Friday, September 25, 2015

Midnight in the Garden of Goobers and Weasels cont.

I will note just for the record now of the fall of Speaker Boehner, announced this morning and go out on a limb to call it the official end of the Republican Party as a vehicle of national governance. Done and dusted.

But what I wanted to write about today is another thing I've been considering these two years away from here; that the election of Barak Obama did not so much open a door, my feeling at the time, as turn over a rock, exposing God's own number of revolting, fascinating creatures.

So much of what had been implicit in our social and political lives was suddenly under the light of events, and while the results, the brassy, assertive racism of so many affronted individuals being no longer dignified by tacit silence, have not been pretty, and only mildly edifying, they have been needful. The boil, to switch metaphors, has been lanced and the infection, believe it or not, is certain to be greatly reduced. In the meantime: Yik.

This is why I don't get angry, or especially upset at the latest rightest outrage, for the simple matter that they are rapidly going away, and they know it. Fifteen years ago Republicans got the president they wanted, the congress they wanted, the tax cuts and the war they wanted, and it all went to utter shit. So badly, in fact, that their fellow citizens were pleased to send to the White House a junior senator who may not have been, no was NOT, an American at all; a man who won re-election by cheating, and who has mainly had his way over their stupid agenda and dim schemes ever since. This knowledge has driven the less reasonable of them, something approaching 40% of their number, barking mad.

And while my prediction of the demise of the GOP has always been based on McLuhan's judgement of how new media can wreck hierarchical organizations, which has certainly come to pass--the combined action of leaked emails, ill-considered twitter remarks, and cell phone videos--I've lately come to thinking that their ship of fools was first and foremost broken on the rock of B.H. Obama, a steadfast, tireless, engaged, and always present executive whom they could not frighten, cajole, nor defeat. It was all too much. Every assumption they have made over the last 15 years has been proved to be deeply wrong, and the fatal consequences of that are pending closely.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wards to Live By

The whole astonishing thing, to me anyway, is how certain politicians ever got the reputation for being smart when it is clear from their many pictures just how dim the wattage behind the eyes really is.

The case today is Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus of C.P. Pierce's indelible phrasing. Whatever it took to prevail in Wisconsin politics, brain power was not part of it. The problem is that to reach and last on the national level, a certain generosity in the smarts department is crucial and, man, SW, like Rick Perry and Eric Cantor, the putative Brainiacs before him, did not have the goods.

You know who else looks dim? Marco Rubio. Just something about the eyes appears unengaged, timid and wary, as if he's afraid someone is going to ask a question he can't begin to understand. So I suspect we'll see his cards tossed back sooner rather than later. (Yes, I know how he's being hepped now more than ever, but my prediction holds).

It dawned on me a few weeks ago when thinking about this whole ridiculous, albeit entertaining mess the Republicans have gotten themselves into, that the candidate with fewest internal contradictions generally wins the big elections. This is not necessarily a good thing. That squalid little man had an almost pathological lack of internal conflicts, which led to oceans of loss at home and abroad.

However, too many internal conflicts lead to bumper crops of stupid remarks, ill-considered opinions and poor decision making. What were Walker's fatal internal flaws? Mainly a resentment that he needed to make himself understood by anyone besides Packer fans, that Republicans who had been his buddies for the last four years were now out to shank him, that he is a career politician who somehow believed that that is not the case, that he felt himself much to be smarter than he manifestly is.

That un-conflicted, squalid little man, knew exactly when to let the smart guys run things for him while he slept, or golfed, or generally swaggered around. His mistake was choosing and sticking with the wrong smart guys. But a lack of emotional intelligence, that sense telling you something somehow is not going as needed and requires adjustment, is a broad cultural flaw endemic to Republicans. So, fuck 'em.

We can come back to this later if you like, a rundown of the field in a few weeks. But I'd say that the candidate with the fewest internal conflicts, in either party, is H. R. Clinton. I'm not crazy about her personally, but I like her chances, and she will do.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Has it really been almost two years? I guess it has. No apologies at this end. Honestly, I got tired of the arch tone I inevitably fell into writing these things, and the idea of writing for nothing free began to bite. I mean, it's one thing to do so on a brand new platform, with a liberating sense of possibility, and quite a damn other to see how the pay for, and quality of, writing in general became debased so quickly by the process.

Inspiration to return and unlimber a bit has come from the entrancing sight of the GOP implosion, long predicted here, now in full bash. Though feeling its approach (and in fact expecting it a while ago), I could never have predicted what it would look like. But here it is, and it is glorious.

