Posted tagged ‘Palin’

The Stupidity of Sarah Palin, Part 32,459

May 29, 2010

So Joe McGinnis (The Selling of the President; Fatal Vision; Going to Extremes) has moved next door to Sarah Palin (“You betcha!”; “In what respect, Charlie?”; “All of them.”). And Palin’s first, instinctive, most characteristic response has been to leeringly imply the author’s temptation to pedophilia, to send hubby over to act (in McGinnis’ words) “increasingly hostile,” and then to complain as though she is being ill-used.

Note, as we still (somewhat exhaustedly) say, the irony: Palin, who shleps her children from coast to coast to display them to her slavering public like what’s-his-name in The Dead Zone brandishing a toddler as a human shield, is suddenly protective of their privacy. Palin, who quit the only job she’d ever had that might have given her credibility as a national political figure, in order to dance the Tea Party hootchie-cootchie on saloon tables and trade association daises across the land (for money), is now bitching about her privacy. Palin, a good Christian woman whose religious tenets literally include the admonition to “love thy neighbor,” sends hubby over to crack his knuckles menacingly.

All of this, plus radio frother Mark Levin announcing McGinnis’s email address, prompting 5,000 of Sarah’s Sheeple to swamp the author’s account–it’s all great/appalling theater, yes. But what’s really striking is not the hypocrisy. People like Sarah Palin live in hypocrisy like a fish lives in water; it’s the essential element of their survival, without which life itself is unimaginable.

No, the really noteworthy thing is (as we also exhaustedly say) the stupidity, stupid.

Anyone who has read a minimum number of spy novels or seen a basic survey course’s syllabus of thrillers knows that you can do one of two things when you realize your office has been bugged, your transmissions are being monitored, or your computer has been hacked. You can tear out the bugs and cease the transmissions. This will, of course, inform your adversary that you’re wise to his snooping, prompting him, presumably, to quit.

And that’s how the Palins have responded–by suggesting that somehow they’re being spied upon and revealing to the “spy” that they know what, supposedly, he is up to. It’s the obvious, emotional, impulsive, and childish way to react, and it may have been too much to expect Palin, who like all cult figures alternates between preening grandiosity and indignant claims of victimization, to do otherwise.

But there’s a better way, and it doesn’t take a tactical genius to realize it. You leave the bugs and mics in place and exploit the situation for your own advantage. You–and this may be a step too sophisticated for McGinnis’s neighbors–pretend that all is well. You then proceed to spread disinformation, deceit, lies, mis-directions, and all manner of false “intel,” knowing full well that they’re listening and taking it seriously at the other end.

That’s what Sarah Palin should have done, if she had been a sharp operator instead of a knee-jerk demagogue. She’d not only have hand-delivered a plate of cookies to McGinnis herself, she’d have graciously welcomed him to the neighborhood and wished him good luck in his journalistic endeavors.

And then she’d have made sure he witnessed what she wanted him to witness: Sarah, not as avaricious provincial ignoramus-grifter, but as caring mom. Tod, not as snow-machining bodyguard who once joined a club dedicated to Alaska’s secession from the union, but as super dad. The kids as happy, courteous little ladies and gentlemen. The dog (assuming there is one) as well-trained and fluent in three languages. The garden as a model of horticultural accomplishment and embodying a deep, deep love of “the land.” And everyone, God bless us, everyone skilled in the baking of cookies.

That, and all the rest of the phony-baloney bullshit you want someone to see who’s writing a book about you.

But we are talking, here, about the same woman who didn’t have the wit to tell Katie Couric, “What newspapers and magazines do I read? Oh, fuck, Katie, I read the New York Times and the local Alaska papers, okay?” So instead McGinnis gets, and we get to watch, Sarah the Nasty. “By being here, I have learned things,” McGinnis told the Washington Post. “And I’ve gotten an insight into her character, into her ability to incite hatred, that before I only knew about in the abstract.”

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, Joe.

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Steele Crazy After All This Year

February 8, 2009

First they came for me, because I had made fun of Sarah Palin. And they said, “Well, yeah, she’s a congenital liar who can’t give a coherent answer to a simple question even with the aid of a TelePrompter and a ventriloquist–but she’s not representative of the new era of Republican leadership.”

