Rubber and Glue

The birthers, ‘baggers and death panelists, alarming and aberrant as they seem on the surface, are nothing but the latest manifestation of a drearily familiar Republican tactic; crassly and audaciously projecting their own least desirable traits on Democrats to delegitimize them since they can no longer beat them.  Having nothing to offer the American people and having crashed the economy with their insane policies; their every idea utterly discredited, from wars to taxes to overbearing government to health care, all they have left to say is that, well, Democrats are even worse, and daily create distracting faux outrage that now only even bothers to try to fool the stupidest among us. What makes such a counterintuitive strategy so surprisingly successful, though, is that the stupidest Americans of all inhabit our mainstream media, elbowing aside the sane in favor of the crazy, the smart in favor of the dumb, and the facts in the favor of some of the most outlandish lies imaginable.

Sarah Palin is perhaps the apotheosis of this cynical and antidemocratic carnival currently being put on for the disturbingly numerous and bloodthirsty rubes.  At her cuckoo resignation speech, a cringe-worthy public meltdown that virtually no one in the media had the either the brains or integrity to identify as such and therefore covered it reverently, she once again threatened the media about exploiting her family, evidently because that sort of thing was her job, and since she has repeatedly and demonstrably revealed herself to be both a nincompoop and a bonkers person, the sympathy card is the only one she’s got left in her expensively manicured hand.  Nonetheless, the self-inoculation process that is the hallmark of Republican politics is so vividly and flagrantly on display through Palin that anyone who can fog a mirror, (provided said mirror isn’t in a television studio) gets it:  as long as Republicans whine about media bias and the unfair (!) treatment they get, they can do the most extravagantly disordered  things and tell the most jaw-dropping lies, and then, when a tiny voice here or there calls them on it, turn around and say, “See?  Look at the mean things they’re saying about me.” Never mind if what they’re saying is true; the fact that the liberal media said it makes it false, and shows, once again, what pernicious liars they all are, and how they’re out to get me.

Provoking hatred and behaving unconscionably, then, becomes an end in itself politically because it enables hateful and despicable people with crazy and disastrous ideas to pose as the beleaguered victims of those they are loudly and zealously victimizing, thus the curious spectacle of racists calling minorities racist, terrorizers calling peace and environmental groups terrorists, religious zealots denouncing religious zealotry (in others), philanderers calling other philanderers every name in the book, and would-be censors wailing about free speech.  There is a simple elegance there, you have to admit.

The only problem, which the practitioners of this dark art don’t see as a problem at all, is that salting the fields of discourse with lies and mistrust, regenerating medieval hatreds, and creating a climate in which a defeated political minority is actively encouraged to violently rebel, isn’t exactly what the Founders had in mind.  Democracy relies on an informed electorate that can arrive at reasoned compromise; any party that rejects this in favor of lies, distortion, and insultingly transparent political theater, exposes the poverty of its ideas even as it makes true democracy impossible.  That is what is happening now, with a lavishly financed infrastructure to support it and a media too corrupt and clueless to nip it in the bud, making a mockery of the First Amendment and turning America into a global embarrassment and laughingstock.

Which is, of course, exactly what was intended; deserved public ridicule proves that they were right all along.  Great work if you can (not) get it.  Time to flip the channel back to FOX.

15 Comments

  1. timothy3 says:

    Ah, money, the name of the game (even if it’s only about $35,000 a year): “the stupidest Americans of all inhabit our mainstream media, elbowing aside the sane in favor of the crazy, the smart in favor of the dumb …”
    I sometimes wonder, “is just us Americans who are so retarded? Is the rest of the planet equally so? And how have we survived to this point with such ‘leadership’?”
    And then I think, “global warming or that stray asteroid will kill us all anyway, and deservedly.”
    But I like children and animals and I hate they idea that they’ll suffer (along with us credible, serious and honest adults) when the shit hits the fan.
    Oh, hey, CH, man I’m sorry–I didn’t mean to be a bummer here. I was just scribbling down thoughts that consistently bother me.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    Don’t worry; if it weren’t for bummers, this blog wouldn’t even exist…

  3. retzilian says:

    I peruse the various blobs and news sites, watch a random video here and there, and tuned into cable news in my hotel room over the weekend and I still have yet to see any commentator from either side ask one of these protestors the following questions I deem extremely relevant (as an insurance professional myself, and as an interested voter):

    1. Did you read the freaking bill? On what page does it discuss euthanasia or “death panels”?

    2. What kind of health insurance do you have, what are you paying for it, what happens if you lose your job, do any of your kids or do you have a medical condition that would preclude buying affordable insurance, what is your deductible, and how much do you spend per year?

    3. Do you understand how Medicare works and do you know about hospices and how Medicare pays for them?

    4. Do you own long-term care insurance, are you self-insured in the event you may wind up in a nursing home or requiring long-term care, and do you know a DAMNED thing about how much it costs or what the look-back laws are or how poor you’d have to be to have the state pay for it and under what circumstances?

    5. What solutions would you offer in lieu of a public option?

    This debate is stupid. They are not even debating the real issues. It’s just complete nonsense, Hag, and you have nailed the mission and the motives.

  4. retzilian says:

    And, incidentally, let me just say for the record that the insurance companies have always been able to offer individuals the same type of benefits as group health – when you join a group health plan (like when you get hired and become part of a company’s plan), there are many plans where your preexisting conditions were waived. Then, some plans made you wait a year to cover you for those, but if you had creditable insurance coverage prior (within 62 days), you were covered anyway. Meanwhile, if you had to get insurance on your own, your risk pool was just you and maybe your family members if they were part of the deal. That is such crap. They always had a huge risk pool already paying into their plans through group health.

