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Posts Tagged ‘WHY ALL POLITICS ARE LOCO’

The Pinky Principle: Watching Congress Demote Itself Beneath any Pretense of Competence!

In "Dead Elephant in the Room" forum on March 19, 2018 at 7:49 pm

Most literate Americans are at least vaguely familiar with the Peter Principle, a management theory promulgated in the early ’70s by Laurence J. Peter who theorized that because promotion is routinely based on an individual’s performance at a given level,  promotions continue until people are promoted to that level at which they no longer perform effectively. Thus, Peter reasoned,  employees everywhere tend to rise to their respective levels of incompetence.  Actually, however, politicians are exempt from the principle. Think about it; they are simply elected, and once elected–unless advancing from House to Senate, for instance–they are not so much promoted as retained in situ. Of course, one oft-voiced criticism of the Peter Principle is that is fails to adequately provide for the possibility of demotion, but again, politicians are immune to demotions (except within party ranks), their overwhelming concern being loss of office.

Fugitives from principle…

That said, it seems obvious that if congress comprises fugitives from the Peter Principle, it is nonetheless subordinate to certain, less equivocal injunctions, among them the second law of thermodynamics–namely that entropy only increases and never decreases.  You knew that, right? True, the statistical mechanics attached to this rule have been so debauched by disputants stretching them to win their points, we feel slighty abashed at invoking them here; but not so abashed as to abandon the matter. To smooth things over with sticklers for scientific exactitude, we will presently reframe our argument in considerably less pretentious terms. Besides, operationalizing a reliable system of measurement is impossible because idiocy, while widely recognizable, can only be quantified subjectively.

Joe Starnes, hot on the trail of Christopher Marlowe.

True, members of congress have engaged in all sorts of bone-headed absurdities throughout our national history, all the while affecting the demeanor of important men (and nowadays women) fixed with grim solemnity upon the virtuous work of statecraft.  Invariably, humor is minable from this. What, after all, is more comically ironic than an assemblage of dunces whose pomposity renders them incognizant of their duncery?  But we contend the contemporary political class has achieved a record-breaking apex of insipidity–a contention, we admit, that resists empirical proof.  How might we objectively demonstrate that government’s current quotient of dunderheads surpasses in numerousness and intensity all previous examples?  Well, the second law of thermodynamics, maybe, but we promised to drop that argument. Suffice it that congress has always been bountifully endowed with morons, maniacs, mountebanks and poltroons. From Senator Benjamin Ryan Tillman (D-SC) complaining in 1900 that “we stuffed ballot boxes, we shot them,” but that his constituents were “scratching their heads,” because Blacks kept voting anyway; to Joe Starnes (D-Ala.), who, while associated with HUAC, demanded that a witness tell him whether Christopher Marlowe was a member of the Communist Party, examples abound.

Comrade Marlowe

Alexa de Tocqueville, pride of “the greatest generation.”

Consider Hillary Clinton, widely advertised by the establishment media as peerlessly brainy, who, while addressing a crowd of adulative supporters in 2016 felt moved to advert to Alexis de Tocqueville, whom she called “Alexa,” and who, she told her audience, “came to the United States in the very early 1930s and traveled around our country…” thus relocating the famous author of Democracy in America, who died in 1859, to the 20th century.  Significantly, those present greeted Mrs. Clinton’s manipulation of the temporal/spacial continuum enthusiastically– and for all we know, Mrs. Clinton continues to suppose that someone named “Alexa” de Tocqueville was a contemporary of Tom Joad’s.  In a similar vein, President Obama, whose entire docket of clownish errata is best enumerated elsewhere [for instance here], swept to the podium during a state visit by French President Hollande in order to laud de Tocqueville, whom he called “Alex.” (Both Hollande and the Bamster might have benefitted from exposure to de Tocqueville, particularly his piercing critique of socialism, but at least Obama kept “Alex” in his rightful century.)

Unusual knowledge, or: The truth is over there in England….

During a painfully scripted appearance with late-night sycophant Jimmy Kimmel (whose enthusiasm for UFOs is well known), Mrs. Clinton vowed that once she was president she would make the government’s flying saucers files public. In so saying, she echoed identical pledges from the campaigns of Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter, both of whom dropped the subject entirely once ensconced in the West Wing. But the world’s smartest woman was naturally inclined to expatiate. “You know,” she told Kimmel, “there’s a new name, it’s unexplained aerial phenomenon [sic], U.A.P. That’s the latest nomenclature.”

Ivan T. Sanderson–spawning the latest nomenclature back in 1967.

