Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Strange Bedfellows: The David Brooks/Dirtbag Left Alliance

Despite some factional infighting, before 2008/2009 it was possible to squint hard enough to believe that the Liberal blogosphere might actually evolve into the actual "Liberal Media" that had always danced like a mirage at the far horizon of possibilities.  

Then things changed in a hurry.

By that time, Both Siderism had so congealed into the official state religion of the Beltway Media that on the Left, vivisecting this creepy ritual of Both Sidesing every Republican atrocity had become a topic in and of itself,

But then Barack Obama was inaugurated, and the soaring rhetoric of the campaign gave way to the brutal meatgrinder of governing.  And right out of the gate, President Obama was caught flat-footed by the unbending obstructionism of Republicans.  These were not his Harvard conservative friends, or the Republican denizens of the Springfield state house with whom one could have a drink, play a little poker and cut a deal or two.

These were unified, ferocious and racist ideologues, acting in lock-step, who made it perfectly clear they would do whatever it took to sabotage and destroy his administration.  This disillusioned millions of Obama supporters who’d never been through this meatgrinder before and had expected everything Democrats had proposed to sail through the House and the Senate on the strength of their virtue and general awesomeness.  And when that didn't happen, it felt like an apocalyptic betrayal and they became easy picking for the new, rising force in the Liberal blogosphere:  the Jane Hamsher/Glenn Greenwald "Obama is Worse Than Bush!!" Left.

From a 2014 Atlantic article by Norm Ornstein:

Why the LBJ of 1964 Wouldn't Succeed in the Washington of Today

Obama isn't stalled out because he can't lead like Johnson, Reagan, or Clinton—it's because the nature of the opposition party has changed.

The meme is what Matthew Yglesias, writing in 2006, referred to as "the Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics," and has been refined by Greg Sargent and Brendan Nyhan into the Green Lantern Theory of the presidency. In a nutshell, it attributes heroic powers to a president—if only he would use them...

Turns out, for a whole lot of people we mistook for allies, pivoting from "Fuck Bush" to "Fuck Obama Even Harder" was really easy.   And really profitable.  

By 2010,  Glenn Greenwald -- who had been a featured  speaker at Yearly Kos just four years before -- was touring the country scolding Democrats that they should sit out the next several elections and cede power to Republicans for the foreseeable future because, y'know, that'd show 'em!

This was Greenwald at the University of Wisconsin, speaking just two days after the Teabagger supercharged GOP has swept to power in 2010, effectively ending President Obama's ability to pass anything for the next six years.

This became a very common refrain among people who I thought damn well knew better. 

In the spring of 2013, future Putin permanent houseguest, Edward Snowden, passed tens of thousands of stolen, secret US intelligence documents along to Glenn Greenwald, thus promoting him from contrarian crank, to the World's Most Famous Contrarian Crank.

A couple of months later, eBay founder Pete Omidyar offered Greenwald a quarter of a billion dollars to start his own media company, which rumor has it was originally going to be called, "Great!  Now we can really skull-fuck Obama and the Dems!" but was changed to The Intercept for legal reasons.

And thus Greenwald was promoted again, this time from the World's Most Famous Contrarian Crank to World's Most Famous Contrarian Crank With a $250M Megaphone.

And woe betide the poor, stupid Liberal blogger who didn't have a quarter billion dollar check from Pete Omidyar in his or her back pocket, but who nonetheless persisted in pointing out that Greenwald was now wildly exaggerating, arguing in blatantly bad faith, and outright lying rather a lot.  That he had divided the entire world into two and only two camps: people who agreed with him completely and uncritically, and Jackbooted O-Bot fascists.  And that it might not be wise to follow hims down the deep, dark hole into which he was headed.

But by now a depressingly large number of my Liberal allies were members of the Greenwald Horde, and had become card carrying members of the Both Sides Do It (and Dems are Worse)/Disrupt The K'rupt Duopoly Club. 

Y'know, just like David Broder.  

And Matthew Dowd.  

And Ron Fournier.   

And Peggy Noonan.  

And David Fucking Brooks.    

And Maureen Dowd.

