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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Republicans in Total Disarray, Republicans AS Total Disarray

A first point. Were the Democratic candidate to choose as running-mate an utterly under-experienced under-vetted unknown right before a Convention that nobody wanted to participate in even before a gathering Hurricane provided the excuse for their mass bailout you can be absolutely sure that the Village Gatekeepers of the corporate media would rise in a full-throated unanimous chorus to announce that the Democratic Party was in total disarray. They would sniff panic in the air and joyfully poke at the Democrats with every stick they could find. They would pronounce that party's chances of victory ridiculously less than nil, dead on arrival.

Meanwhile, were the Republican candidate to run a seamless campaign, overcoming better-known and better-connected competitors through superior organizing and a message palpably more in touch both with everyday people as well as with the party's own base and rank-and-file, gracefully hurdling past one trumped up pseudo-drama after another while delivering stunning media coups, shattering fundraising expectations, inspiring throngs of people of both parties -- indeed, all around the world in an era when the world is souring on Americans otherwise -- you can be just as sure that the Village Gatekeepers of the corporate media would not be warning that very Republican campaign that they were navigating a horrific mine-field of potentially game-ending mis-steps and gaffes, that this unprecedented and accomplished Republican campaign must nevertheless proceed with infinite caution in the face of stakes endlessly ratcheting-upward, freighting every speech, every decision, every glance, every snippet of press with contradictory demands which if left unmet could presumably lose them everything somehow, whatever their accomplishments, whatever their policies, whatever the force of their gathering movement, stubbornly insisting that the election is, in spite of everything, after all, still a "horse-race," and on and on and on.

The simple fact is that the McCain campaign is indeed in total disarray. His choice of Palin as his running-mate was a desperate bid to shake up the conspicuously Presidential trajectory of the charismatic competent Change candidate Obama in an epoch screaming for change away from the literally criminal insanity of the lying, thieving, bullying, cronyist, warmongering, theocratic Bush Administration. McCain is not only desperate, but quite obviously so.

McCain may indeed have been just clueless enough to imagine that the Palin choice would garner some support from disaffected Hillary supporters (who supported Hillary for positions diametrically opposed to nearly everything Palin claims to stand for after all), but it is far more likely that he chose her to whomp up some kind of a heartbeat of support from the shrinking minority of End-Time anti-science death-cult "Christianist" wingnuts who constitute the actual Republican base at this point, such as it is, and who have been lukewarm at best about his candidacy so far. The many better-known more accomplished Republican women McCain could have chosen for his ticket are none of them Christianist wingnuts, and his selection of Palin over them all is a straightforward indication of the constituency he is pitching for.

That makes sense (I use the phrase loosely), given the Obama campaign's already demonstrated organizational resources and masterly ground game. McCain seems to have been counting on his own long-cultivated True Base -- the corporate Media -- to deliver him the White House, despite the waning influence of broadcast media in the face of emerging p2p media on the one hand and despite the undeniably compelling tug of Obama's own media-friendly Historic counter-narrative. Now that the Villagers seem incapable of delivering the goods, McCain is making an effort to dip one last time into the Rovian well of cultural politics, sliming Obama left and right and picking a crazy Christianist as his veep.

As a matter of brute numbers crunching, one wonders if the number of patriarchal pigs among the Christianist Death-Eaters is actually high enough that the choice of Palin (a fee-male professional in the public eye, after all, however dedicated to serial incubation she may be) would turn off as many of them as it would turn others on -- especially given their longstanding indifference and even hostility about McCain in the first place as well as their sense that the Republican Party has in any case conspicuously failed to deliver them the goods (by "goods," read the totalitarian racist patriarchal fundamentalist fag-killing abortion-criminalizing gun-loving utopia they pine for in the name of baby Jesus) even in its moment of consummating power.

