Anonymous said...

So... nothing much to add about the article that hasn't been said already. But I did feel the need to come and express both my joy and sincere hatred of you driftglass for making my Columbo addiction act up again when I supposed to be productive and useful this weekend. So cur... (drifts back into a stupor as Peter Falk closes in on the villainous nephew in Suitable for Framing.)

Neo Tuxedo said...

One of my local papers (the Hagerstown, MD Herald-Mail) ran Gerson's column-like extrusion today. Would you be terribly offended if I paraphrased, or just outright quoted, large wodges of this post in a letter to the H-M?