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Thursday, September 27, 2012

The state of everything

Things are looking so bad for Romney right now that Obama supporters are allowing themselves to bash Dems again. Believe me, I sympathize -- the day after this election, I'll be overjoyed to get back to bitching about President O and the Democratic leadership.

Matt Taibbi offers some wise words along these lines:
The mere fact that Mitt Romney is even within striking distance of winning this election is an incredible testament to two things: a) the rank incompetence of the Democratic Party, which would have this and every other election for the next half century sewn up if they were a little less money-hungry and tried just a little harder to represent their ostensible constituents, and b) the power of our propaganda machine, which has conditioned all of us to accept the idea that the American population, ideologically speaking, is naturally split down the middle, whereas the real fault lines are a lot closer to the 99-1 ratio the Occupy movement has been talking about since last year.

Think about it. Four years ago, we had an economic crash that wiped out somewhere between a quarter to 40% of the world's wealth, depending on whom you believe. The crash was caused by an utterly disgusting and irresponsible class of Wall Street paper-pushers who loaded the world up with deadly leverage in pursuit of their own bonuses, then ran screaming to the government for a handout (and got it) the instant it all went south.

These people represent everything that ordinarily repels the American voter. They mostly come from privileged backgrounds. Few of them have ever worked with their hands, or done anything like hard work. They not only don't oppose the offshoring of American manufacturing jobs, they enthusiastically support it, financing the construction of new factories in places like China and India.

They've relentlessly lobbied the government to give themselves tax holidays and shelters, and have succeeded at turning the graduated income tax idea on its head by getting the IRS to accept a sprawling buffet of absurd semantic precepts, like the notions that "capital gains" and "carried interest" are somehow not the same as "income."

The people in this group inevitably support every war that America has even the slimmest chance of involving itself in, but neither they nor their children ever fight in these conflicts. They are largely irreligious and incidentally they do massive amounts of drugs, from cocaine on down, but almost never suffer any kind of criminal penalty for their behavior.
For all this, when it came time to nominate a candidate for the presidency four years after the crash, the Republicans chose a man who in almost every respect perfectly represents this class of people.
Romney is an almost perfect amalgam of all the great out-of-touch douchebags of our national cinema: he's Gregg Marmalaard from Animal House mixed with Billy Zane's sneering, tux-wearing Cal character in Titanic to pussy-ass Prince Humperdinck to Roy Stalin to Gordon Gekko (he's literally Gordon Gekko). He's everything we've been trained to despise, the guy who had everything handed to him, doesn't fight his own battles and insists there's only room in the lifeboat for himself – and yet the Democrats, for some reason, have had terrible trouble beating him in a popularity contest.
So you look at it that way, it's difficult to understand why Romney is doing as well as he has been. But if you look at this election another way -- with both eyes fixed on Obama's dubious record (high unemployment, Wall Street-friendly policies, unfettered free trade, the erection of a surveillance state, vile drone attacks and so much more), it's hard to believe that the Republicans couldn't find someone who would mop the floor with this guy.

That's the very point that many of the cable TV talking heads on the liberal-ish networks are making: Romney may be doing badly, but would Gingrich or Perry or Bachmann or Santorum have done better? Cain...well, maybe Cain. He's weird and hard to predict; if he had more natural political talent (and a less-skeletonized closet), he might have gone somewhere. This piece outlines the talent deficit besetting the GOP.

But the real problem isn't the candidates, it's the crazy. The Republican party has become the party of crazy. Make no mistake: The American people like crazy -- to a point. We have passed that point. When your brand is represented on a daily basis by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck and the Breitbart crew, don't be surprised if Americans suddenly become wary of handing your nominee the keys to the car.

Assange on Obama. Remember when I said that, as the Romney menace recedes, we become free to criticize Obama again? Case in point: Julian Assange. I, for one, am outraged that the United States has labeled him an "enemy of state", a designation which places him in the same category with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Previously, everyone understood that it was up to the government to keep classified material classified; once the information gets out, you can't declare war on someone who publishes it.

Assange, for his part, has a few choice words for the president...
Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy since June to avoid extradition, made the comments at a packed event on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly.

Assange mocked Obama for defending free speech in the Arab world in an address to the United Nations on Tuesday, pointing to his own experience as evidence that Obama has "done more to criminalise free speech than any other US President."

"It must have come as a surprise to the Egyptian teenagers who washed American teargas out of their eyes (during the Arab Spring) to hear that the US supported change in the Middle East," Assange said. "It's time for President Obama to keep his word ... and for the US to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks," he said. 
Conspiracy! For those of you who believe that I am over-fond of conspiracy theories (even though I tend to piss off the paranoids who frequent the conspiracy sites run by Alex Jones and his comrades-in-crazy), all I can say is -- if you think I'm bad, look to your right. Within the reactionary media bubble, it's all conspiracy, all the time.

First example: Poll trutherism. At first, I thought that this phenomenon was sinister. It still is, kind of, but it has become so absurd that I'm starting to snicker. Rush Limbaugh has come out as a poll truther. Eric Ericson of Red State refuses to drink the Kool-Aid (well, he sips but does not gulp) -- for which sin, he has earned the "Tokyo Rose" label from the folks at HillBuzz, who want to wreak vengeance on the heretic.  

Second example: Eric Bolling of Fox News, who pulled off a conservanoia trifecta on a recent show.
First, Bolling declared that President Obama declined to meet with world leaders during the United Nations General Assembly to "create outrage" so that "people like us" would talk about that instead of the economy...
Next, Bolling applied the same conspiracy to Obama's "bump in the road" remark, misleadingly claiming Obama was talking about the deaths of Americans in Libya and asserting that it too was a ploy to change the subject of public conversation...

"Did President Obama purposely say something outrageous so he could keep the focus on foreign policy?"
Bolling then raised the possibility that Obama would conduct a military strike in retaliation for American deaths in Libya in an attempt to benefit his re-election...
That last suggestion is particularly stupid. Military actions are often unpredictable. I don't think that any president, Democrat or Republican, would contemplate doing something like that for a reason like that. Can you think of a precedent?
You're just being snowed, Joe. We all are. The RCP daily average has Obama just four points up on the Mittster, still within stealing distance.

That's my explanation for why the Repubs are letting their freak flag fly. They know they can steal it. If they succeed, they can say they have a "mandate" for all the right-wing stuff they've been spouting.
I'd say almost 30%. The people who believe it wasn't Wall Street greed but the gummit forcing banks to make CRA loans to lazy (black) folks or go to jail what caused the crash. That, and if we just keep on keeping on with the failed policies of deregulation and tax cuts started under Reagan that prosperity is just around the corner. Clap harder!!!

Don't count of the Free Press for exposing the truth, the Founding Fathers never took into account corporate ownership of the media. Even the metro rags that aren't owned outright need revenue from advertizing and maintenance financing so they ain't gonna bite the hand.

It this light 30% is an awfully big chunk of voters. Added to the chicanery of republican impediments to voting and tampering with the machines, Romney could steal this one.

But then that would be karma after what the Democrat did to Hillary.
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