Certainly, it is already becoming clear that far more Hillary supporters are insulted than inspired by the choice themselves, precisely as anybody with a brain would have expected to be the case. That similar minefields likely wait upon the choice of Palin from the wingnuts as well is a matter of course, but as yet, apparently, neglected by the Rovian Brain Trust. (On a side note: Rove is clearly just another brutal bully with a willingness to break the law to get the job done for his paymasters, just like every asshole and thug and bully everybody already knows all too well and hates in their everyday lives for the misery they inflict -- why this awful ugly crap conduct has been described by so many as exhibited in Rove himself as some kind of "genius" has long mystified me.) Of course, it is McCain rather than Huckabee who is the Republican nominee in the first place precisely because this very selfsame deathcult constituency to which McCain now turns for dollars and deliverance obviously didn't have the chops to win the White House in a Change election anyway.

A second point. In the total disarray of McCain's campaign -- as in the stunning inspiration, energy, hope, competence, organization, and professionalism of Obama's campaign -- one finds the perfect prefiguration of the Administrations they would go on to helm were they to win the White House. Pay attention, people.

A third point. Republicans in their feral death-dealing Nixonian and Reaganomic incarnation hate the very idea of good government, and so the total disarray of their campaigns and of every single debt-ridden wealth-concentrating mean-spirited belligerent Republican Administration in this epoch of their ascendancy is actually what everybody should always have expected from them. The promise of this disarray (gu'ment off yer backs! yer on yer own! let the market decide!) is, in point of fact, the very idea that they have campaigned on. Americans really must either stop buying it or stop complaining when they get exactly what they keep paying for.

2 comments:

martin said...

were the Republican candidate to run a seamless campaign... you can be just as sure that the Village Gatekeepers of the corporate media would not be warning that very Republican campaign that they were navigating a horrific mine-field of potentially game-ending mis-steps and gaffes [etc...]

This implies that they ARE warning the Democrats of exactly the same. I'm not sure that we're watching the same media. Did you see the appraisal of the Obama speech by the pundits on MSNBC, including Olbermann, Maddow (who is exceptionally intelligent and erudite as a political commentator, make no mistake about it), and even the "gushing" Pat Buchanan? Your assessement of the way the media have been treating Obama and McCain seems to be exactly the opposite of what I've experienced.

The simple fact is that the McCain campaign is indeed in total disarray. His choice of Palin as his running-mate was a desperate bid to shake up the conspicuously Presidential trajectory of the charismatic competent Change candidate Obama...

No doubt, and it seems to have worked, at least momentarily. On Friday, everybody was talking about McCain rather than Obama's "historic" speech. Whether or not this gambit will lead to success in November is an open question, but it is, in the view of many people who have been following politics for a long time, the most audacious political gambit in modern political history.

McCain may indeed have been just clueless enough to imagine that the Palin choice would garner some support from disaffected Hillary supporters (who supported Hillary for positions diametrically opposed to nearly everything Palin claims to stand for after all), but it is far more likely that he chose her to whomp up some kind of a heartbeat of support from the shrinking minority of End-Time anti-science death-cult "Christianist" wingnuts who constitute the actual Republican base at this point

Yep, she's there to energize the evalengical base while superficially and almost patronizingly appealing to women.

McCain seems to have been counting on his own long-cultivated True Base -- the corporate Media -- to deliver him the White House despite... the undeniably compelling tug of Obama's own media-friendly Historic counter-narrative

Again, we must be following two different medias. But here you admit that the media hasn't been delivering the White House for McCain, and has been friendly to Obama, which contradicts your earlier hypothetical about the two Parties in reverse roles.

Americans really must either stop buying it or stop complaining when they get exactly what they keep paying for.

Amen.

Dale Carrico said...

I'm not sure that we're watching the same media. Did you see the appraisal of the Obama speech by the pundits on MSNBC, including Olbermann, Maddow[,] who is exceptionally intelligent and erudite as a political commentator, make no mistake about it

Indeed, I make no mistake in the least about that, nor will I make the absurd mistake of pretending she is remotely representative of the corporate media.

Yep, [Palin]'s there to energize the evalengical base while superficially and almost patronizingly appealing to women.

I love that sweet little "almost," there.

Again, we must be following two different medias.

I don't doubt it.

