But what's dangerously myopic about going ballistic as Gibbs did in his statements is that just 10 years ago we had a little event in which only a tiny portion of the base went with a third party bid from the left --- and the consequences were catastrophic. Democrats, of all people, should remember that every vote matters.Dangerously myopic! Terrifyingly farsighted! Horrifically astigmatic! Every vote! Thanksralph!
What the events of the last ten years have demonstrated is that a drawly Southern Republican and a clipped Northern Democrat will substantively govern in the same manner, engage the same means, and pursue the same ends. If Barack Obama, a man with a modest-yet-demonstrable history as something resembling a liberal, embraces aggressive war, the surveillance state, and the necessary eradication of social security, how the hell do they imagine that Al Gore, one of the most conservative and staunchly pro-military Democrats in the modern history of the party would've governed? You think one of the architects of the decade-long collective punishment of Iraq and America's official policy of "regime change" would've overlooked the opportunities of nineleven? Because . . . because in the alternate future history in which we're living the Norse Dynamite Commission gave him a Best-in-Show award? They gave that shit to Obama, too. I'll say this, for Al. At least he resisted the temptation to address the dignitaries from atop that monstrous pile of Afghan skulls and weeping Pakistani women.
By the way, the natural counterpart to thanksralphery is wouldyouprefermccaineration. The implication, apparently, is that in place of the blood-drinking crocodilian overlord we got, we could've gotten one who was also snippy . . . and old! How crazy would he have been? Whew, really dodged the bullet! I am increasingly convinced that this alternative isn't merely counterfactual, but wildly so. Now, you can argue that Barack Obama won the election because people were tired of Gee-dub, or because Obama ran a masterful political campaign, or simply because the economy crashed at exactly the right moment, but the reality is that Obama won because the system whereby American political parties select their candidates is weird and the Republicans ended up with McCain, a truly lousy contestant, a lurching, senescent grouch with a whiny voice and shaky hands who selected as a running mate a pneumatic PTA chief whose hee-haw antics offended the professional class. He never had a chance. If, on the other hand, the Republican party had produced a reasonable establishment candidate--let's call this hypothetical character Ritt Momney--with good hair, a ready smile, and a program of technocratically plausible, bureaucratically feasible empty promises, and if that grinning Gorgon had picked as a partner some sort of reassuringly homey, vaguely Christian backslapper--let's call him, oh, I don't know, Huck Mikeabee--then that candidate very well might've beaten back the challenge of the guy with the funny name, the windy style of speechifying, and the poor debating skills. And Ritt Momney, well, a guy like that, presumably, would've done, uh, what now? Would've largely continued the policies of his predecessor, even as he deplored certain rhetorical excesses and sought a more competently business-like demeanor to paste over the operations of the empire? Sounds familiar, nay?
The "activist base" . . . oy, you've got to love this self-conception: the scurrying loyalists of a top-down factional hierarchy perceiving themselves as engaged in activism, like the catering staff considering themselves titans of industry because they lay out the water bottles before a meeting of the board of directors. The "activist base" persists in believing that The Obama is An Historic Candidate who was handed An Historic Moment and is in the process of squandering it, when plainly Obama is a very ordinary administrator at a fairly ordinary moment doing an entirely ordinary job. Empires get embroiled in simmering conflicts in the provinces. Recessions happen. The imperatives and inertia of the empire are larger than the current emperor. He'll probably get drummed out after this term, and the next guy will probably benefit from a modest economic recovery that will ensure him eight years, even if he's got bad table manners. You heard it hear first. The motto of this blog bears repeating: plus ça change, motherfuckers.