Tuesday, May 03, 2016

You Won't Have Tailgunner Ted To Kick Around Any More

Tailgunner Ted cuts and runs and Carly Fiorina helps drive another enterprise into the ditch.

From the New York Times:
Ted Cruz Ends His Campaign for President

INDIANAPOLIS — Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is ending his presidential campaign, according to his campaign manager, bowing to the reality that his crushing loss in Indiana all but assured the nomination of Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Cruz, who staked his bid in the Republican race on a message of conservative purity and religious faith, had suffered through weeks of setbacks as the primary calendar reached the Northeast, where Mr. Trump significantly expanded his lead.
No word from John Kasich, who was last seen wrestling a breakfast skillet to a draw in Nebraska.

All Fall Down

The Washington Post joins the chorus of decrepit mainstream media outfits who are sure that someday, somehow, someone will pay for this nonsense:

The steady downward spiral of the Republican Party in 2016:

In the matter of the Republican Party’s moral and ideological bankruptcy, the GOP is still in the “gradually” phase. Donald Trump is seemingly about to accumulate all, or nearly all, of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the GOP presidential nomination on the first ballot. In the face of this not quite entirely inevitable but quite entirely odious prospect, the thing to do is declare your unequivocal opposition and fight it. Alas, some leading Republicans, such as House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (Fla.) and Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (Pa.), have endorsed Trump. Others are calibrating their responses, as politicians are wont to do.

Someday, everyone involved in American politics will be called upon to account for his or her behavior during Mr. Trump’s run for the White House. The Republican Party chairman, Reince Priebus, forged one route months ago when he cheerfully pronounced: “Winning is the antidote to a lot of things.” It will be instructive to watch which politicians now follow Mr. Priebus to the moral poorhouse, and which have the gumption to chart a different course.
Bold words, WaPo.

Bold words.

But for an outfit that is run as Fred Hiatt's personal neocon safe-house and continues to offer it's masthead to the likes of Michael Gerson and George Will and Charles Krauthammer and Kathleen Parker and Ruth Marcus and Marc Thiessen and Robert Kagan and Jennifer Rubin and Joe Scarborough, maybe the Post should be careful about offering editorial prayers for comeuppance to be visited on the heads of the morally and ideologically bankrupt.

Ted Cruz Just Had a Press Conference

It did not go well.

One begins to suspect that Cruz doesn't really have millions of friends on Marcus XII.
Or any friends, anywhere.

Hell is...

...a half-filled auditorium.
-- Robert Frost

Ted Cruz has always lived by the maxim that he would rather reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
Maybe his wish is finally coming true.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Andrew Sullivan and Plato's Republicans

Andrew Sullivan returns to paid mainstream media in the strangest way imaginable: by penning a long, boring SparkNotes high school study guide on Democracy: A Study In Contrasts.

With chapters on "That Guy Plato" --
What did Plato mean by that? Democracy, for him, I discovered, was a political system of maximal freedom and equality, where every lifestyle is allowed and public offices are filled by a lottery. And the longer a democracy lasted, Plato argued, the more democratic it would become. Its freedoms would multiply; its equality spread. Deference to any sort of authority would wither; tolerance of any kind of inequality would come under intense threat; and multiculturalism and sexual freedom would create a city or a country like “a many-colored cloak decorated in all hues.”
-- and "The Electoral College is Not Really a College" -- 
Part of American democracy’s stability is owed to the fact that the Founding Fathers had read their Plato. To guard our democracy from the tyranny of the majority and the passions of the mob, they constructed large, hefty barriers between the popular will and the exercise of power. Voting rights were tightly circumscribed. The president and vice-president were not to be popularly elected but selected by an Electoral College, whose representatives were selected by the various states, often through state legislatures. The Senate’s structure (with two members from every state) was designed to temper the power of the more populous states, and its term of office (six years, compared with two for the House) was designed to cool and restrain temporary populist passions. The Supreme Court...
-- and shot through with the author's sweeping, parochial, unattributed generalizations delivered by slow freight in the Authoritative Passive Voice --
For the white working class, having had their morals roundly mocked, their religion deemed primitive, and their economic prospects decimated, now find their very gender and race, indeed the very way they talk about reality, described as a kind of problem for the nation to overcome.
-- all I can say is, if Mr, Sullivan was shooting for a GED-level lecture on American democracy executed in a marmish tone and calibrated to pass muster with the Texas State Board of Education, then the first third of this banal turd has succeeded admirably.

