Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Chronicles of Strategic Forgettery: Republican Detachment Disorder

In yesterday's exciting chapter of "The Chronicles of Strategic Forgettery" we used an infamous William Safire New York Times column from 1976 to analyze how Republicans will automatically seek to rewrite the immediate past history of their crimes and betrayals before the Ink of History has dried.  In the case of Richard Nixon, Safire threw every tool in the GOP flunkey toolbox -- accusations of fraud, derangement, hypocrisy, greed and godlessness leavened with a generous helping of Both Siderism -- at the problem of rehabilitating Nixon's reputation.

But sometimes, as was the case with the George W. Bush administration, the party's standard bearers have inflicted so much damage on the country and the rest of his party has accumulated such a massive, public record of supporting his follies, that his record cannot be immediately laundered.  To obliterate from history a catastrophe the size and scope of the Bush Administration, a different level of Strategic Forgettery was needed and today's cautionary tale is about how that works.

Many years ago I coined the term Republican Detachment Disorder to describe the coordinated psychological gymnastics of influential people who spent their entire adult lives helping to build a Republican monster factory and midwifing the orcs and hobgoblins that came off its assembly line and who, once their monsters began running out of their control, erased themselves from their own history and began denying their own pasts harder and faster than Peter denied Christ.  

This is what happened with the Bush Administration.  

At the close of the Age of Dubya, even as we disreputable Liberal bloggers were shouting warnings of the impending Great Whitewash as loud as our shitty blogs would permit, the mainstream press and the Republican Party began colluding to wall-off the entire Bush administration and declare it a Forbidden Zone.  The officially recognized Year One of recorded history was reset to one minute after Barack Obama took the oath of office.  And thanks to the coordinated denialism/Both Siderism of the press and the urgency of the crises Obama inherited and the GOP's decision (taken on the very day of Obama's inauguration) to become an unified, unremitting force of obstruction and sabotage and Obama's own stubborn and ultimately fatal unwillingness to see the Republican Party as the vandals and traitors they were... succeeded.

And because it succeeded, certain beliefs under which the Republican Party had already been operating for decades were cemented into place forever.  Specifically, it became established party doctrine that the Democratic Party is fundamentally illegitimate and therefor cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to govern the country.  To that end, all actions necessary to deny Democrats the ability to govern are permitted, regardless of how radical and anti-constitutional those actions might be.  Fraud?  Voter suppression?  Intimidation?  Soliciting the illegal assistance of a foreign adversary?  Who cares as long as the Dirty Commie Dems are kept out of the White House!  And conversely, because the GOP has a mandate from Heaven to thwart the Evil Democrats, it must, by definition, be a Force For Good.  It therefore follows that the very idea of holding Republicans "accountable" in any way for anything they do is ridiculous.

However, as with Bush Administration, when a handful of "establishment" elites at the head of party screw up so badly that it becomes impossible to thwart the Evil Democrats, well something must be done to take those elites off he board.  Mind you -- and pay attention because there will be a quiz -- it is of vital importance that neither the party rank-and-file, nor most of the party's elected officials, nor the party's own propaganda media, nor the party's collaborators and enablers in the mainstream press ever be held accountable for the actions of a party which they had, just five minute ago, loudly enthusiastically supported.

Because if that happened -- duh! math! -- there would be no party.  

Instead blame must be localized to a handful of elites who, when you think about it, weren't really bad guys at all.  They had merely succumbed to the fleshpots of "Washington" and the blandishments those Evil Democrats.  The party itself is in excellent shape: it just needs an infusion of fresh blood and bold ideas.  

And in 2010, with the GOP was suffering a massive hangover from its leader being a failed halfwit and itsv oting base being a shitpile of blood drunk bigots and imbeciles, the Magic Dolphin Lady knew exactly where to find the scamper juice that'd put the apples back in the cheeks of the Party of Reagan.  Ms. Peggy Noonan via The Wall Street Journal during the Before Time:

Tea Party to the Rescue
How the GOP was saved from Bush and the establishment.


Two central facts give shape to the historic 2010 election. The first is not understood by Republicans, and the second not admitted by Democrats.

The first: the tea party is not a "threat" to the Republican Party, the tea party saved the Republican Party. In a broad sense, the tea party rescued it from being the fat, unhappy, querulous creature it had become, a party that didn't remember anymore why it existed, or what its historical purpose was. The tea party, with its energy and earnestness, restored the GOP to itself.

We're saved!

The tea party did something the Republican establishment was incapable of doing: It got the party out from under George W. Bush. The tea party rejected his administration's spending, overreach and immigration proposals, among other items, and has become only too willing to say so. In doing this, the tea party allowed the Republican establishment itself to get out from under Mr. Bush: "We had to, boss, it was a political necessity!" They released the GOP establishment from its shame cringe.

