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December 2007 Archives

December 3, 2007

Crestiens ont droit, et paiens ont tort

More on religion and its substitutes (and non-substitutes).

Fate has landed me, of late, in circumstances where I have to drive around a fair amount. Not my usual way of life, but illuminating in a grisly sort of way -- I'm now full of admiration for ordinary flyover Americans because they're even as sane as they are; a lifetime of driving as much as the average American drives would have had me in a straitjacket decades ago.

Part of the horror of it is... the radio. If you can get one of the real old-fashioned Bible-thumpers, they're terrific and fascinating, but they've actually become pretty scarce. There are a lot of angry bores spouting off, about politics or sports; there are a lot of stations playing slight variations on the same current music, which usually leaves me regrettably cold; there are a few "classical" stations playing, as far as I can tell, mostly Vivaldi (the horror!). And then, of course, there's NPR.

I blush to admit that it's usually NPR I end up listening to. I know, I know, you're going to say I've gone soft in the head, and you're probably right. I guess it's a kind of media lesser-evillism. But when they've got you in the back room, under the bright lights, and they bring out the rubber hoses -- and that's life in Media America, folks -- you can't be blamed too much for seeking out something relatively anodyne. Can you? Can you? Throw me a friggin' bone here, as Dr Evil says.

Anyway. All this by way of prooemium. I was listening to NPR in the car this evening and they were interviewing some suspiciously understated Baptist preacher in Iowa (that is the place where they have the caucuses, right? Or is that Kansas?). The interviewer circled and circled again, in a narrowing gyre, and finally clenched her talons and fell like a bolt upon the all-important, world-historical Fetus Question. "Just how important is that to your congregants, Pastor?"

Pastor: "Well, it's pretty important. It's kind of a make-or-break issue."

Interviewer: "So suppose next fall there's a pro-choice candidate on both tickets. What would those... that is, your... I mean, erm, Christians do?"

Long pause. Long pause.

Interviewer [in tones of horror]: "Would they... just... not vote?"

Pastor: "Well, now, y'know, it's... Some of 'em might not." [Eager, earnest] "I mean, I personally think that's wrong, a serious mistake, and I would never, never advise that... But some of 'em might not."

Interviewer [with the satisfaction of a Dante, having just revealed to us the horrors of the Pit]: "Thank you, Pastor Frammistat."

Pastor: [His fifteen seconds of fame are over; heartfelt] "Thank you!"

Now here's my question. How many pwogs are there out there to whom the Iraq war is as important as the holy fetus is to Pastor Frammistat's fold? How many bold, emancipated, enlightened, highly-educated, deeply-unsuperstitious Darwin admirers are there who are willing to go as far for what they say they believe as Pastor Frammistat's poor benighted God-fearing fetus-worshipping pew-sitters -- so far as to, gasp, stay home on Election Day?

If my own acquaintance is any guide, the answer is, not very many. Pastor F's flock have planted their standard on ground that seems ill-chosen to me -- the sanctity of the fetus, the horror of same-sex sex -- but damn if they haven't planted it. These are the things they really believe in, and if they can't advance their cause at the voting booth, then the hell with the voting booth -- they'll go elsewhere.

They make me rather ashamed of my own supposed fellow-travellers, the good-hearted, peace-loving, high-minded, secular-humanist, children of the Enlightenment, and of the New Deal, and of Marlo Thomas. Where is their standard planted? Alas, I fear if you look at their actions, you will find it is firmly planted in existing institutions -- the voting booth, the two-party system, the electoral college, oh and don't forget... the Supreme Court.

There are a lot of reasons why the flat-earthers and the fetus-worshippers get more respect than the give-peace-a-chance crowd. I don't want to oversimplify here -- or undersimplify either, if it comes to that. But surely one reason that the former swing more weight than the latter is, that they really mean what they say?

December 4, 2007

Mobile vulgus

The voters have spoken to the Chavista revolution: "Hugo...NO!" And with that, Hurricane Hugo's wind velocity has dropped precipitously. Tropical depression Chavez... eh?

