Thursday, July 21, 2011

'Either way, the problem is Republicans'

The liberal blogosphere is beyond parody at this point. Amanda Marcotte, last seen remarking that when it comes to the war on terror, Obama "has been wisely if quietly winding it down" -- tell that to a Pakistani, Afghan, Somali or Yemeni citizen -- offers two theories regarding the peace president's nature: that he's a benevolent man whose glorious progressive agenda has been blocked by the evil Republicans, in which case those at fault are the evil Republicans; or that he's an evil, vile man, in which case the blames lies at the feet of . . . those evil Republicans.

I'm rather fond of the latter theory:
This theory holds that Obama passed himself off as a moderate Democrat to get elected, but is in fact a secret conservative who has been aching for a chance to destroy Social Security, amongst other programs. I found this theory a little confusing at first, because it seemed to me that his secret plan would have been easier to enact when he had a majority party in Congress, so I asked around on Twitter, and this is the explanation I got: he couldn't destroy Social Security then, because there's enough liberals in the Democratic Party that they could have stopped him. It was only after Republicans got control of the House and went crazy that he had enough cover to do what he always hoped he could do.

The problem: Well, basically the Republicans. If the batshit crazy Republicans weren't there giving secretly conservative Obama cover, none of this would be happening.

So, from my point of view, no matter what evil or non-evil lurks in Obama's heart, the problem is that this country keeps electing frothing-at-the-mouth crazy Republicans, and if voters would stop doing that, we wouldn't be having one politically provoked crisis after another. Sure, if Obama is a secret conservative, that is a problem. But we can't actually know that. But what we do know for a fact is that no matter what lurks in Obama's hearts, none of this would be happening if Republicans didn't win the House. So I think that my priorities are just fine, thank you very much.
The premise is that all Bad, Evil Ideas are the exclusive intellectual property of the GOP. There's not even a throwaway line about the Blue Dogs. More troubling, however, is the idea that -- putting aside their origin -- Democrats like Obama ought not be held accountable when they, in the liberal blogger telling of it, take GOP ideas and run with them. Indeed, it's suggested that to do so would be to engage in the mere adolescent nihilism of a Nader-voting "newly minted leftist," one who fails to recognize that one party in this country is Good, the other Evil

Notice what's missing in all of this: the half-dozen wars the U.S. is openly fighting, including that since-forgotten humanitarian intervention to stop the Next Hitler in Libya, one Obama unilaterally (and illegally) launched and for which he has yet to receive congressional authorization. Marcotte ridicules the notion of Obama as dictator, but as president he of course has massive power and could have, for instance, begun pardoning non-violent drug offenders or prevented the Treasury Department from sticking taxpayers with the bill for bailing out Wall Street. When it comes to foreign policy, he really does have dictatorial power and as commander-in-chief could start bringing the troops home immediately, which you'll recall many liberals calling for from the back bumpers of their Volvos when that other guy was president and the murder of poor foreigners was still seen as an important, moral issue.

But we lefties don't care about that kind of stuff anymore, right? The killing is not being carried out by an evil Republican, so it's explainable: Obama's only killing people because of . . . . the evil Republicans. And that makes it okay, or at least less bad. Sure it's regrettable, if we can be bothered enough to regret it, but don't you say "impeachable" if you still want to get on MSNBC.

Can't we just talk about Eric Cantor?

Just in case you've gotten any ideas about Marcotte, though: "I'm going to be accused of being a partisan shill for Obama," she acknowledges. "I just want to say that I'm really not."

So that's settled.


  1. This shit is too easy for you. You're right, and how I wish liberals would see their hypocrisy. I voted for Obama but certainly won't in 2012. I would like your take on how to convince others (liberals) that voting for Obama is wrong and what/who can they vote for instead. Seems so many are willing to revert to the lesser of two evils 'false dichotomy' so what are your thoughts???

  2. Give up. There's no hope. I figured this out after eight years of Clinton, after seeing the frothing-at-the-mouth reaction of the Democrats to the Nader/Green candidacy, and after watching the re-enactment of the last scene of Reservoir Dogs as staged by the Republicans and Democrats in Florida in '00.

