The Insane Moron vs The Rotten Mackerel by Moonlight

p m carpenter’s commentary: From the gloom, a bright light

Voters moved to the right in 2010? No, although the election moved rightward. In classic, midterm voter-turnout style, older, energized, more conservative whites flocked to the polls while the Democratic coalition, such as it was, stayed home to watch cable-news reports on just how devastating the election would be for Democrats. That was no electoral “move”; in its magnitude, just an embarrassment.

As for the GOP’s “rightward shift,” well, true and obvious enough, although the party is running out of room.

And that’s what makes Brooks’ final contention — “it is time to take Perry seriously as a Republican nominee and even as a potential president” — laughable. Not the “nominee” part, since that eventuality lies well within the GOP’s advancing dementia. But the presidential part? Here, even Brooks constructs a future escape hatch: “Potential — I wrote potential president.” Given a native-born status and physical age of 35, who the hell isn’t?

Thus the brightness from all this gloom. Rick Perry is hopelessly captive of a far, far-right narrative that is hopelessly out of sync with the mainstream electorate’s philosophical temperament. And in presidential elections, that electorate does tend to turn out, especially if it spies a hopelessly ideological madman or moron “potentially” at the helm.

I swear, I almost feel sorry for Mitt Romney, who reminds me of what early 19th-century pol John Randolph remarked of a colleague: “He is a man of splendid abilities, but utterly corrupt. Like rotten mackerel by moonlight, he shines and stinks.” Romney’s shining, splendid abilities, it seems to me, are that he’s managed to retain — through a kind of awe-inspiring, opportunistic corruption — a relatively high ranking within the swirling stench of the rotting GOP. He’s merely flipping as monumental flopping requires. Sure it’s pathetic, but in its own, Darwinian way, rather admirable, too.

And from it all, as Brooks notes, “Romney might be able to beat back the Perry surge.” That I take seriously, because Romney is a man of bottomless resourcefulness and, like his opponent Perry, absolutely no scruples. But that “it’s time [for anyone but Romney] to take Perry seriously,” I take seriously not at all.




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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

4 comments on “The Insane Moron vs The Rotten Mackerel by Moonlight

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  1. I’m bemused by most every party to this game, driftglass only realizing
    that David “Obama, is like the Mountain, he’s just there’Brooks gets the vapors, the rubes who have fallen for Josh Brolin all too exaggerated
    caricature, Mitt, well he’s a pitiful pampered scion, playing the Charlie
    Brown card

  2. Some numbers to consider, for and/against your thesis.

    Now I am going to post the popular vote in the HOUSE midterms and then compare it to the Presidential election and show the difference:


    D R N D R N

    1946/1948 44.3 53.5 +9.2R 49.6 45.1 +4.6D +13.8D

    1950/1952 48.9 48.9 0 44.3 55.2 +10.9R +10.9R

    1954/1956 52.1 47.0 +5.1D 42.0 57.4 +15.4R +20.5R

    1958/1960 55.5 43.6 +11.9D 49.7 49.6 0.1D -11.8D

    1962/1964 52.1 47.1 +5.0D 61.1 38.5 22.6D +17.6D

    1966/1968* 50.5 48.0 +2.5D 43.4 42.7 0.7R +3.2R

    1970/1972 53.0 44.5 +8.5D 37.5 60.7 23.2R +31.7R

    1974/1976 57.1 40.5 +16.5D 50.1 48.0 2.1D -14.2D

    1978/1980* 53.4 44.7 +8.7D 50.7 41.0 9.7R +18.4R

    1982/1984 55.0 43.2 +11.8D 40.6 58.8 18.2R +30.0R

    1986/1988 54.1 44.2 +11.9D 45.7 53.4 7.7R +19.6

    1990/1992* 52.0 43.9 +8.1D 43.0 37.5 5.5D -2.6D

    1994/1996 44.7 51.5 +6.8R 49.2 40.7 8.5D +15.3D

    1998/2000 47.1 48.0 +0.9R 48.4 47.9 +0.5D +1.4D+

    2002/2004 45.0 49.6 +4.6R 48.3 50.7 +2.4 -2.2R

    2006/2008 52.0 44.1 +7.9D 52.9 45.7 +7.2D -0.7D

    2010/2012 44.8 51.6 +6.8R

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Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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