Sure there was a low turnout. Sure this Sancho-like son of Bolivar maybe pushed too fast. There were grotesquely opportunistic defections. The pivot may have been less than 10% of his past support. But so what? He lost. The revolution lost. And now the people of Venezuela can watch the loathsome spectacle of spoiled college brats going wild in the streets. With evil suddenness the humble ballot box quickens the pace of counter-revolution. The oligarchs are toasting the vox rube-orum. Instead of the steady two-thirds electoral support he's received over the last decade, suddenly now it's "No mas, por favor."

Such are the wages of a consistent small-d democrat-- no matter the nobility of the movement, the justice of the cause, there comes a point where we have the revolt of the people against their own mission. The people abdicate in the name of the people. They refuse to be the agents of their own destiny. It's Clio's reward for our absolute one on one depravity.

A tragic familiar scene in the unending struggle just got another encore.



"Digby" is a dope. Read the bit URL'd above, and see just why her beloved demo-pots and the hideous repuli-kettles ought to join forces in one big "black pig iron is beautiful" campaign.

Here's Digby, in blistered paraphrase: the evil top-railers use "public relations" to "hypnotize" the blanched shlub-oisie plurality with the immigro menace.

And why is this possible?

The shlub-oisie are "racist", of course. Play to their dark side and.... It's the old chicken and a snake trick, works on 'em every time, or at least enough of 'em enough of the time.

Mission of mass pop hypnosis: get the dumbo nasty haunch of the plebocracy to vote the straight and narrow biz class ticket -- what Digby weirdly calls, interchangeably, the "conservatives" and the "aristocracy". For Digby, it's all about the modern sorcery of "public relations" with its Newspeak "messages", i.e. word bites carefully crafted out of twisted factications, and repeated over and over to the demento rubery.

Digby of course has a little PR 'message' of her own, admittedly not a very jazzy one: "It's only a movie... it's only a movie... it's only a movie.... You're being fooled, you fools!"

So what would Digby have the rubes do, once they leave the theater? What's the alternative to "conservative" and/or "aristocratic" rule in her earnest little brain?

Do you have to ask? What else but the freakin' other hand of the same Freakenstein bipolar politics?

December 5, 2007

Owen on the General Will

(Originally posted, as a comment, by Owen Paine, but too good to forget.

Owen is notoriously an admirer of the eloquent and laconic Archy, and his characteristic mode of presentation has been respectfully preserved. -- Editor)

"what if the People are too stupid to know their own best interests?"

do you know your "own best interests"?

i doubt i do

aren't best interests forever
over the horizon of social thought?

we can
only know what has been discovered
by our collective actions, right?

in fact
i hold the possibilities
in our ignorance of what's best for us
to be ultimately
we the People's favor

my piss off credo:

in the sublime notion
of people's gubmint
we have
the only sound application
of white america's
favorite moral imperative

"take responsibility"

taken itself
to its own highest station
it actually has social application
that is to say
at the level of the whole people
the wholesomeness
of this imperative
is acutely and self evidently true

the people ever and always
by their collective actions
and or inactions
self determining

whether they
know it or not
like it or not
fear it or not

whether they back slide
or not
along the way
turn in circles
run from their destiny
a drunk from pink elephants

they... we...
are bound to reach eden eventually
we just can't stop it from happening
we got no exit from our "quest"
even if
we must for a very very long spell
and then some
pay for the loops and knottings
in our passage
with nasty installments of blood
and pain
and constant ground rent of misery

have faith
in the one thing
we are familiar with
that's actually
worthy of our faith

the people

we are our own
gods and avatars
devils dickheads and dolls

always almighty
right or wrong
active marching mode
or on our knees
in passive worship of our illusions

have hope
in the workings of endless time

we will discover and rediscover
every one of our possibilities
over and over
in the fullness of time
our bataan march
thru incarnations
of bondage and liberation
will so much wise us up
that i
owen claymore paine
enough in fact in our capacity
for self rule
that eventually
our millenia of class folly
will serve as a jest
among our distant
eloi offspring

December 7, 2007

They suffer for our sins

Father Smiff on the class of process servers:
"You will find (them) ... firmly planted in existing institutions -- the voting booth, the two-party system, the electoral college, oh and don't forget... the Supreme Court. "
... And why not? Thanks to our intricate contradictory institutional pluralism, The System's most refined subsystems reward them and their merits both materially and morally, even as the larger, coarser subsystems dupe, cheat, and rope-a-dope the miserable majority with a pander's inner glee.