Notwithstanding the absence of any official UFO authority empowered to issue nomenclatural revisions, the term is actually UAO for Unidentified Aerial Objects, which Hillary might have found simpler to pluralize. The coinage originated with biologist and UFO theorist Ivan T. Sanderson who suggested it in his 1967 book Uninvited Visitors, but Sanderson died in 1973 leaving Mrs. Clinton to soldier on alone.  Later, in an interview with Daymond Steer of New Hampshire’s Conway Daily Sun, Clinton reiterated her  determination to declassify the government’s X-files.  For good measure, she promised to unveil the truth about “Area 54.” The candidate subsequently corrected herself, agreeing she meant to say Area 51 (the government’s uninspired name for the best known secret installation in America), but the former First Lady’s gaffe inspired awe among Internet “ufologists” a majority of whom blogged praise for the smartest woman in America, insisting Hillary had not misspoken at all. Rather, they assured one another, she had cunningly updated the UFO community on the location of the Air Force’s new, extra secret UFO testing facility.

Mainstream media (being less inclined to esoteric inferences than most ufologists) simply scrubbed the error and misquoted their favorite candidate as if she’d said “Area 51” in the first place. (In fact, readers seeking to confirm Clinton’s lapsus linguae will be hard pressed unless they explore British press accounts, for instance here).  Substituting the correct designation for Clinton’s misstated one as if they were quoting verbatim enabled the New York Times to remind its readers that Hillary was “known for her grasp of policy,” and possessed “unusual knowledge about extraterrestrials…”  We guess it depends on how you define unusual.

Bozos, left and right…

Donald Rumsfeld–unpredictable from the beginning?

To be fair, none of this is any more risible than “W” Bush explaining that “human beings and fish can co-exist peacefully,” or vowing to “restore chaos” in the Middle East…orthe time W’s  Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, philosophized during a press conference that he “wouldn’t say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past,” adding, “I think the past was not predictable when it started.”

In 2008, John McCain dazzled viewers of Good Morning America with his geopolitical acuity when, after enumerating the obstacles confronting American forces in Iraq, he summed matters up by explaining, “It’s a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border.” Actually, a struggle on the Iraq-Pakistan border would be impossible, not hard, because there is no such border.  Iraq and Pakistan are separated by 1,519 miles of Iran. Presently, in a mood remindful of Donald Rumsfeld’s teleological ponderings, McCain enjoined the Pentagon to prepare for the unexpected, but appended, after a museful pause, “What I don’t know is what the unexpected might be.”

Who can forget Bill Clinton defending himself against Kathleen Willey’s charges of rape by explaining, “I would never approach a small-breasted woman,” or Arnold Schwarzenegger insisting that “…gay marriage should be between a man and a woman,” or Tom DeLay epitomizing America’s post-cold-war military primacy by exclaiming,”We’re no longer a superpower. We’re a super-duper power!” or Joe Biden, whose blunders and gaucheries provide an embarrassment of riches, advising firing “two blasts” from a double-barreled shotgun into the darkness off one’s balcony as preferable to owning a semi-automatic firearm. Republican Jay Dickey, U.S. representative from Arkansas, famously opined that “incest should be handled as a family matter” and visionary Democratic state representative Sissy Farenthold  summed matters up best by vowing to work “for the time when unqualified blacks, browns and women join the unqualified men in running our government.”

Sissy Farenthold brings clarity to the issue.

Occasionally failing our words….

Farenthold’s vision may fairly be regarded as realized, and it is our contention that Washington’s current herd of legislative mooncalves is even more bumfuzzled than its historic predecessors. Surely, one can confidently assert that no previous congress has been so pan-institutionally devoted to the production of comic effects, but this immediately invites the rejoinder that quantity and dedication do not necessarily trump refinements of technique or subtleties of execution. It depends, ultimately, on how one prefers one’s drollery. A more significant question presents itself in the meanst, that being: How do such nanoid intellects contrive to win elections, and how do they get re-elected despite establishing records of incontestable oafishness and chicanery?

Sometimes, of course, the plain old “Peter Principle” rears it’s dopey head!

As a case in point, consider Senator Dick Durbin (D-Wis), whose unflagging asaninity first drew national attention when he compared American forces in Iraq to “…Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime–Pol Pot or others.” When this characterization proved less popular than Durbin anticipated, he murmurously apologized, explaining that “more than most people, a senator lives by his words [but] occasionally words will fail us and occasionally we will fail words.” A word Durbin failed recently was “chain,” which, he insisted, could no longer be conjoined with “migration,” lest Blacks, upon hearing it, suffer some previously unknown epigenetic trauma and lapse into mass catatonia.  Wondering aloud whether Trump realized “how painful that term is to so many people,” Durbin explained that “African-Americans believe they migrated to America in chains, and when you speak to chain migration, it hurts them personally.”  Apparently this awareness dawned only recently on Senator Durbin, who used the term liberally (no pun intended) prior to proscribing it, besides which, one cannot speak to chain migration–at least, not in anticipation of an answer, but Durbin’s difficulties with syntax are as chronic as his mendacities.

Senator Durbin, wondering aloud….

