Thursday, April 20, 2017

We Are Still Half Fox and Half Free

I am delighted that Mr. Charles Blow has carved out a place for himself at The New York Times in which the Liberal critique of the Right for the last 20 years can grow and gain a wider audience:
Instead of being a grenade-throwing iconoclast bent on blowing up the D.C. establishment and the big-money power structures, he has stocked his inner circle with billionaires and bankers, and he has bent to the establishment.

Trump sold himself as a populist only to line his own pockets. Trump built his entire reputation not as the champion of the common man, but by curating his image as a crude effigy of the cultural elite.

He accrued his wealth by selling hollow dreams of high society to people who wanted to flaunt their money or pretend that they had some.

Put another way, Trump’s brand is built on exclusivity, not inclusivity. It is about the separate, vaulted position of luxury, above and beyond the ability for it to be accessed by the common. It is all about the bourgeois and has absolutely nothing to do with the blue collar.
However, there is a flaw in Mr. Blow's otherwise estimable reasoning. It is a flaw deep in the firmware of far too many Liberals that has been ruthlessly exploited over and over again to our disadvantage.  It is the pipe-dream that, at some point, the meatheads on the Right will begin to wake up and realize they've been played for chumps by people who only want to use them up, squeeze them dry and discard their husks.

As [The Washington Post’s The Fix] pointed out: “The poll showed just 7 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Trump has performed worse than they expected him to. Fully 38 percent — five times as many — say he has performed better.”

This seems to me a fair point, but it requires us to have a better handle on the expectations for him in the first place. After all, the union has yet to crumble into ashes and his Twitter tirades have yet to push us into an impulse war.

Furthermore, the stubborn human resistance to admitting a mistake should never be underestimated. Admitting that Trump is failing, even when he is failing you and your family specifically, is an enormous pill to swallow. Acknowledging that your blindness, selfishness and fear compelled you to buy into a man who is selling you out may take more time.

But I think that time is coming, because Trump is an unabashed leech and an unrepentant liar...

No, Charles.  That time is not coming. It is an intoxicating mirage that even a man as astute as Barack Obama kept chasing right off the cliff over and over and over again, to our lasting and collective detriment.  From Politico, June, 2012:
Obama: Republican 'fever' will break after the election

President Obama told supporters that he expected the gridlock to end after the election, when Republicans can stop worrying about voting him out of office.

"My expectation is that if we can break this fever, that we can invest in clean energy and energy efficiency because that's not a partisan issue," Obama said, speaking to supporters in Minneapolis.

Obama pointed to deficit reduction, a transportation bill, and immigration reform as initiatives that could well pass in November.

"In this election, the Republican Party has moved in a fundamentally different direction. The center of gravity for their party has shifted," Obama said.

But Obama held out hope of the party moving back towards the center.

"I believe that If we're successful in this election, when we're successful in this election, that the fever may break, because there's a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that. My hope, my expectation, is that after the election, now that it turns out that the goal of beating Obama doesn't make much sense because I'm not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again," Obama said.
Yeah, that was absolutely never going to happen and anyone with an ounce of political and cultural perspective that is more than a minute long fucking well knew it was never going to happen.   

Obama's reelection did little to 'break the fever' in Washington

Around this time last year, President Obama was entering the final stretch of his reelection campaign and repeating a key rationale for a second term: Keeping him in the White House would chasten Republicans and end the dysfunction in Washington.

His reelection would prompt self-reflection, he said. It "might break the fever," Obama told Rolling Stone magazine last year. For the campaign, the message was a way of connecting his reelection effort to his 2008 election bid. Even as an incumbent boxed in by the opposition, Obama was still promising to bring change to a broken government.

Now, several months into his second term, with Washington on the cusp of the first government shutdown since 1996, the fever of brinkmanship has spiked.

Whether the president’s thesis misjudged his opponents or was merely wooing supporters with wishful thinking is an open question.

Even as Obama campaigned on the notion, few in Washington agreed with the president’s analysis...
On an emotional and political level, I can understand why any president (and especially a Democrat who is also the first African American president of the United States) would be incredibly reluctant to even hint at the truth about the Republican party, because the truth about the Republican party is so goddamn grim. 

You see, the overwhelming majority of the rank-and-file of the GOP are unsalvageably fucked-in-the-head.  They are happily brainwashed nitwits and racists who would gladly belly-flop their entire family into a live volcano if Fox News told them to and would spent their last moments on this Earth before being incinerated into iconoclastic ash cursing Obama or Clinton or Nancy Pelosi or Susan Rice for the ouch ouch burning.

