Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back-Pedaling We Can Believe In

(Today's blog posting was written by the infamous Mike Flannigan. Mike, writing from Denver's convention floor [or "the killing floor of liberalism", as he put it in his email], works for an old and venerable liberal publication that shall remain nameless. The only reason his dispatch from the Great White West is appearing here in Pottersville and not his home pages is because, quoth Flannigan, his editor in chief, Ari Goldstein, "isn't quite the liberal he was when he provided fun fodder for a Life Magazine photo spread in 1968 when he pissed on a burning American flag. Ari can't do that anymore because of prostate issues."

Btw, don't tell Mike but in a few months he'll be going on a road trip all over the eastern seaboard and will chronicle his adventures in a first-person narrative called American Zen.)


Fear And Loathing of Liberalism on the Campaign Trail '08, by Michael Flannigan.

The Pepsi Convention Center, Denver, CO --- The Choice of a New Generation, indeed.

To be sure, we won't be seeing as many idiotic senior moments in Denver as we'll play witness to in the miniseries version of the DSM IV in Minnesota next month (Just a limo ride from Larry Craig's abortive tap audition).

But the Democratic convention, that great American renewal of democracy that prefaces the debates and election with alcohol and cattle prods in elevators, as with the recently-dismantled dog and pony show of the Beijing Olympics, nevertheless has to be viewed in its true pink, white and perriwinkle blue colors.

We got an indication during this tightly-scripted and ruthlessly choreographed event when Michelle Obama had to tell America that she's proud of it, after all. Doing so, a naked repudiation of GOP talking points about the Obamas' patriotism, was the unspoken but final severing of any remaining ties with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who rightly said that the America of which she's now proud was founded on racism and terrorism.

Anyone who ever saw that episode of the Simpsons in which the Kennedy/Nixon debates were sponsored by Duff beer would've and should've seen in Budweiser heiress Cindy McCain's reaction Richard Nixon, after Kennedy, offering his own tepid and insincere endorsement of Duff. Within minutes of Michelle Obama's conveniently-timed resurrection of national pride, Cindy McCain, too, found God in a red, white and blue top hat and proclaimed her pride in a nation in which 99% of its population is poorer than her and 99.99% wouldn't be allowed within 100 yards of her.

Even more hideously-timed was the convention organizers' decision to pull Teddy Kennedy's foot out of his grave in Hyannisport , trotting him out to give America a last, misty-eyed, nostalgic glimpse of what Democratic liberalism used to look like.

Of course, what was gleefully elided over was the fact that Kennedy's own one candidacy for president, which was kick-started when Mommy Rose told him to run, was before the 1980 convention deader in the water than Mary Jo Kopechne.

Rather than stick a fat stake in the black heart of the Reagan era that is still very vigorously beating, they misjudged their aim by a foot to the left and impaled the barely-beating heart of the liberalism that gave us our greatest social triumphs of the 20th century.

As with the upcoming carnival of the cruel and stupid next month, everything so far has been scripted with Hollywood precision. There will be no give and take with Obama, the biggest talking head on TV this week who might as well be the animatronic bust in those fortune-telling machines along the boardwalks on Atlantic City or Coney Island (the GOP will be only too glad to supply the turban, I'm sure).

We'll turn on our tee vees, put in a quarter and get one open-ended fortune after another on a pristine card. Cha-ching!

"Change you can believe in!"


"Iran is a threat we need to deal with now."


"Social Security has a problem we need to deal with now."

But conventions are never press conferences and we're not permitted unscripted give and take. In this antithesis of the Town Hall meeting, we will be told only what the Powers That Want to Be want us to hear, to think what they want us to think. We will never be permitted to ask Obama why he's bowing and scraping to the Likud-controlled AIPAC and doing almost as good a job as Bush and Hillary Clinton on selling Iran as a WMD threat.

We'll also never be able to put his feet to the fire to ask him why, in spite of his well-publicized opposition to Iraq's invasion, he'd made statements that were conditionally supportive of said invasion (in other words, testing the political winds). I seem to recall, “There’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage.” Then there was this gem: “We’ve got to do everything we can to stabilize the country to make it successful because we’ll have too much at stake in the Middle East.”