And Joe Scarborough.

And on and on and on.  

They and the "Fuck Obama and Fuck Hillary Harder" Dirtbag Left were all on the same team now.  And wasn't that just so very special!

Well, wouldn't you know it, in 2016 they all got their wish, when, in bleak November, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.    And for the next four years the Disrupt The K'rupt Duopoly Club were going to have more Disruption with a capital "D" than they would know what to do with gavaged (look it up) down their throats until they burst.

Also of note, just one month after Trump was elected, Greenwald had already moved on to the next phase of  his "Fuck America" project:  being Tucker Carlson's occasional wacky sidekick.  

From MEDIAite in December of 2016:

Journalist Glenn Greenwald appeared with Tucker Carlson on Fox News tonight to criticize Democratic hysteria over Russia. 

And pretty soon after that, my "Jackbooted O-bot fascist!!!" screaming former Liberal allies started getting real quiet. I haven't seen much of them 'round these parts since.

Ah, but that's just half of the story.

The other half of the story was...what the fuck was the mainstream media going to do now?  For the better part of two years, all of their preening and posturing and prognosticating and been predicated on the assumption that Hillary Clinton could not possibly lose and it was therefore perfectly safe and professionally advantageous to relentlessly bash her all out of proportion with anything she had actually done.

Very much like -- bear with me now -- all the mainstream press' pimping and posturing and superpatriot flag-waving and been predicated on the assumption that the Bush administration's Iraq War could not possibly lose in Iraq.  It was gonna be a cake walk, and it was therefore perfectly safe and professionally advantageous to ignore, slander and generally stomp all over protesters who had warned that it was not going to end well.

So now that the impossible had happened and Donald Trump had been elected, the mainstream media desperately needed to throw together some fairy tale in which they were not complicit villains.  Y'know, just like after the Iraq War went tits up

In this case, the fairy tale they needed  told was one in which the mainstream media had not blithely ignored, and lied about, and "Both Sides" the fact that the Republican Party had been a shitpile of bigots and imbeciles for decades.  That it had been racing down the road towards a monster like Trump for decades. 

Which meant that the very last people the mainstream media wanted to hear from on this subject were us dirty fucking hippies who had been right about the Right all along.  Y'know, just like after the Iraq War went tits up.  Our existence was a huge inconvenience, and if the Liberal blogosphere had retained the kind of political and cultural clout it had had back in 2006 or 2007, we might have been able to bring enough pressure to bear on the mainstream media the bend the narrative towards the truth.  

But after eight years of the loudest and most well-funded voices on the Left being the "Fuck The Democrats/Obama Was Worse Than Bush" faction, the Liberal blogosphere was a barely shadow of what it had been back in the day.  Besides, those loud and most well-funded voices were busy becoming Fox News' favorite "Liberal" stooges: 

Or building new careers as the next generation of David Brooks-style Both Siderist hacks:

The mainstream media needed to sell a fairy tale in which the Republican base had not been engineered into an ever more volatile shitpile of bigots and imbeciles for decades because that's how Conserative media built audiences and how Republicans won elections.  A fairy tale in which the party base had instead had been noble, sensible, level-headed bunch who had suddenly and without warning gone insane overnight due to some mysterious, magical power wielded by Donald Trump, and  therefore nobody -- including the mainstream media -- could have seen what was coming.  

And down among the grifters and political vagrants who had been run out of the Republican party during the ascendance of Donald Trump, the mainstream media found the perfect characters with which to populate their fairy tale.  

Over on MSNBC -- the only even remotely "Liberal" channel on cable teevee -- they began shedding Liberal programmings and larding their lineups with Republicans.  

Hugh Hewitt became a regular, and would eventually be given his own show.  GOP consultant Steve Schmidt and former RNC chairman Michael Steele both became regulars, as did Mike Murphy, Ben Ginsberg and Nicole Wallace.  

Eventually, Charlie Sykes was signed on as an MSNBC contributor. 

As was Bill Kristol.  

And Mona Charen.  

And Tim Miller.  

And Rick Wilson.

And Tom Nichols.  

And on and on.

