Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Drive That Narrative!

Charlie Pierce, bless his caustic soul, was actually in Iowa these past few days.  His final autopsy report includes this nugget of wisdom.

The American political system is profoundly deformed. It is deformed by the now limitless power of unaccountable corporate money. (I would remind folks that, in 1972, unaccountable corporate money in a Republican campaign safe was what the Watergate scandal ultimately was all about.) Nothing that happened last night in any way changes that. The American political system is also deformed by the nearly limitless power of concocted narrative, reinforced by an elite political media locked into a self-contained, airless universe, and completely incapable of recognizing a luxurious farce even when there right in the middle of it.

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You can see in this two important truths.

First, that Citizens United is the new Dred Scott.  The new Plessy vs Ferguson.  Rather than codify white privilege and racism, it enshrines in law the fact that corporate money is now going to wash over our political system in ever increasing waves of toxic sludge.  Barring a remarkable change in the composition of Congress, we simply won't be able to do anything about it until things break so far down that action has to be taken to forestall civil unrest.  Maybe OWS is that form of civil unrest, but I doubt it.

Second, Romney is the nomney.  Let's cede that.  The race is likely over.  Perry's out, Cain's out, Bachmann is apparently about to drop out.  Some of this will help solidify the not-Romney vote around a single person.

But that person is likely to be Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.  While Romney is an android sent from the future to kill charisma, Gingrich and Santorum are the creatures from the black lagoon that is the GOP id.  One of the pervasive dynamics of the GOP race is that whenever a not-Romney pops up, Romney's PAC crushes them into insignificance.  Santorum has no idea what is about to fall on him.

Having said all that, as Pierce points out the narrative is more important than the reality.  The press need a longish GOP nominating struggle.  Romney won a state he had no business winning.  He's going to cruise in New Hampshire.  He has money and organization that Santorum and Gingrich cannot match.

The press are noting what a blow this is to Romney.  Maybe it is.  Or maybe they're just stoking the fires in order to keep the story warm. Newt Gingrich is now their best friend, as he looks ready to unleash the Wrath of Leroy upon them.

But what will they say when Romney wins New Hampshire with 50% of the vote?

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