Where I was really wrong was in how long the press would presume to report Republican policies and personalities as anything other than a variety of zoo inmates feeding regularly on gorgeous nonsense. I figured the Fourth Estate would turn once it became clear that the beasts in question had no clue about how power actually worked in DC, as opposed to on TV. But TV, it turns out, always defines what's on TV (This is not the tautology it appears), and it so happens that the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt (T), and Eisenhower, (and Nixon and that squalid little man), is far more valuable as an entertainment package than a necessary, if aggravating, counterweight for the Republic's political system.

Or, put another way, an entertainment package is now considered a useful replacement for the former political entity. Oh, well. They have no one to blame but themselves. What amazes me though is, given the popular nature of our national elections, how the entire GOP field of players runs the emotional gamut from bland to openly dislikable. There isn't a warm and cheerful cove in the pack of 'em; or maybe what passes for pleasant in the fields of conservatism strikes the rest of us as exercised, bitter, and unhinged.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Now, Where Was I?

I hope everyone's enjoyed our little rest after all the debt limit excitement. Almost seems now like it never happened, right? In that time since Your Ob'dt Hmbl Svt has been trying to access the ACA website, as I calculate a savings of over $3,000 per annum for myself (not to mention a vastly improved coverage menu) should I ever get the damn thing to turn over for me. So far squatum, but I will strive in earnest starting tomorrow, and promise to check back here with the results.

In the meantime, I hope all of you read the Booman Tribune (link at right) on at least a semi-daily basis. I sure do, and here call attention to a knowledgeable and articulate rundown (far more than I'll ever be capable of) of two recent developments which I, however, have been predicting here for a while now: the peeling away of business interests from the GOP, and the transmigration of purple state Republicans to the Democratic Party.

Fun stuff, if you ask me.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dumb And Numb-er

I would like to think that the fallout from our current disorder might have certain clarifying properties, at least as far as the public, the interested part of it anyway, regards the actors and actions in DC.

To wit: I may be imagining things here, but it seems to me that the reporting of the last few weeks has been a grade or two sharper than previously, and driven by reporters and bloggers attached more to online organs than to the traditional news mongers and TV divisions. There was smart, behind the GOP scenes stuff from Robert Costa at NRO respectfully picked up and commented on by folks I read more dependably--your Drums, Sargeants, and Longmans for example--which greatly aided in grasping the sturdy outlines and transient vapors of the derangement.

Traditional reporters, print and TV, bound by unforgiving corporate governance to the notion of Balance, at last proved completely inadequate to the task of, you know, actually explaining what was happening before our eyes. Instead of the broad old-line assessments of the action, Olympian and dim, guided by official pronouncement and "sources", given at the end of day, it was the far-more granular dispatches, sent out hourly, of smart and engaged policy wonk reporters all over the Hill by which a sense of things emerged, which in turn informed the reports of newspaper and TV.

Dare I say that high-information technologies have finally transformed the reporting of news? Stay tuned.

One way we might judge a possible change is how the current players are now considered by the MSM. Specifically, I have never understood the apparently common DC judgement of Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor as deeply intelligent men. Even Ted Cruz came to Washington with an Ivy League reputation for tremendous smarts. There's a particular imbecility writ on all three of their mugs, a vacant and arrogant exasperation that comes through photos as a particular disengagement in eye and mouth, message being: I am completely uninterested in what you have to say. Now, granted, these photos are taken generally when those three guys are meeting members of the press, but the hallmark of a first-rate mind is an eagerness to engage in a bright combat of ideas (I mean, Bill Buckley for crying out loud); all three of these wiseguys look like their first wish is to hire goons to beat up people who cross them.

No, if these clowns get through this somehow with their MSM reputations as the smart guys in the room intact then we'll know that the official narrative still lags badly behind events.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Elsewhere On The Internet

from TED Talks Are Lying to You, by Thomas Frank:

What was really sick-making, though, was Florida’s easy assumption that creativity was a thing our society valued. Our correspondent had been hearing this all his life, since his childhood in the creativity-worshipping 1970s. He had even believed it once, in the way other generations had believed in the beneficence of government or the blessings of Providence. And yet his creative friends, when considered as a group, were obviously on their way down, not up. The institutions that made their lives possible — chiefly newspapers, magazines, universities and record labels — were then entering a period of disastrous decline. The creative world as he knew it was not flowering, but dying.