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The Treadmill

By Al Schumann on Wednesday January 13, 2010 08:16 AM

There's lately been an outbreak of micro-pathologizing on the Buyer's Remorse suffered by Obama voters. It's got all the usual stuff; they're so angry! they're unrealistic! they're melodramatic! and so forth. It's all true as far as it goes, which is not very far, and as usual it elides the denouement to these affairs: the Remorseful always return to the fold. It is, in short, dull stuff.

But the outbreak does have a tiny bit of hilarity, in this very odd article by Hendrik Hertzberg, in which he appears to be warning us not to anthropomorphize the Obama regime and the Democratic majority. This is somewhat interesting, and very tempting... although it too quickly returns to familiar ground. I gather it's the system, man, the mean old system that's making everything so appalling, but not too appalling when all is said and done. We still have complete sentences. The system takes the fall for the worst of it. Human agency takes the credit for the not so worst of it.

I readily confess to reading human motivations and actions into the freak show's stars and supporting cast. It's hard to resist. They look like humans doing human things in a system designed by humans. None are being held there at gunpoint and, while there are qualities to the show that could be characterized in organic or mechanistic terms, the actors at least theoretically retain the ability to stop doing what they're doing. Methane does not choose to rise from the swamp, but Obama could resist giving speeches. I don't personalize either of those activities and I can, with some effort, tell the difference between them. Perhaps the Buyer's Remorse people can't. Perhaps they're anthropomorphizing the Obama regime. Then again, they could conceivably be genuinely alarmed, by the cruel occupations and bankster looting rampages, even if the alarm isn't going to effect any profound change in their activities.

As a footnote, there's not a lot to those complete sentences.

Comments (12)

"Very odd" is an extremely kind label for that canned turd.

That attempt to drag in Ruskin, meanwhile, is itself not just weak, but turbo-pathetic. Typical NYer pseudo-intellectual fail. Do they have a Great Names dart-board for these things?

Anyway, Praise Allah that I don't permit The New Yorker in my house.


"they are doing what’s possible. That may be pathetic, but it’s no fallacy"

i'm very gratified relieved and reassured they are not doing the ....IMPOOSIBLE

hell i was beginning to suspect
jack ass black magic
was afoot inside the beltway

Al Schumann:

MD, I suspect yes, they do have a name-dropping dart board. I can't imagine why else he'd use Ruskin for this, outside some cocktail party impression he got. It just doesn't work at all.

OP, the marketing-speak platitudinous harrumph is his trademark. It's so irritating that people regularly commit suicide right in the institutional waiting rooms, where they read it.

The truly vile exerpts from Hertzberg's column cited below are pristine examples of US liberal-left disease. Exhibit A: Utter contempt for political alternatives. Exhibit B: Obdurate diagnostic idiocy.

Exhibit A. 'He’s “an Uncle Tom groveling before the demands of the corporations that are running our country.” (This last not from some anonymous blog commenter but from Ralph Nader, without whose efforts Joe Lieberman would be just another former Vice-President.)'

Exhibit B. 'The critics’ indignation would be better directed at what an earlier generation of malcontents called “the system”—starting, perhaps, with the Senate’s filibuster rule, an inanimate object if there ever was one.'

Al Schumann:

His Nader-baiting is pretty desperate too, in addition to being vile.


The desperation (yes!) and vileness is especially evident in the cloy attempt to paint, through quote selection and point build-up, Nader as a racist.

Al Schumann:

I used to be a bit puzzled by the very real animosity Nader draws from the Democratic faithful. He's got all the merit class credentials. He speaks in those famous complete sentences. If he comments on a bill or policy, it's evident he's read the entire thing and understands all the sneaky passages. He's got money and a lifetime of the kind of public service they applaud. Who could possibly be better for liberals?

Of course it's never that simple. They have all that authoritarian follower baggage to tote around, with all the angry, resentful proprieties and reflexive dread of disciplinary peer pressure. Just like high school kids. Or conservatives.

It isn't Nader's intelligence the Democrats resent, it's his integrity.

I just watched Sarah Palin's debut on FOX, and while her observation that Pelosi is not exactly in synch with her constituency might irk party faithful, her pro-Zionist posture is a godsend to President Obama. Indeed, after promoting the violently homophobic Rick Warren at his swearing in ceremony, I don't see why Obama doesn't just make Palin part of his cabinet.

JayT, I don't quite track how Palin has much to do with Obama, despite the identity of the positions. When Palin endorses Israel, it's meant to be a point about "Christianity." When Obama does, it's about secular religious doctrines. The former is about tricking the white working class. The latter is about the middle class.

And the premise of your reaction is that there is some force out there that's being delivered to Obama by Palin's Israel incantation.

Of course, Israel policy is one of those things where the general public is pretty smart, but lacks any point of entry, and therefore, people don't consider it an issue they should think about. So, they don't.

Nice one, Al!

I think I see Jay's point. I don't mean to be mandatory here, but... you have to admit that Palin and Obama are complementary, policy-wise, no matter what differences may thrive between their parties' most ardent supporters. Liberals can spit polysyllabic putdowns toward the Fox News Fanclub... Glenn Beck's stooges may toss right-wing molotovs at Obama and his supporters... but at the bottom of things Sarah Palin would be right at home in an Obama cabinet, and conversely Obama would be a fine US Ambassador to Israel (or Great Britain, or Dubai, or _________) in a Sarah Palin cabinet.

Al Schumann:

Thanks, CF. I have a similar take on Jay's comment. The differences are in the marketing and the consumer demographics they appeal to. As Jay observes, they're leveraging their core competencies and exploring fresh new synergies in an exciting corporate environment. The end result is death and misery. So why not consolidate?

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