A year after the election, in October of 2017, Charlie Sykes wrote a book entitled “How the Right Lost Its Mind” which got wall-to-wall coverage in the media.

Then, on the strength of the millions of dollars in free publicity lavished on a handful of Never Trumpers, Sykes and a few others launched The Bulwark website, which has become a virtual subsidiary of MSNBC. 

A year after that, life-long Republican hit-man and all-around scumbag Rick Wilson “wrote” his book, "Everything Trump Touches Dies".  Which also got wall-to-wall coverage in the mainstream media.

Then, on the strength of the millions of dollars in free publicity lavished on Wilson, he and a few others launched “The Lincoln Project”: a political marketing corporation and money-pit down which credulous Liberals pissed away millions of dollar and which had become a virtual subsidiary of MSNBC until it was repeatedly rocked by financial and sexual harassment scandals.

All of their success was a direct result of the fact that they all told the story the mainstream media wanted to promote: That Trump had come out of nowhere.  That he had somehow hypnotized an otherwise-sensible, level-headed Republican base.  And that all of this had come as a complete surprise to Sykes and Wilson and Steele and Charen and Michael Gerson and Bill Kristol and Joe Scarborough on and on and on.  That not a single one of them had any inkling about the madness that was cooking right below the sensible, level-headed facade of the Republican base.

And while this was going on as various mainstream media assholes who had been in the vanguard of the media's "Disrupt the K'rupt Duopoly" fetish -- 

-- were hurriedly scrubbing their social media archives of any evidence that they had ever said any such thing.

And you know what?  It worked.  


They got away with it.  


Because when you control the cameras, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Occasionally some mouthy OG Liberal blogger still tries to use their quaint little old-school blog to poke through the whitewash and bring some actual history into the conversation.  But you probably already know how that goes.

No Fair Remembering Stuff


Robt said...

At some point the right wingers are going thane to deal with Saint Peter, who secures the Pearly Gates.

Like the Federalist Society got well funded for such a long time as these wealthy people required more and more tax cuts to be able to fund the effort.

Like holding back open SCOTUS seats and shoving to fill the open seat of SCOTS . Something is going to have to be done if all these religious people have become comfortable in violating all the 10 commandments in the name of republican conservatism.
They are going to have to have a plan in place to remove St. Peter who to them is a wild deep state partisan Saint unfairly denying republicans from entering heaven.

The are going to need to replace ST, Peter's position. First they have no saints in the GOP so they will need to FOX to promote some GOPers for sainthood to their selected nominees. Sant Newt? Many favor Saint Steven Miller because he is very experienced and proven his capability with dealing with borders and entries.

Rewriting the tenets of religion to suit their conscience and assure a peace in the afterlife.
Sant Peter is just too woke and Woke has to go. Why should God in heaven make all the rules, It is time for earthly mortal rights 9like state rights) because God in heaven is like the elites in Wash., DC, making rules.
You notice with these dudes like Greenwald who have all this advice for them. Have no advice for the GOP.
What next from these great advisers? Teach democrats a lesson and elect Putin to be our dictator until the democrats learn to be a doctorship party?

Neo Tuxedo said...

And right out of the gate, President Obama was caught flat-footed by the unbending obstructionism of Republicans. These were not his Harvard conservative friends, or the Republican denizens of the Springfield state house with whom one could have a drink, play a little poker and cut a deal or two.

Sad but true.

Joseph Max said...

Still waiting for anybody, anywhere to tell me a signature achievement or skill that Glenn Fucking Greenwald can actually claim.

By my count, about all he’s done has been to score a Brazilian sugar daddy and a sweet pundit gig capitalizing on the left's frustrations with the Democrats, getting fired from that cushy sinecure, but still continues to crank out simpering, talking-head "criticism" based on the political and economic system of unicorns running the Republic of Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Glenn Fucking Greenwald is to accurate information and investigative journalism as Jared Kushner is to international diplomacy, and anyone who actually believes or attaches any importance to his blaherings is not one who should be allowed anywhere near sharp objects, toasters, heavy machinery, hand weapons, explody things or the human reproductive cycle.