Then, of course, comes the obligatory hippie punching, because what bland, cliche-barnacled journey-of-imagination-but-not-actual-journalism to heart of blue collar turmoil by the most privileged gay Conservative Catholic British Tory snob in America would be complete without stopping along the way to take a bite out of those awful, snooty Liberals:
This is just one aspect of what Trump has masterfully signaled as “political correctness” run amok, or what might be better described as the newly rigid progressive passion for racial and sexual equality of outcome, rather than the liberal aspiration to mere equality of opportunity.

Much of the newly energized left has come to see the white working class not as allies but primarily as bigots, misogynists, racists, and homophobes, thereby condemning those often at the near-bottom rung of the economy to the bottom rung of the culture as well. A struggling white man in the heartland is now told to “check his privilege” by students at Ivy League colleges. Even if you agree that the privilege exists, it’s hard not to empathize with the object of this disdain. These working-class communities, already alienated, hear — how can they not? — the glib and easy dismissals of “white straight men” as the ultimate source of all our woes. They smell the condescension and the broad generalizations about them — all of which would be repellent if directed at racial minorities — and see themselves, in Hoffer’s words, “disinherited and injured by an unjust order of things.” 
The Black Lives Matter left stoked the fires still further; so did the gay left, for whom the word magnanimity seems unknown, even in the wake of stunning successes...
And after you have waded through miles of this sort of thing, you can get on with the final third of the article in which Mr. Sullivan points out that Donald Trump is Bad.  Very Bad.  No, really.  He is really Very Very Bad and we should all wake the fuck up and start to take him seriously.  All hail the Acela Corridor's very own Paul Revere, typing bravely away from deep inside his Beltway bubble about the outbreak of a war that we on the Left have already been fighting for decades.

But ultimately what makes this a truly Andrew Sullivan-brand column is the nose-bleed altitude of internal illogic and cognitive dissonance to which it dares to aspire.  On the one hand, even from the safety of his Washington D.C. fastness, Andrew Sullivan is not blind enough to miss the level of deep and passionate pig-ignorance, hate and racism which runs bone-deep through the Republican party --
In some ways, this story contains all the elements of Trump’s core appeal. The vexing problem of tackling jihadist terror? Torture and murder enough terrorists and they will simply go away. The complicated issue of undocumented workers, drawn by jobs many Americans won’t take? Deport every single one of them and build a wall to stop the rest. Fuck political correctness. As one of his supporters told an obtuse reporter at a rally when asked if he supported Trump: “Hell yeah! He’s no-bullshit. All balls. Fuck you all balls. That’s what I’m about.” And therein lies the appeal of tyrants from the beginning of time. Fuck you all balls. Irrationality with muscle.

The racial aspect of this is also unmissable. When the enemy within is Mexican or Muslim, and your ranks are extremely white, you set up a rubric for a racial conflict. And what’s truly terrifying about Trump is that he does not seem to shrink from such a prospect; he relishes it...
-- nor is Andrew Sullivan stupid enough to pretend that deliberately cultivating and harvesting hate and rage and fear has not been at the core Republican electoral strategy all along:
...and those convinced [Trump] cannot bring a whole new swath of white voters back into the political process should remember 2004, when Karl Rove helped engineer anti-gay-marriage state constitutional amendments that increased conservative voter turnout.
And yet, somehow, while Black Lives Matter and "the gay left" and "students at Ivy League colleges" are singled out for extra helpings of Mr, Sullivan's pissy indignation, no such scorn is heaped on Fox News or Hate Radio or Regnery Press or the Wall Street Journal or any of the other cesspools of fascist propaganda which the millions and millions of bigots and imbeciles who make up the Republican base turn to every day for flattery, validation and endorsement of their worst impulses.  

But Mr. Sullivan knows what his audience of Beltway Shipwreck Kellies perched precariously atop their perks and privileges and high opinions of themselves want to hear.  He has friends throughout the ecosystem and knows how to mix the right barbs and the right honey in proportions that will please the people who write the checks. which is why he has a column in New York magazine. 

