Friday, January 29, 2010

The Republicans made a mistake letting Obama speak to them on camera, and somehow this is seen as news, even among liberals. Democrats avoid confronting Republicans in public, though if they stuck to the principles they claim to represent they'd win every time. But liberals have contempt for the conservatives' audience, and their fear and insecurity keeps them from facing them. This is true at the level of blogs as well. Snobbery is a sign of insecurity, not confidence. The logic of the Republican base is that it's better to be lied to by a friendly con-man than be condescended to by a pedant. And every slip of the mask of blithe moral superiority worn by the pedant gets paid for in political blood. Again, as I've said, the interesting thing about Stewart and Colbert is that they don't condescend. They have right-wingers on and show them for what they are, and yet the right-wing base doesn't attack.

Polling and Passivity.
Stewart leads the way again in popular discussion of political philosophy. He explains the problem but doesn't range for enough. Politicians fear and have contempt for the people;  the right and the "left" fear and have contempt for each other. The end result is an elite culture of political mediocrity, a culture that includes Atrios, TPM, Media Matters and all those who mock the "cool kids" to the extent that all of them lag behind the pundits of Comedy Central in political maturity. And though they're loathe to admit it (and even Stewart may not quite understand his role) this begins with the academic, now institutional, fear of subjectivity and the desire for "objective" information, so that as Stewart points out, you get graphs now of the opinions of people who don't know anything because all they're ever heard is descriptions of the opinions they supposedly already have. And over all this the liberal intellectual elite moan and groan about the mediocrity of others. Liberals are so caught up in their pretensions of individualism and so horrified by the possibility that they're as tribal as the right that they refuse to face them. And Zionist liberals have to see themselves as liberal even if they're not. American Manichaeism as phobic. Krugman backed Bernanke and the response was not even polite criticism but silence. Why? Because when everyone claims to be idealist the fact of real politics has to be hidden.

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Chris Matthews is from north-east Philadelphia: "the Great Northeast." You can hear his background in his accent. He's from "Phiwy." And no one from the city would ever forget he's white.

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