And then I said, “Oh, yeah? Well, how about Michael Steele, the new GOP chairman, who believes that ‘work’ for the government isn’t ‘a job’ (even though it rewards labor with wages, which are spent by the worker on food, clothing, shelter, and health, which payments go back out into the private economy and provide income for fooders, clothers, shelterers, and healthers), plus this clown Steele says that, while government contracts are temporary, private sector jobs (for some magical reason) aren’t.”

And they said, “Oh, yeah? Well who is more likely to pay taxes: a private business owner, or the government?”

And I said, “Oh, yeah? Well who is more likely to be in business a year from now: most new private business owners, or the government?”

And they said, “Shut up.”

Then they came for me because I reminded them that this Michael Steele, who proves you don’t have to be a rich white man to be an idiot Republican, said, “a job is something a business-owner creates, it’s going to be long-term,” but when told that private sector jobs have disappeared in the millions, replied “But they come back, though, George. That’s the point. They’ve gone away before, but they come back!” (Exclamation point added.)

And they said, “What’s wrong with coming back? Jesus is going to come back. And when he does he’ll be a small business owner, a one-(Son of) Man entrepreneur employing himself as Messiah looking to grow his business and thrive the economy and flourish the righteous.”

So I said, “Okay, but wait. That’s when the private sector jobs are going to come back? With the Second Coming, as thoroughly described in a highly amusing manner here? What if he never comes? And even if he does, eventually, what if The American People can’t wait that long?”

And they said, “He’ll come. He has to come, and he’ll bring those jobs back with him. This is a Judeo-Christian nation. The Founding Fathers were all Judeo-Christians and the Founding Mothers were all virgins before they were married. The American People will wait as long as the Republican Party tells them they have to.”

Watch Steele’s interview with George Stephanopoulos, from which one emerges as from a dream, with two questions:

1. What’s with George’s hair? Is he auditioning to be Treat Williams’ stand-in? (You Want: Kurt Russell. You’ll Take: Treat Williams. You Get: George Stephanopoulos.)

2. That’s it? That’s the wisdom of the new (and black!) leader of the GOP? Some yakkity-yak double-talk about “work” vs. “jobs,” and a plea–as though this were 1993–to eliminate rules which “have hindered and frustrated the banking process”? When everyone, from Judeos to Christians, agrees that the banking process hasn’t been hindered and frustrated enough, that it’s been the lack of rules (or of their enforcement) that led us to the edge of this economic cliff?

And then I asked them, “Hey. Where does Michael Steele think the Interstate Highway System, the TVA, NASA, and the beloved sex education film Where The Girls Are: VD in Southeast Asia came from? Didn’t the poor shmucks who built, engineered, key-gripped and associate-produced those projects have ‘jobs’?”

And they said, “Shut up” again and left me alone. For now.

We are witnessing, not so much the collapse of the Republican Party, as its slide into insanity. Granted, some (like my wife) believe it’s already collapsed. Now that the Democrats have stopped shooting themselves in their various feet, it’s the Republicans’ turn, and they’re going after all pedal extremities with every available sidearm–as exemplified by the appointment of Steele, for whom a chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sitting there, but chair is not a house, and a house is not a home, and “work” is not “a job.”

Collapse, or craziness? I have my personal opinion. For truly: What was the GOP’s great accomplishment last week, about which they openly admitted they felt good? A show of “unity” enough to block the first stimulus package. That’s what put a spring back in their step: obstructing a desperately-needed solution to a problem rooted in their political philosophy. “Yes, we helped cover your house with gasoline, and we paid private contractors to shoot flaming arrows at it, yes. But we don’t believe in Socialism, so we got the gang together–which wasn’t easy!–and had everyone stand in the street to keep the fire trucks away. Yay us! We feel good!”

There are now articles seriously discussing whether–or even why–Rush “America’s Favorite Saloon Loudmouth” Limbaugh is the most influential Republican gracing us with his wisdom (“I hope Obama fails”) here in Freedom’s land. Meanwhile, back at the turkey ranch, “a majority (55%) of Republicans and a plurality (46%) of unaffiliated voters think the GOP should follow Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the future.” (Cf., to your disbelief, here. )

What can that mean, apart from reading “all” newspapers, shoving $160,000 worth of couture into garbage bags, and looking to Joe The Plumber, whose name isn’t Joe and who isn’t a plumber, for advice? We don’t know. We can’t know. For all of our personal and political failings, we are still blessed with half a brain, ten percent of which we proudly use on a daily basis. We simply cannot conceive of what the world looks like to whomever is left still calling themselves a Republican.