Recapturing our point, we wonder aloud: Why do the people of Illinois return this egregious jackanapes to the Senate again and again? Could it be the dynamics of entropy affect voters as well as candidates?  Or do the qualities of visibility and fulmination nowadays provide ample grounds for political longevity, supplanting such superannuated concepts as sagacity and substance in an era of dumbed-down discourse and educational decline?  We think so. We submit that energy and timarity (laudable attributes taken in isolation) are now more significant to political success than coherence or productivity; and we have seen this before, gentle readers, but mainly in the realm of pop culture. The problem we currently confront is that all culture is rapidly becoming pop culture. Once we accept this, we begin to perceive the situation’s epochal antecedents…which brings us to:

The Pinky precedent…

Take Pinky Lee as an example. (Yes, really.) Lee was a product of the burlesque era but found his niche hosting a five-afternoons-per-week TV program in the early 1950s. Occupying the time slot leading into the enormously popular Howdy Doody Show, Lee aimed his material emphatically at a juvenile audience. Each show began with the host bursting a balloon in front of the camera lens before dashing madly onto the stage where he danced fitfully while performing his uncompromisingly inane theme song, “Yoo hoo, it’s me, my name is Pinky Lee– I skip and run with lots of fun, for every he and she!” –and so on. You get the idea.

“Yoo-hoo, it’s me!”

It may surprise some readers to learn that in this long-ago time, reasonable people paid reasonable amounts of attention to what Newsweek (then an actual news magazine rather than a DNC-affiliated web page) wrote about matters both epic and trivial, and it was Newsweek’s verdict that while Lee’s antics bespoke a level of puerility no rational adult could endure for more than a nanosecond, “he expends more energy than anyone this side of Jerry Lewis.” Indeed, in an article otherwise bereft of encomia, Time magazine went so far as to call Lee “One of the hardest working men in TV.”

Lee’s phenomenal success proved that within his chosen niche, energy and determination sufficed to ensure wild popularity, albeit exclusively among children, who viewed the star’s antics as the very embodiment of quality entertainment.  To anchor our position, we will dub this observable correlation between mindless phrenetics and popular approval “the Pinky Principle.” Obviously, we are about to apply it politically.

All naiveté is local

It is an encouraging fact that Americans consistently tell pollsters congress is a cesspool brimming with nincompoops, reprobates, and larcenists—to which critique we must now add sexual predators, not because they are recently arrived, but rather because the liberal media discovered them only recently, which officialized their presence. Bewilderingly, however, the very Americans who regularly denounce congress whenever polled on the subject, regularly rate their own representatives as superior. One must either conclude that a majority of Americans is mistaken in impugning the intellectual and moral fiber of our bicameral legislature taken as a whole, or, conversely, that most Americans regularly overestimate the character and performance of their locally elected representatives. We trust our beloved readers will join us, with few exceptions, in deeming the latter hypothesis more plausible.

WOOF’s perennial endorsee Christine O’Donnell, obviously baffled by the Biden supremacy.

Evidence is overwhelming. Consider that Joe Biden was consistently elected to the Senate in Delaware from 1973 until 2009 before his elevation to the vice-presidency put his unvarnished oafishness on national display. This level of exposure belied the long-standing media portrayal of him as a canny exemplar of legislative savvy who doubled as a genius in matters of foreign policy. But until Obama handed Biden the vice-presidency, Delaware seemed perfectly content with his services, spurning not only WOOF’s beloved Christine O’Donnell, but numerous additional challengers, preferring to retain in office a manifest dolt who embarrassed himself (and, one might assume, attentive Delawareans) on a routine basis. But Biden is hardly alone.

Clothing with a name….

Johnson is also known for his fear of a helium shortage resulting in “no helium for comedians to get that high-pitched voice that we all hold near and dear to our hearts.”

Hank Johnson, (D-Ga.) grabbed national attention in 2010 when during a House Armed Services Committee hearing he confided his fears to Admiral Robert F. Willard that if more Marines were sent to Guam, “the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.” Apparently, Georgia’s 4th district shares Johnson’s concerns; he has been re-elected three times, twice in uncontested elections.

Maxine Waters–ordering Putin out of Korea.

California’s Maxine Waters only grew in popularity when she thundered her opposition to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Korea. And when she defended her support for infanticide, declaring “I must march, because my mother could not have an abortion,” the crowd cheered wildly. In fact, Waters is now touted on the Left not only as a paragon of political acuity, but of courage–as though screeching, “the Tea Party can go straight to hell,” imbues her with no less intrepidity than had she confronted a Communist tank in Tiananmen Square.  For that matter, Sheila Jackson Lee (best known for her belief that astronauts left our flag on Mars) is equally fierce in her opposition to the Tea Party. During a 2010 tirade, forgetting the word “sheets” despite several efforts to recall it, she contented herself with telling her audience that “the Tea Party is just the Klan without their–uh, that clothing with a name.” The crowd ate it up–the congresswoman’s seat is not at risk.

The MANILOW Effect?

