March 10, 2008

Blivot Politics in the Blivot States of America

While I continue to work on several complicated essays (and which I hope to begin posting in a day or two), here are a couple of amusing brief notes. Amusing, at any rate, for those few of us who remain tethered to reality, however tenuously and perhaps with understandable reluctance.

Consider the opening and closing of a dreadfully awful post at HuffPo, which you can find replicated in general outline at least 1,000 times at Daily Kos and other "progressive" sites in recent weeks. (Okay, maybe only 500 times.) I'll be merciful and spare you the drivel in the middle:
She has no idea.

She has no idea how many times I defended her. How many right-leaning friends and relatives I battled with. How many times I played down her shady business deals and penchant for scandals -- whether it was Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, Cattle Futures, Web Hubbell, or Norman Hsu. She has no idea how frequently I dismissed her husband's serial adultery as an unfortunate trait of an otherwise brilliant man. For sixteen years, I was a proud soldier in the legion of "Clinton apologists" -- who believed that peace and prosperity were more important than regrettable personality traits.

And then she ran for president.


On Friday, one of Barack Obama's foreign policy advisors, Samantha Power, resigned after calling Senator Clinton "a monster" during an off-the-record exchange. It was an unfortunate slip, but one that echoed the sentiments of many Clinton apologists like me -- who've watched Hillary's descent into pettiness and fear-mongering with the heartbreak of a child who grows up to realize that his beloved mother has been a terrible person all along.

Are the conservatives right about the Clintons? Will they do and say anything to get elected?

I don't know.

All I know is...I'm through apologizing.
"Peace" was "more important than regrettable personality traits." Right. This "peace." This "peace." A "peace" that led in a direct, unbroken line to the Glorious Invasion and Occupation of Iraq in 2003. (See another installment of my "Dominion Over the World" series as well: "Global Interventionism: A Disastrous Policy Supported by Indefensible Ideas.") "Prosperity" which in crucial respects provided the foundation for today's financial unraveling.

I am unable to state with any authority which aspect of public confessions of the kind excerpted above is most unsavory: the pathetic narcissism ("She has no idea what I did for her!" -- as if Hillary Clinton, or any member of the ruling class, gives a damn about you, you imperceptible schmuck, as if any of this is about you); the complete disconnect from even very recent history; the inability to grasp character as revealed by public acts; the enthusiastic willingness to wield double standards depending on who engages the writer's sympathies at any particular moment, and the related confession of deeply engrained hypocrisy which remains entirely invisible to the self-blinded hypocrite. Ah, that reminds me: one might say that people of such remarkable stupidity are "Blinded by the Story: Liberals and Progressives as Political Creationists." "Blinded by the story" is a catchy phrase. I must try to remember it.

Some of you, who are less kind that even I am, might wonder if these people have lost all capacity for embarrassment. Don't they realize what they're confessing?, you query. But I must tell you that I regard such harsh judgments as entirely undeserved. I have just completed an extensive review of the Clintons' record going back to the early 1990s. I have concluded that it was absolutely impossible to have predicted that the Clintons would prove to be consumed by ambition, concerned only with the power they could acquire and that they would seek only to increase that power, and that they would smear, slime and viciously attack anyone who got in their way. There is nothing in their long histories to have suggested any of those qualities, in even the most minute quantity. Shame on you, cruel reader!

Speaking of financial unraveling, I see that Jim Kunstler slaps Paul Krugman around. A thoroughly amusing endeavor, and partially deserved on this occasion. I am criminally fond of this bit from Krugman:
Nobody wants to put taxpayers on the hook for the financial industry’s follies...
Because, of course, such things never happen in these dem-o-crat-ic States of America! The ruling class would never dream of protecting itself.

Ah, me. How do many of you manage to follow politics, and read newspapers and blogs, every day, and not lose your friggin' minds? Seriously, how do you do it?

Oh, it was in the comments to that post at Kunstler's internet abode that I learned the word "blivot." It's your word for the year, perhaps the decade. My gift to you. Thanks are completely unnecessary. The pleasure is in the giving.

And now, I shall try to find my way back to facts, and arguments grounded in facts. Dear God, I have lost my mind.

P.S. For the record, I note that although I find Kunstler often interesting and provocative (especially in these exciting times), I do not agree with his view that doom will necessarily arrive in the form of a single, all-encompassing apocalypse, an issue I discussed in some detail in the first part of "Passing on the Sense of Wonder." Given the immense complexity of our economy and even in light of the unquestionably extremely dire circumstances at present, I think catastrophe is more likely to arrive in rolling waves, as collapse affects one sector of the economy, then another, and another (which may certainly be more than sufficiently calamitous) -- a phenomenon described in Mike Whitney's recent column (earlier Whitney articles are discussed here).