Hat Tricks

You know, you really have to hand it to the Republicans.  They started out with a plan that was seemingly so audacious and unlikely to succeed that Democrats never saw it coming, much less moved to counter it.  Selling plutocracy to the rubes, via a systematically concentrated media, has turned out to be like taking candy from a baby, minus the crying;  the guys who once obsessed over commies and fluoride in the water have moved on to crazier and crazier things, but this time they are treated as, well, sane.  Worse, regardless of such ephemera as elections and such, they are assumed to be in charge of the government by nearly all members of the media, even in exile.  Win or lose, Republicans dominate the talk shows and the evening news;  the vast majority of their unpopular policies are treated as holy writ, which Democrats blaspheme at their peril.    But now that we’re pretty sure that Bush never won either election honestly, this seems to me to be a rather astonishing departure from reality, and surely a grave disservice to the long-suffering audience.

But why not?  The media rapture over Republicans never ebbed after Reagan, particularly since he got rid of that pesky Fairness Doctrine and annoying public service obligations that had heretofore made it awkward for media outlets to simply join the government in looting the treasury and bombing the planet.  Whether they were doing any good or not is neither here nor there; the point is that they were doing well, very well.  The ultimate effect of Reagan’s efforts to “deregulate” the media was in fact the opposite; the idea was to concentrate the media into fewer and fewer wealthy hands, who could certainly be relied upon not to rock the boat when the rising tide rolled in, as it did.  Like a tsunami.

Of course, the inconvenient part was that all the policies the righties had dreamed up were, putting it delicately, unlikely to succeed, and lo and behold.  Now, if I were Tom Friedman, Bill Kristol, or Liz Cheney, I’d be nervous as a whore in church on Meet the Press, but as luck would have it, everyone else on the set all embraced the same dumb ideas you did, so it’s easier to sell such inanities than it would be, say, on the subway.  Consequently, we have landed in something of a pickle: the minority party and the media have together become so deeply divorced from reality, in lockstep, that they can no longer tell any semblance of the truth without making asses of themselves.

Fortunately, they approach this problem by lying even more extravagantly, to a point where a five year old would question their credibility.  Victory in Iraq?  Nostalgia for Bush?  (maybe they meant neuralgia…)  Socialism?  Fascism?  Perhaps it was different when Bush’s absurd claims about the distribution of his tax cuts were wanly accepted and repeated ad nauseam; the real world consequences, and they’ve been dreadful indeed, of the much crazier stuff that happened afterward continue to unfold, and the media that equally bears responsibility is as invested in “looking forward” as John Yoo.   Thus, they make even bigger asses of themselves, and the “credibility” of the media is but a corn-dotted turd from that predictable and noisy orifice making its final circle.

One really does wonder when premature announcements of “victories” at home and abroad, always from the same source, will finally begin to ring hollow inside the Washington bubble, as they have outside it for several years.  In this important way, the right is reaping the downside of its own success…  you can only fool all of the people some of the time, and that time has passed.


  1. timothy3 says:

    Hello CH.

    Selling plutocracy to the rubes, via a systematically concentrated media, has turned out to be like taking candy from a baby, minus the crying;
    Or, worse, the doe-eyed (but dough-less) baby can’t give away fast enough.

    Digby has something similar today you might’ve seen. Here’s part (rest @sig):

    I think that’s a really neat trick. Tell everyone they have to lower their expectations because social security is going broke (which it isn’t) and then tell the people who have good pensions that they have to give them up because everyone else has as bad one. It’s collectivism gone bad.

  2. skeptic says:

    Nice job, ‘Hag, of connecting the dots from the elimination of “that pesky Fairness Doctrine and annoying public service obligations” to the present day media and their constant kowtowing to Republicans.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I’ve always thought that Nixon made the mistake of using sticks with the media (TV licenses, etc.) when carrots works so much better. Demonstrably. More flies with honey, and all that.

  3. dirigo says:

    This is what sticks in my craw, Marc Thiessen and Karl Rove be damned …


  4. nailheadtom says:

    The most inane resident of some alternative universe and his little elf helpers two finger more unmitigated fiction in a silly display of snark and midnight dorm room chatter. When it comes to lies you’re Mr. Projection. But fortunately, your media presence is so sub-atomic that no matter what you blather on about, no one of consequence will ever read it.

    • cocktailhag says:

      “No one of consequence” would presumably include you.

    • dirigo says:

      Tom, some, or all here may be inconsequential in the big, wide world; but you are a consequential bore, a bore of the first magnitude: dull, tiresome, and uncongenial.

      Take a look in the mirror.

    • The Heel says:

      That is the sweetest thing I have been called all week. A little “elf helper” I am blushing :)

      Thanks for making me smile. I think you are really a nice person behind this ugly facade of neo-con-wing-nut-libertarianism.

      Keep it up!

      • cocktailhag says:

        Elfin you ain’t, Heel, although you do give the Irish a run for their money in the drinking department at times.

        • The Heel says:

          I have Irish blood from Marlena’s side, you know :)

          …and why exactly did you have to burst my bubble about the elfin thing?

          • cocktailhag says:

            I don’t think I gave much away. No one would believe that you’re not a behemoth, anyway; you sound large when you write, and “bagging the Nazi” was never considered light work.
            If you’re an elf, I’d hate to see Santa.

  5. retzilian says:

    Well, I’m very much of consequence. So, Bite Me.

  6. michlib says:

    Makes you wish Tom Friedman had to do his own door to door salesmanship in Iraq . Imagine the mockumentary scene -
    Friedman ( with boot firmly planted on pre-teenage Iraqi youths’ neck ) growls ” Suck on this !”, grabbing his ” package ” and glaring at the democracy-deprived rube.

    The Iraqi replies, “O.K. – but I’ll need a straw “.