Update:  As I type this I see that Mr. Sullivan has parlayed his ponderous turd of an article into another invitation to let Chris Matthews talk over him on MSNBC where he just used the word "asshole" on live teevee. (h/t Heather at Crooks& Liars.) So, to recap...
  • Things you are allowed to say on MSNBC without repercussions:  "asshole".
  • Things which you are never under any circumstances allowed to say or even hint at in any way on MSNBC:  Larry Wilmore was absolutely god damn right about Joe Scarborough.

Update:  Add "campaign finance" to the long list of things about which Mr. Sullivan knows nothing. 

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

The Gormless Wretches Edition.

The lowing herd of criminals and con men who operate our media frisked nervously around their paddock this weekend, biting and kicking each other and not knowing which way to stampede as the sweaty surrealism and queasy thrill of a holy shit, honest-to-God Trump nomination began to settle in.

In fact it got so weird that vinegar-fart-in-a-toupee, George Will, is now building his sentences --
Donald Trump’s damage to the Republican Party, although already extensive, has barely begun. Republican quislings will multiply, slinking into support of the most anti-conservative presidential aspirant in their party’s history. These collaborationists will render themselves ineligible to participate in the party’s reconstruction.
-- using the very same words which once got Liberal bloggers permanently exiled from the polite company of Very Serious People like vinegar-fart-in-a-toupee, George Will (from the late Steve Gilliard back in 2003):
The problem, as I mentioned yesterday, is that our enemy is changing. It's no longer the bored kids and fundamentalists. It's about to be the Iraqi Army. Not the Quisling one we're training, but the old one, filled with veterans. They didn't want to fight, but they expect to be paid for their service to their country. And we're not paying them. We think of them as rank incompetents. Well, the real rank incompetents have been doing a pretty good job as the soldiers tried to feed their kids. Someone taught them to make boimbs and lay ambushes. I've been convinced that some of the young sergeants and junior officers never surrendered. They dropped their uniforms, went home and started killing Americans with their boys. Now, they're going to be joined by the pros, who realize that after getting rid of Saddam, who they hated , the Americans treat them like beggers.

You don't tell a long serving officer or NCO to beg for money and deny them their dignity. When we look back at this folly, the decision to fire the Iraqi Army will be seen as the day we lost Iraq.
And speaking of George Bush's Iraqi Clusterfuck, lemme tell ya, I can never get enough of the Mustache of Understanding sounding off about The Subject About Which He Should Have His Pie Hole Duct-Taped Shut Forever (from "Meet the Press"):
THOMAS FRIEDMAN:  But in a way, they're a phenomenon we've seen before, which is that Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq simply cannot live together. And that's why we keep winning the war-- the Iraq invasion, we win the war, we lose the peace.
But the real reason Mr. Friedman was offered a place at Shuck Todd's Both Siderist Tent Revival Meeting, appears to be that they just needed some reliably fatuous boob to tee up this weeks pre-programmed hand-wringing about how awful it is that Both Sides yadda yadda starring Shuck Todd and Ron "Severe Dementia" Fournier.

CHUCK TODD:  You know, Ron and Tom, I thought of both of you this morning when I saw Boehner and Obama laughing it up. And all of a sudden I'm thinking, "That's great." And I'm thinking, "Wait a minute. Where was that when America needed it?"


THOMAS FRIEDMAN:  You know, it's really true, Chuck. I think that everyone's trying to figure out the Trump thing. What's behind this? And I wouldn't pretend to know, and it's obviously a mix of things. But I think one of the things that's deeply behind it is the mood in the country for the last eight, ten years has been where the children of permanently divorcing parents. And I think that there's been this sense, these two parties, and it's like we're in a house with two permanently-- and even just a little clip like that, says you, "What if these guys actually had worked together like that?"