    Instead of using up your energy trying to convince a bunch of batshit Liberals and crackpot-realist Progressives not to vote for Obama, you should instead direct your energy toward doing whatever you can to bring down the current system from the outside. It's sick, it's evil, and it needs killing.

  3. I agree with you up to a point, Mike. One thing, though. It's a mistake to see careerist riff-raff as representing anything more entrenched and large than other careerist riff-raff. Most people don't know who the fuck she is and are far less likely to give Obummer a pass.

    This is not to say that engagement isn't waste of time. However, I do think the time may be right for some kind of insurgency in the 2012 elections. I mean, if Obummer can't bring home the message about who's running the show here, we really are fucked.

    Over the long term, I think disengagement is the way to go. Opt out of the whole sick system to the greatest extent possible and by that I don't just mean elections but the whole fucking toxic mess. Find like minded people and get as much done with and among them as possible: Food, work, culture etc.

  4. I second Mike.

    I think your attention to this matter is evident of your sustained shock that things could be this way. I know you would say that no, you are obviously not surprised, and you have been calling it out for some time. That would be true.

    Imagine a blind man gains his sight, and for days he keeps remarking at how beautiful the sky was, how he had no idea of what blue could be. The first few weeks, people would probably recieve his remarks well. Yes, you are seeing the sky and it is beautifull. They will probably be somewhat inspired by him. After a few months, however, people would say, yeah, the sky is blue. We know. Why are you still surprised?

  5. As to the choice between voting outside the red/blue game preserve or the outside actions that Mike F. proposes, I have no problem with either.

    One way or the other, I think flipping the bird to the shitty two [sic]-party machine and to pathetic spongers like Marcotte is always a worthwhile endeavor. Or at least it's a step on the road to something worthwhile.

    I know from experience that it's a waste of time trying to reason with them, so that's the main thing I'd advise a newly-minted dissenter to NOT do. Everything after that, IMHO, is gravy.

  6. Thanks for all the input. I will note, however, that I was one of those 'blind liberals' until the past year, and therefore think that people like Charles (and other great writers) do influence and can sway minds. I'm a case in point.

    I expect to encounter some futility in convincing the masses, but don't we all have a responsibility to get the ball rolling in the biggest way we can? Or is giving up and abstaining from participating the MO I should embrace?

  7. ConArtist, I wasn't born thinking this way, either. But I didn't change my way of thinking in response to what anyone wrote on some blog or news site somewhere. I changed because I began to see my own circumstances and the world around me differently. Once that happened, I could point to a few non-liberal thinkers whose statements have crystalized my thinking, but at wasn't as if they had to carry me across. I had already begun to walk there on my own.

    People like you and me are the exception to the rule, though. I personally think that so far as responding to wake-up calls, most Democrats and Progressives are hopeless. Either because their livelihood depends on lying to themselves and others, like Marcotte. Or because they look to people like Marcotte and her overlords and think this is the best they can hope for, or the best they deserve.

    I don't take any pleasure in writing this. Some of these people are my family and close friends, but we've largely stopped talking politics with one another. Often they agree with me that people like Obama are screwing them, but we never get past that point. They'll never take that second step, because it would empower the "opposition," the hateful GOP. And somehow they always manage to hate the GOP more than the people on their own team who screw them. I guess because the screwing from their own is more genteel and subtle.

    I think that non-voters: people disengaged from the traditional political process altogether, might be more promising if you wanted to focus on people to exchange ideas with. The disengaged aren't hung up on a fake vision of registration in the Democratic Party as some kind of wonderful blow for real change. You might actually have a prayer of getting through to them.

    Whatever you decide, good luck.

  8. Ms X: "I think that non-voters: people disengaged from the traditional political process altogether, might be more promising if you wanted to focus on people to exchange ideas with. The disengaged aren't hung up on a fake vision of registration in the Democratic Party as some kind of wonderful blow for real change. You might actually have a prayer of getting through to them."

    Yes indeed.

  9. Anonymous3:10 AM

    I think Charles should continue writing about Amanda. Aside from being dumb as dirt and amoral as a rock, she is comic gold.

    Half your mind is thinking She. Cannot. Be. Serious. while the other half groans She. Is.