Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Biggest Loser

It's nice that more moderate Republicans such as Frum recognize the clown college forming in their midst, and the concomitant danger in tying their collective fortunes to that of Limbaugh, who might as well have given his CPAC manifesto in a Nacho Libre costume, rather than that vory v zakone Leningrad mafiya knock-off (thanks for that imagery, Marius).

Barring some black-swan Katrina-type event that tests Obama's will or skills (unlikely, since Obama seems to prefer seasoned tax cheats over horsie-show doofuses for his appointments), it's probably too little too late already for this round of oppo-party ambitions. And while the corporate party does need opposing wings, the far-right wing (as opposed to the center-right wing helmed by the current crew) really needs to figure out what it stands for anymore.

Frum takes a skillful tack in approaching Flush's credibility by way of his well-known proclivities. This allows Frum to avoid admitting the failures of the previous crew of geniuses. Limbaugh is not driving the stupidity of the hangers-on so much as capitalizing on it. Everyone else simply gave up on their happy horseshit. It has to rankle milquetoast "moderates" of the Frum/Bobo stripe to no end, that their bloodless epistles of more traditional conservative sentiments, of fiscal prudence and moral sobriety, are ignored in favor of a man of Limbaugh's prodigious, consumptive appetites.

It does not seem to occur to Frum/Bobo that the remaining revanchists have no interest in prudence and moderation and all that shit; in fact, these are people who are well-conditioned to embrace a preening vulgarian like Limbaugh. He understands his audience perfectly well, the imaginary grievances and rampaging id defining their perceptions of the world.

And he caters to their conviction that everyone else aspires to their pellucid understanding of the universe, that only librul perfidy thwarts flawed humanity's divine purpose of achieving Nietzschean superman status, found in the persona of the aforementioned Nacho Limpballs. It is not the effete exurban utilitarianism Bobo and Frum are preaching, it is seething consumerist authoritarianism, the righteous conviction that muscle and gall trump ideas and intellectual honesty, that happiness is accumulation and jonesmanship. I am fascinated by what the psychology of a man who lives with a cat and a car collection in a 12,000+ square foot mansion might be, and the various argumentative tactics deployed by him and his fans are a pretty good indication.

As entertaining as their flailing and foaming has been (and it is pretty fuckin' hilarious), there's a nasty undercurrent to it all that will only be exacerbated by the economic free-fall and the eventual realization that a lot of the toys are never coming back, and that expectations are going to have to be permanently dialed down for a lot of people. And the lack of cohesion and consistency in terms of generating new ideas is impossible for them to work around anymore. They shot their wad with Fredo, hitched their wagon to him and are lamely trying to walk all that back.

They've given up the notion of trying to finesse any principled distinctions between the Obama administration's enormously flawed efforts thus far to fix the economy and their own policy proposals, in that they haven't bothered proposing anything. They take turns pretending that they don't really want Obama (and in turn, the entire economic system, fatally debauched as it is) to fail, even though their strategy dictates otherwise. The only way tactics of prophylactic obstructionism work is if Obama's policies achieve fail sufficiently epic that they can plausibly say, "Hey, we tried to tell you," even though they haven't really told anyone much of anything.

And now they've stepped on their dicks, letting Rahm Emanuel play them hard on this Nacho Limpballs thing. All they had left was the dead-enders in the base, and now they have to finesse them, lest Sarah Palin and Sam the Plunger jump off and form a Know-Nothing splinter and drag all the village idiots. It's a very deft political maneuver, and it'd be more fun to watch if there wasn't so much at stake, and if all those cool superpowers Cheney granted himself weren't still being continued.


Grace Nearing said...

It's nice that more moderate Republicans such as Frum recognize the clown college forming in their midst....

So, has Frum been forced to issue the now compulsory clarification-cum-apology to Rush yet?

Marius said...

If they still call themselves 'moderate,' it must be because they're doubly in denial. First, they cheered on as Shrub enacted the functional equivalent of monarchy for two full mandates now -- and there wasn't a squeak of opposition from these asswipes. Moderation means more than just vocalizing against anyone slightly to the left of Augusto Pinochet.

And it also means moderating the fascist troglodytes in your own party -- getting them to toe a truly moderate line, rather than letting them hijack a party in the name of their revenge fantasies and paranoid authoritarianism.

But I really suspect that at least Brooks might be just too stupid to realize these things. It's not even that he fails to be self-aware about his own intellectual salto mortales (salti mortali?). He strikes me as just dumb.