Sadly, if hilariously, it may be that the usual modalities–psychoanalysis; pharmaceuticals; electro-convulsive therapy; imprisonment in the public stockade subject to shaming, shunning, and the throwing of vegetables–will prove to be of only partial efficacy. In the end, or by this Wednesday, the Republican Party may very well have become an out-and-out cult: self-fulfillingly isolated in its delusions; self-defeatingly exclusive in its narrow insistence on ideological purity; increasingly cut off from the most generous conceptions of reality; and swellingly fervid in its members’ imagined threats and grandiose in their fantasy accomplishments. Don’t believe me? Read their blogs. Can we bear to witness such a metamorphosis?

You bet. With popcorn. And when even Michael Steele is purged as not being krazee enough for the Sarah-Palinized party, and returns to government employment in the state of Maryland, we’ll have just one piece of advice for him: “Dude–enough with the work. Get a job.”

A Letter to John McCain from the Office of God

November 3, 2008

(NOTE: Once again, a sequence of words has appeared in my mind seemingly of their own accord, prompting me to conclude that, for second time, I have been selected by God (or, in this case, His assistant) to convey a message to someone here on Earth. I reproduce them below. E.W.)

Dear Senator McCain:

If it please you, the Lord (From Whom All Blessings Flow) conveys His most divine and sincere apology for not writing you Himself. He (Than Whom There is No Other God) is presently occupied with composing a Writ of Holy Judgment for Mr. George W. Bush, and is finding the task of adequately summing up the past eight terrestrial years to be, as He (To Whom All Praise is Due) puts it, “a challenge even unto My abilities, resources, and omniscience.”

As someone who has attempted to distance himself from the actions and positions of Mr. Bush, yea, even after two terms of all-but-complete fealty to his program and projects, you can, I am sure, appreciate the Lord’s dilemma. There is scarcely an aspect of American life, from the most purely abstract (such as the definition of words such as “torture” and “science”) to the most fundamentally concrete (the prosecution of war) that has not been directly influenced and affected by Mr. Bush and his administration. No wonder God (Blessed be He and Blessed be His Name) has His Right-Hand, as well as His Left-Hand, full.

Therefore He has asked me to “drop you a line” detailing some of the topics He intends to discuss with you after November 4, including certain aspects of your recent behavior that have deeply disturbed and concerned Him.

As others (such as, for example, Mr. Ellis Weiner, of whose mind and computer I have taken the liberty of availing myself for this communication) have said more eloquently than I, you have, over the past year, systematically rejected, betrayed, and turned your back upon every single principle for which you so famously and admirably stood during the past decade. An incomplete list of these violations would, alas, include the facts that:

– Having experienced torture firsthand and announced your opposition to its use, you nonetheless supported the Military Commissions Act, which granted the President the right and ability to decide, on his own, which of the Geneva Accords did and did not apply to the U.S. This, as you were well aware, tacitly enabled the C.I.A. to conduct “waterboarding” and God (BBHABBHN)-knows-what other torturous interrogation techniques.

– Having undergone the scurrilous smearing of yourself and your family during a previous election, you hired the very people who traduced you in order to visit the same treatment–which you previously denounced and deplored–upon your opponent.

– Having (properly) condemned right-wing religious blowhards and bigots, you came to court them openly and praise them unto their (vile, deceitful) face.

– Having said, over and over, that your “first criteria” for selecting a Vice-President was that he or she be able to “take your place” immediately as President, you then chose someone who a) cannot accurately define even what it is that a Vice-President does, b) believes that living “next door” to Russia gives her foreign policy experience, c) openly mocks intelligence and accomplishment as “elitist” and d) apparently imagines that we are currently at war with Iran.

You are, I am informed by the Supreme Authority Himself, not responsible for the things Sarah Palin says. Is not, in this respect, His mercy a thing of everlasting beauty? But you are, He bids me remind you, responsible for having chosen her, and defended her nonsensical utterances, and asserted that she “knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America.”

I myself can attest that, at this and similar absurd statements, the angels weep. (Most of them. The cherubim and the seraphim find this woman, and your defense of her, quite risible and laugh almost without cease.)

