“This damned burg’s getting me. If I don’t get away soon I’ll be going blood-simple like the natives.”
– The Continental OP Red Harvest Dashiell Hammett
It was last September, two months before Nancy Pelosi was blessedly silenced as House Speaker. Senator Jim Webb met President Barack Obama. They ended up talking healthcare reform. Senator Webb felt concerned. President “This time they’ve got me” was not perturbed in the slightest. Perhaps his mentality mirrored what Rock Guitarist Joe Satriani meant when he entitled one of his albums “Flying in a Blue Dream.”
I’ve been warning them,” Webb says, sighing, resting his chin on his hand. “I’ve been having discussions with our leadership ever since I’ve been up here. I decided to run as a Democrat because I happen to strongly believe in Jeffersonian democracy. There needs to be one party that very clearly represents the interests of working people … I’m very concerned about the transactional nature of the Democratic Party. Its evolved too strongly into interest groups rather than representing working people, including small business people.”
Senator Webb (HT: Real Clear Politics)
When Hammett’s Continental Op spoke of “Poisonville” getting to him, he meant that he was in an enclosed bubble and that the lack of contact with anyone not like the various dirt-bags and miscreants he met in this city was making him a worse human being. When he spoke of “going blood simple like the natives” he meant that he was developing their state of mind. The term “blood simple” implied that this state of mind wasn’t prone to lead to new Theories of Special Relativity. The Continental Op character wanted out of “Poisonville” so that he could become more normal again.
Political parties and their leaders often can grow “blood simple” in their own right if they remain in perpetual immersion within their own boosters and backers. President Barack Obama’s refusal to accept that his policies and beliefs had led to the opposite of an alchemical transubstantiation on the American Electorate between 2008 and 2010 comes immediately to mind. If he just moves his lips slow-ly enough, even the most hard-shelled bitter-clinger will want more ObamaCare. He just has to explain it more clearly to the silly Americans.
Victor Davis Hanson, long an Obama critic, observed the Presidential Speech on Wednesday and came away with the following sense.
“He still just cannot admit that his radical policies and their effects on the economy are the cause of his devastating political rebuke,” wrote the historian Victor Davis Hanson.
Davis-Hanson is not a man easily persuadable to supporting President Obama’s re-election. Not many people like that appear weekly in national Review Online. If this were one opinion, dismissal out of hand would almost seem a reasonable course of action. It also wouldn’t be too audacious a critique to suggest Barack Obama has a very personal stake in this and may be too close-in to take a bigger picture focus on what happened last week.
The same could fairly describe Nancy Pelosi, as she prepares to campaign for House Minority Leader with no reference to her own political culpability in The Democratic Party’s recreation of the Roman Army’s own-goal at The Cannae. The fact that the GOP has more Congressional Representatives in The House than Newt Gingrich had in 1994 doesn’t ping her antennae. She lives in a world oblivious to contrary information.
It’s at this point, that the activist base of the Democratic Party, the ones who blog, man polling stations and walk precincts, would provide a condign cold water bath to the Laudanum-steeped leadership of their political movement. If James Howard Kuntsler offers us any indication, they’ve all imbibed of similar wormwood spirits. Kuntsler blogged briefly on Tuesday’s results.
I hope everybody enjoyed the election. Since it was devoid of useful ideas, we can surely look forward to a couple of years of mindless partisan scrimmaging. In the meantime, entropy will work its magic in our economy and our social relations. The net result, I’m guessing, will be even more political disaffection. I’m not confident that these clowns can hold the country together. I only hope that they don’t serve it up on a platter to some political maniac. The period ahead will surely be chock full of thrills and laughs.
-James Howard Kuntsler (HT: The Daily Grunt)
And while sardonic irony doesn’t quite replace reality as effectively as vodka, it seems to serve the battered liberal psyche well in the current environment – except for the fact that they still have some power and professional responsibility. They should still be expected to engage with the world we all live in and try for something better than QE II as a salve for our national wounds. Maybe, instead of telling us that we should pass legislation to see what will be in it, they should try asking a few voters what they’d like to see in it. Maybe they could admit that approximately once or twice a month they really do commit errors like the rest of us out there plugging away.
This would be more possible if the burg unknown as Washington, DC wasn’t getting to them. This would be refreshing if they could actually acknowledge the presence of a world beyond the asphalt circumference of I-495. Instead they committed the same hubris as Dennis Hastert before them did by 2006. Instead, they’ve gone blood simple like the natives.
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