Wednesday, April 08, 2015

10 Years After: 2011 -- War Is Paul Ryan Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning

The 10th blogiversary fundraiser continues with 2011:  Trench Warfare.

In 2011, Centrist Austerity Fetishists was a thing.  The Paul Ryan budget was their stroke mag.

War Is Paul Ryan Is a Force

that Gives Us Meaning

How can you tell?

To start with, Our Mr. Brooks has written two -- Two! -- columns in row that didn't involve Copy/Paste Bazooka-Joe-bubble-gum-wrapper-grade examinations of other people's work, but instead use all 1,600 words to lovingly tongue-bathe Ryan's body...of work. Sure, Bobo missed a few spots -- like the part about the math not remotely adding up, the projections being ridiculous, the poor, the middle class and the elderly getting stomped, the rich getting even more tax cuts and, well, just about everything of importance -- but like the fiddling Liberal trivia Bobo ignored in the run-up to the Iraq War (like the part about the math not adding up, the projections being ridiculous, the potential for catastrophic downsides and, well, just about everything of importance) it is clear that none of this really matters because of the sheer, light-bending atomic weigh of Paul Ryan's Flint Ironstag/Bolt Vanderhuge/Thick McRunfast/Blast Hardcheese Seriousness.

And we all remember from Operation Endless Clusterfuck that nothing puts the roses in Bobo's cheeks like the chance to stand on top of a Big, Horrible Idea and rain vitriol down on all those smarmy, unserious Liberals who are clearly being driven by nothing less than an all-consuming hatred of Freedom and America (all emphasis added by me).

Bobo, from the Weekly Standard, 2003:
Meanwhile, among the smart set, Hamlet-like indecision has become the intellectual fashion. The liberal columnist E. J. Dionne wrote in the Washington Post that he is uncomfortable with the pro and antiwar camps. He praised the doubters and raised his colors on behalf of "heroic ambivalence." The New York Times, venturing deep into the territory of self-parody, ran a full-page editorial calling for "still more discussion" on whether or not to go to war.

In certain circles, it is not only important what opinion you hold, but how you hold it. It is important to be seen dancing with complexity, sliding among shades of gray. Any poor rube can come to a simple conclusion--that President Saddam Hussein is a menace who must be disarmed--but the refined ratiocinators want to be seen luxuriating amid the difficulties, donning the jewels of nuance, even to the point of self-paralysis.
Bobo, from the Weekly Standard, 2002:
For example, on September 19, a group of peaceniks took out a full-page ad in the New York Times opposing the campaign in Afghanistan and a possible campaign in Iraq. Signatories included all the usual suspects: Jane Fonda, Edward Said, Barbara Ehrenreich, Tom Hayden, Gore Vidal, Ed Asner, and on and on. In the text of the ad, which runs to 15 paragraphs, Saddam Hussein is not mentioned. Weapons of mass destruction are not mentioned. The risks posed by terrorists and terror organizations are not mentioned. Instead there are vague sentiments, ethereally removed from the tensions before us today: "Nations have the right to determine their own destiny, free from military coercion by great powers. . . . In our name, the government has brought down a pall of repression over society. . . . We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name." The entire exercise is a picture perfect example of moral exhibitionism, by a group of people decadently refusing even to acknowledge the difficulties and tradeoffs that confront those who actually have to make decisions about policy.
Bobo, from the Weekly Standard, 2003:
...there is the dream palace of the American Bush haters. In this dream palace, there is so much contempt for Bush that none is left over for Saddam or for tyranny. Whatever the question, the answer is that Bush and his cronies are evil. What to do about Iraq? Bush is evil. What to do about the economy? Bush is venal. What to do about North Korea? Bush is a hypocrite.
And, of course, we also all remember that, when the winds of fortune turn against him, how easily David Brooks has been known to pivot 180 degrees and lie about ever having said all the shitty things he said.

And so, after years slithering around in a tapioca wilderness of crappy, forgettable "both sides do it " columns desperately trying to equivocate and mediocritize his way away from his own disastrous, written record, Bobo has once again found the Righteous Conservative Footing for which he has been groping since his Dear Leader's Excellent Iraqi Adventure went tits-up: another Conservative Manichean safe-house from which he can pour "You're-either-with-us-or-with-the-terrorists"-brand boiling oil on those fucking Unserious Liberals and their fucking "nuance".

And Andrew Sullivan? Well, Andrew has at last found another Stern, Flog-Wielding, This-is-gonna-hurt-a-LOT (...of poor people) Reagan Daddy to worship: another Woobie to play with that's even more fun than the endless game of "Husker Du" he has been playing with Trig Palin and various uteri.

Like Brooks, Sullivan is willing to grant that there are a few "flaws" in the Ryan plan that spoil a truly perfect view from atop Mount Randite (in the same sense that the freezing water pouring in through the gaping "flaw" ripped open by an iceberg below Titanic's waterline might spoil ones enjoyment of the ten course meal in the first class dining saloon) but that this should in no way stop the White House and Congressional Democrats from pretending that the slavering orcs that now make up the GOP are, in fact, reasonable men and women of good will. And should, in no way, stop the White House and Congressional Democrats from sticking their hands into the same Birther/Death Panel/Extend-the-Bush-Tax-Cuts-forever band saw that chopped them to bits every single time they made the mistake of thinking that the GOP was anything other than an enemy to be destroyed.