Instead, we'll see Obama, red, white and blue balloons and confetti raining on him, his arm around the waist of an old white guy who voted to go to war with Iraq, the Democratic ticket looking more and more like the Republican's with the sneakiness of the pigs and humans morphing into eachother at the end of Animal Farm.

Because McCain, too, has been BFF with another small state senior senator whose name is also Joe, one who also voted for the war as well as for cloture on the same bankruptcy bill that Biden not only voted for but helped midwife (surely not because his home state of Delaware holds the papers of incorporation of the same lenders who'd written the bankruptcy bill 8 years before it finally passed, could it? Say it ain't so, Joe!). That would be the same pimp stick of a bill that's currently making it more difficult for homeowners to dodge the specter of foreclosure.

And when Obama and Biden stand together, the age gap of 18 years will not only make Biden look older than Pompeii (or maybe even McCain) but Obama look like he's posing for pictures in his parents' driveway on prom night.

Because, as with his wife feeling it necessary to address and repudiate GOP talking points, Barack Obama will feel it necessary to do the same to the GOP talking point that he's too inexperienced in foreign affairs. Biden's very presence says not only, "I said the same thing about him, too, guys but what're ya gonna do?" but also, "I am a novice in foreign affairs despite my successful presidential road show and I need this old foreign policy wonk to help me navigate those dangerous waters."

Which is also to say that said old policy wonk, who was wildly non-catalytic to Democratic voters, will have a more active role in foreign policy than is appropriate for the OVPOTUS.

Which is what we're seeing now in the secret little shadow government/star chamber in the Naval Observatory.

The anointing of Biden from a purely electoral map standpoint makes no sense since Biden's standing in Delaware (the other Rhode Island) does not in the least help Obama's notably sagging support in the corn belt. From that viewpoint the most logical choice would've been Kansas Governor Kate Sibelius, a real liberal and a fighter who, as a true liberal Democrat, nonetheless was able to get herself elected chief executive of a state that's only slightly less backwards than pre-Cambrian Albania and latter-day Alabama.

Plus, putting a smart, accomplished lady on the ticket couldn't exactly hurt when fighting for the affections of Hillary supporters still baffled and furious that destiny, this one time, didn't favor their gal Hillary.

The Obama brand of liberalism is a merely bleached-out, nonthreatening form of liberalism that we need, a dead-center heading when we really need is a hard-to-port wrench on the wheel to get us back on our true course.

Obama's brand of liberalism is bland, safe, as mindful of Republican criticism as his colleagues in Congress, a shade of liberalism as comfortingly muted as the mulatto color of his own skin.


At August 27, 2008 at 9:40 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

Once again, a post by JP that blows my preconceptions to smithereens.

I was blithely ignoring the whole convention scheme until today. I spent a little bit reading up on the different happenings.

I tried to watch some of the convention, but other than Dennis Kucinich, it's all just empty fluff. And the news media's coverage is even more pointless then the actual convention.

So here I was actually spending a few minutes paying attention to the convention and I was actually taking it seriously. Thanks JP, seriously, for smashing that state!

At August 27, 2008 at 9:52 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Thank that subversive liberal troublemaker Flannigan. I couldn't stand to watch that fucking circle jerk, myself.

At August 27, 2008 at 9:59 PM, Blogger nunya said...

Ok. I got it. I still liked Michelle Obama's speech. That would be a fine looking first couple, and the only game in town at this point, eh?

Hang in there babe.

At August 27, 2008 at 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Obama brand of liberalism is a merely bleached-out, nonthreatening form of liberalism that we need, a dead-center heading when we really need is a hard-to-port wrench on the wheel to get us back on our true course.

So true.

Platitudes and canards....Compromise and capitulation. The suits seem to have won many years ago....And the suits would like nothing more than an apathetic populace. I don't see genuine change on the horizon.

n/p Ian Hunter's The Outsiders.

At August 27, 2008 at 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant writing, JP.

