Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Both Sides Don't: Part Infinity


Look, you're a busy person.  Between fighting like hell to save democracy and trying to live a normal, fulfilling life of joys and obligations you've got a lot going on and it's simply unreasonable to expect you to keep track of what our "allies" are up to when they're talking amongst themselves.  

That's why I'm here: to keep an eye on what our "allies" are saying and doing.

And it's important that someone pay attention to it, because after they were run out of their own party  they were enthusiastically (and against the advice of a few of us) welcomed inside our tent, no questions asked.   And now (as a few of us accurately predicted) their voices and opinions far outnumber those of actual Liberals in the "Liberal" media -- opinions which now enjoy all the validation that their constant presence in the "Liberal" media gives them.  

Furthermore, thanks to their massive overrepresentation in the "Liberal" media, the reach and profitability of their own Never Trump media enterprises -- their websites, podcasts, YouTube channels, guest columns, op-ed gigs, fundraising apparatuses etc. -- dwarfs what little remains of the Liberal blogosphere and Liberal podcasting universe.

In other words, when the MSNBC cameras are off, these people are still reaching huge audiences thanks to the credibility MSNBC has gifted them, so I will go right on contending that it's actually very important to know what they're saying to those audiences, within their own media, in their own words,  why they're saying it.  

Here is today's example, from The Bulwark's "Beg To Differ" podcast which was guest hosted this week by Josh Barrow.

We join Mr. Barrow as he is teeing up Bulwark regular and "center/left Liberal" Bill Galston on the subject of Third Parties.

Josh Barrow:  Bill [Galston] I want to ask about something that you mentioned in your column because you're somewhat pessimistic about European politics and the Center, but you also suggested that this might be a moment where you could have a serious Third Party Center movement here in the United States, especially if we had a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the 2024 election.  I was a little surprised by that.  Can you sketch out why that opportunity would be there?

In the quote that follows, pay special attention to the fact that Galston is asking for his listener's trust by deploying the David Brooks "Trust me, I can;'t tell you where I'm getting this info, but it's insider stuff and it's solid gold" hustle.  

The same hustle that saw Mr. Brooks...

... confidently announcing in 2003 that we had won the Iraq War, that Bush was a genius and the Left would soon become politically extinct.

... confidently announcing in that 2010 that the Tea Party wasn't a bunch of racist Republicans wearing stupid hats and hiding out from their years of support Bush.

... confidently announcing in 2014 that the GOP had now detoxified itself and there would be no more weirdness from here on out.

... confidently announcing in 2016 that the establishment wing of the GOP had rallied itself and that that the GOP's nominee would definitely be Rubio

...and confidently announcing literally hundreds of other predictions all of which were based on Brooks' alleged insider knowledge, and all of which turned out to be bullshit.  

So no, I do not believe any of these goofs when they ask me to take their word for it.  Instead, I stand by the Sagan Standard that, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

That said, let's get on to today's example of Both Siderist claptrap being obediently regurgitating by our "ally" Bill Galston:

Bill Galston:  Yeah it's quite simple. A rematch between Joe Biden and, uh, Donald Trump would bring together in one election two of the most unpopular candidates in recent memory.  And I know for a fact, although i'm not at liberty to name names, that serious elected officials in both political parties [Ed. You just know he's talking about Joe Manchin, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger] are considering this option seriously.  Now whether it's a good idea or not is a different question altogether, but there is discontent in the Center with a choice between a Trumpified Republican party on one hand and a Democratic party that seems to have lost its ability to put the Left wing of the party in its place rather than yielding to it on a regular basis.  So there is an opening what would happen if someone moved to fill it is an interesting and somewhat imponderable question...

There is much inane blather to parse here, made even trickier because, as a prime example of the Both Siderist Ouroboran snake swallowing its own tail, it's difficult to know just exactly where to sink the knife first.

So let's begin at the end with this --  

...there is discontent in the Center with a choice between a Trumpified Republican party on one hand and a Democratic party that seems to have lost its ability to put the Left wing of the party in its place rather than yielding to it on a regular basis.

-- and work our way backwards.

Is it true that the Republican party is "Trumpified"?  

Yeah. Sorta.  Trump didn't exactly sneak into Reagan's tomb in the dead of night and steal the GOP.  Instead, the trajectory the GOP has been on since before Reagan insured that one day it would manifest a monster like Trump, and the base would love that monster because that monster would speak to them in their native language of rage, racism and paranoia.

And is it true that the "...Democratic party...seems to have lost its ability to put the Left wing of the party in its place rather than yielding to it on a regular basis."

Nope.  Not even close.  Mr. Galston is telling his fellow Both Siderist the lie they all want their readers and listeners to believe.  Just look at the record.  What exactly is it that the crazy Left wing wants?  Cheaper insulin?  Some relief for people saddled with so much college loan debt they're never be out from under it?  Voting right protected?   Clean water?  Clean air?  And they did what all political organizations do to achieve their objective:  they organized and negotiated in good faith.   

And the Left got absolutely screwed over by the Center (and by "Center" we know exactly which two senators we are talking about.)  Progressives voted for the infrastructure bill based on the promise that their bill -- the Build Back Better bill -- would be negotiated in good faith, but once the "Center" got what it wanted it promptly broke that promise and told the progressives to fuck off. 