Meanwhile, the topic of Sarah Palin and the ultimate disposition of her soul remains, to the deep regret of God Himself (Glory unto Him in the Highest), unresolved. While He (in His Inexpressible Perfection) has communicated with her in this very forum, nonetheless He has, for reasons which surpasseth understanding, not heard back from her. Perhaps she believes she has once again been “punked.” To equate the jest of two Canadian wise-guys with the edict of the Almighty–O wicked daughter of Eve! But I exceed my authority here and will say no more on this matter.)

As noted above, the Lord (may His Name be Exalted and Blessed Forever and Ever) will make Himself available unto you as of or shortly after November 5, at which time He will be able to expand upon and render in greater detail His thoughts concerning the above-mentioned issues. There is no need to pray for an appointment. He will find you.

Finally, in closing, permit me to say that God (Who shall Reign Forever and Ever) and I managed to see your performance on Saturday Night Live this past weekend. You, if I may so express myself, “killed.”

Yours truly,

Uriel (Arch.)

Cc God
Jesus Christ

A Letter to Sarah Palin from God

October 31, 2008

NOTE: The following words occurred to me, seemingly out of nowhere, in the innermost recesses of the mind of my brain. I can only conclude that they came from God. I present them, therefore, not as a “writer” but as a medium, a messenger transmitting the divine text and converting it, as best I can, from a mode of pure thought into the publicly-accessible form of the written word. E.W.

Dear Sarah:

I would ask, “How are you, child?” but for two things. One, who knows better than I, Who Am That I Am, how you are? And two, my purpose in communicating with you here is not to ask how you are, but to tell you how you are.

You are a disappointment to Me, Sarah.

You seem to think, as do many of your co-religionists, that what you profess to believe–and, indeed, what you may actually in fact believe–is more important than what you do. You seem to be under the impression that advertising an ardent belief in Me (or Us, if you prefer) absolves you of any responsibility to act in accordance with what you know–or, at least, what you should know–constitute My values and precepts.

The list of your transgressions is extensive, and includes:

– That, while you know full well My admonition to Love Thy Neighbor, you spread calumny and derision about half of the population, presuming to declare who is and who is not “the real America.”

– That, while you are fully aware of My Commandment forbidding you to bear false witness, you utter lies and deceptions on a routine basis, verily, you seem unable to speak publicly without lying. You have lied about opposing the Bridge to Nowhere; you have lied about firing the librarian and police chief of Wasilla; you have lied about your previous statements regarding climate change; you have lied about Alaska’s contribution to your nation’s oil and gas production; you have lied about Barack Obama’s position regarding habeas corpus; you have lied about your use of a TelePrompter at the Republican convention; and in manifold other ways have you lied, and lied, and lied.

– That, while you are entirely acquainted with My intention to bestow upon Man dominion over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, yet you play fast and loose and get cute with, and otherwise wink at, the danger posed to all living creatures (including Man) by climate change; and you profess to be unsure as to whether these perils are caused by Man, while all reputable study affirms this analysis beyond dispute.

– That, while you are surely acquainted with My Son’s admonition that you “beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye,” yet you persist in criticizing Obama’s (modest, progressive) taxation plans as constituting “socialism,” and abjure it as an evil, whilst never acknowledging that your own Republican Party put in place laws that have resulted in the most egregiously “socialistic” takeover of the nation’s banks in history; moreover, your own state of Alaska–particularly under your administration–is the most socialist of all the fifty states, in its collective taxing of the oil industry and its distribution, to every man, woman, and child in the state, a check upwards of three (3) grand each year.

– That, while you proudly profess to believe in “freedom,” you have lately complained that if newspapers criticize you for “negative campaigning,” they are abridging your First Amendment rights under the Constitution–as though “freedom” means only your ability to say anything that enters in unto your head (regardless of how baseless or slanderous) but does not apply to the press.

Of the sheer stupidity of this last assertion I, Who Am Eternal, shall say nothing, for I love all my creations, regardless of how ignorant, unsophisticated, or just plain dumb. Similarly, I will pass over your inability to answer the simplest question in a coherent sentence, your meanness of spirit, and the great selfishness and want of taste you display in subjecting your poor children to the travails, exhaustion, and abuse of a national presidential campaign.

Rather, Sarah, it is your hypocrisy and mendaciousness that mightily offend Me. I am, as you know, a just and compassionate God. But even I (blessed be Me and blessed be My Name) have a limit to My patience. Thus, I find not only that you are unqualified to be Vice-President of the United States. I find that you are a human person deficient in those basic qualities (honesty, decency, compassion, modesty, personal integrity, a respect for knowledge, and a concern for truth) that are pleasing unto Me and which ought to constitute the character of the righteous woman.