Meanwhile, on the nominally opposing side of the aisle, the likes of John McCain, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Lindsey Graham routinely trample primary challengers and retain high-level positions in congress even though no one seems remotely fond of them. One is reminded of the old joke that even though no one admits liking Barry Manilow, somebody bought 80 million of his records.  Oddly, Americans seem incapable of recognizing deficiencies in their most proximal representatives, even as they mark it unfailingly in everyone else’s…proving, we guess, that in politics, all naivety is local.

Promises, promises….

Tom Daschle: A case study

Tom Daschle’s official congressional portrait–where’s the hat?

Agreed, there are hopeful signs here and there, and this is entirely due to the influences of what we might call, with the purest of anti-fascistic intent, the alt media. This effect became apparent (to those with eyes to see or ears to hear) as early as 2005—back in the days when only a lucky few recipients of WOOF’s emailed alerts were routinely treated to our description of Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) as “proof positive that with enough financial backing, a ferret can be elected to the Senate.” We offer Daschle as instantial here, not because he was uniquely odious, but because he provides a clear example of a pol whose hometown persona so clashed with his inside-the-beltway comportment as to inflict massive cognitive dissonance on any careful observer.

Tom Daschle in full election-year disguise. Be vewy vewy quiet, he’s hunting assawlt wifles!

As term after senatorial term suffices to illustrate, careful observers were in short supply in South Dakota, where Daschle liked to disport himself in duck-hunting camouflage long enough to be videotaped chewing the fat around the cracker barrel like a regular guy.  Such measures deflected attention from his career as a rabid leftist intent on advancing socialism, eradicating Judeo/Christian mores, opposing tax cuts, denouncing salvific adjustments to social security, and railing against any defense expenditures not immediately advantageous to South Dakota. But fate took a subtle hand when James Jeffords (a classic example of Vermont’s tumble into sociopolitical inanity) decided it was no longer advantageous to call himself a Republican and changed his affiliation to “Independent,” by which he obviously intended “Democrat.”  This seemed an apparent godsend to Daschle since Jeffords’s defection created a Democrat majority, triggering Daschle’s elevation to majority leader. But the fates were cruel. Daschle’s newly acquired prominence had the unintended effect of making his menshevik proclivities and far-left babblings a matter of heightened focus, particularly at FOX News, which was on the ascendant in the region–even as NBC’s much-touted anchor A.J. Clemente self-destructed on live mic by glancing at his opening script and pronouncing it “f*cking sh*t!” Oops. One single, honest journalistic insight–and gone!

NBC anchor A. J. Clemente, so devoted to journalistic exactitude that he ended his career with a single sentence.

Look for the union label!

With Daschle’s increased exposure came an increased awareness of his politics—his actual politics—among the electorate. But Daschle, like John Lennon’s classic victim of unperceived vicissitude, didn’t notice that the lights had changed.  He proceeded with business as usual, incognizant that growing numbers of his constituents were taking note of his hypocrisies (suddenly treated as newsworthy by the emerging “right wing media”).  Daschle’s discomfiture was at hand. Camouflage and down-home posturing no longer obscured the legislative radicalism. Also Exposed: Daschle’s behind the scenes maneuvering to push through Big Labor’s agenda of forced unionization in exchange for donations of $34,700 from the United Food & Commercial Workers, $30,000 from the Communications Workers of America, $30,000 from the United Auto Workers, plus donations in excess of $1,200,000 from a coalition of no fewer than 75 additional unions, examinable here.

John Thune–headfaking right.

These and a host of additional revelations led to Daschle’s defeat in 2004 by Republican John Thune, marking the first defeat of a Senate party leader since 1952’s upset of Ernest McFarland by young Barry Goldwater. Daschle, true to form, exchanged public office for a position with Alston & Bird (think: Big Healthcare) where he worked as a lobbyist, lobbying in blatant contravention of federal law, which prohibits lobbying for at least a year after holding elective office. A Republican would have gone to prison, of course, but Daschle’s criminality excited only minimal curiosity among the mainstream media, and even this was allayed by Daschle’s assurance that he was not so much a lobbyist as “a special policy adviser.” How–without recourse to postmodernism–a special policy adviser may be regarded as in any respect different from a lobbyist, Daschle was never obliged to say– he being a liberal.

President Obama, whose passion for hiring radical miscreants rivaled his affinity for Islamophiles, made a game effort to install Daschle as Health and Human Services Secretary, but initial reports that the former Senator failed to declare a limousine and a chauffeur on his taxes led to an avalanche of additional concerns amounting to $140,167 in unpaid taxes plus Medicare taxes equal to 2.9 percent of the value of the car service he received, amounting to thousands of dollars in additional unpaid taxes so that Obama, already taking heat for placing a self-confessed tax cheat (Tim Geithner) in charge of the Treasury Department, abandoned Daschle–who has since restyled himself a kind of upscale 9/11 Truther, thereby retaining his dubious status of minor irritant. In a way, this is a belated (and embarrassingly phlegmatic) effort on Daschle’s part to follow an important dictate of the Pinky Principle: find your niche! If the adults think you’re an idiot, appeal to the juveniles. It worked for Pinky, the Three Stooges, Nancy Pelosi, and–in his own reptilian way–Harry Reid.  One needn’t study the principle to apply it, of course; it need only be inferred intuitively  to prove useful…and examples abound.

