Thursday, May 03, 2018

How The West Wing Screwed Us Up


For all of my nostalgic fondness for America's favorite Acting President, at its core The West Wing was a profoundly establishmentarian enterprise which very much sought the approval of the Beltway culture that it fictionalized by playing them the sweet, sweet music they most wanted to hear.

And thus as the nation was slogging through the darkest days of the Bush Administration, during one of the series' last episodes, the writers still felt compelled to conjure decent Republicans out of thin air and make this kind of David Brooksian flapdoodle come out of Sam Seaborn's mouth:
Santos may be the future this country wants.  For all the partisan noises made, we're a nation of centrists. He may be the right man with the right message at the right time and if he is I wanna be a part of it.  But he can't do it without you.  Liberal Democrats will try to force him left.  Moderate Republicans will fence-sit as long as they can.  It's you who's gotta make this go who's gonna cut through the demagoguery and timidity and make people do what they were sent here to do, actually govern.
By 2006, when this episode aired, anyone who was paying even a modicum of honest attention to American politics knew this was bullshit.  Bullshit delivered under the cloak of very convincing and well-constructed political and legislative verisimilitude, but bullshit nonetheless.

Like, for instance, me.  Back in 2005:
[According to Tom Friedman] the Universe is carefully divided into Conservatives – who are wrong – and Liberals – who are somehow, mysteriously and equally wrong all the time and in equal numbers on every issue. And only Captain Obvious, frolicking across the few lonely yards of sand on his Isle of Reasonableness, can see the truth.

It does not matter how many millions of miles the Shining Path Republicans drag the “middle ground” to the Right.

It doesn’t matter that the Party of Lincoln is now infested crotch-to-crown with maggoty Segregationists.

It doesn’t matter that Nixon looks like a fucking Socialist compared to the positions now being advocated by the GOP today.

However far into the Armageddonist Abyss the wingnuts charge, Captain Obvious will dutifully pace off half that distance back towards where the Left (the band formerly know as “Rockefeller Republicans”) happened to be that day, drive his little stake into that shifting ground and declare that THIS is where the treasure of Comity and Reasonableness is buried. And that everyone on either side of his little islet is equally and oppositely wrong.

And then stamp his chubby little feet and whine that No One Is Listening to Him!...
And yet all these years later -- as we once again find ourselves forced to slog through the wreckage being left in the wake of yet another active Republican presidential crime scene -- I can still open The New York Times, or the Washington Post or even USA Today and expect to find that media corporations with a shit-ton of money and no discernible judgement or conscience are still eager to pay Republican shills to hawk exactly same brand of Both Siderist claptrap they were selling from the back of the Beltway pundit patent medicine wagon 13 years ago.

Never Trump Republican's midterm plea to Democrats: Reach out to people like me.

Cheri Jacobus, Opinion columnist 
Democrats need to put party before country by moving to the center. If they go far left, unhappy Republicans will stay home or stick with Trump's GOP.

Americans are desperate for adult leadership in Washington. That is not Donald Trump. That is not the current Republican Party. There is only one option remaining, and the Democratic Party appears poised for a congressional “blue wave” victory in November.

But if Democrats are giddy with the belief that current favorable poll numbers and white hot intensity are because a large swath of voters suddenly changed their basic molecular and ideological structure, let me rain on their parade.

If the far left of the Democratic Party uses the current climate to push a far left message, it’s a sign to moderates, independents, Never-Trump GOP and former GOP that the Democratic Party is not in “adult mode” either...
And who exactly is Cheri Jacobus?  She is...
...a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors, is a Republican consultant and commentator and president of Capitol Strategies PR. Follow her on Twitter: @CheriJacobus.
Yes, Ms. Jacobus actually gets paid real American money to compost old David Brooks, Michael Gerson, Peggy Noonan, Joe Scarborough and Matthew Dowd columns and then repackage the slurry as bite-sized nuggets of pure Both Siderist goodness for USA Today!  

So, since we on the Left are apparently all whiny, stupid toddlers, how exactly does Ms. Jacobus propose we sufficiently “adult mode” ourselves so we can sit at the grownup's table and reel in those yummy-yummy Nonexistent Moderates, Fake Independents and all 37 Never-Trump GOPers like Ms. Jacobus?

...put country before party and reach out in meaningful ways to these voters...
Ah!

Well, see, here's the thing about that.  I know this vapid catch-phrase has become the sanctified mantra of professional Both Siderists everywhere --


-- but up until now they have usually been terribly shy about explaining exactly what it means for us stupid, Liberal crybabies.  Preferring instead to drop ominous hints of dire things to come if we Libtards don't...uh...something something:
Simply swinging the pendulum from left to right and right to left, creating further ongoing chaos, is short-term gain at the expense of long-term governance...
But now, at last, Ms. Jacobus is willing to tell us exactly what we on the Left need to do to level-up to "adult mode" and win the political affections of people like her.