CHUCK TODD:  I don't know if I've heard anybody put it any better than that. That's an interesting way of putting it because that is. It was like, "Oh my God, Mom and Dad. You guys had this moment. Where was this five years ago?"
Golly, Chuck, I can tell you exactly where this was five years ago.  You and your colleagues in the media let the entire unhinged, Bush-loving Republican base slip away in the night, change costumes and immediately reappear in public life as the Fake Tea Party, no questions.  Aided and abetted by you and your colleagues, this Fake Tea Party elected the worst, most pig-ignorant, most destructive bunch of howling Republican yahoos and open seditionists in modern memory.  The Fake Tea Party then elevated John Boehner to Speaker while promising to have him drawn and quartered on the National Mall if he so much as he cooperated one iota with the Kenyan Usurper on renaming a single fucking post office.

They neat him like a rented mule, and applauded when he finally cracked and quit.
House Speaker John A. Boehner, faced with a constant conservative rebellion, announced Friday he will step down at the end of October, a move that shocked Capitol Hill and exposed the deep tensions within the Republican Party over how to use its congressional majority. 
Boehner’s nearly five-year hold on the speaker’s gavel had grown increasingly unsteady amid threats from more than 30 Republicans that they would force a no-confidence vote in his speaker’s position, which would have forced him to rely on Democratic votes in order to remain in charge.
In fact, Shuck, you might remember what a big deal it was that the Party of Limbaugh had gotten so reckless and ungovernable that, for awhile, it looked like no one in their right mind would be damn fool enough to take on the job of "leading".  Big 'ol slab of dumb, Kevin McCarthy, tried to step up, but being very, very stupid, he forgot that he was on teevee when he played all of his Benghaaaazi Commitee conspiracy cards face-up and admitted that the entire thing had been a witch-hunt specifically rigged up to drive down Hillary Clinton's poll numbers:

See?  It's really not that fucking hard to remember how we got to where we are, unless, of course, you are being paid not to remember.  Like you are, Chuck.  Like Ron Fournier is.  Which is only approved and obedient go-along-to-get-along members of the Beltway are ever within shouting distance of circle jerks like this:
CHUCK TODD:  We all wondered, what if they golfed together all the time?


CHUCK TODD:  What if they did share a smoke, when the president was smoking? What would their relationship be?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:  They started drinking at 10:00 in the morning.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN:  To be a fly on the wall for that video I would have--

CHUCK TODD:  Just the taping.

But here's the funny part.  We out here in flyover country who watch in bemused horror as these professional hustlers, hoaxers and humbuggers make a mockery of honest journalism often play a little game of "Stupid or Liar" without ourselves to try suss out the reason why they just keep telling the same transparently ridiculous lies over and over again.  Are clowns like Todd and Fournier so fucking obtuse and cut off from the rest of the world that they're actually unaware of how ludicrous they sound to the average thinking man or woman outside of their cloistered little pocket Universe?


It turns out that they are quite aware of what we think of them.  But, as should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone, all incoming criticism of the shitty job they do as "journalists" is simply pulverized in the same Both Siderist wood-chipper into which every other fact which inconveniently contradicts their bullshit Beltway narrative is fed:
RON FOURNIER:  But that kind of comment gets mocked on the partisans on both sides.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: I know it does.

CHUCK TODD:  Oh, we're going to get mocked right now. "Oh, there you go. Fournier, Todd, Friedman, all you guys."

RON FOURNIER:  But the fact of the matter, that's what leaders do is you set an example and you set a tone. The idea of two leaders showing that you can be friendly rivals, that's a good model for the rest of the country.

CHUCK TODD:  And at the beginning of the relationship--

RON FOURNIER:  That's when it should--

CHUCK TODD:  --in December of 2010.

RON FOURNIER:  Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. And again, and again, and again, and again.
Which is why, however weird and uncomfortable life may get inside the Beltway paddock (and however much they run off at the mouth about what "real Americans" think) none of these "journalists" would dare to wander out into the real world and risk accidentally sharing a microphone with anyone who might monkey-wrench their bullshit Bot Siderist fairy tales.

Because the last time that happened...

P.S.  Andrew Sullivan has made good on his threat to return.  So oh boy...

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Jon Huntsman Blows With The Wind

And the prevailing wind happens to be from Mar-a-Lago.