At August 27, 2008 at 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also (since I'm in the mood to ramble)I knew the democratic party capitulated when Biden and Bayh were considered as VP candidates. it just me? Or does the (so called) high profile liberal blogosphere seem to have evolved more to the center within the last 18 months?

At August 28, 2008 at 7:32 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said... it just me? Or does the (so called) high profile liberal blogosphere seem to have evolved more to the center within the last 18 months?

Well, yeah. And the sad part is, they think they're still liberal.

Poor, deluded bastards. I guess they've never heard of Overton's window nor realize how sneaky it is.

At August 28, 2008 at 11:28 AM, Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i've only watched bits and snatches of it. with a book in my lap in case i feel like letting my attention wander.

the conventions lost their charm for me when they quit making their final deals right there on the floor, or upstairs in the legendary smoke filled rooms.

shit, if they still had those rooms i'd bring the goddamned cubans.

these are dog and pony show coronations. they are striving mightily to not piss anybody off..

we'll see.

although i'm certain i'm not the only motherfucker who has noticed that the response to james dobson and pat robertson's urging their followers to pray for rain on obama's parade has turned into a big ass hurricane bearing down on new orleans, right before the republican show.

if there is a god, i like his fucking style dude.

hey flannigan, get your story done, get your book deal.

i'll build you one of my legendary swamp ash strats. those fuckers flat scream.

At August 28, 2008 at 11:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Deader in the water than Mary Jo Kopechne"

"pimp stick"

"pre-Cambrian Albania"

This guy turns phrases like you! Must be a stylistic soul brother. I'll have to Google for his other work as soon as I post this ; }

At August 29, 2008 at 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is our cynicism showing a little bit, hmmm? I feel very sorry for you. If you can't get beyond your own pseudo-intellectual snobbery to see that Obama and progressive Democrats are OUR ONLY CHANCE in hell of surviving this century, then you might as well crawl back into your cave now and shut the hell up. Get real. We are not having a revolution. Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader or whoever you think "gets it" enough to change everything will NEVER get a chance at the Presidency. The polar ice will be gone before next January and the polar bears aren't going to be the only ones drowning. You're full of yourself JP and I'm sorry I ever found this site. What a waste of brain power.

At August 29, 2008 at 4:56 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Understandably Anonymous:

Well, if you're happy with the cautious, centrist pap that we'd been hearing for three days running during the Democrat convention, then more power to ya, bro.

Personally, I have a problem with Obama making what cosmetically looks like a Republican choice of running mates, a guy who voted to go to war with Iraq and carried water like Aquarius on steroids for places like MBNA regarding the bankruptcy bill that they and not Congress wrote.

I do not think that once again embracing liberal values should require a revolution. If that's what you think, then you are a sadder man than I.

You sound exactly like someone coming right out and saying, "This is what we're offered. Shut up and settle," only without the childish ad hominems. In case you didn't realize it in your haste to insult me for expressing my opinion on my own blog, there are several people who agree with me.

I have an uncomfortable feeling that the GOP will come cleaner and be more candid than the Democrats were in Denver, since, as Obama himself said, "these guys pride themselves on their ignorance."

At August 30, 2008 at 1:49 PM, Anonymous dowah said...

Anonymous @ August 29, 2008 10:22 AM has a point, and it is
"progressive Democrats are OUR ONLY CHANCE in hell of surviving this century".
Otherwise Anon. should try being more progressive and address the truths of this post with the hope of getting Dennis Kucinich elected and filling congress with people like him.
They are out there.
Check out if you are interested in working toward that end.
Here are two more posts that shed some insight on what the obstacles are, in case they aren't obvious enough.


I would suggest reading most anything Bageant posts.
Fine insights from the ground.

All that having been said, I agree with JP. Why should we have to bargain with these rectal sphincters? They are thieves and murderers of the first order.
I say take no prisoners!

At August 31, 2008 at 6:11 PM, Blogger opit said...

'Take no Prisoners'. Unfortunate turn of phrase that.
I was around to hear the news reports on Kent State live. The repression is just getting rolling.
'Overton Window'. Ha ! Nobody wants to know they've been sneakily 'mind controlled' by spin operators punching their buttons, JP.


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