This is what is so hilariously fraudulent and, ultimately, dangerous about America's Greatest Conservative Public Intellectuals: the casually schizophrenic way they lie about their own tribe. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday they bitch about how awful it is that their nice, clean, orderly Church of the Imaginary Reagan has been overrun by a pack dirty, poo-flinging, often-racist yahoos who have turned the GOP into a complete cracker factory bent on destroying Obama by any means necessary...

...and on Tuesday and Thursday they bitch about Obama's reluctance to fling himself into a big, 'ol public hammock with these same unhinged ratfucking goons one more time for some Reasonable Centrist canoodling.

Because however drastically and repeatedly their Conservative Ideology fails them over and over again, it it beyond their capacity to admit the simple truth that Liberals Are Right, not because it isn't true, but because it is bad career move (me, from 2009):
But then again, if Mr. Sullivan simply outed himself as a Liberal, he would instantly lose his place in the food-chain, wouldn’t he? Because like that microscopic number of self-loathing black Conservatives who make their daily bread by serving the interests of the Southern Bigot Party, more than any other single factor, it was always the sheer gawking, oddballness of the brazen self-delusion inherent in being the gay champion of the Christopath Homophobe Party that put Mr. Sullivan in the spotlight.

That was what gave him his unique and lucrative cache.

After all, Liberal gay political writers are a dime a dozen, and so in a strange way we find Andrew Sullivan locked in the same kind of mortal combat over labels -- and for exactly the same reasons -- as Roy Cohn's character in "Angels In America" as he adamantly insisted -- even as he was dying of AIDS -- that he was not a "ho-mo-sex-shall".

...even though Mr. Sullivan now, belatedly comes to believe much of what Liberals believe and finally deigns to notice a horde of grotesque truths about his Conservative Movement about which Liberals have been sounding the alarm for 30 years, Andrew Sullivan nonetheless looks us all straight in that eye and argues that he could not possibly be some mere Liberal.

Because in Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" does not refer to a political ideology, but to an impoverishing political ghetto from which no amount of "being right about everything" will permit you to achieve escape velocity. In Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" is a terrible disease that afflicts losers who do not get invited to spout their views on teevee.
After a long, unhappy drought, in Paul Ryan's Operation Atlas Shrugged they have finally, finally found the next, Big, Horrible Idea behind which they can now snipe and whine. A Big, Horrible Idea which, like George Bush's Operation Endless Clusterfuck, comes factory-equipped with the following Seriously Awesome features:
  • Both represent commitments of a huge percentage of America's political and economic resources with a high probability that it will make a bad situation much, much worse.
  • Both are championed by adherents of radical and destructive ideologies.
  • Both show little regard for real people living in the real world.
  • Both show massive contempt for their critics.
  • Both show little capacity for doing basic math.
  • Both show massive contempt for actual experts.
  • Both are immediately christened as Big Serious Ideas by dilettante pundits.
  • Both give David Brooks and Andrew Sullivan woodies a yard long.
And, most importantly, both stand an excellent chance of fucking everything up and getting a whole lot of people killed...but not the sort of people that the likes of Brooks and Sullivan would have on their Christmas card lists anyway, so fuck it, lets roll!

And thus does Paul Ryan becomes the new Paul Wolfowitz -- the Right's new misunderstood genius who is being unfairly smeared by his enemies (From David Brooks, Weekly Standard, February 21, 2003 via Salon):
I mentioned that I barely know Paul Wolfowitz, which is true. But I do admire him enormously, not only because he is both a genuine scholar and an effective policy practitioner, not only because he has been right on most of the major issues during his career, but because he is now the focus of world anti-Semitism. He carries the burden of their hatred, which emanates not only from the Arab world and France, but from some people in our own country, which I had so long underestimated.
and back into another war we plunge.

Another war in which, once again, Sullivan and Brooks and the rest of their ilk giddily advocate risking other people's lives and other people's fortunes.

Another war which, once again, will cost Sullivan and Brooks and the rest of their ilk exactly nothing when it blows up in their faces. Hell, if the past is any guide, the bigger a Conservative fucks-up, the better the promotion (Glenn Greenwald in Salon, September, 2009):
All of this would be a fascinating study for historians if the people responsible were figures of the past. But they're not. They're the opposite. The same people shaping our debates now are the same ones who did all of that, and they haven't changed at all.

They're doing the same things now that they did then.

When you go read what they said back then, that's what makes it so remarkable and noteworthy. David Brooks got promoted within our establishment commentariat to The New York Times after (one might say: because of) the ignorant bile and amoral idiocy he continuously spewed while at The Weekly Standard. According to National Journal's recently convened "panel of Congressional and Political Insiders," Brooks is now the commentator who "who most help[s] to shape their own opinion or worldview" -- second only to Tom "Suck On This" Friedman. Charles Krauthammer came in third.

Ponder that for a minute.

Because such are the perks of being America's Greatest Conservative Public Dilettantes.

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