Tim Geithmer admitted cheating the IRS out of $42,000 and employing illegals to clean his home, but Harry Reid called the news “a hiccup,” and Obama put him in charge of the Treasury with plenty of RINO support.

Maine’s Susan Collins–niche marketer extraordinaire.

In his victory over Daschle, John Thune proved a bellwether, leading the national trend of replacing Democrats with GOP candidates. The shift became nearly tectonic in 2010 as Americans retaliated against a congress bent on shoving the importunities of Obamacare down their throats no matter their objections.  Obamacare, in fact, might have perished aborning were it not for the Pinky Principle.  It was the ever-mesial Susan Collins, (R-Maine) whose vote allowed the abomination out of committee. Asked why, she purred, “Well, I just felt I wanted to be part of history.” She changed her mind about history the following December, when she voted against the Affordable Care Act–not that it mattered; the Democrat majority was poised to override the GOP’s opposition– but Collins’s skillfully executed two-step perfectly exemplifies why Mainers have opted to endure her services since 1997–consigning themselves to a seeming eternity of burbled insincerities offered largely in defense of calculatedly schizoid policy positions. Maine is purple, meaning it swings slightly liberal but retains a staunch conservative population. Collins couldn’t kill Obamacare in committee without losing her liberal and center-left supporters. By the same token, she couldn’t vote for its passage in December without sacrificing her conservative, center-right, and libertarian voters.  She perfectly played to her niche while appearing every inch the stateswoman– a ploy remindful of her mentor, Margaret Chase Smith–but don’t get us started on that!

Save the Independents!

OMG, don’t offend him–John, Mitt and Jeb need him to win!

But if John Thune’s meteoric rise in consequence of the Obamacare backlash typified the Republican “new wave,” his post-election trajectory is every bit as instructive–demonstrative as it is of the GOP’s stealth-like shift toward an essentially liberal weltanschauung that threatens to terminate its organizational relevancy. Awash in advisers, lobbyists, media personalities and pollsters–all products of the fading paradigm of Clinton-era political analytics –most GOP freshmen are drawn irresistibly toward the loadstone of RINO orthodoxy–an orthodoxy founded on a lapidescent faith in an all-powerful center, a center rendered electorally decisive by its most legendary denizens, the “Independents.” Republicans may one day apprehend that “Independents,” like Stalin’s “Kulaks,” are a manufactured class invented by propagandists to advance the cause of collectivism. For now, however, most Republican politicians believe that Independents constitute a massive voting bloc essential to their survival. Moreover, accepted wisdom maintains that should any constituent of this voting bloc be exposed at any time to any Republican emitting uncivil tones, advancing political views describable by the media as “extreme,” or discoursing in terms that invite the epithet “divisive,” said constituent will instantly experience a trauma of such proportions that he will immediately change his political affiliation to Democrat, reconfigure his every belief and ideal to exactly mirror progressive values, and uncompromisingly vote the straight Democrat ticket for at least the remainder of the 21st century.

No Independents were offended in the manufacture of this disaster!

Thus persuaded, Republican keepers of the flame confront all incoming bearers of Tea-Party doctrine with the remedial gospel, patiently illuminating the harsh realities of governance. Newcomers are enjoined to set aside the misguided ideals of the unlettered bumpkins who elected them, embracing instead the pragmatic prescriptions of the cognoscenti—the beholders of the ‘big picture’– and always for the good of the Party.  The results are almost always calamitous, but groupthink squelches any impulse to examine matters empirically. Instead, survivors remain fixated on the weary, pre-Internet dogma sacred to the high priests of the GOP’s consulting caste. Without any apparent thought given the illogic of retaining serial blunderers at obscenely extravagant rates, Republicans continue to pass these “experts” from campaign to campaign like drunken conventioneers exchanging call girls–except that call girls are expected to perform.

Profiles in Caution

Get it?

Thune won election against Daschle with the full faith and support of the state’s conservatives, prompting University of South Dakota political scientist Bill Richardson to remark “…Thune supporters went to the polls in large numbers, part of a massive South Dakota turnout. Unofficial results show nearly 80 percent of registered voters cast ballots.” Clearly, Thune had energized his base and then some–but the fact seemed lost on him; he no sooner set foot in D.C. than he tacked toward the center and went on to endorse John McCain early in 2008, as well as Romney in early 2012, despite a rich availability of authentically conservative options.  Thune and many other erstwhile tea-partiers seemed oblivious of George Will’s timely observation that “Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the tea party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming.” Profile in Caution, get it? Romney, of course, fought his own cautiously inoffensive, painstakingly bland campaign, and got slaughtered on election day. If his campaign proved anything, it was the irrelevance of coaxing brigades of phantom Independents to the polls while armies of conservatives stay home.

