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The Hardboiled Crackpot

By Al Schumann on Thursday March 20, 2008 11:26 PM

Look, I understand the knocks against Hillary Clinton, truly I do. There are no flaming arrows fired her way that I haven't seen traverse the air before, no bill of indictment drawn up containing charges with which I'm unfamiliar. Reciting her sins and liabilities has become a familiar refrain, but if it's the Gregorian chant you live by, if you find Hillary Clinton such an insupportable choice for the Democratic nomination that you prefer to suckle your pride and idealism rather than soil your conscience should she be at the top of the ticket, fine, have fun with that. But, please, I beg of thee, could you at least spare the rest of us your longwinded, preeny, pious dirges?


In fairness, the longwinded, preeny, pious dirge is exactly that. It's a miracle of pointless anguish and sanctimony. No one need dedicate thousands of words to a resolution to avoid ptomaine poisoning. It's almost, but not quite, relieved by a single, wistful, hopeful note:

If we cannot as Democrats learn to compete with one another without seeking to destroy our primary opponents for our own temporary advantage, we are no better than the Republicans whose leadership we seek to replace. And we may find that an increasing number of the American people will begin to agree with Ralph Nader that there is not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties.

I feel the pain of all involved, I really do.

Needless to say, these are refrains I too have heard before. Yea, even unto the flaming arrows traversing the Gregorians chanting out their bills of indictment. The Kos diarist's cri de couer is the usual empty, almost pitiable dithering. Going by the track record of such things, it's one last banal protest before knuckling under. There's little harm in it by itself. The fatuous oneupsmanship and inane, posturing pragmatism vented in herding him back into the fold him are another story. It's the way liberals bully each other into supporting hand-wringing, excuse-making, treacherous politicians. One liberal gets doubtful and loud about it. Along comes a vigilante snarker to discipline him. The only beneficiaries of this kick-the-dog exercise are careerist hacks who demonstrably have every intention of offering exactly one dime's worth of difference, no more, with the definition of the difference and the sum off which it's shaved left as a collegial courtesy for the Republicans. This reflexive, communal infantilization is the process liberals have used to badger each other into support of the deregulatory zeal of Jimmy Carter, straight through to the mercenary accommodationism of the Clinton claque and the Pelosi vichy, with no end in sight. When they're not eagerly letting their Republican enemies define them, they're using the same style of argument those enemies use, the same bullying sanctimony dressed up as pragmatism and they're doing it to each other. Any expression of conscience from one, however hedged and tepid, is sophomorically ridiculed by a parlor Nietzschean; derided as an effort to "suckle your pride and idealism". Lord have mercy! All the angry right wing nut faction of the elite has to do to hold power is avoid excessive public cannibalism.

The Bushists have packaged and handed the liberals the greatest electoral gift possible. The worst president ever has set fire to everything in sight and passed his mantle on to a loon. They should be able to run a cardboard cut-out, and still win.

Well, maybe not. They have a chance throw this one too, as well as what's left of the welfare state. They'll be crackpot realists to the bitter end, suckling the moral vanity of comic book pragmatism as they try to shoehorn something loathsome and anti-liberal into office.

Comments (11)



now that's a word for it

crack pot realist
pops the moral pimple

here he is
doin his thing
at the job site
in cubicle mode
tele-kos-ing shit

" me ?? ...preen ...never
i'm way way way
to battered and wasted
and worn down
after 9 long years
of engaging ...
the real world
head on
to preen anymore "

Al Schumann:

The poor Kosnik picked a bad time. It's one thing to choose a "the worse, the better" strategy. It's quite another to be slotted into it by your own willfully acquired limitations. With the moral pimple at Code Orange, a stray feather brushing it is agony. An unfavorable comparison to the brawling, mentally unbalanced fishwives and thugs of the right wing intelligentsia is not going to go over well with people who have spent close to a decade in the self-loathing fecklessness of vichy liberalism.

Michael Hureaux:

Still, they play it, and they play it at every level. In our union local election, it is an anathema to insist that our corporate liberal business agent should not have the final word on the political and cultural life of the local, or that he shouldn't be allowed to suck all the air out of the room with ninety minute "reports" at meetings of the rep assembly. What "practical" people have managed to yield to at the national level, a complete consolidation of corporate power, they now seek to underscore at the local level. CLR James said in his essay "Dialectical Materialism and the Future of Humanity" way back in 1950 that neither stalinism or hitlerism would have anything to show late capital when it came to atrocity and the dumbing down of popular leadership, and we seem to have arrived at that moment. One million dead in Iraq, a disaster which both parties are responsible for to equal degree, and all any of these idiots can do is click their tongues.

if it wasn't bad enough, this hardboilded crackpot can't write either:

I have written in the past that to choose the lesser of two evils is still to choose evil. Sometimes the choice, in sorrow, to make such a choice. Sometimes however to make such a choice is too violative of all that one holds dear.

"too violative" ...what's wrong with violets?

Speaking of feeling others' pain -- M. Hero, I'm there with ya! Union meetings under the current Taft-Hartley-Demo-Party ownership regime? Triple root canals are more pleasurable. Of course, that's part of the beauty of it all, isn't it? Only the very hardiest still-living souls will sit for the job, once they catch a glimpse of the machinery and the businesslike ghouls who actually like and believe it.

Al Schumann:

I believe, but don't take my word for it, that violets are the flowers one puts on the graves of things once held dear, after they've been strangled, eviscerated, shot for good measure, restrangled and then boiled, just in case.


schumann das human
what's with u
tryin' to attract
a gamey threading crew


"An unfavorable comparison to the brawling, mentally unbalanced fishwives and thugs of the right wing intelligentsia is not going to go over well with people who have spent close to a decade in the self-loathing fecklessness of vichy liberalism. "

lovely ride thru there herr schu-fly


our corporate liberal business agent
...catch a glimpse of the machinery and the businesslike ghouls ....

you guys are both
just a pair of square pegs

you needed rounding out


austrian :

"Take oil deregulation,
. On the left, Carter's Democratic challenger Ted Kennedy was advocating outright nationalization of the oil industry.
On the other side,
Republican Ronald Reagan was calling for complete decontrol.

Carter took the "middle road."

carter took the middle road ... And that has made all the difference.

Al Schumann:

"carter took the middle road ... And that has made all the difference."

Our Austrian friend spotted the ür-triangulations of the post-sixties crackdown. The discipline-minded fussbudgets have been reliably waddling along, picking at their wedgies, snapping at each other and jostling for rank ever since.

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