Sunday, November 11, 2012

Midnight In The Garden Of Goobers And Weasels cont.

I honestly can't say what I am enjoying more, GOP postmortems of what went wrong with the Rmoney campaign (hint, dudes: Everything), or the daily night of long knives among the TV and radio boobs as to the way forward; hint, dudes, there is none, not as you are currently constituted. The fight now is for which side gets to call itself Republican in four years and which has to come up with a new name.

Hilarious to me is the rather-more-sober and clear-minded conservative commentator calling for some soul-searching among the faithful, assuming that the souls in question are big and complex enough to make a sincere search necessary and productive of change. I believe most of the "souls" in question have all the capacity and mystery of those plastic eggs Silly Putty comes in, and the search is easily enough accomplished during Happy Hour, between Scotches two and three.

Looking back we might see that the Republican Party began to die the night in 2000 when Karl Rove won South Carolina for that squalid little man by slapping the unsuspecting John McCain with a big wet racial shit sock. Everything, my friends, devolved very naturally from there: A supremely unqualified boy-man won the nomination and, with the help of lawyers and bullies, afterward the presidency. For a while thereafter rage and racism paid big dividends, while any one with any sense (koff-koff) could see where the whole stupid project was eventually, ultimately headed.

The collapse of the Republican Party, ongoing since Hurricane Katrina, entered its final phase with Sandy. While apt symbolically, I do not credit the storm: demographic changes, the pressures wrought by the leveling nature of digital technology, arrogance, failed philosophy, and shitty candidates all combined. And by failed philosophy I don't mean the notions of Burke and Friedman the brighter GOP thinkers still like to warm themselves by, but the animating, presiding Republican fantasy of the rugged individualist making his way on his own terms in a competitive world.

Guess what? Hundreds of those RI's were utterly incapable of banding together for a common goal, namely the Rmoney campaign, and that managerial wizard, who was supposedly going to fix this country, had neither a remedy nor, apparently, a clue. That more than a few used the occasion to make some real money should be a matter of pride to those proud capitalists; somehow it is not.

This is comedy deep and wide, me hearties, playing out before our eyes, and will continue to do so for some time to come.

For now the question is which of the deep and abiding GOP fault lines will give way first: raising taxes, or allowing minorities equal status as needed and welcome partners for the party's future. Neither will hold for long and either is absolutely fatal to the party of Nixon, Buchanan, Reagan, Rove & Limbaugh. Right now my guess is that they will weasel the tax question by waiting to Jan 2 and voting the under 250k break. Actually accepting women, blacks, and hispanics as equal partners in the nation's future can't be finessed so easily. In fact, it will never happen, and complete irrelevance will settle upon them forever in a scant 24 months.

Friday, November 09, 2012

The Crass Menagerie

After the dullest presidential campaign since McKinley/Bryan our politics got fascinating overnight. The president this afternoon stood in a room full of cheering people and--in the course of his entirely reasonable remarks about the need, and his willingness, to renew the middle class tax cuts--openly and in full knowledge mischaracterized Speaker Boehner's stated position on taxes. The right honorable sap from Ohio's putatively conciliatory remarks regarding revenues in no way signaled a willingness to raise taxes on anyone, anywhere, only now he will be forced to say that in as many words, probably not today, it's Friday afternoon and it's been a long week, but soon.

And then the fun begins.

Blue Dogs was then--can the president find 26 Red House Cats? Seems unlikely now, but I wonder . . .

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Lost, 'Cause

A couple of my gaudy predictions were wrong last night, but not by that much. It's clear that what the GOP cannot gerrymander, they have little hope of holding onto for very much longer, and while the prez didn't gain my expected 52% of the pop, he finished, at this writing, up two points in that column over his rival, the first Democratic chief executive since FDR to twice win election with over 50% of the vote. He crushed it in the electoral college, for reasons I've been nattering on about for years here at H&J: toxic GOP policies, a changing electorate, and brainless, horrible Repub standard bearers.

And for all the recriminations which now runneth over at the GOP, and honest evaluations about brand and outreach by some of their more sensible actors and commenters, the notion that those people as a group will start behaving in a grown-up and responsible way, that they will begin to let go of losing social issues and connect in real ways with minorities, is utterly laughable on its face.

