Wednesday, April 01, 2015

10 Years After: 2006 -- Dead Center

In the service of fundraising and nostalgia, I am using the occasion of my 10th blogiversary to bring some stuff out of the archives -- probably a few representational samples from each year. 

By 2006, the Bush Regime had moved past the point of wingnut bullshit equilibrium where it's myriad sins and impeachable crimes could be kept out of the spotlight by wishing or screaming or Roving them away.   And so, as BushCo continued collapsing along the fault lines of corruption, fascism and stupefying incompetence about which the Left had been warning for years, there began a mad scramble by the Very Serious People of Washington D.C. -- who had cheered on President Fiasco right down the line -- to distance themselves as fast as their Guccis and Ferragamos could carry them.

But immediately they ran into a seemingly irresolvable problem:  How could they possibly start criticizing the Bush Administration like Dirty Hippies, using a vocabulary expropriated from the Dirty Hippies, without acknowledging at some level that, yes, the Dirty Hippies had been right all along?


Fortunately, being in the making-shit-up business, they had a solution right on their doorstep.

The Very Serious People of Washington D.C. would buy ghost town called "Bipartisanship" -- a swath of barren ideological real estate which had been bombed to splinters by Republican Ronald Reagan, napalmed to ash by Republican Newt Gingrich and nuked from orbit by Republican Karl Rove -- and create a brand-new, Disneyfied theme-park called "Centrism".  They would repopulate it with...themselves!  Their watchword -- their shibboleth -- would be "Both Sided Are To Blame (Always, and for Everything)" and it would be the happiest place on Earth!

They'd have a mayor and rules of good conduct and leading citizens who would command the nation's teevee camera and ruthlessly frame every national conversation so that no Very Serious Person of Washington D.C. would ever lose their sweet, sweet gig, or have to ever admit that Liberals had ever been right about anything.

For you students of history, this column used a creature named "Ralph Reed" -- as odious a pile of lies and hellflesh as ever stank up a teevee green room -- as its jumping off point.  In case you were wondering which federal graybar hotel you might be able to write to Ralph in care of, worry not.  He was never brought up on charges! and now spends his days promoting wingnut Christopath candidates for higher office in the name of Almighty God, appearing on various Sunday Morning talk shows as one of the Very Serious People of Washington D.C. and unironically hawking books like, "Awakening: How America Can Turn From Moral and Economic Destruction Back to Greatness".

And so...
“What monsters would walk the streets, 

if men's faces

were as unfinished

as their souls.“ -- Quote by Eric Hoffer 

File this under: “Hey Ralphie Boy! Why the long face?”
In Ga., Abramoff Scandal Threatens a Political Ascendancy
By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, January 16, 2006; A01

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. -- Ralph Reed, candidate for lieutenant governor, had just finished his opening statement to the Dawson County Republican Party when retired pulp paper executive Gary Pichon sprang from his seat with a question that cut to the chase:
"Did you accept any gifts, commissions or other payments of any kind from Mr. Abramoff, and are you likely to be a party in the unfolding investigation?"
Silence enveloped the 60 or so Republicans in the auditorium, and Reed's cheerful manner turned tense. "No," he replied. "No to all these."

As everyone knew, Pichon was referring to Jack Abramoff, whose outsize Washington lobbying scandal has reached down to Georgia. Abramoff and Reed -- the former executive director of the Christian Coalition -- have been friends for 25 years, and until recently it had been a mutually profitable association. Now it is proving highly inconvenient for Reed, and threatens to stall a career that has been emblematic of the modern GOP.

Reed served as executive director of the College Republicans from 1983 to 1985 and led a revival of the Christian right in the 1990s. He founded a grass-roots lobbying firm in 1997, bringing in millions of dollars in fees, chaired the Georgia Republican Party in 2002 when the GOP took over the state, and served as Southeast director of the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign.

At age 44, he still has the choirboy looks that have been noted in dozens of profiles over the past 20 years. But the first major dent in Reed's carefully cultivated image came with the disclosure in the summer of 2004 that his public relations and lobbying companies had received at least $4.2 million from Abramoff to mobilize Christian voters to fight Indian casinos competing with Abramoff's casino clients.

Similarly damaging has been a torrent of e-mails revealed during the investigation that shows a side of Reed that some former supporters say cannot be reconciled with his professed Christian values.

"After reading the e-mail, it became pretty obvious he was putting money before God," said Phil Dacosta, a Georgia Christian Coalition member who had initially backed Reed. "We are righteously casting him out."

Among those e-mails was one from Reed to Abramoff in late 1998: "I need to start humping in corporate accounts! . . . I'm counting on you to help me with some contacts." Within months, Abramoff hired him to lobby on behalf of the Mississippi Band of Choctaws, who were seeking to prevent competitors from setting up facilities in nearby Alabama.

In 1999, Reed e-mailed Abramoff after submitting a bill for $120,000 and warning that he would need as much as $300,000 more: "We are opening the bomb bays and holding nothing back."

In 2004, when the casino payments to Reed were disclosed, Reed issued a statement declaring "no direct knowledge of their [Abramoff's law firm's] clients or interests." In 2005, however, Senate investigators released a 1999 e-mail from Abramoff to Reed explicitly citing the client: "It would be really helpful if you could get me invoices [for services performed] as soon as possible so I can get Choctaw to get us checks ASAP."

One of the most damaging e-mails was sent by Abramoff to partner Michael Scanlon, complaining about Reed's billing practices and expenditure claims: "He is a bad version of us! No more money for him." Scanlon and Abramoff have pleaded guilty to defrauding clients.