And woke!

And they not only freed the Washington establishment, they woke it up. 
That establishment, composed largely of 50- to 75-year-olds who came to Washington during the Reagan era in a great rush of idealism, in many cases stayed on, as they say, not to do good but to do well. They populated a conservative infrastructure that barely existed when Reagan was coming up: the think tanks and PR groups, the media outlets and governmental organizations. 

Boo for "media outlets"!  Except, of course, all the media outlets, including NBC and  The Wall Street Journal, that keep Ms. Noonan in top-shelf hooch!

But "Boo!" for all the others!

And "Yay!" for stiffening!

Finally, the tea party stiffened the GOP's spine by forcing it to recognize what it had not actually noticed, that we are a nation in crisis. The tea party famously has no party chiefs and no conventions but it does have a theme—stop the spending, stop the sloth, incompetence and unneeded regulation—and has lent it to the GOP.

And who is to blame for all of our woes?  

One man.  

One black man.

The second fact of 2010 is understood by Republicans but not admitted by Democrats. It is that this is a fully nationalized election, and at its center it is about one thing: Barack Obama...

This election is about one man, Barack Obama, who fairly or not represents the following: the status quo, Washington, leftism, Nancy Pelosi, Fannie and Freddie, and deficits in trillions, not billions. Everyone who votes is going to be pretty much voting yay or nay on all of that. And nothing can change that story line now.

This was rebutted by several hundred posts by disreputable Liberals demonstrating that the Tea Party was, in fact, just a rebranding scam designed to get Republicans off the hook for all the shit they had said and done during the Bush Administration.  And those hundreds of posts accomplished... exactly... nothing because too many influential people stood to lose too much if it were true.

And thus the Age of Bush vanished from the memory of man.

And then one day the Beltway media collectively decided that the danger of accountability had passed and the Fake Tea Party had 1) outlived its usefulness and 2) was becoming a pain in the ass.   At which point Very Serious Conservatives pundits from David Brooks to Joe Scarborough suddenly noticed that -- OMG! -- the "Tea Party" had never been anything more than the same, old batshit GOP base in funny hats after all!

It's that just fucking hilarious!

And I tell you now with all the clear-eyed pragmatism of Don Vito explaining to Michael just  how Barzini will move against him, that some variation of this "Fault the Leader/Exonerate Everyone Else" scheme is what awaits us on January 21st, 2021.  

No Half Measures


dinthebeast said...

And after all of that effort and expense to memory hole the Bush/Cheney atrocities, here comes Fergus pardoning the war criminal monsters of W's excellent Iraqi Adventure to make everything old new again...

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Robt said...

Detachment syndrome

A chronic case

Senator Ben Sasse on Trump's pardons, "they are rotten to the core".

The senator who wrote n his local paper on Trump impeachment.

:Sure Trump did extort Ukraine. He only did it because he accepted poor legal advice from his lawyer (Rudy).
As if Rudy is the president's sole only lawyer? That Trump chose that Rudy advice from all other advice. But he wasn't going to remove him for that crime because of the poor Rudy advice.
He seemed to forget that separate vote on not allowing witnesses in an impeachment trial that he voted no to having witnesses. It might give some American people the wrong notion and tougher to vote to Acquit.
Despite the unusual oblivious point that Sen Sasse on the Judiciary has ben partially court packing because only loyal registered republican judges are worthy to be a judge.
As he packed the courts with his judges. He shows these judges how not to allow witnesses in trials they may rule over in court.

All said , I realize Sasse is detached from reality and doesn't see how he is responsible for over 320 thousand dead Americans, promoting corruption and enabling it to pardons for al the Trump crime family convicted.
He thinks, "someone ought to do something about all this corruption. Someone?

You do know the GOP has many conferences amongst themselves to strategize. And agreeing uniform ally on what they remember is discussed a lot.

Jason said...

Your soothsayings have been spot on historically but I'm wondering if the Republican party has just hit the end of the line. The msmedia that has taint licked them for decades seems to be much more suspect after Trump. The right wing has broken from reality in a public way and they have their conspiracy bogus media now that will lie to them all day long. This leaves the Republican party an even more minority party without a platform and a proven track record of not giving a shit. The support network keeping Republicans in good standing just doesn't seem to be there anymore and the need for honest and grounded policies that can help the working class is dire. More of the same Republican deregulation and lower taxes bullshit isn't going to fly imo. I have no doubt they'll try the amazing history disappearing act but I think it might not work nearly as well this time.