Monday, April 04, 2011


While I'm here, let me also note with sorrow the recent passing of Joe Bageant, a fine writer, and very nice man, whom I had the good fortune to correspond with a few years ago. Talk about clarity, Joe had it in spades.

Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

Anyone paying attention, and with no fear of possibly appearing wrong in public, could have predicted late last week that the House GOP would precipitate a government shutdown, which I was meaning to mention at the time, but then lost interest. Frankly, this blogging business used to be more fun. When the government was run by corrupt nitwits, it was easy to cultivate a Mencken-like archness (though my model was the now all-but-forgotten Murray Kempton.) But poking a brain-dead opposition gets old, especially when the ostensible good guys--while at least appearing human--can't seem to stand up and fight for the policies needed to break with a very sorry recent past.

As I recently noted to reader Sglover in the comments section of the previous post, my disappointment with the president is fairly mild compared to the dismay which wells up when I consider principle-trimming congressional Democrats and the paranoid and delusional Republican "policy" enabled by such spineless dithering, and amplified by the protocols of a dying corporate media historically, and hysterically, disdainful of liberal populism.

Add-in a distracted, or bored, or simple-minded, or simply beaten, electorate and the picture emerges of what I referred to a couple years ago during the financial meltdown as a cultural collapse. Well, cracks and meltdowns of all kinds are in the news lately, and even I get tired of saying I Told You So. The problem is no one, and that includes our competent Chief Executive, wants to consider the implications of endemic social failure, and so are pretending otherwise--that the problem is strictly limited to financial realms--as long as possible.

My other prediction which came true--albeit in a way very few may have foreseen--is the implosion of the Republican party, a drama now just beginning Act IV. The nonsense in Wisconsin (and Ohio, and Indiana, and California) and DC, the simmering stupidity of their putative presidential candidates--which even has the egregious Joe Klein yanking out what's left of his hair in vexation--the headache-making spectacle of a pack of beady-eyed losers thinking they're winning, and a press ignoring all the polling evidence to the contrary, just isn't all that funny anymore. What's missing is any clarity from the other side--a banner, a person, anything to rally behind. Our choice is between deep crazy and a sort of crass competence which, as okay as it is, is itself a dreary form of drift.

Perhaps the needed clarity will come in the wake of the federal shutdown, the Wisconsin recall, the defacto state bankruptcies, and a presidential campaign guaranteed to redefine ideas of hateful political inanity. I wouldn't count on it, though; not immediately. If you think things are strange now, wait until the jackasses realize how much, and how badly, they've lost, and how far from any lawful remedy they stand.