    IOW, the insurance companies always rate you based on your GROUP – and not rating you based on the bigger pool they already had. So if you have one sick 55-yr old guy in your group health plan, everyone pays more. Instead of the risk being spread fairly among the thousands (millions) already paying for health insurance.

    This system is rigged to get the most premiums from the riskiest people and then it’s set up to deny them the minute they fall between the cracks.

  5. rmp says:

    The blogging world was talking a lot today about the TV and radio hosts and the disgusting role they play. The last one about a Brazilian TV hosts goes way beyond disgusting.

    The Media’s Treatment of Palin’s Outragious “Death Panel” Claims
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-dean/the-medias-treatment-of-p_b_255878.html
    No More Talk Radio Hosts on CNN?
    http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/cnn/no_more_talk_radio_hosts_on_cnn_124031.asp
    Fox Decides, Then Reports: Coverage Of Obama Town Hall Clearly Unfair
    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/fox-decides-then-reports-coverage-of-obama-town-hall-clearly-unfair/
    Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs Enflame Scary Right-Wing Rage http://www.alternet.org/media/141865/glenn_beck%2C_rush_limbaugh%2C_lou_dobbs_enflame_scary_right-wing_rage/?page=entire
    Wallace Souza, Brazilian TV Host, Accused Of Ordering Killings To ‘Boost Ratings’http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/11/wallace-souza-brazilian-t_n_257061.html

    The next time I choke on Fox, I’ll think about Souza and it might keep me from retching for a little while.

  6. karrsic says:

    It just occurred to me reading this, that the wingnuts are behaving as bullies do when they’ve been popped in the nose. In power, these faux-warriors bloviate about what the’yre gonna do ’bout this and that and gonna knock you upside the head, wavin’ around 2x4s, M-16s and ICBMs.

    Pop ‘em in the nose and they run home to mommy and daddy and gin up victimization, outrage, the red scourge, etc., anything for some line of sympathy they can use as a rope to pull themselves up again.

    I guess the M$M is playing the role of the parents here, and instead of sending the bully to bed w/o dinner, immune to his canticle, they are suckers to it, cluelessly offering a lifeline as the rest of us increasingly turn away.

  7. heru-ur says:

    Hag,

    What if democracy does not work? What if it is the war of all upon all?

    The Rethugians of this era are a sorry lot, and that is the truth. The demos ain’t a whole lot better; and they have been much worse in the past.

    We have descended into name-calling by party affiliation. Others, much smarter than me, have pointed out that we are broken up into special interest tribes and rational debate is not in the cards. Science has become highly politicized, ditto for medicine, and ditto for many other things.

    How can we look at the highly divided America and say that this is the way that a free people should be governed? As diggby pointed out, we are a people subject to being TASED (electrocuted) at any time for almost anything. Yet, both “sides” are arguing over minutia most of the time rather than the root causes of our distress. Your post is true; but you leave out that the other side is every bit as bad.

    Take the current medical debate. It is not, or should not be, a debate simply about insurance. That is important, but so are many other things involving medical care. There is no real national debate; only a food-fight, yelling, cussing, fear mongering, and other generally unpleasant actions. As one example of these “other things” that I speak of, consider universal health care paid for by taxation much like the public school system. At the point in time when health care becomes “free”, what will happen to demand? What will that do to the total cost of care and what will that do to the total quality of care?

    These things can only be discuses in America with the debater always thinking not of truth but rather how his statements will effect his own side’s chances of “victory”. You know Hag, sometimes victory comes at too high a price.

    I’ll write about the crisis in health care delivery in a day or two, but for now all I can say is our system is totally snarfed up and has been since WWII at least.

    • cocktailhag says:

      In countries where health care is “free,” they spend less money, and get better outcomes. Period.
      And I left out the “fact” that the other side is just as bad because they aren’t. While some on the left may have said some pretty awful things about Bush, they were never invited on TV to do so, and most things awful about Bush were, well, true. He was the worst President we’ve ever had, by a long shot, and yet he had his own cable network and the majority of op-ed writers dedicated to defending him.

      • heru-ur says:

        “In countries where health care is “free,” they spend less money, and get better outcomes. Period.”

        I think you will find that we outspend every country in health care costs as it is no matter what system they are using. The fact that “free” health care in other countries costs less than the present USA system is an apples to oranges comparison. If nothing else changes except who pays for health care than we are in deep trouble. Well, I should say deeper trouble that we are in now.

        I would ask you to consider: does every woman in America have to give induced birth by c-section in a factory hospital? This is just one question. Perhaps the methods of millions of years no longer work and a mid-wife would be a horror to Americans. Why do we rip the umbilical cord off and force the baby to breath air before it is ready? Convenience?

        Why can I not go to a human healer for most of my needs and not a man with a doctor’s license? Why can a nurse down at the Drug store not give me the meds I need for small things?

        Why can I not prescribe my own medications if I pay for them? Afraid I’ll self-medicate and do just as well? I knew for the last two years what I needed to be taking. Oh hell, lets be honest. If I could smoke a little weed each day after I got home from work I would live much longer.

        I see I have begun to ramble again. I am having that trouble with my medications. I hope some of the above made some sense.

  8. dirigo says:

    As I was saying, using a quote from T.E. Lawrence in “Lawrence of Arabia”, many Americans are “little people, silly people.”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2009/08/10/2009-08-10_in_health_care_debate_the_gop_is_pushing_fiction_as_fact.html