The deck is stacked.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The deck is stacked.
In the political scene, such as it is, the thing that's depressed and disappointed me the most is the ease with which the RWS™ control "the message," and the ineptitude with which the Democrats deal with it. Here we are in the most uncommon era, with near-fatal calamities all around, and with only one party and its president trying -- and, to a large extent, succeeding -- to deal with them. Just look: the American auto industry -- saved; health care -- reformed for the first time in five decades; Wall Street -- first significant regulation in years; failing economy -- well, okay, at least they've tried. And it's pretty persuasive that absent the stimulus it'd be hell of a lot worse....
People can disagree about the efforts: health care -- too much reliance on insurers; auto industry -- should have let it fail, free markets being more important than jobs and recovery; stimulus -- too little or too much spending, too little tax relief or too much... But it's hard to disagree that efforts were made, and that successes have been seen. Or that Republicans decided early on that Obama's successes would be their undoing; and that if completely stopping him was impossible, convincing people that up is down was most certainly not. Cue the screamers.
To a huge number of people, it's been easily sold as socialism (it isn't), fascism (ludicrous), tearing away the very fabric of civilization. People have been led to believe that Obama has raised taxes on the middle class (he didn't), that the bank bailouts were on his watch (they weren't), that he closed auto dealerships based on political affiliations (totally debunked), and stuff way crazier than that (he's not Kenyan). Or, without so much as a clearing of the throat, the subject has been changed, to mosques and gays. Successfully. Look around: in the midst of actual problems, people are convinced they should be concerned -- they're enraged, I tell you -- about a non-mosque at non-ground zero. Brilliant.
Holding in their hands the fruits of the most productive Congress in ages, the Democrats are letting it spoil, helpless to turn the tide. What's wrong with them? With all the cards, they still can't convince people of the value of what they've done. What a pathetic lot.
Except, wait: they are up against an unprecedented and unbeatable force. There simply is -- and, because of the nature of the liberal mind, there never will be -- no machine on their side comparable to Fox "news" and the RWS™ of the airways. Dedicated without apology to the pushing of a right wing agenda (while continuing to call themselves fair and balanced!), willing to lie and distort to accomplish it, they blanket the public 25/8/366 with pure propaganda. So it doesn't matter what the President or Democratic officials say: it will be countered relentlessly with spin and distortion, stupidity and distraction. And their audience, cultivated and groomed for years, considers it "fair and balanced" or, even worse, prefers to have their prejudices and preconceptions reinforced rather than challenged or exposed as wrong. Ever since Ronald Reagan, right wingers continue to sell people on the idea that you can have everything and pay nothing.
It's an unfair fight that liberals can never win, because whereas there are indeed some shouty liberals on the airwaves, they generally refuse to spread overt lies: and liberals tend not to need or want to have constant reinforcement; at least not in the numbers corralled by the RWS™. Thus, the ratings. Thus, the impossible fight.
It hardly mitigates the frustration that Democrats are unable to get their accomplishments recognized -- much less debated on their merits. But I've come to accept that it's really not their fault. If Harry Reid were Demosthenes, if Nancy Pelosi were Angelina Jolie, if Robert Gibbs were Robert Welch, how could they counter a totalitarian right-wing network that has no scruples? By what means could they get through to a populace carefully groomed for the times: scared, angry, actively and proudly mis- and uninformed, whipped into a frenzy, equating education with treason?
We'll never know.