Progressives cut back their ask by half, and Joe Manchin rejected it out-of-hand.  Then they cut in half and Joe Manchin rejected it out-of-hand again.  Then they gave Manchin a blank piece of paper and asked him what he would support, and Joe Manchin rejected them out-of-hand yet again.

So Galston is lying here.  This is not a party in thrall to it's "Left wing" and more is the pity.  This is a party in which good-faith proposals of popular progressives programs are routinely overruled by the whims of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Second, would a "rematch between Joe Biden and, uh, Donald Trump" really "bring together in one election two of the most unpopular candidates in recent memory." 

No.  Once again, Galston is depending his sympathetic Centrist listeners to have the memories of mayflies, but I'm old enough to remember the millions of gallons of ink the Beltway media and the Conservative media spilled to order to turn Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had a running favorability rating of 65%, into The Most Unpopular Candidate in Modern Memory.  Some of even remember exactly how the Republicans engineered this highly successful character assassination:

But apparently Bill Galston remembers none of this.

Nor does he seem to remember the concerted media campaign to make Barack Obama out to be The Most Polarizing Politician in Modern Memory.  

But I do.  

In fact I wrote a whole thing about it in this very deep dive into the reprehensible career Michael Gerson had carved out for himself before Trump arrived and Gerson fled the party and all of his crones in the media agreed to pretend that he had never been a sleazy political hit-man.  

Here are a just a few of the Mr. Gerson's headlines from those days: 

The Most Polarizing President

Barack Obama is the most polarizing new president in recent history.

And:

The Politics of Bitterness

Barack Obama, it turns out, has a knack for undermining his own political strengths.

He was supposed to be the post-racial candidate. But he has associated himself for decades with a tradition of black liberation that views all of American life through the prism of pigment.

 And:

Obama cedes the center 
The GOP is not far from snatching the ideological middle for years to come.

And:

The flailing state of Obama's polarized union

And:

President Obama betrays his community-organizer roots
And:
No deficit of cynicism 
GOP Rep. Paul Ryan learned quickly that the president doesn't care about deficits.
And:
The Democrats' path to destruction 
President Obama's strategy is understandable -- and delusional.
And:
Obama the snob 
That he views himself as the neocortical leader of cognitive reasoning is bad for morale.

 And:

Liberals resort to conspiracy theories to explain Obama's problems

An ideological movement at its most cynical.

And:

Obama's recipe for endless culture war 

Pluralism clashes with liberal values.

And:

Obama can finesse his failure no longer 
President’s economic program focuses on shifting blame.

And:

The politics of polarization 
Obama has helped make Washington more broken.

And:

Obama's betrayal 
His vows to run a clean campaign ring hollow.

And even Jolly Uncle Joe wasn't civil enough for Cardinal Gerson:

Biden's toxic victory 
He damaged civility — and his boss.

These are the Obama years as I remember them.  An endless barrage of "The Worst Preznit Evar!" propaganda from a clutch of Bush Regime Dead-Enders who used their  media sinecures to bulldoze their own record of incompetence, lies, treason and catastrophe down the memory hole by relentlessly slandering and sabotaging the man we elected to clean up their bloody failures.  

And before Obama weren't these the same thugs and well-poisoners who spent eight years and millions of dollars trying to turn Bill Clinton into the "The Worst Preznit Evar!"?

Which brings us back to Galston's thesis that a "rematch between Joe Biden and, uh, Donald Trump would bring together in one election two of the most unpopular candidates in recent memory." 

Is Trump unpopular?  Yes he is.  Because he's a fucking monster and the GOP is now fully and openly fascist.

And is Biden unpopular.  At the moment, yes he is, but not at all for the reasons Galston invents to justify his Centrist cowardice.  

To begin with, any Democrat would automatically be unpopular with at least 46.8 percent of the voting public because that's the percentage of inbred, knuckle-dragging dipshits who voted for Trump after four years of Trump showing us all exactly what kind of monster he really was.  

And Biden is unpopular with some people because COVID-19 is still stalking us from the shadows and we're all tired and pissed off and looking to take it out on someone.  

And Biden is unpopular with other people because global supply chain failures and the invasion of Ukraine by Putin have caused prices for some goods to spike and the guy in the Big Chair always takes the hit for that.  

And Biden is unpopular with some people because they believe he is possessed of magic Green Lantern powers which he has stubbornly refused to use to expand the Supreme Court to 17 seats and fill all the vacancies with Liberals, amend the Constitution to make abortion a basic right, make Joe Manchin into Elizabeth Warren, pass Medicare for All and forgive all student loan debt forever.  Bastard!

And then there are the millions of dopes who don't know much of anything but are pretty sure that at least half of the reason why everything sucks is that Joe Biden refuses rein in the Crazy Left.

But how did these millions of dopes come to believe this very stupid thing?

Easy.  The believe it because they've been hearing respectable hacks like Bill Galston all over the media, day after day, year after year, mewling and faunching about The Extremes on Both Sides.

And that, boys and girls, is how the Both Siderist snake swallowed its own tail.



I Am The Liberal Media




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