Yes the binge politics of the biz wiz ogres in the end martyrs the meritoids politically. But... ah, to be righteous, and to act righteous, to work hard and think smart, and in the last scene, die in Nixon's arena out there in front of the assembled soul-curdled multitude, peppered with their "et tu Brute" poisoned shafts!

What's not to like -- the System works.

Curse God and die

After Hugo's "stinging" rebuke on Sunday, now comes the vaudeville of Monday morning quarterbacks. Example:


According to leading lefticle pundit Nick the K, it seems, despite a lot of savory prog-pop measures in his referendum,

"Unfortunately, Chávez sabotaged any hope of success by simultaneously seeking to enhance his own personal power."
Check out the analytic depth of this line:
"the fundamental contradiction of the Bolivarian Revolution has been the constant tension between grassroots empowerment, on the one hand, and the cult of personality surrounding Chávez, on the other..."
... and given that "tension", no wonder these "provisions" spelled "watch out, tyrant pending!"
"Chávez could declare a state of emergency and the government would have the right to detain individuals without charge and to close down media outlets. Chávez's own term limit would be extended from six to seven years, and he would be allowed the right to run indefinitely for president."
Advice from this comforter of Job:
"Perhaps, if Chávez had merely backed the progressive provisions within the referendum and not tried to increase his own power, the vote would have tipped the other way... While the cult of personality around Chávez helped to solidify his movement in the early years, his demagogic populism and centralizing tendencies have now become a serious liability and must be jettisoned as soon as possible."
Demogogic populism? Is there any other kind? Let's hope not. Father Smiff would probably point out the etymology of "demagogic" at this point.
"If he follows through on promises of fostering greater 'participatory democracy' through the more progressive measures called for under the referendum for example, then he may be able to prevent the opposition from turning the clock back on the Chávez experiment."
"More participatory democracy"? This is about as empty as the infamous "take two aspirin and call me in the morning."

December 8, 2007

Why Daddy Is A Democrat

Democratic Party members who have been experiencing some distress over their party's capitulationist strategy, now enhanced by their majority status, finally have something they can feel good about. "Why Daddy Is A Democrat", the companion volume to "Why Mommy Is A Democrat", reviewed here and here, has been released.

In a masterful, Lakoffian maneuver, the Democrats have staked a claim to being the daddy party. This is an important step in the national healing process. The delinquents of the authoritarian right can come home now. They have a suitably hirsute and powerful role model to emulate. Younger Democrats, traumatized by their previous incarnation as helpless, terrified squirrels, can be eased into the far more proactive -- dare I say masculine? -- role of bear cubs. Progress is more immanent than ever. And now I have to go throw up.

Rootin' tootin' Putin

After this past Sunday's twin votes, moving your eyes back and forth between Hugo's halt in the road and Putin's slippery-slope landslide, I gotta say, Clio in her wondrous way must be trying to tell us something important here. But er, I gotta confess as of the moment I haven't much confidence I'll figure it out by myself. The rock face between me down here, and the high ground above where all is clear to see... looks gripless.

Not that it paints the big picture I'm after, but still:


I must notice Mike Whitney at the C-punch has taken the measure of the Putin triumph at least. Looked at narrowly on its own terms, i.e. the great game board that is the Eurasian massif centrale, it boils down to this from Vlad to Uncle Poach: Fuck you, Uncle, you Tartuffian slimefuck, you and your encircling snake, the human-rights liberty-league somewhere-over-the-rainbow gimmick! Wanna know why the Russian people support me, and not your weeping rodeo clown legion? It's simple! My govenment has taken Mother Russia off the western booze binge your flunkies put her on in the 90's.

Ma Russia is back, baby, back on her feet and ready to rumble. But here's the clincher, Samuel: your dreams of running pipe up the ass of the Caspian oil basin and sucking all that black gold away right from under Ma's nose -- well, as of today, take notice: that dream's for shit, dickhead!

December 9, 2007

The Iconic Inevitable

Mike Flugennock writes:
Another morning-news REM State inspiration classic!