Let me put it clearly: True Believers NEVER change their minds, EVER. To do so calls their very being into question in stark existential terms--an infantile sense of terror and sovereign loss in the presence of the despised other which drove them into right-wing, reactionary, programatic politics in the first place. To give up their beliefs is Death, and they will die before they do so, which is fine by me.

This is not to say that there won't be an attempt at some philosophical reevaluation in the Grand Old Brand by those hoping to move the party forward, but it will be screamed at and cursed by the above mentioned and come to squat. There are a lot of the above mentioned; they have been coddled and deferred to for the better part of 30 years, and what's more a few of them still have bags and bags of money, even after that blizzard of spending was rendered naught yesterday. No, the above mentioned are more than willing to give Taking Back America one more glorious try, and mean it this time, and woe to those who get in the way.

To which I say: fuck yeah, go nuts, dudes. The Republicans in the House of Representatives are going to be a goddam freakshow for the next two years, as fascinating to watch as an ant farm, and as consequential as a Shriners convention. The nation's work will be done in spite of them however, and the real end will come in two years' time when the states which re-elected Barack Obama send most of their GOP representatives, raging still for their long-lost causes, back to their forlorn suburbs and dingy little towns.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Reality? Check.

Let's sum up: A minority party with long-standing trouble winning national elections nominates a wretched campaigner, quietly despised by a good portion of its base, who, when not dissembling in public, offers nothing beyond the mean assumptions and bitter nostrums which so sapped the nation in the administration of the previous president, a squalid little man who remains as unpopular today as the day he left office.

That furthermore this electoral project--less a political party than a consortium of rich and furious patsies, gulled out of millions by professional marketers, lobbyists, and consultants--threw to the wind any notion of outreach and appeal to voters somewhat outside the significant-but-ever-shrinking demographic of angry, aging white men; and, to reinforce this point, peopled many of its downticket races for legislative seats in DC with dead-faced, harsh, and clueless jerks, mostly male, who seemed to take special pride in lecturing or hectoring their rather-less-powerful fellow citizens.

Let's add to that a peculiar unwillingness to listen to anyone but themselves, and believe nothing outside of what they themselves think, less an unwillingness to face reality than the notion that reality, at least as traditionally understood in the west since the Age of Enlightenment, doesn't exactly exist.

Really, is it too late to double-down on my prediction of a Democratic landslide? While my conviction was shaken somewhat by the prez's listless and diffident performance in the first debate, which seemed to fit all too neatly perceptions of his deference to the moods of the opposition during the first term, Mitt is just too bad at campaigning, and the map too broad for him to move, for me ever to worry about him winning. Yes, hindsight now, but the broad issues were always proven competence and likability, and my sense that climate fears would play a part in people's deliberations seems to have paid off at the $50 window.

What can I say? I'm in a funny mood. Far from boosting unduly the hopes of Democrats, news reporting and poll results, it seems to me, have been propping up a septic GOP brand all season. After all, an enormous media apparatus, fueled by a hurricane of cash, needed to keep everyone occupied and employed, and so they have. Let me go out on a limb: The president gets more than 52% of the popular vote, wins the electoral college decisively (his estimated total there at this writing is 303), the senate stays blue (no surprise there now) and the house flips. No one is predicting the last, but no one knows for certain because of generally spotty and poor polling of those races, so those in the biz play it safe by calling a draw. Yr. obdt. svt. has nothing to lose for being wrong here. When all the votes are counted and the lawsuits swept away (which may take a while) I say the house goes Blue.

That the modern GOP can appeal to even 40% of the electorate to me points to a certain poverty of spirit which infects the nation at large. Rage and its compensating fantasies are not limited to conservatives by any means; the impulse to belittle and dismiss infects the left as well as the right. However the best impulses of Americans: of tolerance, care for others in crisis, an appreciation of better information and new ideas, the granting of freedoms where they were once withheld, that fundamental overall practicality which is the finest legacy of our former frontier society has always counted for more than the equally-ingrained old impulses of selfishness, paternalism, and, yes, racism. I believe the electoral choices are pretty clear and the broad outcome will not be close.