You are not just a bad candidate. You are a bad person. I only hope you will awaken to this fact, acknowledge the error of your ways, and take steps to atone for these transgressions before the Day of Judgment, when I shall be forced to render a decision concerning your eternal fate.

Yours in Me, etc.,
God

cc. Jesus Christ

“McSame”? Try “McShame”

October 10, 2008

John McCain has created a monster. No, wait. Two. John McCain has created two monsters.

One, of course, is Sarah Palin. This cute ‘n’ sassy Alaskan cookie, this g-droppin’, moose-shootin’ regular gal, this soccer mom who talks like a teen (and whose teen will soon be a mom), this utterly fearless and thoroughly shameless liar who looks like a stripper playing a secretary and who, like many a confident ignoramus, talks to reporters as though they’re the idiots she thinks she’s putting one over on: Forget those big-boob hotties in bikinis menacingly wielding power tools on calendars in body shops. This is the pinup babe for American Fascism.

It’s all here, from the pious jerkwater Christianity that flaunts its ignorance and waits for applause, to the dimpling, sexy-winking speeches not only devoid of content but actively, preeningly demagogic. Poli-sci, acting, and psych majors are encouraged to monitor Palin’s stump appearances; it’s the closest they’ll ever get (if we’re lucky) to watching a natural demagogue at work live and in real time.

It may be too much to hope that national leaders bring out the best in us (although, with Obama, it threatens to be possible), but here is a woman who brings out the worst in people. The lies, the smears, the disingenuous innuendo and high school cafeteria sarcasm, the religion- and terrorism- and race-baiting: this is someone whom sane grownups would censure and condemn if she were running for president of the Student Council.

With Palin we encounter the purest example, in our lifetime, of a candidate whose mere presence on a national ticket demeans and pollutes the very process. To watch her being interviewed is to behold someone not only unwilling, but constitutionally unable, to give a lucid answer to a serious question. As a commenter on a different blog said, This is a woman who is incapable of passing a Turing test, let alone acting as a Vice-President.

(And you, Reader: You can give a clear answer to a question, can’t you? So can I. And, like me, you shouldn’t be Veep, let alone Prez, of the U.S.)

Palin may, for all we know, also be inherently unable to give an honest answer in addition to a comprehensible one. It’s one thing to lie, in the sense that “all politicians lie,” by saying they’re going to do X and then, when in office, not doing it. Palin’s lies have been those of the compulsive liar. She’s repeatedly lied about matters of fact, easily refuted via the public record and then, when they’ve been shown to be untrue, she’s kept reciting them.

Is it calculated or reflex? Is she evil, or merely crazy? We don’t know and, you can bet, the “patriot” who has inflicted her on us doesn’t know, either.

We have John “Country First” McCain to thank for Sarah Palin. Or, rather, we have the current, most recent, appallingly monstrous John McCain to thank. Because that’s the second monster he’s created: himself.

You youngsters don’t remember, but back in 2000 there were those Democrats who thought, “You know, that John McCain might not be such a bad feller. Not as egregious as your average Republican, not as self-evidently loathsome as your Gingriches or as transparently phony and mendacious as that what’s-his-name…Bush. Yessir, that McCain might have a future in some centrist post-Cold War Pax Americana…”

The rest was, and is, history. Now there is not one admirable principle that McCain used to espouse that he has not, systematically and thoroughly, betrayed. Not only has he thrown honor and honesty (nee “Straight Talk”) under the bus, he has halted the bus, flung its driver out onto the sidewalk, taken the wheel, and driven back and forth over them repeatedly until no CSI or SVU unit on television could tell you with any certainty what they once were.

To watch him in last week’s debate was to watch Homer Simpson cast–against his will–as Teddy Roosevelt, then pushed out in front of tv cameras and told to recite the talking points, as augmented with affirmation-like incantations meant to convince, if not the audience, then himself: “I know how to catch Bin Ladin. I know how to win wars. I know how to balance the budget.” And doggone it, people are going to vote for me.

