why american liberalism has the attractiveness of a dripping faucet

The debt ceiling crisis was comedy relief of a high order. Afficianados of American Plutocracy slapstick appreciated the fact that as we were assured that "terrorists" were holding America, or at least Obama, 'hostage', the GAO released its audit of the Fed's very beautiful and efficient welfare system for the rich. It turns out that the Fed loaned out 16 trillion dollars at below 1 percent interest to anyone who owned a Rolls or a hedgefund, making life for the upper crust - squeezed as they were by the pesky recession - so, so much better. It is reported that Citicorps bosses were able, finally, to get dental work and dairy products - poor things were suffering on the street. They were also able to get homes in the Hamptons, yachts, Van Goghs and other perks that keep them mentally agile. We are so lucky.

But I am most amused by the general liberal indignation that the Republican congressmen, elected on the pledge to radically cut federal spending, actually did cut federal spending. It was the vileness of this approach to politics that was especially scorned by NYT editorialists and Dem fluffers. Paul Waldman, the D.C. Dem apparatchik who writes at TAPPED, put it best when comparing Dems to Republicans:

"Let’s say that Mitt Romney is the next president. Are congressional Republicans going to threaten to torpedo the economy if their demands aren’t met? Of course not. First, because their priorities will be basically the same as his, and more important, because they know that undermining the economy is bad for the ruling party. But would Democrats do the same thing Republicans just did? Refuse to raise the ceiling unless they extract all kinds of concessions to move policy more in their preferred direction?

It’s hard to see it. That’s not because Democrats are incapable of playing hardball, it’s just that when they do, it tends to be on a smaller scale. Holding a gun to the economy’s head is something that requires a high tolerance for risk, an indifference to the suffering of ordinary people, and confidence that your opponents will cave before you will. Republicans have more of all three. So what we’re likely to see is that when there’s a Republican president, the debt ceiling will be raised, with some half-hearted attempts by progressive Democrats to get something in return, but when there’s a Democratic president, we go through this whole ugly process again and again."

Holding a gun to the economy's head! So ungenteel. As ideology has lost its savor and importance in the D.C. world, what has become ultraimportant is gentility - good manners. Maturity. The American economy, for instance, obviously needed a transfusion of trillions of dollars into banks and the financial sector so that we could "avoid a depression" - and such is the maturity of the Dems that they did not bother discussing it with the people. Similarly, elected on the promise, in 2006, to end the war, did the dems put a gun to Bush's head, or the head of the American military? No! Because of their love of ordinary people. Ordinary people who elected them on promises that they no ordinary people understand must be compromised by 'political reality".

That the Reps just proved that political reality is a fiction, and that you actually can, radically, use the levers of power to put in place what you promised is something so outre, for the Dem punditocrats, that they can hardly get over it. It makes them all jittery about 'governance'. Governance, of course, is when you elect people on the premise that a campaign is a sort of magic trick - fun for the whole family, but you don't really expect people to be able to draw rabbits out of hats, do you? Similarly, the Dems ineffectuality has been promoted, by these pundits - of which there are many - as an actual virtue. The Dems would never put a gun to anybody's head. They would never put a salad fork to anybody's head. How could they with all the compassion flowing from their heart towards ordinary people?

I thought, two years ago, that the age of the Great Fly, Bush, was drawing to a close. I was wrong. Bush apparently is now the baseline for Obama, who is the very spirit of gentility. We are still very much in the Bush era. And there is no opposition. Stick a salad fork in the belly of American liberalism, cause it is dead!


RedMaistre said…
Great post, as usual. But American Liberalism (as opposed to the various radical movements that sometimes are allied with this liberalism) has always made fetishs of compromise and protecting the decorum of political "dialogue". With the intent of obscuring, of course, the blunt reality of class warfare and escaping into the abstraction of national unity protected by privatized "rights"