After watching Republicans for 30 years marching down and down and down this long and horrifying road to smug, snarling, mindless political bestiality, it is about goddamn time that we started treating this grim fact as a fact.  Just as factoring in wind-speed and fuel consumption and the laws of gravity are critical to safely piloting an aircraft from A to B, this grim but immutable fact needs to be factored into our resistance to the Right.  

At this late date it absurd to believe that we will find any potential converts on the Right, primed and ready for a Road to Damascus moment if only Trump fucks them over enough.  Just as it is absurd to believe that we have any hidden allies in the corporate media who would be willing to put their position an paychecks at risk to help our cause once Trump fucks up enough.  

Of course President Obama was never going to say this out loud, or apparently every let himself think such terrible thoughts at all.  To him, every Republican pile of horseshit was taken as proof that a pony could not be far away, if only we clapped a little louder, bent over a bit further and were never so crass as to mention that the GOP was run by amoral thugs and hobgoblins.

But just because President Obama could never speak such truths out loud, doesn't mean that New York Times columnists shouldn't.  Because our country is now fully Half Fox and Half Free.  And as I wrote seven years ago...
In order to avoid wasting his presidency, squandering the opportunity we have given him, and letting the country spiral into a permanent corporate feudal pest-hole, Barack Obama must do the hardest thing of all: he must exceed his design specifications. This is not unprecedented, but like Franklin Roosevelt the capitalist-turned-social-Democrat or Abraham Lincoln the compromiser-turned-Emancipator, Obama must let go of a central pillar of his identity and embrace the brutal fact that our modern house divided against itself cannot stand.

That we cannot endure permanently half-Fox and half-free.

That we will become all one thing, or all the other.

And that this is your fight, President Obama.

This burden has fallen to you: it cannot be shirked and cannot be delegated.
Well President Obama did not rise to that challenge.  He failed.  And if we on the Left keep on chasing the ensorcelling fantasy that these fuckers on the Right will eventually wake up if only...if only... if only... 

...all we will end up accomplishing is "if onlying" everything that is kind and decent and noble about this country right onto the ash heap of history.


Dan Kleiner said...

yeah, just had this argument more or less on the facebook.

it is NOT wise to chase the enablers of fascists at the expense of the democratic base.

Randle Aubrey said...

The scariest thing about the "half-Fox and half-free" idea is that Trump actually seems to understand this on some sort of primitive level, and is actively pushing the political center towards a full-on implosion. But he's blaming the left for it at the top of his lungs every step of the way, which means that when shit *really* hits the fan, we already know who the mainstream press will blame...

D. said...

I have been reluctantly coming to your conclusion, notwithstanding more moderate friends.

Hermitting is looking entirely too tempting right now.

Batman 54 said...

LBJ would say"those fellas don't know the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad." Or something like that.

D. said...

Also: See Stonekettle Station.

Robt said...

Too many on the right endear the "strong and wrong" character to support.

Which can be combated with strong , confronting and correct. Obama did get some of them.

The corporate sect need convinced of profits.

You can take the Infowars away from the Dylan Roof's of the world but you cannot address the racist in him. Only thing I can see for them is to make them with doses of apathy and opiods.

We heard people that worked on the campaign with Sarah Palin, who could not bring themselves to vote for her. We heard of many like the Kristol and FRom that said they voted HRC. Yes, their were ding songs like Sen Ben Sassse of Nebraska that said he couldn't vote for Trump so he voted for Mike Pence.
A road apple to munch on for the rubes.

In general the I vote for anything with an "r" in front of it.

These are all fair targets and should be. Their lives the novice born Conservative within, Which the cement shoes in which to drown him has not solidified yet.

But what the hell about everyone else??

So many times we heard, " I live in a solid blue state so I can vote differently like for Jill Stein" and HRC is going to win anyways.

Starting out with what the likely voters of the party in which you attach for it's mechanisms is a good place to start.

The GOP media conglomerate is there 24/7. Rushbo can be on 4 stations in the sane small city and burbs. Reinforcing, indoctrinating programming "trigger words".
I would not prescribe that direction. But places to come together, share ideas, air complaints, promote directions.

Obama did confront the GOP. Not hate mongering GOP. Perhaps not enough and as I might have revengefully wanted.
Case in point; How the republicans squirreled and moaned of being "AMBUSHED" by Obama in a public meeting to discuss the economics, debt. How unbelievably prepared Obama was in that. "Never again" the GOP etched onto the granite wall inside the entry way of the hollowed Heritage Foundation Mosque of worship.

I have one big question?
Why is it the right wing is so loud and prolonged no matter what it is they shed a tear over?