The best thing you can say about McCain in that debate was that he refrained from actually calling Obama a terrorist then and there. God knows Palin would have done it if it were on the agenda. And she may yet; if their polls keep deteriorating, she may abandon the pretense of snarking about Obama’s acquaintances and go all the way. She’s on the brink of a success exactly consonant with her most fevered, narcissistic, dream-big, proudly “humble,” God-blessed beauty-contestant ambitions. Who knows what a provincial woman that politically vulgar is capable of if it seems about to slip away?

Palin, in all her sashaying disgracefulness, is not McCain’s creation; but she is his responsibility. And either he knows it, and still feels some residual shame in whatever small fragment of his soul still exists uncorrupted by his own ambition…or he doesn’t, and he’s as gone as she is. I don’t have a sense which it is. It might be the former, in fact; he might be secretly appalled by what he’s condoned and encouraged, but feel–understandably–that the whole juggernaut is out of his control and all he can do is hang on and hope, if not for the best, then the least bad.

Or does he perform small acts of penance in private? Does he rebuke La Palin behind the scenes? Does he care when her audiences yell “Terrorist!’ and “Kill him!” about his opponent? Hillary Clinton rightly took heat for invoking Bobby Kennedy’s murder in 1968; now we have Sassy Sarah prompting her worshipful thugs to shout for blood. Maybe, away from the glare and the cameras, John chides her as you would a “high-spirited” daughter.

No, you don’t think so and neither do I. Dig McCain’s shit-eating grin at the livid, content-free outburst of one citizen’s comment here ). McCain, this “hero,” has accomplished what many (including he himself) might have thought impossible: he has colluded in his own moral castration. Now he’s Sarah’s consort, happy to bask in the gamma rays of hate and rage she elicits by her mere presence on the podium. How long will it be before he refers to it as “the Palin-McCain ticket”? (Having already addressed the American people as “my fellow prisoners.”)

Of course, McCain might assuage his guilt with the thought that it’s all politics. And it is all politics–debased politics, the worst kind of politics, the politics of the mob, of Klan rallies and Triumph of the Will and “The Two Minutes’ Hate.”

Someone–one of his many “friends”–should tell McCain that it’s also the kind of politics you cannot foster and sustain and encourage (or even tacitly permit), and still hope to wake up the next morning with the same self-respect you had before it all started. Before, you tell yourself, you “had to” do certain things.

“Country First.” It sounds like a savings and loan. No wonder it felt right as a campaign slogan. McCain may turn out to be the thinking man’s–no, the fighting man’s–Bush, endlessly acting out his Oedipal grudge and forever compelled to screw things up, crashing planes, his reputation, his country. That’ll show the old man.

Free Levi Johnston

September 29, 2008

Get this:

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

NOW are we having fun yet? You bet. A shotgun wedding–it’s like a commercial for a breakfast cereal–with real shotguns! Only this time the biggest gun of all will be brandished, not, as is usually the case, by the outraged father of the bride as he drags her, in her knock-ed-up state of blushing pride and soul-baking embarrassment, down what passes for “the aisle,” no, this time it’ll be handled by the mother. Who is Governor of the sovereign state in which the nuptials are taking place in! And–no, seriously–is also the Republican candidate for Vice-President of the whole U.S. of god-damn A.

(While everyone thinks, “Wait–are we sure this is her first?” I know someone who squired Sarah Palin around for a day last March–one month before Trig’s delivery–who swears that woman was not pregnant. Well, “whatever.” Mary and Joseph had a controversial pregnancy, too, and look how that kid turned out.)

It’s not that “you can’t make this stuff up.” You can. But then your head would fall off. Now, however, you don’t have to run that risk. The Republican Party, with the straight face of the salesman lending you his pen to sign the purchase order for the world’s most horrible vacuum cleaner, has done it for you.

Mencken, thou shouldst be living at this hour. And you too, Twain. And, what the hell, all you guys and gals from ages past (Norman Mailer, Hunter Thompson, P.T. Barnum, Sinclair Lewis, Robert Altman, Sophie Tucker, Nathaniel West, Billy Wilder, John Dos Passos, etc.) who knew that America was (and still is, God damn it) that place of places where nothing is too brazen, nothing is too ludicrous or inane or mendacious or nakedly meretricious, that we can’t at least try it.

