What we’re seeing of late plopping out of the rear end of the American Right would, to a normal person, appear to be a Tourette’s-fueled tirade of utter nonsense, and rightly dismissed as such. Michael Steele, Liz Cheney, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin: even the spokesmen are so risibly unqualified and dunderheaded that you’d think the whole party had all just given up and gone home to count the rather substantial winnings of three decades of robbing America blind and polluting its discourse with discredited, counterfactual blather. Their “arguments,” using the term generously, are so transparently fear-based, reality-deprived, and false, that you’d also think they’d be rightly banished from the discussion. But, as anyone who watches television can see, you’d be wrong.
Unfortunately, no one is so invested in the idea that the Right and its ideas simply can’t be as wrong as they’ve demonstrably turned out to be as our pathetic media that lionized them even as they drove the country off a cliff. They were the cheerleaders, just like their most recent hero, George Bush once was, and they continue to wave their pom-poms and jump around long after their uninterrupted string of humiliating defeats in the real world. The disastrous rah-rah-ing that accompanied every bizarre and stupid idea, from the Reagan tax cuts to the wars hither and yon, the eager acquiescence to the disastrous New World Order of Free Trade and carpet bombing, and the respectful airing of crackpot theories that denied everything from evolution to environmental catastrophe, the ridiculous notion that making the rich richer through no-bid contracts and deregulation of the always rapacious financial “industry” would lead to a land of milk and honey…. these things are now part of the historical record, and must be, if not swept under the rug, backdated, massaged, and otherwise erased, but fast. ”No one could have predicted,” as Condi used to say, the entirely predictable collapse of the middle class, the multiple military defeats, and the economy circling the drain.
Luckily for them, many of these absurd policies left what was left of the legitimate media so wilted and impotent, thanks to consolidation and deregulation, that if you squint your eyes and lie as loudly and proudly as your guests, the dumbest members of you audience might still fall for it, at least until they can no longer afford to pay the cable bill. When that fails, just change the subject. This strategy is the only possible explanation for the media’s obsessions of late and the lying nincompoops they bring on to talk about them.
Faced with a health care system that has clearly bought Congress lock, stock, and barrel, and with it the bloated costs and unconscionable results that flowed from that in the name of the “free market,” why not defer to the sagacious wisdom of Sarah Palin and her ilk to muddy the waters with talk of “death panels” and “government takeovers,” when mentioning, even in passing, that no civilized country spends more and gets less for health care than ours would make you look like just another elitist liberal? Reality, and the experience of every other industrial democracy, have a liberal bias, but luckily, we don’t have to face such things here, because we have Jim DeMint and David Gregory.
When the astronomical deficits brought on by essentially ending taxation of the rich and spending more than the rest of the world, combined, on the instruments of death now threaten our future, who better to place before the cameras than Liz “fifth deferment” Cheney to impatiently explain, like Daddy did, that “deficits don’t matter,” even as a chunk of them are still stuffed in her designer purse? And since Bill Kristol has proven himself to be such a prescient predictor of the efficacy of war without end (much less “victory”), why not give him a column or two to wax lyrical about the glory of the next wars? That is, if Tom “Suck. On. This.” Friedman is too busy hawking unreadable books for such a worthy endeavor.
And, in the unlikely event that Rand-addled Alan Greenspan has to attend a (currently quite urgent, as luck would have it…) charity event with his mendacious cocktailhag of a wife, Andrea Mitchell, maybe some golden-parachuted banking CEO will pinch-hit for him to darkly warn that the rich are this close to decamping for parts unknown (not Britain, it seems here lately) if they can’t continue hauling in 500 times what normal people make for their special “talents.” Think of the thousands of maids, chauffers, and fancy hookers who might end up on the dole if that were to happen.
Basically, what we have here is a hideous mess, and the people who are, in a Democracy, supposed to tell us about it are even more compromised than the malefactors themselves, and the result, though predictable, is still pretty offensive. Back in the last Bush recession in the early 90’s, some journalists (now fired, I’m sure) wrote a book about how political discourse in America had turned itself on its head, comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted. The title was “Who Will Tell the People?” The answer, in the new century, is, “Nobody, if we can help it.”