From Politico:
GOP’s Stop-Trump fever breaks
But a small core of Never-Trump operatives is still plotting a contested convention.
“We've had enough intraparty fighting. Now's the time to stitch together a winning coalition,” said Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah. “And it's been clear almost from the beginning that Donald Trump has the ability to assemble a nontraditional bloc of supporters. … The ability to cut across traditional party boundaries — like '80, '92 and 2008 — will be key, and Trump is much better positioned to achieve that.”
As we have repeatedly noted on this blog over the years, Mr. Huntsman's "No Labels" scheme...
...was cooked up as a Burkean cosplay fantasy camp where an entire menagerie of Beltway parasites and con men feast upon the credulity and cowardice of wealthy political shut-ins and weak-minded child-men who cannot face the fact that the GOP has gone mad, and a variety of "true Conservatives" who have been run out of the movement by the beast they created.
This was self-evident from the day the scam was launched, and just as self-evident five years later when they bestowed their ridiculous "Problem Solver Promise" thank-you on Donald Trump:
The bipartisan good government group No Labels thanked six presidential candidates Monday for taking its "Problem Solver Promise," commemorating the event with a New Hampshire event that none of the candidates attended in person. One seemed particularly distant from the Radisson in downtown Manchester: pledge-taker Donald Trump.

"We had no idea when we started out down this road how many candidates would make the Problem Solver Promise," said No Labels's co-chairman and former U.S. senator Joe Lieberman, a longtime Democrat from Connecticut who retired as an independent after losing his party's primary. "Today, six have! I'm glad we got six. We could have gotten zero."

No Labels has adapted to the rise of Trump more smoothly than other political groups. No Labels co-chairman Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and ambassador to China, has consistently given Trump a solid chance of winning the nomination of a fractured GOP.
And so no one has any business being surprised that the co-founder of "No Labels" has thrown any lingering pretense of "bipartisan good government" claptrap under the bus and thrown in his lot with his party's racist, fascist misogynist front running.

'Cause "Appeaser" Jon gotta get paid!*

* (h/t John MacCuish)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Indians Will Be Touched!" David Brooks Pledges

Here's a fun fact!   30 years after this commercial was aired it turns out...

...there really was a bear in the woods.

And it really was vicious.  And dangerous.  And it really was easy for many of us to see.

But, in a surprising twist, it turned out the real bear in the woods wasn't the Commies after all.

It turns out, the real vicious, dangerous bear in the woods has always been the Republican base.

And now that bear is out of the wood.

And it's eating David Brooks' kayak.

As regular readers of this blog know, having failed publicly and spectacularly to keep the horrifying reality of Actual Conservatism sufficiently whitewashed with his Amazing Tales of Imaginary Conservatism, Mr, David Brooks is now spending some of his teevee face time and New York Times column inches reassuring his benefactors that some day real soon he is going to leave the comfort and camaraderie of his Acela corridor fastness and venture upriver into the Heart of American Darkness to report back on WTF is going on in the country about which Mr. Brooks has so profitably opined with such supreme confidence and invincible ignorance for so long.

Friday was another one of those columns.

First, comes the allocation blame.  To those Republicans.  Who are waaaay over there and not anywhere near Mr. David Brooks:
Donald Trump now looks set to be the Republican presidential nominee. So for those of us appalled by this prospect — what are we supposed to do?

Well, not what the leaders of the Republican Party are doing. They’re going down meekly and hoping for a quiet convention. They seem blithely unaware that this is a Joe McCarthy moment. People will be judged by where they stood at this time. Those who walked with Trump will be tainted forever after for the degradation of standards and the general election slaughter.
Second, comes the plea for unity. Let us not dwell too much on which of us made a fucking fortune carrying water for the scum of the Right, and which of us ended up broke and outcast for warning that this day was coming. Instead...
The better course for all of us — Republican, Democrat and independent — is to step back and take the long view, and to begin building for that.
Because now is not the time for recriminations people! Now is the time for us all come together -- Republicans (who are the authors of every recent disaster including this one), Democrats (who have been sounding the alarm for 30 years that Republicans are creating catastrophe) and, most important of all, Imaginary Independents (out of which David Brooks has spent so many profitable years spinning tales of his Imaginary Center) -- and agree that David Brooks should not be sacked for gross incompetence and run out of journalism on a rail.