Deep-fried Twinkies? It’s what’s for dinner! Polygamous marriages to teenagers in “frontier” dresses? Where are they registered? Possible President who believes humans and dinosaurs existed–living, loving, making it work–at the same time, 4,000 years ago? Join me in welcoming her now. And if nobody told Sarah Palin that The Flintstones was fiction, whose fault is that? (Of course we can tell her now. But it’s too late. The damage is done. She’s a person of “faith” and her mind, to the extent that she has one, is made up.)

“America is a mistake,” Freud told Ernest Jones. “A gigantic mistake, it is true, but none the less a mistake.” But who cares? He was Freud! Didn’t he know that Freud is like totally over?

Besides, what’s wrong with bread and circuses? Everybody loves bread (except certain Jews during Passover–and–may we speak frankly?–if they don’t like it, they can go back to Russia). As for circuses, don’t be so literal. It’s politics; it’s “the culture wars;” it’s The Will to Power and the survival struggle of memes (you can’t spell “meme” without “Me! Me!”)…it’s what Preston Sturges (with uncharacteristic sentimentality) called “this cockeyed caravan,” yes, it’s Election Year Two Thousand And Fucking Eight: a Hieronymus Bosch triptych with computers.

Commenters on a blog I read talk about investing in popcorn futures–that’s how rollicking this whole election deal has become. John McCain, claiming to “suspend” a campaign which is in no way suspended, threatens to ignore one of only three national debates as he plops himself down at the table in the emergency conference meant to solve the most gigantic financial crisis of our lifetime, and then says nothing, gets up and leaves, attends the debate after all, and takes credit for the financial plan three days later. You say “that’s irresponsible”? I say, That’s Entertainment.

Meanwhile, what we are all laughingly calling “the Bush legacy” continues metastasizing. Two-front war on terrorism grinding into its sixth year? Check. Entire financial system on life-support because guys raking in 8-figure bonuses made a boo-boo? Check. Record deficits C.O.D. from the party of “prudence”? Gotcha. Stagnant-income-households paying for four-dollar gas? Done and done. Put-them-all-together, they spell: Let’s have a wedding!

Although first, let’s confirm paternity.

KATIE COURIC: Governor, if there were to be a public outcry for Bristol to take a DNA test, how would you respond?

SARAH PALIN: Like any good mahm, Katie. I would say, “Hey, Briss, let’s do this, and I’ll stay up all night helping you study if that’s what it takes.”

Which is to say, how do we know poor Levi Johnston (The Sexiest Chump Alive) is the real dad? Because the mother-to-be says so? Please. We may be idiots, but we weren’t born yesterday. Somebody do an amnio, or a papal nuncio, or a hi-def video, or whatever it is House’s team of ethnic geniuses and drop-dead gorgeous gals does, and let’s be certain. (Fun Fact: Olivia Wilde, who plays “13” or whatever her character’s name is on House, is the niece of ALEXANDER COCKBURN. Of Counterpunch! Could you die? I could. I did! I digress.) What if Levi isn’t The One?

Or, as someone wisely asked, “If McCain loses the election, can Levi get a divorce?”

(Memo to the lad: DON’T SIGN ANYTHING. Pre-nup schmee-nup. YOU’RE in the driver’s seat, d00d. Make ’em pay.)

But ain’t that America? Where the clever work for the unscrupulous to deceive the poor in the service of the rich.

And it’s not even October.

CORRECTION: An earlier draft of this said, wrongly, that Olivia Wilde is the daughter of Alexander Cockburn.  She is his niece.  Her father is Alexander Cockburn’s brother, Andrew.  I regret the error.

Every Day a Little Death: The Five Stages of Democratic Grief

September 21, 2008

1. Acceptance: Okay, fine. Whatever. They win. It’s inevitable, really. A complicated or qualified truth is never as arousing as a good hate-charged lie. It’s not that you can’t make people be intelligent; it’s that you can’t make people care about things they don’t care about. And half the country consists of people who don’t care about the truth.

Maybe it’s rooted in the universal denial of death: we all come equipped with a mechanism to ignore the unpleasantly true and embrace the preferable fantasy. In any case, half the country sees “hero” and “spunky mom” instead of “confused sellout desperately saying anything” and “lying, ambitious religious nut.” It doesn’t matter if it’s “fair.” It doesn’t matter if it’s “insane.” A machine dedicated to exploiting the worst in people will always triumph against a movement asking for the best in people. Meanwhile, since the wall you beat your head against is not going to go away, it’s up to you to stop, take your head with you, and walk away from the wall. I’m outa here.

