Saturday, June 04, 2016

But He's Our Asshole

The one and only Ben Stein affirms his de facto role as conservative intemellectual type perfectly, in managing to simultaneously rake Drumpf-Miller (a division of Clownstick University LLC) over the coals as a (get this) know-nothing buffoon who doesn't "[know] a goddamn thing about economics," would start economically devastating trade wars, and attempt to "bring jobs back" that cannot be brought back. (Gee, sounds like Stein's been reading this blog.)

And yet, in the end, despite praising Hillary Clinton to a much greater extent than he does Clownstick, Stein says that he will be voting for the evil clown. Why?
Are you surprised that Trump is basically the nominee of the Republican party?

I am absolutely … I am open-mouthed, gasping, unbelievable. But he has his charms. There must be something people like about him. I don’t get him but there must be something people like.

I’ll vote for him, by the way. I’ll vote for him because I think he does personify a kind of national pride which I think has been lacking in the Obama days and would be terribly lacking under Bernie Sanders and terribly lacking under Hillary Clinton. But I think his economics is way, way out of whack and he seriously needs some education about it.
Wow. Quite a bit to unpack there, but let's just hit the main notes:
  • Stein (rightly) is uncomprehending of Drumpf's appeal to his flock, and so he punts with what might be called the "50 Million Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong" theory, which especially in this case is even less comprehensible. There is not much middle ground on Drumpf -- people either love him, hate him, or may begrudgingly vote for him only because they despise HRC more.

    None of that means that someone who doesn't "get" his "appeal" is missing something. It doesn't mean that at all. In fact, more people hate him than love him, so even by Stein's own twisted logic, it would make more sense for Stein to take that tack wrt Drumpf. I mean, if it's a fuckin' popularity contest, then be consistent about it.
  • What kind of "national pride" specifically has been "lacking" under Obama, yet would be magically restored under an isolationist pelf-grubbing dupe like Drumpf? I have yet to see a single critic who raises this sort of nonsensical issue, who seems equipped to elaborate on such a fatuous accusation. Obama's great sin seems to be the fact that he understands that globalization has made the world multipolar and interdependent, and that we may regard ourselves as first among equals, but we still have to deal with the lesser mortals of other nations, who incidentally have mostly been around for centuries or millennia longer than we have.

    A much bigger sin than supposedly not exhibiting enough bluster and arrogance in the name of "national pride" is the sin of thinking that you already know everything you ever need to know. That, more than anything by far, was Fredo Arbusto's biggest problem, and it's why he didn't take his office seriously, except when it was time to play dress-up. Not to mention that there's nothing in anything Clinton or Sanders has ever said that would indicate that they don't take pride in this country. That's just Stein spouting the usual conservatard propaganda, probably something he either read or wrote in National Review or one of the other wingnuts welfare rags.
  • At the end of his final sentence and elsewhere in the interview, Stein seems in the context of the conversation to believe that Drumpf can be "educated" on his fatally flawed approach to economic prospects. I am not being the least bit snarky when I say that I have no fucking clue where Ben Stein would have gotten that impression. Not because Drumpf cannot be educated (though at this point I doubt that he can be educated on any substantial issue to any meaningful extent), but because he has made a point for many years, well before this nightmarish campaign began, of lying, misrepresenting facts, selling bullshit by the truckload, and generally making it clear that he keeps in own counsel on everything.

    Seriously, this is the guy who fucking said with a straight face, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me." So again, what exactly makes Ben Stein think that Drumpf could be "educated" on anything? He says what he wants to say, doesn't care if it's true or not, doesn't care if it would be economically or politically devastating to this country, defies you to fact-check him, and when you do, usually just denies he said it or changes the subject.

This sort of shit pisses me off on a lot of levels. For one, Stein is just the latest in a long line of oh-so-principled conservatives who rightly expressed skepticism about a reality-teevee blowhard clowning his way to the highest office in the land, and then quickly changed their tune soon as he weaseled his way to the nomination.

But worse than that, Ben Stein is someone who consistently presents himself as a serious, educated voice of (in his mind) sensible moderation. And he's completely abdicated that role here.

I mean, no one gives a shit that Rick Perry called Drumpf a cancer on the party and now is nervously fellating him for some sort of cabinet post. Nor does anyone care that an unprincipled fuck like Chris Christie sold his soul for a possible shot at Attorney General in a Drumpf regime. People expect weasels to act as such, every time. That's what makes them weasels. It's just hilarious that every goddamned one of them lost their spines practically overnight. You can bet that if Drumpf had rightly been laughed off six or nine months ago, he'd still be trash-tweeting every last one of them.

Stein, on the other hand, presumably is not jockeying for any position in a Drumpf regime. He has no mercenary reason to sell out his common sense for bullshit. Which somehow makes it worse, in that neither his rationale for voting for him, nor his stated logic in arriving at that rationale, are intellectually honest, or even make any sense.

The Republicans are riding a very dangerous dragon with their presumed nominee, because of the coalitions of disaffected yahoos he has cobbled together to support him. They are damned whether or not he wins: if he loses, there could be unprecedented down-ticket losses to go along with it; if he wins, it legitimizes what are turning out to be some of the worst, most ignorant and bellicose voices in American politics for close to fifty years. And Drumpf is turning 70 in less than two weeks, so he is not going to be a long-term presence regardless. But the brand will be stained all the same.

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