Then comes Mr. Brooks begging his benefactors to let him keep his sweet gig despite overwhelming evidence that the sucks at it:
I was surprised by Trump’s success because I’ve slipped into a bad pattern, spending large chunks of my life in the bourgeois strata — in professional circles with people with similar status and demographics to my own. It takes an act of will to rip yourself out of that and go where you feel least comfortable. But this column is going to try to do that over the next months and years. 
How adorable is is that, for David Brooks of the New York Times, it takes an "act of will" to "rip" himself away from juggling Paul Ryan's balls in his mouth long enough to go and talk to ordinary Americans where they are about what they think.

But Mr. Brooks can't do it alone kids!  No siree.  It's also up to you, Mr. and Mr. Real-America-About-Which-David-Brooks-Knows-Nothing  to do your part and...
...do one activity that leaps across the chasms of segmentation that afflict this country.
Or, as the rest of us call it, going to work, grocery shopping, attending church, participating in our kid's schools with other parents, helping out in our neighborhoods, chatting with the waitress who brings us pancakes and the guy sitting next to us at the bar, and, in general, living our lives.

Of course rather that trying to retrofit a spavined, myopic, infamously unreliable narrator like David Brooks for the rigors of a journey to the American Heartland, I suppose the New York Times could just hire a decent writer who already lives there, works there and interacts with other human beings there.

But nah!  That's just crazy-talk!

Instead, in an epic exercise in Cart-Before-Horse-Putting, Mr. David Brooks' finishes his column on the importance of finally taking a clear-eyed look at America-As-It-Actually-Is...

...with his dream-journal doodles of The-America-That-Might-Be after all of this Trump unpleasantness is safely behind us:
We’ll probably need a new national story...

I don’t know what the new national story will be, but maybe it will be less individualistic and more redemptive...

We’ll probably need a new definition of masculinity, too.

We’ll also need to rebuild the sense that we’re all in this together.

Maybe the task is to build a ladder of hope.

Then solidarity can be rekindled nationally.
Of course, we'll also need ice cream.

And ponies.

And to tell our exciting new national story we'll definitely need new national storytellers who are not completely full of shit.

David Frum's From Outer Space

And I also know that—despite the American faith in happy endings—the rewards of politics don’t usually go to those who do the right thing. They’re more often scooped up by those who arrive on the scene just after the right thing is done. Throughout the 2015-2016 season, I’ve often had the déjà experience of being presented with ideas—and even phrases—that I published half a dozen years ago, as if they were brave and new. As Tom Wolfe wisely said, “It’s no good being even ten minutes ahead of the times.”

--  David Frum, professional unreliable narrator and current senior editor at The Atlantic, with emphasis added to underscore the bits that cracked me up.

Mr. Frum goes on to elaborate on the Great Pain of Being Right.  It cost him a job and some friends but damn it Jim, it was the right thing to do!
I sympathize. I found myself in a similar place a half-dozen years ago. In my case, it was the Tea Party of 2009-2010 that I couldn’t accept. People I had known, trusted, and admired for years lurched toward a dangerous and self-defeating radicalism. When I could not follow the lurch, I would lose a job and friends and find myself consigned to a strange unmentionable unpersonhood by people with whom I’d worked for two decades. I know well the price of the policy I’m recommending.
Great Lord Kinbote, it's practically the Dreyfus Affair!

But no, it's actually not. Because while Mr. Frum's shaggy blog stories about his Heroic Stand Against Barbarism get shaggier and more heroic every year, those of us who have actually paid attention to the arc of Mr. Frum's career remember things a little differently. From Mark Oppenheimer's article, "The Prodigal Frum":
Raised a cosseted Canadian prince, Frum became, in his early 20s, a wide-eyed convert to American exceptionalism. “I’m a Hamiltonian, and I always have been,” Frum says. “I believe in an American-led world order. I believe in the strength and power of America. It rests on economic and industrial power. And the evidence is strong that free markets generate more economic and industrial power than other systems.”
In Mr. Oppenheimer's vivid description of of Mr. Frum's career since shaking hands with the devil -- 
David Frum has been cuddled as lovingly in the ample bosom of the great Republican establishment—and derived as much nourishment from its plump teats—as any other man in the last thirty years. The Canadian immigrant, who turned 52 in June, has been a Wall Street Journal editorial writer, an editor at Forbes, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a speechwriter for George W. Bush—Frum helped write the “axis of evil” line—and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. The last of those jobs, the AEI fellowship, paid him $100,000 a year, and it did not actually require any work.
Also, David, There. Is. No. Tea. Party.  There never was,  It was just another Republican responsibility-dodging scam. It was only ever the same wingnut base which you were only too happy to supply with slabs of raw, red, partisan meat for most of your professional career.