2. Depression: Who am I kidding? This is a nightmare and the one thing you can’t do in a nightmare is “accept” it. What am I doing to do–leave the country? Ridiculous. Meanwhile, greed and vanity, using lies and fear, will once again manipulate ignorance and resentment. Biden’s decent-man’s sense of modesty and proportion is no match for the turbo-charged ego and effortless mendacity of Palin. The worst people in our public life will win again, and they’ll do it using a secret weapon that’s the most obvious weapon of all: their shamelessness. A hundred rabid sociopaths are salivating in anticipation of taking Rush Limbaugh’s place because that’s what America has become.

And so the “ordinary people” applaud for and collude in their own manipulation. And even if Obama ends up getting more votes, it’s futile to hope that he’ll really “win,” because the machines are rigged and the voter rolls are trashed. There’s nothing we can do about it and there’s no use in even trying. We want a society of justice, fairness, freedom, and common sense, and we’re doomed.

3. Bargaining: All right, look. Maybe it’s not all either/or. Say McCain wins. We’ve still got Congress. Yes, they’re spineless, ass-covering careerists who spend half their time selling their principles to raise money and the other half defending the system that requires them to do it–but even they have some pride. Maybe it won’t be so bad. McCain will surround himself with war mongers and thieves, but even Congress may have had enough of war and theft (and everyone will believe them if they say “we can’t afford it”). So the two branches battle each other to a standstill. Nothing good happens and nothing too terribly bad happens. Then he dies, Palin steps in, and in two months our national life is a cross between Seven Days in May and The Beverly Hillbillies. Couldn’t that be fun?

4. Anger: No. Bullshit. There can be no accommodating these complete and total imbeciles. That mob of credulous people, the teeming throng of decent, self-satisfied, naïve dodos who actually cheered that freak show in Minneapolis, the ones who chant “U.S.A.” as though rooting for a college football team, the “patriots” who think “patriotism” means voting for the guy who tells you that his opponent isn’t “patriotic,” the people who every day live in a fantasy world of made-up “heroes,” superstitious “faith,” self-contradicting “values,” invented “facts,” and proud, defiant obliviousness of history, human nature, science, and common sense: How stupid can people be?

“Well, I don’t really know Obama.” Guess what, Mrs. Sixpack? You don’t know your fucking spouse. You don’t know your fucking self. If you did–if, at the breakfast table, you had the tiniest capacity for honest introspection, and the basic grownup skepticism even you bring to the task of buying a used car–you’d see how you’ve been played. First by Bush and by Rove, and now by their successors. The contempt they have for you is obvious in everything they openly say to you. Giuliani, McCain, even the self-parodying Romney all deserve Emmys for staying in character and resisting the temptation to turn to each other, point to the crowd, and say, “Can you believe these suckers?”

Because that’s what you are: Dupes. Rubes. Marks. You deserve what you get. But we don’t. So, memo to Dems: Fuck it. It’s war. Call every lie a lie. Tell Palin it’s cute that she admits she has the brains of a pit bull but it’s not enough to qualify for the office. Shame McCain, over and over, for betraying literally everything he has ever stood for, and for inflicting that trailer-trash Rapture-ready mediocrity on the United States of America. Tell the morons that whoever tells you that someone else is an “elitist” is really telling you that you’re an idiot. Take off the gloves, then put them back on, then take them off in slow-motion and throw them in McCain’s face. Swift Boat his POW history. Criticize her adequacy as a mother. Ask him why sitting in a cell thirty years ago makes anyone qualified to lead the U.S. in the 21st century. Ask her if she believes in the Rapture and who she thinks will qualify. Ask her if she knows what the Fed does. Ask him if he knows what a server farm is. Are we men, or we moose? Do it.

5. Denial: Calm down. It can’t be as bad as I think. The world doesn’t really work that way. There are too many intelligent, fair-minded people to allow this grotesque possibility to come to pass. Bush in 2000, Bush in 2004: an affront, a crime, yes, but it’s understandable that it was close enough to steal. But this? This fumfering old moral has-been, who no longer knows what he believes, and his provincial beauty pageant runner-up who thinks gall is the same thing as intelligence? People can’t, when all is said and done, be that stupid. Some, yes. But not all, and not most. And the voting machine problem, the vote caging, all that? People are aware of it and dealing with it. It’ll be okay. I really believe that.

(Repeat from #1)