Todd Guy, owner of Trader Golf, said succinctly in response to an inquiry: "Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition? My God! Abramoff."
Reed has the heart of a carjacker and a soul that has always served a very Dark Master. He is the newer, sleeker model of the same, old ChristoHuckster that is forever promising old ladies and gasoline sippers salvation while mining their patched pockets for dimes and votes. The difference is that Reed was synthesized in the Fluffy Bunny Cutesy Labs at Disney, but he is literally nothing but the latest model of the same, tired, old Lonesome Rhodes/Elmer Gantry/Jim Bakker/Jimmy Swaggart moral cut-purse.

What is rage-inducing is not the existence of a creature like Reed: they come and they go, and with the GOP in temporary ascendancy, their feeding grounds have grown richer and stupider.

What is infuriating it precisely that Reed is nothing new.

He is the same Bible-and-Flag-swaddled ambulatory Republican Trichinella Nematode, standing on top of the same mountain of rotting meat that has been worshiped by the Great Wad decade after decade. The same, black, dead thing, it’s reek perfumed over by a generous spackling of the Blood of Christ, wearing the corpse of Lincoln like a syphilitic flasher’s overcoat, wagging the same decomposing finger at the rest of the world and moralizing at 1,000 decibels about everyone else’s shortcomings.

The problem is the same gay-bashin’, Negro-hatin’, Creationist-believin’, staggeringly imbecilic Christards who keep falling for this shit over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and again.

Frankly our nation’s deepest problems will never be excised down to their rotten roots until these homunculi are marginalized, repudiated and electorally burned off the flesh of our Democracy like ticks.

Which is why it's easy for me to be a Democrat, as deeply flawed as they might be, and why the ruin of this country at the hand of the Moderate Republicans is the greatest unreported story of the last 30 years.

Why, if we go down into darkness, the guilt for our nation’s fall will be on the head’s of the Moderates forever.

I have never expected heroes or messiahs from my elected leaders, but when I look around at my fellow travelers at least I see Liberals and Progressives who repudiate racists, and give degenerates like Reed the back of their hand.

Which is what makes it easy for me to choose my allies.

Because when I look across the fence at the remnants of what once was the Republican Party, I see self-blinded ideologues smiling and drowning in a brine of hate and fear. Men and women mesmerized into stupefyingly self-destructive acts of denial and delusion by the Stalin-like cult of personality that has been erected around the epically corrupt and incompetent Bush Administration.

A dead press that steadfastly will not report on what matters.

A dead Center where critters like Andrew Sullivan, Tom Friedman and David Brooks camp out and hobble hither and thither to find some fake “other side” of every fucking thing from Creationism to bestowing monarchical powers on George W. Bush. Who have debased themselves into useless, human difference engines that reflexively infuse their editorial tintures with one part rat poison and and one part wine, divide the brew by two, and declare whatever half-toxic slurry that they have left over to automatically be the “Reasonable Middle”.

Well guys, there is no fucking philosophical “Center” that can accommodate the racists and Dominionists of the Right and free thinkers and Compassionate Christians of the Left.

Or to paraphrase Lincoln – who your Party used to esteem highly, once upon a time, before you sold your Founder out the heirs of Jefferson Davis --
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half Wahabi Christian and bigot, and half tolerant.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
Because in the end, you must choose.

This Sunday, for example, on the Chris Matthews Show, the Wall O’ Pundits flipped through one Republican corruption and treason after another like a deck flash cards in the service of a conversation mocking and Democrats!

Scandal after Republican scandal. Failure after Republican failure. And buttlicking drivel like this from Andrew Sullivan -- “The only opposition is coming from the Conservatives. Democrats are nothing but whiners and spectators.” – went unrebutted and unquestioned.

Hey, cocknoggin'! Isn’t carving into the people that are actually destroying this country, actually lying to the public, actually bleeding our Democracy dry sorta Your Fucking Job?!

Oh, it was quite the gigglefest until Cynthia Tucker threw a sharp elbow into the throat of Matthews’ "Ain’t the Dems a buncha bumblefucks" party by letting the phrase "Southern Strategy" pass her lips. Then she actually fleshed out the ugly, racist-pandering history of the modern GOP; reminding the panel of the true face of who it is they actually serve as Matthew’s fum-fuhed around, trying to find the escape hatch.

Then…silence. Crickets. Nothing.

Instant right-handed circle-jerk buzzkill. Hit Sullivan so hard that it almost knocked Bush’s dick out of his mouth.

In the end, the simple truth that people like Sullivan fight almost hysterically to deny is that you have to choose -- and your choices will always be imperfect -- but when you intellectually geld yourself in a desperate attempt to pretend that the midpoint between the proud, upright magnificence of the Enlightenment and the slinking, slouching sponsors of a new Dark Ages is a reasonable place to stand…you choose to side with the Pat Robertsons of this world.

When you passively let it slide on by, opt to do nothing, or to fritter your power away into the wind of political movements that will never, ever garner more than one or two percent of the vote, you choose to let the Falwells win.

And if you are a Republican Moderates, in exchange for tax cuts for billionaires and a few other boutique, ideological gift bag goodies, with eyes wide shut -- you, who damned well knows better -- who damned well know the true and monstrous face of the likes of Ralph Reed -- choose to climb into bed the scum of the Earth.

Choose to serve the sworn enemies of everything you claim to believe.

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