First, shut up about the "social" stuff already.   You're scaring the rubes, so cool it.
Approach social issues with a thoughtfulness that has eluded both parties but that most Americans quietly crave. Put the screamers from the extremes of the left and the right in the back of the line...
Of course no way in hell is Ms. Jacobus going to specify which "social issues" she is talking about, or who the "screamers" on the left actually are because of the very high risk of looking like an idiot if she does.  Instead, like pretty much every other Beltway pundit, she simply proclaims this to be true with no supporting evidence whatsoever, so please feel free to use your experience and imagination to fill in the missing details regarding what sort of people and what sort of social injustices Ms. Jacobus insists that we clear with the Never-Trump Tone Police before we open our mouths in public.


Second. ladies and gentlemen please welcome back to the national stage after a triumphant tour of Kansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, the motherfucking Catfood Commission!
Adult leadership would focus on tackling a budget deficit that is now predicted to exceed $1 trillion every year for decades with responsible spending by first and foremost zeroing in on budgetary and government waste and fraud in a meaningful way. Americans expect this and are angry Washington doesn’t do this annually by default. Be the grown up party and do it.
But Ms. Jacobus, we did do it.  A Democratic president named Bill Clinton did, in fact, pay down the massive deficit left behind by two consecutive Republican presidents: Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.  Paid it down by radically scaling back the agenda he had run on, cutting spending and raising taxes over the unified and hysterical objections of Ms. Jacobus' Republican Party.

So, I have to ask, Ms. Jacobus, where was all this fancy "put country before party" talk back then?  Because, in fact, President Bill Clinton did a whole bunch of things to appease your Republican Party and piss off Democrats like me.  And for his trouble he got six years of witch-hunts, followed by impeachment over trivia, followed by a rigged election, followed by the Bush administration which moved swiftly to piss away the Clinton Surplus as fast as humanly possible and blow the deficit right back into the stratosphere.

I wrote all about it here, nearly a decade ago ("Like a Virgin")

So, again, Ms. Jacobus, where was all this purdy "put country before party" talk then?   Because at the time, it was Democrats like Dick Gephardt who warned that Bush administration policies would bankrupt the treasury, while Republican Brain Wizards like Mr. David Brooks of The Weekly Standard called us crazy and stupid for suggesting that we would ever have deficits again.

And then came President Obama, and again the cycle repeated itself.  Once again, a moderate Democrat inherited a dumpster fire of Republican catastrophes which require immediate and drastic action.  And once again, the same Republicans who created those catastrophes openly united to sabotage any attempt by the Democratic president to clean up their mess.   Once again, Beltway media hacks flapped their hands and ran in circles screaming about "Both Sides!"

The reason I mention all of this, Ms. Jacobus', is not merely to underscore how laughable your attempts at Both Siderism are at this late date. but to let you know that I know exactly how freaked out you Republicans are by the Past.  The Past terrifies you, because because it's crammed with so many of your expedient lies and revisions and ludicrous lies and deflections and ridiculous lies and abrupt reversals and volatile lies and seditious lies and just-plain-bared-faced lies that for y'all, any visit to the Past is like dancing up a mountain of old dynamite in mercury fulminate tap shoes.

It is important that you know, Ms. Jacobus, that it is your own weakness -- your own terror of your own past --- which has given us Liberals the superweapon which will destroy you.

Memory.  

The Future belongs to us, Ms. Jacobus, because in your haste to bury your sins, you Never Trumpers have made the Past into a minefield where you dare not go.  


Behold, a Tip Jar!

7 comments:

bowtiejack said...

Beautiful stuff, my man. Beautiful stuff. Thank you.

mlf said...

Brilliant and beautiful.

cvmbner said...

I, for one, think she has a point. Next time someone calls me a "dirty Jew," I'll try to meet them halfway and use more deodorant.

Mr XD said...

*** Out~Standing ***

Green Eagle said...

I saw a poll yesterday that showed that in the 16-25 age group, people trusted Republicans more than Democrats to handle the economy.

It's hopeless.

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good evening, Mr. Glass.

"Never Trump Republican's..." And you already lost me, Ms. Jacobus. "Never Trump Republicans" are people who are so useless that they couldn't convince THEIR OWN PARTY to act more centrist. So now they try to peddle their message to Democrats.

Be seeing you.

jim said...

First verse: "Reach out to people like me."
Chorus: "Gooble-Gobble, ONE OF US."

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