I remember the day that it dawned on my nine-year-old self that yelling “I’m rubber, you’re glue” was a pretty ineffective defense. And it was somewhere around the tenth grade that I realized that turning an argument inside out, while a good trick, wasn’t the same as winning it. That probably explains America’s recent impatience with the “both sides do it” school of partisan political debate.
At 64, I have lived through some of America’s most fraught historical decades, I won’t get into listing milestones—everyone here can count backward and figure that out. Suffice it to say that I have lived through enough to develop some amount of perspective regarding what counts and what fades away.
There are times when I despair that our national discourse has become so thoroughly dumbed-down that it’s barely worth participating. Maybe sending men to the moon, and technological advances that we never dreamed of, and a few that we did, have exhausted us and resulted in the current backlash against science, history and facts.
We are now in the process of banning books that mention masturbation, in high schools, [maybe they won’t find out?], teaching children that evolution is debatable, that history isn’t true and, more seriously, denying that our actions are destroying the environment that we depend on.
We are slipping inexorably into a slough of silliness, while life is still just as seriously life-or-death as it ever was for some. But, the most disturbing trend, in my opinion, is the tendency to disown our reality.
A few days ago, in Anne Laurie’s thread about Rand Paul’s tenuous belief in democracy, the topic turned to speculation about Baby Doc’s presidential aspirations. I said:
I have a hard time believing Baby Doc could get elected to any office that required appealing to voters who are not hardcore wingnuts and Papa Doc fans. It’s not that the electorate is particularly discerning. It’s just that Baby Doc comes across as such an arrogant, smarmy prick.
I was right about Paul being an arrogant, smarmy prick, but upon further reflection, I should have known better than to think that’s a disqualifying factor in a general election. An example is right under my nose here in Florida, where Rick Scott—a Voldemort lookalike and known crook who displays all the personal warmth and charm of an anaconda—was elected governor in 2010.
True, Scott won with less than 50% of the vote, and he needed $77 million of his personal fortune, a wind at his back gusted up by the rebranded Bush dead-ender “Tea Party” plus the apathy of Democrats dispirited by a real and perceived lack of pony production on the part of President Obama and the Democratic Congress. All of this broke Scott’s way.
Some might dismiss Scott’s election as just another example of Florida insanity, like face-eating zombies, airborne fish attacks and fatal roach-eating contests. Maybe, but I think Florida is a better microcosm for America than is generally acknowledged.
Florida has left-of-center coastal enclaves, heavily armed yahoos and religious fanatics in the interior, a growing immigrant population, simmering racial tensions, a politically powerful “Screw you, Jack, I’ve got mine!” elderly population and disaffected, jobless young folks who have been robbed of their future and birthright by nature-despoiling greed-heads.
Is this not America?
As for the future, Scott’s approval ratings have consistently been among the lowest of any governor in the US, and I used to believe that all the Democrats had to do to beat him handily next year was nominate someone capable of fogging a mirror. But the Florida Democratic Party (of which I am a proud member) is a hot mess, and fault lines are emerging that could result in yet another epic fail.
Those fault lines are reflected on this blog (stupid fucking firebagger! drone-loving obot!), and you’ll see them deepen nationally as 2016 approaches. Love him or not, President Obama is a gifted politician, but he’s won his last election.
Can anyone else bring our fractured coalition together—if only for one fucking day? We better hope so. Unless the rest of you want to live in a Hiaasen novel too.
TRAITORHEROGOATWORSHIP! The contents of Amy Goodman’s vacuum bag to anyone who can’t guess the civil libertastic subject of this encomium at the charnel house formerly known as the comments section of Talking Points Memo:
It IS what it is; but clearly, most of the posters on this site are more invested in defending their team than being moved by Truth. So they shoot the messenger… it’s like crucifying The Christ, all over again.
(I admit to loving how obnoxious this woman is: to another woman who suggested not letting this scandal keep us home in November: “You’d be more amusing as a cheerleader if you wore pom poms on your breasts and bounced around.” Superciliousness, implacable belief in her own infallibility, allegiance to No Mere Human, reminds me of something..P….PU….what could it be? It’s so familiar…sounds like PURE? PURE something? PURE-MA!)