Yes, Mr. Frum had a brief and scary moment of underemployment and professional unpersonhood, which was quickly remedied by Mr. Frum's many, many Beltway friends and fellow travelers. They not only put out bowls of water and food for him on their porches and took him to the vet for a worming twice a year, but they also found him paying jobs at places like The Daily Beast, got him regular teevee gigs at CNN and MSNBC, snagged him the chairmanship of an outfit called The Policy Exchange and secured for him the perch from which he now expounds -- a Senior Editor at The Atlantic.

So while Mr. Frum says a number of true things in his article, including this take-down of the Myth of Centrism which has been Beltway's golden goose for a very, very long time now (a myth Mr. Frum was only too happy to parlay into a paycheck when he worked at The Daily Beast) --
To date, talk of third-party candidates has been the sport of TV green rooms and conferences in pleasant locations. The old-line parties are too extreme, the complaint goes, and what’s needed is an Independent candidate to bust the corrupt duopoly, disrupt outdated ideologies, and at last represent the great American center. The people who advance this notion imagine the great American as looking very much like themselves: socially liberal, at ease with globalization, committed to sensible moderate problem-solving ideas like reducing entitlements, liberalizing immigration, keeping guns out of the wrong hands, and campaign-finance reforms. These are the people who talk about a Michael Bloomberg candidacy, as before that they talked about a Colin Powell candidacy.

The trouble is: 2016 was the year that the great American center actually did rise up against the extremism of the corrupt two-party duopoly and actually did disrupt outdated ideologies. A secular businessman who backed both parties, who denounced big money in politics, who promised to do deals and bring back jobs—isn’t that what you had in mind? No? And if, like J. Alfred Prufrock, you murmur, “That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all” then it’s time to reckon with the fact that the great American center wasn’t what you imagined it was at all either.
-- I just cannot get past the cartoonist narcissism of casting himself the fearless True Conservative martyr who was too far ahead of the mob, without pointing out that at no point has Mr. Frum ever written this simple and true sentence:  "The Liberals were right about the Right all along."

Over the last 30 years, as the Republican party has sunk ever deeper into a swamp of Hate Radio/Fox News bigotry, incoherent rage and madness, Mr. Frum had a thousand chances to walk away from Conservative Omelas and joint America's real, unemployable political outcasts out here in the Liberal wilderness.  But he didn't, because the benefits of working for Team Evil were just too damn good. As I wrote about Mr. Frum's running buddy and sometimes-benefactor, Andrew Sullivan, many years ago:
...So it turns out that virtually all of Mr. Sullivan's hard-won epiphanies amount to little more than the well-thumbed history and plainsong lore of our Fucked Up Modern Age as it has been long understood and passed down among those awful Liberals...

Likewise, even though Mr. Sullivan now, belatedly comes to believe much of what Liberals believe and finally deigns to notice a horde of grotesque truths about his Conservative Movement about which Liberals have been sounding the alarm for 30 years, Andrew Sullivan nonetheless looks us all straight in that eye and argues that he could not possibly be some mere Liberal.

Because in Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" does not refer to a political ideology, but to an impoverishing political ghetto from which no amount of "being right about everything" will permit you to achieve escape velocity. In Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" is a terrible disease that afflicts losers who do not get invited to spout their views on teevee.

Mr. Sullivan regularly receives such largess, therefore he must not be a Liberal.

He instead must be the lone member be of some rare and singular new species; some miraculous form of haploid political minotaur.

Because if he is not something spontaneously-generated and utterly sui generis, then he is just another Lefty-Come-Very-Lately, showing up at our door at 3:00 A.M., 20 years late and trailing toxic baggage behind him like a Halley Comet.

And who in the world would pay him to do his little dance then?

Friday, April 29, 2016