...[M]y wife flipping between early-morning news programs at 6:30am, this time landing on CNN's "American Morning" shitfest which, this particular morning, was running highlights of the previous evening's Donkeycratic Party "debate". Needless to say, of course, I emerged from my REM state just in time to hear that dopey-assed college chick asking Hillary Clinton if she preferred "diamonds or pearls?" to which Her Hillaryship answered -- in classic Clintonian fashion, "I like both"... Sigh...

I have become
comfortably numb!

Grayscale, 11x17 inches:

high-res .jpg image, 876kb:

high-res .pdf image, 1.2mb:

.eps image image, 3.3mb:

December 13, 2007

Talkin' 'bout my generation

Lakshmi Chaudhry has made me tilt:


I'm for Project Obama now in the race for the White House. And why?

'Cause mother Clinton and the rest of the whole sick crew are all boomers -- except Obama. He's an X-onian!

Baby steps

Read this piece by Mz Wypplesbruegerski at C-punch:


... with all innocent curiosity, and got IED'd -- didn't a sour bomb go off in my mortal soul department (such as it is), and I've been off and on nauseated for two days since.

Heres the entryway to my tour of boomer rad post-9/11 ground zero:

"I don't think either mere cheerleading -- we need the will! we need the courage! another world IS possible! -- is much of a solution to anything. There are world historical forces afoot here, and one of the jobs of anyone who considers herself on the left is to try to understand them. I don't think the Left in the heady days of empire really thought too much about the privileges and distortions being children of the empire conferred on it, except to say, in some quarters, We don't want any part of it! But opting out only goes so far, and is delusional even if understandable. Now that the empire is exhausted at the top -- and we could disagree about that, but I think the signs are more indicative of fundamental weakness than of strength even if the US can still kill everyone in the world many times over and still 'afford' billions of dollars a day doing that in one way or another... Radicals are feeling what it means to be part of the general decline. How do we deal with it? That's not an idle question, or one that has an obvious answer. There was a certain amount of chauvinism attached to the American Left in the sixties, a sense of being at the center of the political universe even if people did make their trips to Hanoi or Ghana or Paris...."
...And from there off she went into the malaise gauche:
Sometimes I think that at a minimum we ought to be encouraging people to join -- anything. The PTA, the Kiwanis Club, the local pathetic chapter of the NAACP, the local tenants group, the freelancers union, the local Democratic club or libertarian club, whatever, just to start remembering how to think together. And even if it prompted people to see what they don't want to be part of, maybe it would encourage them to create something that they do. This sounds pretty lame, I know. But the situation is pretty lame...
As I read this sober, "baby-steps" assessment (as Joanne herself chracaterizes it), I felt like Orson Welles' character must feel as he slides, glides, staggers, and tumbles into the gunblast-shattered climax of Lady from Shanghai. And as I type this, see me, in overhead crane shot pullaway, running like a ten-year-old apple thief, if for nothing else, at least to preserve my sense of invincible personal insanity.

December 14, 2007


For a strategic betrayal of stated principles to be effective, there have to be some actual principles in the first place. One cannot make “pragmatic compromises” from the dithering, ‘go along to get along’ center. The betrayal (or compromise, if that’s less galling) requires something more than a heartfelt avowal, a heaved sigh of despair and the moral vanity of a crackpot capitulation. The world is littered with passively abjured asseverations, lapsed manifestos and broken commitments! They rustle around in the breezes created by the despairing sighs and dart vengefully past the bloated heads of self-styled realists. There’s no way to collateralize them into real principles.

The simplest, and often the easiest, way to uphold a principle is to refuse to obey orders, e.g. if your political leadership supports torture, war and immiseration, if it refuses to seriously address global warming, and you object to those things, stop heeding the calls to support that leadership. Outrage, demands, a determination to ask questions and so forth just don’t cut it.

What we need is a concerted campaign to demand of our Democratic “leaders” an answer to the question: “What is the real reason you are so cowardly and unwilling to hold this administration to account and stop the bleeding?” What is the real reason that “impeachment is off the table”? What is the real reason why you keep passing bills that make America into a dictatorship, continue the disastrous occupation of Iraq, and piss off the whole country?


Lesser evilism, buying time and triangulations have reached their natural conclusion: enthusiastically cooperative evil. That’s the “real reason”. The moral Ponzi Schemes have collapsed. The people doing those things think they’re being reasonable and realistic. They’re annoyed by the idiot liberal complaints they receive. A million concerted question campaigns aren’t going to change that. It’s time to start saying no.