Did you hear the one about the technical assistant for the CIA who leaked government documents to his favorite libertarian before holing up in a luxury hotel in Hong Kong, and stuffs pillows under his door because he thinks that will foil eavesdropping?
Meet Ed Snowden, a 29-year-old making 200 grand a year to work for Booz-Allen, who had a pretty cushy life in Hawaii before blowing the whistle on practices he thought needed airing, and flying to a city he deemed up to his standards for freedom, within that two-systems-one-country-that-country-being-China sort of thing.
I was at work on a post about the extreme ugliness being displayed all over the internet the past few days, which may yet appear with its attendant Blingee, but of course Mr. Snowden and Glennzilla had to step on my Blingee with their big scoop. Thanks, fellas! Really, reopening and examining the Patriot Act seems like an excellent idea to me, even if the messenger(s) come with shipping containers full of baggage, but Glenn, as an expat and a lawyer, don’t you think you should have informed your idealistic young source that Hong Kong and the U.S. have an extradition treaty? Whoops. What, weren’t the hotels in Taiwan good enough?
**Update: Of course he’s a Ron Paul supporter! What else would he be? (Title edited to reflect author’s slow realization that maybe she WANTS search engines to find this post. Doh!)
So you may have heard that the politisphere is a little angsty today. My television isn’t even on and I can hear Chris Matthews yelling, all because of GIUARDIAN GLENN GREENWALD’S BIG GIANT SCOOP, which is is not materially different from LESLIE CAULEY’S BIG GIANT SCOOP OF AUGHT SIX, except that now it’s Obama doing it! With secret FISA courts, which I have a vague memory of Obama voting for way back when, which is why I have GIANT SCOOP letdown right now. It wasn’t my favorite of Obama’s moves then, but I decided I’d take the good with the iffy and move on. And then the blogoverse trumpets GLENZILLA’S VERY HUGE NEWS and it turns out to be sort-of-not-warrantless-not-wiretapping. You know how you may have always intended to catch a hot show after catching one good episode, and when you finally tune in, it’s a rerun of that same damn episode?
(Big ole hat tip to TPM commenter Doremus Jessup20 ; perhaps GG should think about tipping his lid—currently up on the Guardian page, collecting coins, to help keep Glenn HONEST—to Ms. Cauley.)
**Update** Well! isn’t it nice to know we’re never alone? Oh Hell’s Bells. The discouraging thing is that I’m not surprised at all. I’m just surprised that the NSA didn’t buy my behavior from Google the way Hungry Girl did. Nothing I do is a secret to her!
Own your heckling, Powerhecklers of America! What, are you too noble to enunciate your vowels? Is it more authentic to make people look at you with amazement as they wonder, “What is that nutcase talking about?”
While Medea Benjamin insisted that she’s no mere heckler, she’s a protester, newest delicate media flower,GetEqual’s Ellen Sturtz, was “taken aback” when she shouted at Michelle Obama, only to have the First Lady get off the podium and right into her face. “One of the things I don’t do well is this, understand?” said Mrs. Obama, and offered to leave while Sturtz took the mike: crowd’s choice. Astonishingly to Sturtz, the crowd chose Mrs. Obama, instead of joining Sturtz in demanding that Michelle use the Power Of Pillowtalk to persuade her husband to sign an Executive Order offering protections to gays working for military contractors, rather than achieving that goal through legislation.
Most media outlets are omitting the fact that the crowd which had forked over a minimum of half a grand to hear Obama, was gathered at the home of “Power Couple” Dr. Nan Schaffer and Karen Dixon. (ActEqual had ponied up for Sturtz’s entry, too). So it may be presumed that Sturtz was not the only one there who’d known the pain of living a closeted life; she was just the only one shouting at Michelle Obama about it. And the only one to be surprised when the First Lady had the temerity to answer her back.
