Thursday, April 09, 2015

10 Years After: 2012 -- A Gay Catholic Tory, An Expatriate Libertarian and the Ghost of Ronald Reagan Walk Into a Bar...

The 10th blogiversary fundraiser continues with the Presidential Election year of 2012.

In 2012, False equivalences were the new black.

They still are.

A Gay Catholic Tory, An Expatriate Libertarian and the Ghost of Ronald Reagan Walk Into a Bar...

No kidding.

And in that bar they take turns holding forth on what "the left" really believes and why Ron Paul's existence is a damning indictment of the Progressive Movement and the Democratic Party.

Because who would know better what sinister motives lurk in the dark hearts of Liberals than...Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan?

The Ron Paul candidacy has proven a very fertile event on both right and left. It has shown that there is some real disquiet among conservatives about retaining the 20th Century vision of American military global hegemony. And it has shown that the left is ultimately more concerned with the hunt for damning ideological associations, than with the ideas that Paul has promoted - even when those ideas are closer to some of candidate Obama's than president Obama's. In a deliberately provocative must-read, Glenn Greenwald spells out the left's priorities in demonizing Ron Paul
Mr. Sullivan then links to a long article in which Mr. Greenwald does what is now Mr. Greenwald's stock-in-trade: radically decontextualizing complex decisions made by the grotty, impure slobs on the Left down to simple binary bouillon cubes --
The very same people who in 2004 wildly cheered John Kerry — husband of the billionaire heiress-widow Teresa Heinz Kerry — spent all of 2008 mocking John McCain’s wealthy life courtesy of his millionaire heiress wife and will spend 2012 depicting Mitt Romney’s wealth as proof of his insularity.
-- with which he can then vehemently disagree.

Mr. Sullivan then returns to lambaste "the left" for our various sins and failings, going reflexively to the All-Purpose Conservative Hail Mary of doubling down on defending the fragrant top-notes and moist, cake-like consistency of the poo into which one has just stepped:
And so [the Left spends] enormous energy persuading themselves that Paul is actually a paranoid, anti-Semitic, racist bigot, and so need not be engaged seriously...
Mr. Greenwald and Mr. Sullivan both exist quite comfortably in a parallel dimension made up of dorm rooms debates bolted together with abstractions, and where the ugly specter of imperfect political reality does not intrude. It is a fine place, safely above it all, where you can fire in all directions with impunity, and impugn the motives of anyone who disagrees with you with all the righteous fury of the perfectly pure.

From a short, incisive essay on Mr. Greenwald by A. Jay Adler introducing a longer, livelier essay on Mr. Greenwald:
... If you read Greenwald much, you know there is no life in anything he writes about. His words are acerbic, glum, and dispiriting. His common goal is to paint incendiary and dehumanizing portrayals of anyone who has ever sought to serve in government. He never has his own expertise or solutions to bring to his narratives. The goal is to always tear down someone else, and drive his readers into pitchforked frenzies of ideological zeal. He does it so well that his screeds will suck all the oxygen from the national conversation whenever he drops a new one at, the, or whichever venue is giving him space that day.
And to underscore the point, more of Mr. Greenwald speaking for himself:
Even worse are the lying partisan enforcers who, like the Inquisitor Generals searching for any inkling of heresy, purposely distort any discrete praise for the Enemy as a general endorsement.  
So potent is this poison that no inoculation against it exists. No matter how expressly you repudiate the distortions in advance, they will freely flow. Hence: I’m about to discuss the candidacies of Barack Obama and Ron Paul, and no matter how many times I say that I am not “endorsing” or expressing support for anyone’s candidacy, the simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers will claim the opposite. But since it’s always inadvisable to refrain from expressing ideas in deference to the confusion and deceit of the lowest elements, I’m going to proceed to make a couple of important points about both candidacies even knowing in advance how wildly they will be distorted. 
I promise Mr. Greenwald that despite years of being a paid-up, card-carrying member of the "lowest elements" I will try as hard as my simple-minded Manichean brain will permit to make no such badthinkful distortions of his jaundiced, preemptive contempt for anyone who does not happen to line up with him straight down the line.

Instead I will simply note that this is the sensibility of a child.

A very bright child to be sure, but also a very angry child.  And it stands, in many ways, as the perfect obverse side to the David Brooks scam:  where Mr. Brooks pretends to hold himself fanatically between all sides of every issue (except that dirty immoral Hippies obviously destroyed all that is good in America), Mr. Greenwald holds himself stridently above all issues (except that dirty deviationist Hippies are obviously Obamabot hypocrites and possibly worse than six Hitlers.)

And that is a very cozy hammock to lie in.

Hell, after wasting my vote on John Anderson in 1980 because I thought Jimmie Carter was icky and Ronald Reagan was nuts

I could have easily tantrumed myself through the next 30 years, hopping from one, doomed purist cause and candidate to another while sneering at the grubby compromisers and half-a-loafers who foolishly believed that "good enough" could ever be good enough.

And please understand (although I am sure my Manichean swine enemies will twist my words to make it sound otherwise!)  I would never rebuke my younger self for that decision any more than I would mock anyone who gave their heart to Candidate Obama only to wake up one day brokenhearted to discover he was just a politician: I find no fault in these things because I don't think idealism is foolish and I don't think "politician" is a dirty word.

But if you linger long enough after graduation in the high school parking lot of American politics refusing to move on or grow up, don't be surprised if people start treating you like that creepy guy who hangs out in the high school parking lot refusing to move on or grow up.

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