Of course, Shapiro's entire archive is worthy of a good solid scrubbing, but let's take a look at his most current affront to common sense:
Actually, none of those examples are "complicated" at all; they're quite simple really. Plame was outed as retribution by a mendacious, calculating gang of partisan thugs; it's a classic case of an insular claque using their flunkies in the lapdog media to do their dirty work for them. FISA has been working as intended to all along; the administration decided unilaterally that it would be too much of a hassle to get them involved with their latest master plan. Abramoff's a pimp, Cunningham's a whore, New Orleans is getting de-negro-fied and Iraq's a clusterfuck. Doesn't sound too "complicated" to me.
Someone's been chugging the Kool-Aid. Let's listen in on the voices in Shapiro's head.
And since Dec. 15, there's been nothing but claims of fraud and intimidation. The Kurds have actively infiltrated the vaunted Iraqi Defense Forces with their ethnic peshmerga, and have signed their own extragovernmental oil contracts with a Norwegian oil company. The other two-thirds of the country is plummeting into an abyss of sectarian violence and civil war. The loathsome burqa, outlawed even under the vile Hussein regime, is making a comeback in Iraq. All the nice purple-finger pics and rebuilt schools aren't going to change those terrible facts. This is simply not a country on its way up.
Please. In less than three years, the US has spent and allocated over $300 billion trying to pacify a prostrate country that was supposed to have been rolled in a cakewalk of infinite gratitude. Instead we are broke and discredited, tweaked by Iran, encircled by China, looked upon with suspicion and scorn by our closest friends. The whole world knows that it didn't have to happen this way, and they're not in a very forgiving mood right now.
The last two quarters have been good, on paper anyway. But a lot of American families live on the margin, and if the housing bubble bursts, if interest rates keep rising, if credit-card payments keep getting jacked up, a lot of folks are going to go under. The GDP doesn't measure the widening gap between the haves and have-nots; the unemployment rate doesn't count the people who have been thrown off because they couldn't find a decent job. Real wages are pretty much stagnant, while the cost of living never is. People who live in Think Tank World never seem to get that.
I submit that Bush didn't "win", so much as Kerry lost. Bush's 51% "mandate" was more of a referendum on Kerry supposed haughty demeanor. I can't imagine any sane person watched Bush's babbling attempts at extemporaneous thought, and figured he'd be any good. They just didn't like Kerry, because he failed to pierce their bubble of self-absorption, the lizard-brain level at which people conflate their politics with their perception of themselves.
Secondly, this is pure speculation, but based on the conduct of congressional Republicans and right-wing pundits toward all things Clinton, I find it very difficult to believe that if Kerry had won, that they'd just put up with what's happened the past year, and let Kerry spy on whoever he wants, whenever he wants, with no oversight. It just wouldn't happen. Shapiro and friends would be howling at the moon about the sacred rule of Law.
Ah, here's the Hobson's choice every thinkamator must make, when reciting unfavorable poll figures. How to endorse the vaunted wisdom of the electorate, when said wisdom is at loggerheads with one's own thesis?
Of course, the confounded media! Yes, that same media that helpfully sat on the Plame and FISA stories for over a year each, so that the American people wouldn't know in time to actually do anything about it at the ballot box. That media focus, Ben? Tweety and Li'l Russ picking ticks off each others' asses while John Yoo helps the Bushies wipe their asses with the US Constitution? White House reporters showing up to the daily follies and acting like a faithful steno pool, no matter how thick the bullshit gets?
Is that the media focus Shapiro is pooh-poohing? Look, Junior, take a minute and just imagine the world of shit Dear Leader might be in if the press actually did their jobs and investigated shit in a timely fashion. If half the stuff that came down in '05 had been reported a year earlier -- like it should have been -- Kerry probably would have won in a landslide.
Then again, who knows? Again, it's all speculative, and again, Americans have frequently tended to be their own worst enemies in the long run.
He may be right about that. Maybe the tide can finally turn after all. Maybe the Democrats made some halftime adjustments during their holiday break, and can come back and take their A game to these crooked slugs. Maybe they can hang the albatrosses of Abramoff and DeLay around the neck of the GOP, where they truly belong. Maybe they can put as much effort into making sure every American is as aware of Jack Murtha's plan, as they are of George W. Bush's non-plan.
There's always hope. Perhaps Shapiro's morning-in-America prediction will prove true -- just not in the direction he so disingenuously opines.