MEDEAMEDEAMEDEA! You are so vocal and full-throated, that even the guy at the podium has to admire you, even though you want him to close Gitmo and he—uh, wants to close Gitmo. And now he says it’s important to pay attention to you, so congratulations, conveniently formerly Susan B, inconveniently non-all-powerful Barry O has just endorsed you! You are now tainted, co-opted meat. I’m sure it was his diabolical plan all along.
In other news besides Medea Benjamin, the Guardian live blog, as usual, has a wonderfully succinct rundown of the President’s speech today. Perfect for Dana Perino-length attention spans!
This speech is so long. How long was it? Longer than the state of the union address.
You know, I’m definitely beginning to pick up a trend regarding the freshman Senator from Texas—he just rubs people the wrong way. This sensation of almost visceral recoil has been remarked upon pretty much since he’s taken office. He’s been compared to Sen. Joe McCarthy on the regular (including at the estimable Rumproast if I may point that out), and that’s an unfortunate comparison, since McCarthy has become like a byword in senatorial overreach and lack of decency. (Except it seems as valid a comparison as it is unfortunate.) He’s been considered a conspiracy theorist (Agenda 21, anyone?) and possibly a bit of a sexist prick (mansplaining, anyone?) And even Our Mister Brooks has pointed out that his fellow senators roll their eyes regarding him and find him “off-putting”. And the NYT’s columnist is, whatever his faults as a pundit may be, not exactly the sort of pundit who would slam a freshman Republican Senator for no unwarranted reason.
Really. Except for the things he says and does (like his support for federal assistance for the West, TX disaster after opposition to Superstorm Sandy assistance—consistency?) what could possibly be the unifying factor? It couldn’t merely be his possession of a backpfeifengesicht, like the result of sneering one too many times, when, as anyone’s mother might have foretold, it could stick that way. (I will stick with it being mostly about the things he does and says.)
Which is why it doesn’t exactly shock the socks off of me to find that The Washington Post‘s own Jennifer Rubin has found a bone to pick with him over his description of his fellow Republicans as “squishes” over their curious lack of faith regarding a filibuster over background checks. Except, really? Jennifer Rubin? The Mitt Romney Booster Club’s Head Cheerleader? The pundit who once referred to Rand Paul as “formidable” over his Benghazi conspiracy theories (pitched way out of the strike zone of one SOS HRC?).
One pauses, truly, to take it all in. Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment is all to pieces, is it not? Or is Cruz just a law unto himself, unaware that ideological purity aside, a representative democracy is something like a popularity contest, and one really does have to serve somebody other than oneself?
The Rethugs are acting like badasses again and threatening to shut down the government, destroy the economy and wreak whatever havoc is necessary upon our hapless nation unless President Obama yields to their will and throws social security under the bus. Sounds like the plot of an old time melodrama but in fact it’s just life in Washington DC these days.
The Prez, for his part, has said “no dice”. He will have no negotiations over raising the debt ceiling (which after all is NOT new spending, it’s just paying the bill for spending already incurred. By, you know, Congress.) Whether you believe the president or not depends pretty much on whether or not you believe his presidency has been just a series of betrayals of true progressives.
Some people just don’t even want to find out and are once again bringing up the alternative option of minting a one trillion dollar platinum coin, depositing it with the federal reserve then continuing to write the checks to keep the government going and, happily, *not* default on the public debt.
But can he even do that? Because it sounds pretty crazy. Apparently it’s the result of a law which allows platinum coins to be minted in any denomination. As has been pointed out, the purpose of the law was to make, and sell, commemorative and/or collectible coins. But still, it says what it says.
Paul Krugman, for one, thinks that we not only can mint that coin but should mint that coin. And let’s face it, he’s no light weight on matters fiscal.
Should President Obama be willing to print a $1 trillion platinum coin if Republicans try to force America into default? Yes, absolutely. He will, after all, be faced with a choice between two alternatives: one that’s silly but benign, the other that’s equally silly but both vile and disastrous. The decision should be obvious.
Here we go either liveblogging or openly thready, somewhat off-kilter, as your hostess is a hurricane refugee hanging with Strange in PA, and your host is napping until CNN stops telling us to ignore their own exit polls (“It’s too early!”).
