Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bill in a China Shop

So the smoke has cleared from the South Carolina blowout all of a nonce, as if the Clintons (and really, not to get all Rash Limpballs or anything, this is once again a package deal, so caveat emptor and all) had not done their damndest to at least give Obama's presumed core constituencies something to think about. Well, they thought about it, and Obama carried the state by four touchdowns.

Naturally, as the campaign blossoms into colorful algae across our benighted land come February 5, folks reconsider their strategery. Is the Clenis suddenly a liability? Was he always, and we were just blinded by his conferred emeritus status? Ah, but the news of his retirement seems to have not reached him, which would be fine if the perceived relegation to First Gentleman would allow him to more fully reach the potential he duly squandered while in office. (Then again, I may simply be ventriloquizing the long-standing assumption that Bill always meant better than his actions always seemed to indicate.)

I agree that Bill Clinton is a unique politician in many ways, and that he is using his unique status in a manner that might be perceived as an unfair advantage. Except it's not as much of an advantage as its proponents seem to think, if South Carolina and Iowa were any indication. Super Tuesday will likely finalize the dilemma, and then what? The iconodules will have to settle on a wampeter, and ride that fuckin' pony for the next nine months against either a crazy uncle or a smooth-talkin' corporate raider, both of which tend to appeal much more to the average 'merkin's Archie Bunker core than any measure of oleaginous sincerity. Fuck solving actual problems, what they want is a big swingin' cock, and Hillary's (and, in turn, Bill's) baggage probably offsets her not-inconsiderable political love sausage.

None of which, by the way, excuses Nooners' burbling imprecations, especially since one assumes she actually expects legal tender in exchange for her intellectual buffoonery.

Bill Clinton, with his trembly, red-faced rage, makes John McCain look young. His divisive and destructive daily comportment—this is a former president of the United States—is a civic embarrassment. It is also an education, and there is something heartening in this.

Translation: He made that poor girl do that icky, icky thing with his Special Sailor a decade ago, and now he displays fits of apoplexy when everything is sunshine and lollipops. Well, pardon my Scotch, but bullshit, dearie. Whatever ill-timed fits of pique Mister Man may have engaged in, they are none of your concern, since you signed your soul over to L. Ron Reagan a generation ago, and thus as a high priestess of Conservatology, have no standing in intramural squabbles on the Other Side. Stick to critiquing the morons on your side of the fence, when you're not on about talking dolphins and such.

Or, you know, not.

As for the Republicans, their slow civil war continues. The primary race itself is winnowing down and clarifying: It is John McCain versus Mitt Romney, period. At the same time the conservative journalistic world is convulsed by recrimination and attack. They're throwing each other out of the party. Republicans have become very good at that. David Brooks damns Rush Limbaugh who knocks Bill Kristol who anathematizes whoever is to be anathematized this week. This Web site opposes that magazine.

The rage is due to many things. A world is ending, the old world of conservative meaning, and ascendancy. Loss leads to resentment. (See Clinton, Bill.) Different pundits back different candidates. Some opportunistically discover new virtues in candidates who appear at the moment to be winning. Some feel they cannot be fully frank about causes and effects.

Hilarious. Look, honey, your favorite horse is way the hell down the road, but congratulations on finally getting around to shutting that barn door. Republicans don't know what they stand for anymore because the modern breed never stood for a fucking thing anyway, besides making money and causing trouble. Not that the old breed were a huge sight better, but they also weren't a clowder of closet-case authoritarian chickenshits.

On the pundit civil wars, Rush Limbaugh declared on the radio this week, "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [Mr. McCain or Mike Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it!"

This is absurd. George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues.

This is, of course, the same Nooners who wrote so enthusiastically for Reagan you would have assumed they were blood relatives, and who, after one typically mediocre State of the Union speech, wistfully fantasized that the studly Fredo Arbusto, sudden bringer of utter ruination to Gawd's Own Partay, would peel off his suit to reveal a Superman outfit, replete with cape. (Like we really needed to know just what sort of imagery makes Peggy's butter churn.)

But Nooners' pathologies over all things Clintonian, statistically anomalous as they seem, are mirrored not only in her ideological kin, but in the Clintonistas themselves. They overlook the visible flaws even as they stumble over their sharp corners, repeating to themselves the Arkansas Buddhist mantra that politics is the art of the possible. And indeed it is, but to get to the stage of what is possible you maybe should be seen as credible, as standing for something, anything, beyond and above it simply being Your Turn. One can already easily envision the extension of current Democratic capitulation under a Clinton/Richardson administration, the puling genuflection to corporate interests and moral retards, the preventive compromises and premature triangulations.

What Bill Clinton doesn't seem to understand is that he doesn't have to convince me to vote for his wife so much as explain to me exactly why I shouldn't vote for someone else, when there are several actual -- if comically inept and intellectually inert -- Republicans to choose from.


cavjam said...

The Clintons are not well-liked in IA or SC, making Bill's SC gaffes (stupid and petty gaffes, IMHO) inconclusive as portent for his effect in non-snake-handler country. Regardless of respective candidates, in the general election the GOP will be tied inexorably to Georgie's disastrous rule and will pay the price (barring the capture of OBL and subsequent cross-country parading of him in shackles on a slow-moving flatbed while concurrently the dollar becomes more valued than perfumed gold).

BTW, and OT, there's an excellent piece in
NYT Magazine
on America's future as wanna-be global satrap.

Marius said...

Not much to add to your piece, Heywood, but here's my thought. I would love for Hillary to win because of one chief consideration. I know she's not an anti-corporatist like Edwards or an inspirational whatever lecturing in long, halting phrases like Obama--but one of two things. Either she's gonna ride the fascist Right's asses like the evil bitch from hell, to make them pay for all the shit they've given her since 1993--which is generally a good idea. Or she'll use Georgie's newly-minted vast executive powers to (1) persecute and prosecute all Republicans who don't bend over, and/or (2) generally advance her political interests across the board. If that happens, when the Hegelian pendulum will have swung to the other end of the dialectic, maybe enough Republicans will see Dear Leader's imperial presidency wasn't such a good idea after all, and may try to roll it back. Currently, half the electorate doesn't think limited government and separation of powers are anything to worry about. So let them learn that they matter the hard way--let us give them President Hillary.

I don't like the Clagina either, but that's beside the point when you choose a magistrate. So I say, go Hillary! Grab your strapon and get to work! Give'em hell, cowgirl!