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Wednesday, February 05, 2020

On ACRONYM and the aristocracy of the mediocre

"And we have a situation where as a party if we are the good guys we have to be the good guys — not engaging in this,” Ganapathy told me. “There’s a reason why so many Americans think politics is an elitist plot to make a handful of people wealthier, and it’s kind of true." - see the outline article on ACRONYM and SHADOW - and weep
Ideology is excreted from practice. The practice in the American political establishment, since at least the seventies, is to professionalize it - to make it a source of juicy contracts and positions, with the credentialing done by people who have made those juicy contracts - and not necessarily won an election.
One fights for candidates. Is Sanders better than Warren? Is Biden acceptable? But in the political world, these are just actors in the larger movie, which is not about making the world or the country a better place, but about notches in the CV, leading to tv appearances and quotes in the newspapers, which leads to ever more money. It is a very white world - and a very close knit, insider dealing kind of world. These are people who, themselves, never have fought a campaign as anything so vulgar as a candidate. Rather, they develop "synergies" with candidates, or boast in the press that they are developing state of the art digital platforms to get a progressive - or conservative - message out, which means they have hit the hot spot: "doing well by doing good", as the rich donor class likes to say. Even though they are doing well by undermining good.
Ideology is excreted from practice, The political system in the US, in the 70s, was pathetically easy to buy. And in the next forty years, it was bought at knock down prices and turned a huge profit - with taxes sinking on Capital, the social insurance structure open for scamming healthcare services while being enervated from within, the huge expenditures for the military, and last and least, the campaign industry, where the point is to go to rich donors and canalize a living for yourself, your family and associates while making your services "indispensible" to politicians - who benefit by becoming lobbyists after their defeat or resignation, and whose family members get into the honey from the first. Its an adhoc aristocracy of the mediocre.
The GOP was always an adhoc aristocracy of the mediocre, propped up by the petrochemical industry. The Dems needed their own tycoons to party with, after they had sucked the unions dry. And with finance and tech, they found them.
So it goes on the fall down down down the dark ladder. Americans enter this century as, for the most part, bankrupt pions, fronted by billionaire monsters and celebrity monsters.
I write this as a goof, a mark. I have long thought that somebody like Trump, with his insanely low numbers, would be impossible not to beat. Watching the Dems get fucked up by the D.C. poltical management industry that is among the stupidest group of peeps ever to get an ivy league education and a head start from a trust fund (I omit, here, the Supreme Court - of course, they always win the palm for sheer stupidity), I have the sadness that Charley Brown must feel every time Lucy pulls away the football.


Steven Augustine said...

I think the Clinton hydra did us a huge favor, in fact, by being so blatant, but before they pulled their Big Stunt, things never made sense to me. The Big Stunt: to be a blatant Rightwinger giving off Progressive signals convincing enough to run as a Progressive and win. How did the Governor of Arkansas (the name of the state itself is a kind of dog whistle to a Black guy like me), member of a restricted (no Jews/ Blacks) country club, convince the electorate he was a Progressive Liberal? By using a Fleetwood Mac song in his campaign? By playing the Sax? By "feeling (our) pain"? The electorate must have been, in some major way, deliberately narcotized after the touchy and lucid vigilance of the Watergate/Nam years... and it really had been.

The Reagan Revolution, with its dedicated media assets (TV News, Print Media, Hollywood, Pop Radio, textbooks et al) worked its negative magic on a vulnerable generation: the 12 years between Reagan and Clinton represent a paradigm-shift perfectly inaugurated by the political (junta-esque) assassination of Lennon. Clinton got his place in the spotlight by helping the Bushes at Mena (Iran/Contra); Clinton was a Daddy Bush protege, just as Hillary was a Goldwater girl, and if American Democracy was *always* a kind of trick (how is voting between two mysteriously-anointed candidates a "democratic" privilege?), the trick took on an element of psychopathic slapstick, with more and more "liberal" Americans actually identifying with clearly Rightwing-in-Progressive-Sheepskin figures. I can still remember being stunned that Arianna Huffington, a celebrity Rightwinger (Evita Peron type), presented herself as a reformed Liberal before running an influential crypto-Rightwing media platform! The arrow of human development just *doesn't* run that way (from Right to Left). But people bought it, the Overton Window shifted to an architecturally impossible extreme, and American politics is now a violently Schizo pseudo-argument between two moderately different Pro-War, Pro-Corporate, Pro-American-Exceptionalism worldviews that, quite bizarrely, believe themselves to be so radically different, from each other, that their mutual hatred and contempt is a sort of slapstick blood feud.

BHO, who represents a kind of pinnacle of the Clinton Method, was clearly merely a much smarter, much smoother, much more acceptable version of George Dubya Bush, as far as his goals/programs went. And the same goals/programs are in place and on-track under Trump, who is just as effective, in his way, as BHO, and the Clintons, were in theirs. The Total and Stable Neo-Feudal State is looming our way with far less resistance than the Ruling Elites could ever have dreamed when they worked out their post-Nixon corrections... but, then, I guess even They couldn't have foreseen the devastating narcotic efficacy, and Hegemony-crystallizing magic, of The Internet.

No candidate with even a trace of anti-Hegemony character will ever get higher than the rank of provincial Major in this system. The system was never designed to provide access to the tools necessary to its own deconstruction. The only possible Hope of Change is if the narcotized giant of the Electorate wakes, kicks the soc med drug, and applies simple and logical pressure to The System where it's most vulnerable. National Strikes/ boycotts et al. But any popular leader charismatic enough to make that kind of radical action work on a national scale will be dealt with long before we've ever heard of her/him.

Well, we could always pray for a smallish meteor strike...

Roger Gathmann said...

I've often thought that if GhwBush had won in 1992, it would have made no difference. But maybe at least we would have seen the back of the Clintons. I used to live in Northern Louisiana, Shreveport. Now there was a racist town!

I figure that corruption and incompetence go hand in hand. As politics became a big money industry in D.C., it attracted the same kind of people who used to run bucket shops on Wall Street. They have the intentions of the high school popularity contest winner, and the same sense of entitlement, and like zip knowledge of the people, or culture, or political economics, or how to campaign (save for the above mentioned popularity contest). But they have connections and soon they are sitting pretty, upper class beauties hosting podcasts to spread "progressive" messages about female VPs of Fortune 500 companies "breaking the glass ceiling" - which of course the clodhopper women waitressing or clerking at MickeyD's are sposed to be vicariously thrilled by. It is all such shit.
But you have to wade through that shit to achieve something for the said MickeyD's clerks. So there's that.

Anonymous said...

"Now there was a racist town"

The mere mention, I get goosebumps...