August 13, 2009
In discussions both public and private, I keep hearing laments about how the country has never been so divided. Between those desperate to keep fake hope alive and those groping the hallucination that Republican opposition represents real opposition, I?m told fault lines are forming all over America. Whether it?s healthcare, birtherism, or the question of how ?American? it is to scream at Washington, all sides are at each others? throats. And if we don?t find common ground quick, they say the country could be torn apart! Even Glenn Beck has mentioned the hazards of the ?Bubba Effect.?
Where have I heard this before?
We saw similar ?uprisings? during the Clinton era, thanks to schemes like the Brady Bill and Hillarycare. And like what we?re hearing now about Mr. Beck and various ?misinformation campaigns,? there was plenty of hand-wringing back then about the dangers posed by right-wing radio. That media storyline culminated in the hilariously overhyped ?militia craze,? which is being cleverly recycled as we speak (they like their hysteria like they like their tea; green).
But when the dust settled, that cyclone of anti-Clinton dissent produced?exactly nothing. However real it may have been, it seems it was co-opted by the phony Republican Revolution and the healing effects of an irrationally exuberant economy.
Why might it turn out differently today?
The economy is certainly much worse; with calculating the real rate of unemployment now America?s fastest growing industry. But will that spur a sustained laissez-faire renaissance? Unlikely in the short run. The term ?free market? has been so expertly misused that even folks who should know better think it means Wall Street bailouts.
Will the dissent be harnessed by another Republican Revolution, only this time one lead by the Ron and Rand Pauls of the world? Doubtful. They have clearly made huge strides in broadening the discussion, but the machine wants no part of them, and I don?t sense that the fist-shakers realize the machine is the problem. They just want to be sure we have the right kind of machine. Besides, the Republican brand name is in such well-earned shambles that even the lip service they pay to conservative concepts probably won?t be enough for sweeping gains. Not even with Daisy Crockett shouting: ?We?re number one!?
One thing is assured; we will continue to hear about the Bubba Effect and the myth of the Redneck Boogeyman. Establishment opinion and its unwitting foot soliders love yarns about hillbilly hordes opposing all-knowing Presidents. It sold under Clinton, and it?s flying off the shelves now. No one seems to notice that even if all those “bubbas” rose up at once, they couldn?t even take Idaho, let alone the nation. You know what?s the matter with Kansas? It doesn?t matter. They have 6 electoral votes and less cultural influence than the Atari Jaguar. What?s the Atari Jaguar, you ask? Exactly.
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