“Crush them everywhere!”

Uh-oh! Mitch has his crushin’ face on!

What motivates a politician to betray his supporters and take up the cause of the entrenched swamp creatures he was elected to oppose? One can ponder the question a long time without suspecting principle! One might also ponder an additional conundrum: Why do these side-wise relocations occur exclusively–all right, almost exclusively– among Republicans? Simple: Republican shapeshifting is more obvious because the betrayals are more egregious, more visible, and wildly applauded.  Media and monied interests are nowadays leftwing franchises. The myth of the fat cat Republican endures because the media (including the entertainment industry) polish it like a prized chestnut, but power and government learned long ago to connive to their mutual advantage–and this creates a sociopolitical loadstone irresistible to GOP weaklings and opportunists.

From “Romney’s our next president” in 2012, to “Trump will never be president” in 2016, Carl Rove seems to be slightly off the beam.

The hidden disadvantage for Republicans is the absence of a  voting base supportive of their creep toward bigger government, higher taxation, dumber education, socialized healthcare, climate panic, and borderless globalism–so they have to dissemble their intentions, preaching conservative values on the stump only to wax cosmopolitan once in office.  It was during the primaries of 2014 that Mitch McConnell promised that Republican “insurgents would be destroyed,” saying of Tea Party nominees around the country, “I think we are going to crush them everywhere.” The allure of elitism is powerful, but it comes with risk. The Tom Daschle lesson is liable to be repeated until it sinks in. No matter what additional reactions to the election of Donald Trump one may profess, no reasonable observer can deny the monumental failure of the political establishment to sway the election, gain traction during the election, or correctly predict its outcome.  A review of hundreds upon hundreds of knowledgeable prognosticators–stretching from the febrile Left to the squishy, Bushite center (think Karl Rove)—reveals absolute uniformity on the point that Trump’s presidential bid, besides scaring off all the Independents, was conceptually risible, tactically absurd, politically naïve, and ultimately doomed.  These unequivocal assurances ceased only when the vote was tabulated, and the resultant sociopolitical shockwave left the prognosticators too stupefied for words…at least briefly.

The hardest working people…

Rested and ready for 2020!

Democrats on the other hand, with the pitiable exception of Hillary Clinton herself, were quick to comprehend the level of disaster, and react in strict accordance with the Pinky Principle. They may be said (by the self-same doyens who declared Clinton’s presidency inevitable), to be solidifying their base, and that is certainly one way to describe their frenzied exertions—but another way is to applaud the proficiency with which the majority of Democrats are energetically seducing the Peanut Gallery.  Calling Trump hyperbolic names, worrying about how many scoops of ice cream he prefers, fretting with studied sincerity over what racist cryptograph might be embedded in a tweeted typo, hallucinating Russian saboteurs at every voting box, embracing every outburst of fake news until the item’s blatant artificiality mandates switching to some fresher eruption of similar flapdoodle, yammering for impeachment on grounds too flimsy to merit rebutting, and all the while updating the faithful on Republican schemes to kill old people, starve poor people, and lynch black people–this is the liberal Pinky dance, and performed with crazed freneticism it still enthralls its target demographic.  In the true Pinky spirit, the messengers are compensating for puerility with sheer enthusiasm, and to paraphrase Time magazine, they are, indeed, the hardest working people in politics.

Two Peanut Galleries?

We were actually going to vote for John Edwards because we thought he could talk to dead people and get advice from Jefferson and Lincoln. Turns out that’s a different John.

As John Edwards might say–had his own career not concluded on a sour, not to say disgustingly profane note: “There are two Peanut Galleries!” One seemingly responds to the Democrat message no matter how absurdly restructured or spun. (Imagine the inconceivability, only five years ago, of anti-Russian liberals!) But even the dullest constituent, repeatedly promised that Republican policies are about to kill him, will sooner or later regard as suspicious the fact that he isn’t dead.  So, why not add the Republicans?  Why not bring in the likes of Mitt and Jeb, McCain, and Flake, ad together denounce everyone from Donald Trump to Rand Paul as deviants so far outside the rational mainstream as to repulse sensible, open-minded people worldwide?  Because this fiction predominates monopolistically inside the beltway, the GOP remains colossally inept at forming a cohesive–even a coherent–identity. The CURS (Conservatives Until Reelected) may retain the helm in both houses of congress, but so long as they occupy themselves grumbling, balking, bickering, and fumbling everything from repealing Obamacare to securing our borders in the hope that Trump, whose presidency they proclaim an embarrassment, will take the rap–the cause of progressivism is served…and the Peanut Gallery–the one, true Peanut Gallery– is satisfied.

One gallery to ruin them all!