Trump tweets Obama should go to prison for abusing his authority as president by wire tapping him and his campaign legally. The press, Congress, Sunday pastors at sermon, FOX/ AM to Breit-ass-bart drowns out everything else. Even network news/Cable re blare cast like the mimicking parrot dittohead?

Networks say they give more air time to republicans because they are the majority and have power. When the Dems held the House, senate and white house. The networks still gave more airtime to republicans even though they were the minority party with no power.
Mindsers of the corporate media owners the billionaire class owners influenced.
What did that comedian that died some time ago make a serious comedic rant on?
Your not in the club. You will never be in the club. They own you.

Carlin? yeah, George Carlin. And they need more tax cuts. Ask the current republicans. The debt America is still in, They can either extract the money from health care and social security or borrow the money to be paid back with interests, to pay out those tax cuts.
And once the wealthy and corporate pay little to no taxes. They are not stuck with paying off that debt. Can continue to lobby money out of government for themselves from our taxes. We get the bill.
Because Freedom ........

here is a radical liberal idea,

Vote us in majority power of congress and we will impeach Gorsuch for accepting stolen property and fill the seat with someone who worthy that respect the law of property rights.

Oh, but this would be shunned by democratic leadership.

Dems cannot continue to go in to the white house only to be fathoms under GOP economic water, bound by ironic policies or obstructed at everything the GOP deems not conservative.

Mr XD said...

Back in the day, when we had a young, enthusiastic, compassionate and seriously intelligent president I used to opine "I wish he'd show a little less Harvard Law and a lot more Chicago Street". When your team has the overwhelming advantage, give the other side a month or two to "negotiate in good faith". If that's not forthcoming, crush them like bugs, get them to the point where they pee their pants at the mere word Democrat. Then, maybe, we could have a productive discussion and talk about compromise.

As much as I liked Obama, I think he suffered from what I call "lawyers hubris" which is the belief that part of a lawyers skill-set is the ability to convince people to see things your way. Doesn't always work that way, unfortunately.

As always Drift, thanks for all you do, and for how well you do it.

Neo Tuxedo said...

Sorry to repeat myself, but:

We Are Still Half Fox and Half Sane

Fixed that for you, chief. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Dems need new leadership. Perez? I do not know much about his style - I have my own picks, but President and First Lady Obama are still in office in my books. Traitors, with their treasonous actions, forfeit the right to govern - in the eyes of Lady Justice.

Now, word has it, the O's are staying in DC - among other things, to place every citizen's name who was 'pulled' - back onto the voter list where they belong. And if I know 'my' President and First Lady -they'll do it with surgical precision.

The wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow but grind they do. The derps are Dunning Krueger anyway and won't know what hit 'em. Those that do know will be most intriguing to watch. Some, like Chaffetz, are already fleeing the scene of the crimes. And Flynn- how the mighty have fallen- where's he been since he flipped like an IHOP pancake? Then...there's Manafort. And Stone. Ahh, the books that'll be written.

One of my earliest forays into the realm of political science was embarking on a walk in the rich garden of 'Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail'. I never looked back. I've progressed from the early days of drunktypinghistory to keeping my foot on the gas and never ever ever - giving them an inch. Ever. The deplorable's redemption may or may not come. That's their call - not our problem. Seared conscience is a bitch if you know what I mean.

Damn, I love justice.

Robert said...

When they brought up the deficit as an excuse to cut the social safety net, Obama should have said, "Get me the Pentagon on line 1, I have to shut them down because we're broke."
That would have straightened out the mess.

Pat said...

Thanks to you and readers for your thoughtful insight into our country and world. You are an oasis of sanity.

Unknown said...

I have to continually ask my new Indivisible friends, "Don't any of you know how to play this game????" They wring their hands endlessly about how we have to moderate our opposition and try to pull the Humps over to our way of thinking, that the failure of their tinpot god will help them see the error of their ways, somehow.

No, no, no, good people! Stop it, with your smug assurance that these people can be swayed by Reason, Fact, and Consequence! As the Confederacy had to finally be met and bested with fire and steel after sweet reason failed, so too will the trained haters have to face the reckoning of the choice they made. Let the social safety net in GOP states shred and tatter, spilling opioid zombies into gated communities; let the owner-barons build the gulags for all the little dummies who cheered on the destruction of the regulatory state that protected the little dummies from these very predators; let their false gods be frogmarched off the public stage for their depravities--right, Bill-o? Whoever saw that one coming?--until the whole brand stinks like a two-day summer diaper. And then every voice raises up to make these bastards wear that article of stank. No. More. Kumbaya. Ever. Stop it, Times. Piss off, CNBC and CNN. Shut up, Barry and Michelle. T

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