Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Grand Old Potty

Apologies for the usual silence. It's just that the contest for, the spectacle over if you will, the GOOP nomination has become something dull and pointless to jaded old me.

In the last couple weeks, as I judge, the general sentiment of the moderately sentient is that the Republican Party is toast, the convention will be a stupid monkey show, and a abject and total defeat in November, in both executive and legislative branches, is becoming something near certain.

All of this I've felt in my bones, and occasionally wrote about here, for simply yonks, and to see it unwind in slow motion, is about as thrilling to me now as a Dallas rerun.

On the Blue side, the whining beginning to drift from the Sanders camp (though, in fairness, not the candidate himself) is adding a tiresome edge to what is still a one-note campaign, which becomes ever more defined in its appeal with every overwhelming win in very white, independent-crossover caucus states.

And, y'know, fine. Just don't pretend the candidate has anything of substance to offer rank and file Democrats, or that something is wrong with those people supporting Mrs. Clinton.

The one interesting part is how the rather brainer writers of a conservative bent are now looking at the smoking ruins of their once-sturdy brain palace, trying to articulate what the hell happened. This reflective phase for them will go on for a long time, and I wish them godspeed with it.

Writers of a livelier, more rambling intellect are beginning to outline a deeper look at what's happening, and getting it close to right. For what we are witnessing isn't only the implosion of the Grand Old Potty but also, like a higher, maddened harmony of a Strauss opera, the rage of a patriarchy compelled at last to account for itself; to in fact outline its values for consideration, and so possible rejection, in a broad referendum.

The GOOP, leaders and followers both, has know for almost two years that the Democrats would almost certainly nominate a very capable woman for president. One could easily infer that that knowledge alone drove them frothing insane enough to cough-up that giant orange hairball.

And to all the concerned liberals whose earnest, 750-word pensées are daily liked unto my Facebook feed let me say: far from being a degraded process, this is why we have elections in the first place; not to find the soberest, most able individual for high office, but to vent the stupid notions that build up very naturally in every republic, and especially in ours, where monied stupidity, lacking any regular institutional challenge, has been held in high esteem from the get-go.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Midnight in the Garden of Goobers and Weasels (cont.)

After posting the previous, I went on to read a few worried articles by Very Concerned People, on just what a threat to the Republic the DT really is, to which I say: Banana Oil.

He appeals to the dim, the angry, the racist, and nihilistic; a lot of whom are getting up there in years too. The passionate attraction these folks feel for him says a lot more about the crumbling condition of the GOOP, than the state of the union, which has sheltered crackpots, dingbats, mad failures, and malign fools in good number across its history.

No, DT will lose and his movement scatter and fade. Someone, maybe even Donnie himself, might try to gin-up a repeat performance next cycle, but the act will be older, less invigorating. His supporters are subject to the same existential laws of boredom and inaction as the rest of us, and, lacking the philosophic defenses offered by education and personal accomplishment, are thereby more prey to their ravages. You cannot build a sustained success by appealing mostly to the moods of failures. As for DT's anticipated "pivot" to the center, I'll observe that the only center he knows is behind his own eyeballs. Donnie is incapable of staying true to anything but his own gargantuan and flighty ego needs. Any future bid he might make to sensible centrists can, and will, be undone in a moment of pique.

Frankly, I'm still not convinced he'll be the GOOP's nominee, but for that we'll just have to stay tuned.

Speaking of pivot, anyone who has not noticed Mrs. Clinton's signaling last week to the broader-minded subset of appalled Republicans that she isn't oh-so-awful after all just hasn't been paying attention.

UPDATE: Shortly after I posted this, Kevin Drum posted this.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A House Derided

OOOOooo-E! Where to start? For history buffs like yours truly, the hot-tempered shouting and shoving that now characterizes the DT's rallies harkens back to a rougher and sturdier age, an era which came to a head around the time that the last major American political party, being the Whigs ca. 1855, imploded. I'm not sure you had active incitements towards violence radiating from the leading hustings, but brawling at rallies, conventions, and polling places, has a distinguished history in our deranged nation and I, for one, find its reemergence bracing.

While the Democrats have mainly hewed to a policy-driven campaign that tends to underplay cults of personality (and to be clear, every bid for high office needs some cultish attraction, and the Bern has been consistently in the lead in this regard), the GOOP contest has devolved into complete Theater of Cruelty, a deeply entertaining Guignol that only promises further riches as the headsmen and torturers lurch their bloody way to Cleveland.

But how, I hear my imaginary interlocutor wailing, can you take so lightly this army of furious racists who MIGHT boost a new Mussolini into the Oval Office??

And it is astonishing to me just how many sane and decent thinkers in my circles of friends are terrified of this wholly ridiculous prospect. This is, of course, the effect of TV, which everyone watches, and the absurd magnifying effect it gives to everything the mainly conservative apparatchiks of TV find important. And for them nothing is more important than ratings; so if ratings demand the daily spinning of faintly-plausible fantasy to keep frightened and angry people tuned-in, well, so be it.

Look folks, the Untied States of America is an enormous country, of over 300 million people spread out across a land mass approximately 3,000 miles long and up to 2,000 miles wide. It lacks anything approaching a state religion (and, no, conservative Protestantism does not count as a single religion), a presiding racial identity (and WASP is a category, not a national identity), or even a central capital that dictates the political, cultural, financial, and media trends for the whole nation.

So, NO, we are not Italy in 1922, nor Germany in 1932.  The lack of any popular U.S. dictators arising, and there have been plenty over the years who've applied for the job, owes more to the size and diversity of the Republic than to any innate genius of our political institutions, to which I say: Hurray!

As for a Republican getting elected president this year, well, GMAFB. Never mind the nature of GOP causes, repulsive to so very many, national elections, for all the televised talking and spectacle, are intensely granular affairs. For a candidate to be successful, a national party has to broadly coordinate tens of thousands of small acts, in hundreds of locations, every day for months: of office rental and staffing, of canvassing and phone banking, of printing and distributing millions of signs, fliers, and door hangers, of messaging and promotion, of advance work for rallies, of determining areas of greatest need and moving the candidate efficiently from one place to the next.

But I belabor the point.

The notion that the Gone Old Party, be its nominee DT, TC, or a sucker to be named later, will be coherent enough to deliver effective service for a presidential campaign is simply laughable. They have been at each others throats for too long to pull together when the time comes. Put simply: the Party of Lincoln has become a House Divided. Ironic, right?