The authoritarian right made the salacious Meese Commission Report into a bestseller. Oh, the howls of outrage! followed by stealthy trips to the red light districts, lasting prurient interest and dozens of niche markets for soft core leavened with sanctimony. The report at least had the pathetic rationale of providing libidinous release for the dangerously repressed. These occasional, Progressive, forays into toothless demands for accountability are an echo of the reactionaries’ outrage, fully in tune with their very creepy consumer sensibility — and orders of magnitude more harmful.

December 18, 2007

Beautiful Losing Interrupted

Oh, my. He's been putting vinegar in his prune juice again. That's Harry Reid, of course. His need to secure four more days of gruesome capitulationist excess, and a timely departure for his vacation, put the melodrama of the Dodd filibuster to an abrupt stop. He'll have to wait until January to grant retroactive immunity to the telecoms, but somehow I think he'll manage to soldier on.


December 26, 2007

Owen at the winter solstice


Is this vixen Captain Amerika's latest friend, or once and future Madame Fallgal?

I asked my old pal, attache without portfolio Comrade Y about her. He disappointed me of course, as he mostly does ever since those shining days back in the dorm at St Midas Prep. He answered like he's Akim Tamiroff, "maybe yes, my friend ...maybe no."

Not much help ... and yet it makes my point anyhow: Uncle can and will package his failed state time bombs any which way he can.

Bonne chance, Yulia. Whether you're the bomb or the target of the bomb, I'm on your side of the field.

December 27, 2007

Naughty or nice?

Santa is pullin' for St Hill, at least in Iowa -- or so North Pole rumor has it. Seems Her Majesty made a big impression on Father Christmas during a surprise chimney-test run he conducted at a Bill-less Clinton mansion recently.

"He wore antlers, and she wore him out," claims one elfin snitch.

December 28, 2007

Once bitten, twice... bitten

Colin Powell, circa '95, on the lessons of 'Nam:
"War should be the politics of last resort.... When we go to war we should have a purpose our people understand and support.... In Vietnam we had entered into a half-hearted half-war... with much of the nation opposed or indifferent...."
Well, General, such are all wars to maintain empire. Every damn time, those "opposed or indifferent" will become the slighted majority, when enough coffins come flying back home to us.

Colin says that in such wars, "a small fraction bear the burden." Indeed, draft or voluntary, either way it's "a small fraction." So for you it's Never Again, then, eh, Colin?

"My generation ... career captains, majors, and lt. colonels... vowed that when our time to call the shots came, we would not quietly aquiesce in half hearted warfare for half baked reasons...."
Sigh. Where's the military-industrial complex when you need it?

December 29, 2007

Don't play it again, Sam

Mike Flugennock writes in:
SAM SMITH wrote:


> ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
> ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
> If Edwards wins the Iowa caucuses, it will be the most significant 
> progressive primary win since Eugene McCarthy got 41% of the vote in New 
> Hampshire in 1968.

Sam, dude. I love ya, bro', but I'm begging you. Knock it off with the Senator Goodhair hype. The guy makes a big deal out of being some kind of progressive populist, but ... How long was he a nobody in the Senate before he got picked to co-pilot the 2004 Swift Boat To Hell? Senator Breck Boy was a runner-up in the same Political American Idol contest that plucked Senator Magic Negro from out of nowhere.

... with all due respect, man, for the love of all that's good and decent, why are you so nuts about John Edwards? He was gung-ho for the war when he thought that knowingly believing the lies would keep his ass in power, and when he got caught out believing the lies, he spewed the same old "oh, I was so terribly deceived" line of crap that all the other Democrats were spewing when public opinion shifted against the war -- and then, went right back to believing the lies being told about Iran, for _another_ big Bush war drive.

> While those who prefer the personal, albeit single digit, purity of 
> supporting a Kucinich may scoff...

While I think Kucinich is a totally useless energy- and resource-sucking vortex designed by the Democrats to waste the US Left's time, still -- I think whatever movement you're in is fucked without "purity" of thought and vision. No revolution was won without it. We're in the trouble we're in now because the US Left insists on shackling itself to a dead institution that's made a business out of compromising principles for political expediency until it's got no principles left to compromise. Don't forget the Pogo quote that you, yourself, proudly brandish on the PR blog site.