The only conservative with a legitimate claim to moderation these days is Daniel Larison. I hate his ideas, but I must give him credit for honesty and a modicum of intelligence. The rest of them are just fascist scum, but they didn't know it. Now that the floodgates are open, let them try to stem the tide with their bare hands. Fuck these shitheads.

I'll just sit back and enjoy the freak show. Someone pass the popcorn, please.

Heywood J. said...

Grace, if you didn't catch some of the commenters in Frum's article, definitely check them out. They're nuts. The dittoheads are going to mau-mau anyone and everyone who isn't onboard with Nacho's guff. They're about to go Waco (ideologically only, one hopes) on everyone.

Because Frum is temperamentally an uptight twit, he figured the best angle to take on Limbaugh would be his personal life of vulgarian excess. Big mistake -- Fatboy's fans are already well-practiced at defending him on those charges from libruls. Frum painted himself into a real corner there. The dead-enders don't care about style points; in fact, the bluster keeps them warm, à la Red Dawn.

The consequence at the level of generating ideas and discussion points (even the pissant ones they've been doing) will be to further marginalize comparatively moderate writers like Frum and Bobo (whom I detest, but compared to the rest of that crop they're not nearly as awful), and allow more room for free-range morons like Coulter and Malkin to graze.

Obviously it ain't gonna work, but it will be fun to watch. The downside will be as the economy continues to shake people out and they get more and more disenfranchised and pissed, ready to fall for some cracker demagogue telling them to retake what's rightfully theirs.

Heywood J. said...

Marius, agreed on the selective redefining of "moderate", the definition of which has been as thoroughly discredited as "conservative" at this point. In fact, I would say that even the conventional definition of moderation is, given the circumstances, as tendentious and intellectually marginal a position as flat-out wingnuttery. Can't be neutral on a moving train and all that.

Hacks like Frum and Bobo have been paid for years to project their personal temperaments into large-scale ideologies, and they don't seem to realize that circumstances have changed to the extent that that pretense is no longer operational. Impending economic collapse, as it turns out, tends to not only prioritize things in a hurry, but it has served to expose the intellectual fraud these guys have perpetrated for years.

And you're right, they're not nearly self-aware enough to get that. They really think that most people want to spend their lives eating at Red Lobster and picking out periwinkle bath towels, and doing what they're told, that strip malls and SUVs are a respectable trade-off for allowing a vicious shadow government to be run out of the vice-president's office. As ignorant as the cracker populists are, at least they have enough sense to reject this dickless exurbanism these guys have been shoveling for years.

Larison is at least heterodox enough to be interesting, I'll give him that. I do think a responsible Burkean conservative entity is desirable as a counterweight. It is becoming clearer by the week, sadly, that the mandate for change has been mistaken for a mandate for an upward wealth transfer, a reset button for financial terrorists to reimburse themselves and leave everybody else hanging. An actual conservative opposition could have presented a viable objection to that. I don't think the cultural necessities are there for something like that anymore.

Thomas Daulton said...

[Rush] in a Nacho Libre costume...

LOLROTFLMAO... **gasp** LOL some more... **cough, snort** Oh geez, I don't know if I owe thanks to Heywood or Marius. But you have now made it absolutely impossible for me, for all the rest of Eternity, to hear Rush's voice without imagining him in an "Incredibly Strange Mexican Wrestling" suit and mask. With a cape. My conservative relatives force me to listen to Rush each and every time I go on a long drive with them. You guys have f*cken' saved my sanity and I don't know how to repay you!

It does not seem to occur to Frum/Bobo... If they still call themselves 'moderate,' it must be because they're doubly in denial... etc. etc.

See, this is sort of a nutshell of why American politics is the trainwreck that it is today. All the categories have broken down and become meaningless. Conservatives don't conserve anything anymore, not even tradition (viz-a-viz the Constitution for example), so Frum and Bobo have to attack their party's excesses, mistakes and lunacy while tied to an obligatory appeal to conservative values which might have existed 50 years ago but nobody follows today, simultaneously trying not to marginalize themselves accidentally by casting aspersions on today's conservative pin-up boys, nor by hosing down the reptile-brain lust for power by the
mouthbreathers with any cold paean to integrity, nor by failing to hate their party's chosen Goldstein of the moment.

And if you think that was a clusterf*ck of a paragraph, all the rest of American politics is like that too: on the Left side we have Environmentalists who are strongly pro-business and strongly pro-nuclear, as well as Civil Liberties afficionados who sleep perfectly well so long as a Democrat is in charge of the torturin', and on and on.

When politics itself has become incoherent, nobody can make a coherent political argument.