Saturday, January 19, 2008

Charles Pierce

No, not this one. This one, the guy who takes over on occasion for Eric Alterman over at the latter's "Altercation" blog. In particular, the following snippet, which made me laugh:
Part The Third: Come a cold morning a year from now, some pundit is going to come on my electric television set to explain how the inauguration of a Democrat as president of the United States is the best thing that ever happened to Rudy Giuliani's campaign.

There is a reason this is funny. Back on the night of the New Hampshire primary, Atrios penned a parody of mainstream press somehow turning a horrid loss by Giuliani into a clever strategic victory. Then - Howard Fineman actually said it! You have to keep up with these things if you want to understand how stupid our pundits are, and how empty our discourse is of anything substantive. Pierce's prediction is no doubt true; I made a similar prediction, viz., a Democratic victory will be questioned on the merits of something trivial and stupid, and a growing narrative will develop about the already-wounded President-elect. Pierce's take is only different in emphasis and detail. It says, in essence, the same thing - our press corps is ridiculous.

There is one thing I would like to take issue with - the on-going narrative concerning Sen. Hillary Clinton's "calculating" nature:
The Clintons appear to have forgotten that, when Bill got his ass impeached for being a priapic idiot, a lot of Democrats supported him because the alternative was utterly unthinkable. Now, it seems to be fast dawning upon them -- and particularly upon Clinton pere -- that there are a number of Democrats who either a) are too young to remember the golden era that was the 1990s, or b) are old enough to remember them all too well as the years of an overly punitive welfare-reform bill, the Defense Of Marriage Act, the several dozen new federal death penalty offenses, and those elements of the Patriot Act that had their birth during the Clinton administration, particularly in the 1996 Antiterrorism act. This seems to be causing the Clinton campaign no little consternation, since it can be assumed that Senator Clinton signed on to the Iraq war out of a similar level of political calculation. Unfortunately for him and her, we now have a Democratic primary electorate that sees such calculation as unseemly at one end and as cowardly at the other. The Clintons are unable at this point to triangulate the circle. Meanwhile, Bill's losing his sh*t to reporters and Hill's resorting to cheapjack electioneering that's getting laughed out of the federal courts. And, it should be noted, that the born-again non-triangulator who was Bill's vice president was right about the war, loudly and publicly, and he was ridiculed for it while Senator Clinton was still working with the protractor trying to fashion a position whereby she could argue that she wasn't really handing the armed forces over to the whims of feckless vandals. The day is past, I think.

There is much asserted here that is only speculation - on the motives for Sen. Clinton's vote for the AUMF, on her general tendency towards using a "protractor", etc. It doesn't seem to occur to people that Sen. Clinton may have had many reasons for acting the way she did, and some of them may have been based in deep convictions, and a sense of necessity for acting in the moment. That her convictions are not the same as many on the left does make them not convictions. It does not make them mere calculations by a hyper-ambitious woman out to win at all costs. It makes them her convictions. I don't like liberals and progressives imposing (right-wing) narratives on politicians any more than I like conservatives or mainstream folks doing it.

Having said that, go and read the little piece.

One more thing. We should all hoist flags in support of that wonderful, all-American city that George Bush and the Republicans tried to kill. It is the birthplace of jazz, of a form of the blues, of Louis Armstrong, of Dr. John, of the Meters and The Neville Brothers. It is no longer the home to tens of thousands who were turned in to refugees from this most American of cities by the deliberate indifference of a political class and party that saw political profit in depopulating a city of its lower-middle, working, and underclasses (the very heart of the music I love so much).

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More