> ...even Ralph Nader agrees that an Edwards 
> nomination would be a historic shift in the political landscape...

And that, friends, is pretty goddamn' sad. Sad that the Democratic Party nomination of a rich, white, gated-suburb-dwelling, ambulance-chaser whose idea of universal health care is to force everybody to become customers of for-profit health-insurance corporations -- the "Nixon Plan" for corporate-dominated healthcare -- would be considered a "historic shift in the political landscape". I knew things were sucking in this country lately, but I never realized that they were sucking so deeply and profoundly that the DP running Senator Goodhair for El Presidente would be a "historic shift".

Now, on the other hand, a rock-bottom turnout next year -- a turnout so small that no party or pundit could claim a "mandate" or to claim that "the People have spoken" or that "non-voters are apathetic" -- followed by a widespread general strike, followed by a very large, spontaneous, belligerent, possibly a bit violent, mass mobilization to Capitol Hill (a la the 1970 post-Kent State convergence on DC) to demand the immediate resignation and exile of _all_ incumbent political leadership and a brand-new election -- now, _that'd_ be a historic shift in the goddamn' political landscape.

> Edwards' election would signal the end of another era, namely that of 
> Reagan, the Bushes and Clinton - one that has wrecked social democracy, 
> returned the economy to robber baron standards and caused us to be hated 
> around the world...

Oh f'cripesake, Sam. The guy's a goddamn' _Democrat_... you know, the party which has been aiding and abetting this misery as far back as I can remember. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..." --the Who.

> Finally we can begin again. This would not be a reflection of Edwards' 
> virtues so much as of the strength of a constituency for change that 
> this country has not seen for a long time. And it would be a victory for 
> all of us.

No, it'd be a victory for the Democratic party and corporate-cash-strung-out politics.

If you ask me, electing a Democratic Administration would just put off the inevitable. I'd just as soon see the final collapse of the DP and the immediate prospect of four years of "Giuliani Time" shocking people off of their couches and into the streets. Look how well President Chimp did at unifying the US Left -- until, of course, the 2004 "election", in which sizeable numbers of them suddenly fell into a deep psychosis in which they believed that electing a party that was enabling the current Iraq horror would end it. Many of them continue to shuffle around in this debilitated state to this day.

I still remember how hard it was trying to organize the US Left against the _last_ Democratic Administration...basically, like trying to push a truck uphill with a rope.

All I can say is that I'm glad I've finally realized what a useless freak show this all is, and that I've quit caring. I can't begin to tell you how liberating it is to not give a rat's ass who "wins" the "election" -- and how especially liberating it is not to care about the goddamn' _Democrats_ -- because I know none of that class of people will bring us any change, nor will trudging off and validating a corrupt, collapsing institution with my "vote".

December 30, 2007

You can't fight here, this is the War Room

So now William Kristol is going to be a regular on the New York Times op-ed page. It's a matter of balance -- all those right-wing Zionists need to be balanced by an ultra-right-wing Zionist.

Here's cherubic little Andrew Rosenthal on the subject:


Times' editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal defended the move. Rosenthal told Politico.com shortly after the official announcement Saturday that he fails to understand “this weird fear of opposing views....We have views on our op-ed page that are as hawkish or more so than Bill....

“The idea that The New York Times is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual — and somehow that’s a bad thing,” Rosenthal added. “How intolerant is that?”

Boy, this is quite something to unpack, isn't it? Having yet another slavering mad dog on the page is fine because we already have so many. Oh, and of course the Times is "giving" Kristol a "voice" -- as if he'd been crying in the wilderness up till now.

The Times is a funny outfit. The Limbaughs et al. are quite right to characterize it as a "liberal" publication, and it is that, to the marrow of its bones. Yet it has a noticeable openness to thoroughly crazy right-wing teppichfressers and their crazy ideas. Kristol on the Op-Ed page is just another chapter in the picaresque story that includes such shining moments as Judith Miller on Iraqi WMD.

I say "yet," but in fact there's no "yet" about it. The nature of liberalism is to split the difference. If you're little Pinch Sulzberger, or little Andy Rosenthal, and the spectrum of opinion you hear at Manhattan parties from loud, overbearing, well-respected, legend-in-their-own-time Sir Oracles ranges from insane to really insane, naturally you will conclude that the truth lies somewhere in between.