There’s less than a month to go till the election, and there’s barely room to fit your butt on the fainting couches in some quarters as the MSM derails from its narrative of the moment and doles out yet another gross indignity to the man who would be king.
Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to the end of this silly week—at worst, for the poll-obsessed, we should have MOAR DATA, and some of the outliers and sample sets from the immediate debate aftermath and a holiday weekend should be diluted by more substantive things to set everyone’s hair alight, woefully misinterpret, and keep the horserace narrative alive into the final stretch. And of course, there’s the hope that ole handsome Joe Biden will gallop to the rescue and serve up the mancrush red meat that some of the daftest public bedwetters I’ve ever witnessed before going back to ignoring them again so obviously crave and turn this thing around. Or not. Whatever.
In any case, his opponent, hottie Dauphin of the Damned Paul Ryan, is evidently feeling the heat. Both he and the campaign, flying in the face of gleeful predictions from the Borg that he’ll wipe the floor with the geriatric hairplug-studded gaffe machine, have been trying desperately to play down expectations for his performance. Though, since we’re talking the Romney campaign here, they’re simultaneously playing up expectations that the understuffed suit of a granny starver will deliver another gamechanger and finish this thing, since if O’Biden doesn’t stride manfully across the stage and deliver the eyewatering wedgie of a lifetime, Ryan WINS IT’S ALL OVER. I think that’s called a spread bet.
Ryan: Dems’ Strategy Is To “Call Us Liars”
Paul Ryan said that Democrats’s strategy through the election is “to call us liars for a month” in an interview with Michigan radio host Frank Beckmann Monday. The day after Wednesday’s presidential debate, the Obama campaign released an ad saying Romney had not told the truth during the debate.
“It seems pretty clear that their new strategy is basically just call us liars, to descend down into a mud pit and hopefully with enough mudslinging back and forth and distortion, people will get demoralized and then they can win by default; sort of a choice of the lesser or two evils,” Ryan said.
There’s one course of action Ryan and Romney could adopt to avoid this “new strategy,” but that’s obviously never going to happen. Maybe Joe’s dug out the thesaurus since the l-word is so offensive to the Romney camp’s delicate sensibilities—they’re so unused to the help answering back—or maybe he’ll find other more subtle but no less devastating ways to convey the message.
ZOMG! A fiery Mitteor strucken us, all is lost, run! run! Look what happened the last time! (H/T: Topless Robot)
ETA: It’s dominoes, friends. Yr. hostess has never been one to pass up a honking obvious metaphor, but really, Roasters, try to forgive me and click it just for T-Rex. Too cool to miss. Thanx, yr. compulsive-obsessive control-freak tour guide.
Working the graveyard shift is a mixed blessing. I’m sorry I missed out on the entertaining live-blogging of the debate, but I did have an opportunity to not only hear the debate, but to read some of the post-debate dissection of the debate…
Attention! Your attention, please! A newsflash has this moment arrived from the Sesame Front. The forces of Republicanism in 2012 have won a glorious victory. I am authorized to say that the war against PBS is within measurable distance of its end.
Mitt never really delivered any telling blows against President Obama in this general snoozefest of a debate. Mitt avoided talking about specific points in his tax plan. Indeed, he avoided specificity on most topics. The fact checkers will be parsing the debate performances of both candidates, while the public spaces out about the facts and figures. Romney’s “victory” was due to a largely passive performance on the part of the president… hopefully this was a rope-a-dope tactic on the president’s part, a gambit to make Mitt underestimate him before landing some devastating blows during the foreign policy portion of the debates.
Now, for the main reason why I think that Mitt’s vague “victory” was hollow- the one feature of Romney’s performance that will capture the imagination of wags was his declaration of love for Big Bird (who is just the right height), though said love would best be described as creepy and stalkerish, seeing that Mitt wants to cut funding for PBS, the “home” of Big Bird. Already, the meme-generators are hard at work generating facetious images of Mitt. Some of these images are pretty damn devastating. Who the hell is going to remember Mitt’s evasive generalizations about his fiscal policies once the social media wags start pushing the Big Bird narrative?