Saturday, January 16, 2010

Demented Logic

Friday evening I did my usual thing: I watched Bill Moyer's Journal on PBS. His first guest was journalist and historian Thomas Frank. Although I have not read any of his four books, I know about all of them. All of them concern the cultural inversions of our times: advertising, mid-American conservatism, and the lastest The Wrecking Crew, about the eight years of conservative rule supposedly eclipsed by the the election of Obama. The interview was disturbing. The cardinal point that sticks with me is that he thinks it is quite possible the Republicans will soon again be in control of the government. I cannot think of a more disastrous future.

And why? Well, to keep it simple, the "demented logic" of our politics, which now saddles Obama with the responsibility for all of the current problems and disasters besetting the nation: the tanked economy and everything else. Bush is not responsible, much less that turkey-necked bozo Reagan, who installed and enshrined the market think--or should that be market worship? Frank explains that this is just the way our politics work. "It's the disease of time . . . instant forgetting."

Here's a little taste of the interview. It's worth your reading or watching . . .
THOMAS FRANK: . . .  the market is the, you know, is the universal principle of human civilization. And that government is a kind of interloper, if not a, you know, criminal gang. And getting in the way.
BILL MOYERS: But we saw with this collapse and this bailout, we saw the failure of that.

THOMAS FRANK: Of course.

BILL MOYERS: And yet there's no sense of contrition. What's amazing to me, and you wrote this, that the very people who brought us this decade of conservative failures, the party of Palin, Beck, Hannity, Abramoff, Rove, DeLay, Kristol, O'Reilly, just might stage a comeback.

THOMAS FRANK: I think they might. I think there's a very strong chance of that.

BILL MOYERS: After only 11 months out of power, because of the record. I mean--

THOMAS FRANK: Look, well, the stuff--

BILL MOYERS: --it's crazy.

THOMAS FRANK: --the stuff we've been talking about here today. The stuff in "The Wrecking Crew," that's all forgotten. The financial crisis had that effect of-- that stuff is now off the-- down the memory hole
 Now, isn't that just the best news you've heard today?
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