Reflect that the Times sits on the commanding heights of ideological formation for the American postgraduate class; imagine how hard the Kristols and their ilk work to get a foot in the door. Pinch and Andy must have these purple-faced spit-spraying loons lined up outside their offices, all the way to the elevator. I bet they can't go anywhere without being buttonholed by some Likudnik mad dog baying at the moon about how hard it is to get their "voices" heard.

So I can't really blame Pinch and Andy. And if it helps discredit the Times, well then, my hat's off to Bill Kristol.

On a more personal note, it's pure pleasure to see the son of Irving Kristol get a job from the son of Abe Rosenthal. It's very Old Testament -- The sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons.


A couple of days ago our pal Mike Flugennock passed along, with comment, a burbly column from Sam Smith (no realtion, as far as I know) arguing that an Edwards victory in Iowa (Iowa!) would be "the most significant progressive primary win since Eugene McCarthy got 41% of the vote in New Hampshire in 1968."

Y'know, that could even be true. And so what?

"Progressive" primary wins happen all the time. There was that chappie last year in Connecticut, for example -- what was his name? Cranston? Something like that?

Primaries really are the Grand Illusion of contemporary American politics. Somebody should write a critical history of this fiendish idea, a classic of political manipulation masquerading as democracy. (Of course we owe this bizarre scheme to the original Progressives, those goo-goo bureaucrats who absorbed and neutralized the last dying spasms of Populism, and used the impetus so gained to build a Chinese wall against any further recrudescence of the Populist impulse).

Primary elections are really runoff elections -- and in the case of Presidential primaries, an interminable series of runoff elections, one after the other, draining the process of any real meaning through sheer, numbing monotony, quite apart from the predictable institutional consequences. ("Lather, rinse, repeat until desired effect is achieved.")

Let's hop in the wayback machine and revisit... that snowy winter of 1968, in New Hampshire. McCarthy got the nod, LBJ bowed out -- which was, of course, delightful at the time -- and that little rat Bobby Kennedy moved in but was unexpectedly taken off the board by a wild-card intervention.

Then, of course, Hubert Humphrey got the nomination, on a somewhat Clintonesque "War? What war?" platform. And Nixon became our next President.

[Voice from the gallery]: So what's your point, Smith?

I guess it's something like this: Democratic primaries are a snare and a delusion. Once you start caring about them, it shows you've drunk the Kool-Aid. Mors in olla, vir Dei!

December 31, 2007

Praeses quondam et futurus

It is not unfair these days to suggest the warmer hearts among the American people are yearning for another great leader ... and it's likely, if a past leader could be attached to that yearning as its personification, it would be equally fair to claim America the small and many is waiting for... FDR.

Which is quite like waiting for King Arthur or Barbarossa or Jesus of Nazareth ... it's built more or less right into all of us to spend too much soul fuel in idle waiting on returning heroes, especially in moments of social crisis, needless to say.

The advent don't always turn out as expected, of course. One might note in passing post Kaiserian Germany. The better angels of the weimarvolksgeist probably wanted something quite a lot like a second secular Luther, a soul cleanser and babylonian whore swift sword exciser -- and they got what?

As to the here and now -- know it or not, believe it or not, the big "left" foot consensus is we the people crave an FDR, and so it seems fruitful to reconstruct the real FDR, before we just fly about willy-nilly, looking for this collective recovered figment called Franklin, this ghost of salvation past about to be made flesh again in the nick of time.

A rentier dilettante progressive... a boundlessly ambitious mamma's boy... a "feather duster" struck down by polio, who ran us from a wheel chair through the protracted zigzag upside of a global depression no one could comprehend, and from there to a world-dominating war machine -- that's what we are waiting for; but will we recognize his avatar when it arrives, or only after it reveals itself for the colossus it is in transformative acts of legendary proportions?

Hint: that FDR turned out to be Moses to the plain folks has an upside-down, king born in a manger quality to it -- albeit a silver manger. To belabor it some ... hardly the orgin of, say, failed yeoman redeemers like Billy Bryan or Huey Long.

About December 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in December 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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