The illusion of two peanut galleries ramifies from the jarringly different optics distinguishing Democrat juvenescence from its Republican counterpart. One explanation seems to exist for both galleries: The media. The academy certainly deserves honorable mention, but since even its most clamorous inanities cannot take purchase unless also propounded under the guise of journalism, media calls the tune. For Democrats, the tune is familiar.  Liberalism was long ago sucked into the casuistry and babble that unite contemporary journalism and post-Vietnam progressivism, while Republicans are comparative novices, awkwardly hunting for seats at the table–earnestly seeking validation while clumsily shuffling leftward.  Ceaselessly propagandized to avoid their own principles in the name of pragmatism and the spirit of outreach, Republicans grow exasperated with voters too dense to grasp the “big picture” or applaud their sophistication as they slither toward liberalism.  Surely, they tell one another, if the weekend political programs, the major dailies, the most frequently quoted websites, and the cream of the entertainment industry can unite in praising their courage and statesmanship, the morons back home will fall in line. But while Democrats flourish among dunderheads, Republicans find themselves stranded amidst a host of newfound acquaintances who smile reassuringly, but whose mock approbation will never win them a general election or raise a dollar that isn’t tethered to some radical plutocrat’s agenda.

Democrats don’t have to leave home to make their point. The GOP, on the other hand, fields a team of wannabe moderates that never enjoys a home advantage, always plays on the opposition’s turf, and barely speaks the local language. Add to this the fact that Republicans are forever “crossing the aisle” in pursuit of the unachievable, and it becomes obvious that Republicans are the bigger fools.  They could hold to principle and retain the loyalty of their base, but choose instead to curry favor from adversaries who could never reward them with an election win even if they wanted to, because offered a choice between real liberals and Republicans struggling to resemble liberals, liberals will invariably vote for real liberals while conservatives will abandon GOP apostates. As David Lee Roth might remark, it’s not rocket surgery.

“There is only one peanut gallery!”

When Republicans stick to the grassroots, they niche market intelligently, and build their base on solid, expandable ground. No peanut galleries are involved. When they drift to port because the party leadership and its in-house assemblage of “expert” consultants decrees doing so the only means of appeasing Independents while obviating the wrath of the media, they place themselves in immediately untenable circumstances, drastically reducing their odds of winning general elections and ensuring that in the unlikely event of victory, they are hobbled by commitments running contrary to the very principles that drove them to enter politics as Republicans.  When both sides of the aisle are consistently drawn toward a single source, and consistently praised or castigated by a single, media-driven audience of ill-informed enthusiasts, it is time to paraphrase William Peter Blatty’s fictional priest, Father Lankester Merrin, and insist, “There is only one peanut gallery!”

Flaking out

Will Republicans wise up? There are, WOOF is pleased to observe, increasing signs that a few GOP office holders recognize that ruination awaits those who rebuff their niche, or wrongly discern it.  One powerful example is Jeff Flake, an exemplary Tea Party hero turned RINO, or CUR, as we prefer to say at WOOF, (Conservative Until Re-elected).  Flake rose to power on a tidal wave of tea-party support but, like John Thune, quickly forsook his roots for the Old Boys’ Club. Accordingly, his politics shifted  center-left, earning him the admiration of the senate’s RINO leadership. He assured himself of media veneration in 2013 by joining the bi-partisan “Gang of Eight,” fighting for immigration reform, by which was meant amnesty for illegal aliens and open borders, and announcing “I’m a globalist.” His perfidies  earned him every accolade the leftist establishment could bestow, plus a huge fundraising dinner to ensure his re-election hosted by his fellow gang-of-eight turncoat, Marco Rubio. but Flake failed to consider the Daschle factor. Like most RINOs, he was mired in the superannuated belief that if the media love you, America will too–the very mindset that Hillary’s loss to Trump shook so violently that its adherents were plunged into fits of cognitive dissonance from which many have yet to emerge. Thus, having done everything necessary according to the prevailing wisdom to solidify his Senatorial image and insure his political permanence, Flake awoke to discover his approval rating had plunged to an abysmal 18 percent in his home state.

“Uh-oh! …I think this situation calls for a crisis of conscience!”

The conscience of a globalist…

The new president, whom all of Flake’s staunchest allies and overpaid advisers assured him would never be elected, was a boorish lout whose ignorance of the gentlemen’s club rules (by which all Republicans–if only Republicans–are expected to play) led him to make public mention of the fact that Flake was “weak on borders and crime.” And somehow, Keli Ward, a constitution-thumping conservative of the unequivocal variety, was poised to slaughter him in the primary…and she didn’t even have Marco Rubio’s endorsement!  Confronted with all of this, it might be supposed that Flake experienced a road-to-Damascus moment, but no.  So reliant do most RINOs become on the opiate of establishment adulation (the cheers from the peanut gallery) that even once its charm proves illusory, they persist in preferring  it to reality. Like Romney and McCain before him, Flake doubled down on the delusion, seeking greater infusions of establishment approval by adding pietism to his repertoire of insincerities.