But here you admit that the media hasn't been delivering the White House for McCain,

What is interesting is that he expected it to do so, and with good reason. See, Free Ride: John McCain and the Media.

and has been friendly to Obama,

I actually didn't "admit" this point, nor do I accept it. While Obama's historic campaign has indeed attracted an enormous amount of attention and Obama has indeed been breathtakingly deft at deflating the many hairballs of pseudo-scandal (the Wright nontroversy, the "bitter" flap, the "whitey" tapes, the terrorist fist-jab, the endless PUMA parade, and on and on and on) that the corporate media have coughed up to trouble his path, the bottom line is that Obama's coverage has been more negative than not overall for all its abundant attention-share. The poor pundits protest that people turn the channel whenever Grumpy McSame appears on the screen to justify their neglect of him, and what free marketeer has a leg to stand on to complain about that? According to an LATimes Story my sense that extra attention need not mean positive attention in the least was supported by Pew at least in the first six weeks of the campaign. No doubt Obama's comsummate Convention skewed things a bit, just as McCain's Convention would by rights go one to do (and, heck, still may) as well if the Republicans weren't the gang that can't shoot straight these days.

which contradicts your earlier hypothetical about the two Parties in reverse roles.

Well, no, I don't think it does. I think Obama has been so amazingly good and McCain so appallingly bad that the media's bias toward McCain has been a difficult thing to pull off in full for pundits who see the writing on the wall, however much they disdain it. I think the facile faux concern trolling and handwringing one hears about Obama's campaign is ridiculous, while the pretense that McCain's rank opportunistic flip-flops and ugly traitor-baiting of Obama and dangerously inappropriate bellicosity on the campaign trail are all perfectly hunky-dory both bespeak a grotesque bias in the media, which McCain has cultivated throughout his career as everybody knows. That hypothetical inversion of parties with which I began the post still seems to me perfectly seemly.

If the campaigns were reversed the corporate mediots would have declared Obama's campaign dead on arrival. Instead they endlessly offer earnest advice about his "tone" and the way he "plays" to "average Americans" they pretend to know about or care about despite the fact that their vanishingly small inbred inside the Beltway clatch might just as well be reporting from the asteroid belt by a species of sentient lichen ventriloquizing through the animated corpse-bodies of Katie Couric and Cokie Roberts for all their actual acquaintance with these Americans for whom they seem to imagine themsevles the spokesmodels.

It's true, some voices of sanity are beginning to break through here and there and, meanwhile, the reality of the climate catastrophes and military debacles and privatization disasters is just so palpable that no amount of corporatist fluffing has managed yet to sell the country on another Republican scoundrel and enabler.

To suggest that this is a sign of inevitable bias from the other direction is too likely to indulge the usual boo-hoo crying of the crook who feels harassed by the just law that snags him, the liar who feels persecuted by an obvious truth that exposes him, or by the smug cynic who sees an opportunistic hypocrite behind ever earnest reform.

Whether or not this gambit will lead to success in November is an open question, but it is, in the view of many people who have been following politics for a long time, the most audacious political gambit in modern political history.

Barring his literally dropping trou and taking a dump on the podium in front of the cameras by way of making his announcement, which, no doubt, would have been even more "audacious" to them. In six months it will be considered not audacious but idiotic and insulting on the verge of criminally insane and one more well-deserved nail in the coffin of Movement Conservatism.

"Americans really must either stop buying it or stop complaining when they get exactly what they keep paying for."

Amen.


Let me be clear, Movement Conservatism, driven by divisive racist and cultural politics of resentment since Nixon, all in the service of catastrophic wealth-consolidation via infrastructure looting and risk-dispersal via "financialization" all sold as "free trade" and "personal liberty" since Reagan have resulted in a corporate-militarist regime on the brink of outright authoritarian dictatorship. This result is not a violation but a structural consequence of the Movement Conservative worldview. Read David Harvey's Neoliberalism: A Brief History for some of the reasons why I think this is so (I have quibbles about the book, but it's short and sweet). The people bought it and they have paid for it -- in literal blood, in bottomless debt, in under-recompensed toil, in untreated but treatable illness, in uneducated but intelligent citizens, in divisive hostility among people who share problems and the capacity to solve them together, and so much more. Unless you mean what I mean by what is bought and what is paid for here, you'll understand if I can't eagerly accept your "Amen" just yet.