Dr. Keli Ward

Plainly confronting a humiliating defeat should he pursue reelection, Flake affected to seize the moral high ground. In a farewell speech on the senate floor, he dissembled his withdrawal from the Arizona primary as an act of moral courage. His first line was the funniest.  Despite the manifest disgust with which Arizonans viewed his serial betrayals, and despite his popularity by then in single digits, and despite the fact that any bright 8-year-old could review these brutal indicators and accurately conclude that Flake could no more be re-elected in Arizona  than levitate, the Senator managed to straight-facedly intone: “There are times we must risk our careers. Now is such a time.”

Without mentioning Trump by name, Flake alluded to dark forces in high position…forces threatening to turn Americans into a “fearful, backward-looking people” and the GOP into a “fearful, backward- looking party.” At one point the performance threatened to lurch into honest self-appraisal as Flake declaimed, “A political career does not mean much if we are complicit in undermining these values,” but this transpired to refer to the norms and values that Trump was “undermining” with his “Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior.” And in this manner Jeff Flake managed to disguise what amounted to a concession speech as an act of valor.

Basking in the approval of the mainstream media and leading Democrats–what could possibly go wrong? 

Similarly, House Majority Leader Paul Ryan, who besmirched the Gadsden colors time and again after waving them aloft during his election campaigns, will seek other employment at the end of his current term. Mr. Ryan has not, thus far, attempted to portray his calculated withdrawal from an untennable political situation as an act of moral courage, but there is plenty of time yet.

And Romney, currently seeking the nomination for Senate in Utah, set the standard for cravenness when, after losing the nomination in 2008, and losing the election in 2012,  he gave his studiedly-principled stop-Trump speech, arguing that decency demanded blandness and decorum in the face of cultural collapse and pandemic institutional corruption, thus Trump was unelectable.  Americans ignored him, but the media and political elites waxed lyrical in praise of his pluck. Will this help Romney’s campaign for Senate in very-Mormon Utah? Already he’s been hit with well-financed attack ads reminding Republicans he’s “a darling of the D.C. establishment” and branding him “flip-flopper Mitt,” which connotes an exactness offsetting any lack of sparkle. The ads, which support underdog Larry Meyers for the nomination, may not prove sufficient to disable Romney’s campaign, or they may–but challenging Romney with assertions that he “isn’t conservative enough” almost qualifies as understatement.

“Mister right hand, say hello to mister left hand! Mister left hand…”

“Do it again, Pinky!” (A cautionary addendum)

It is difficult to witness the sanctimonious histrionics of Flake or Thune or the doubleminded antics of Ryan or McConnell, or endure the post-presidential maunderings of Herbert and “W” Bush, without marveling at the utter absence of tactical sagacity. Less gimlet observers might understandably pronounce themselves baffled by so much ill-considered sermonizing, rendered with such solemnity–always such solemnity. What possesses these characters to defile themselves publicly in the fashion of Dick Durbin or Harry Reid? Can they not taste the unctuousness on their lips? How does Mitt, for instance, deliver a declaration of conscience against Trump during the nominative process and then, following Trump’s election, make not one, but two trips to Washington in hopes of ingratiating himself sufficiently to secure a cabinet position, and having failed in his exertions, resume inveighing self-righteously against the man he begged to work for, all without blushing? Readers may be shocked to learn we don’t pretend to know.  We cannot divine the secrets of Mitt Romney’s soul–we can only explain the macro-systemic forces that encourage his antics.

Fustian from the Left is encouraged identically, but the Left has the advantage of ranting to the faithful while affronting only the opposition. Republicans, in contrast, estrange the faithful in order to rally the same gallery–the crowd  that otherwise raves over Adam Schiff and Chuck Schumer. There’s a reason, after all, that Schumer cannot deliver a public address without sounding like a 3rd grade teacher patronizing a classroom of 7-year-olds.  It’s less condescension, really, than a realistic appraisal of his audience; but Republicans who “cross the aisle” to bask in Schumer’s approbation never evince a similar awareness. Unlike Democrats, Republicans must abandon principle for media applause–they cross a line immediately. When this occurs, the dazzle of huzzahs and bravos from the establishment may anesthetize the pain of self-mutilation, but sooner or later every newly liberalized Republican trips over his own entrails…and the  crowd goes wild.

Jerry Ford’s pratfalls were legendary, but at least they connoted authenticity. 

In 1955, while cavorting frantically on camera to the unbridled delight of his screaming fans, Pinky Lee collapsed.  His director and cameraman assumed he was ad libbing and kept the lens on him as he writhed for an additional ten seconds or so before going limp. Suddenly aware that something was horribly amiss, the cameraman panned to the audience, and thus Pinky Lee’s final performance ended with a lengthy pan of the pre-adolescent peanut gallery cheering enthusiastically, applauding, and demanding “Do it again Pinky! Do it again!” But the hardest working man in show business had no more to give.

 

 

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