Patriot Post, Post Patriot

Today, at least 55,805,197 Americans are concerned for the future of our nation’s great tradition of liberty. Some 63,007,791 Americans have been lulled, under the aegis of “hope and change,” into a state of what is best described as “cult worship” and all its attendant deception.

One of our editors, a Marine now working in the private sector, summed up our circumstances with this situation report. It aptly captured the sentiments around our office: “It’s been tough, fellow Patriots; tough to stomach the idea that more than half of my fellow citizens who vote, have booted a genuine American hero to the curb for a rudderless charlatan. What a sad indictment on our citizenry that some are so eager to overlook his myriad flaws — his radical roots, his extreme liberalism, his utter lack of experience or achievement. Barack Obama is the antithesis of King’s dream: He’s a man judged by the color of his skin rather than the content of his character. If it’s God’s will that Barack Obama is our next president, then so be it. We Patriots will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and wade back to the war front, intent on liberty or death.”

This battle is lost, but the war is not. Let’s roll.

Mark Alexander, Publisher, “The Patriot Post.”

Especially in recent weeks I’ve felt like I am constantly arguing with my relatives about politics. That’s not really the right word, though, because they seem to be caught up in a kind of horror story narrative that has little to do with politics as I understand it. I’m sure this comes from right-wing radio and from newsletters and blogs like the Patriot Post.

It’s a strange but seemingly effective strategy. Turn everything upside down and then repeat it over and over again until it starts to sounds true. Senator Obama did everything right by all of the old standards. He worked hard, got good grades, contributed to his community; by all accounts he’s a great dad and husband. He’s a poster child for traditional values.

Yet listen to the Patriot Post: “Obama is the antithesis of King’s dream: He’s a man judged by the color of his skin rather than the content of his character.” There’s a kind of doubled cowardice here. First, is the way the writer puts these words into a no-doubt fictional Marine. Just as importantly, is the bad faith of the poor looser: if my team didn’t win, it’s becuase your team cheated.

Brains are Back

“When I was watching Obama's acceptance speech (Tuesday night), I was convinced that he had written it himself, and therefore that he was saying things that he actually believed and had considered,” says Jane Smiley, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Thousand Acres” and other fiction.

“I find that more convincing in a politician than the usual thing of speaking the words of a raft of hack speechwriters. If he were to lie to us, he would really be betraying his deepest self.”

“Until now, my identity as a writer has never overlapped with my identity as an American — in the past eight years, my writing has often felt like an antidote or correction to my Americanism,“ says “Everything Is Illuminated” novelist Jonathan Safran Foer.

“But finally having a writer-president — and I don't mean a published author, but someone who knows the full value of the carefully chosen word — I suddenly feel, for the first time, not only like a writer who happens to be American, but an American writer.”

Authors regard Obama as a peer – TODAY: Book news – MSNBC.com.

Maybe it was just the rush of the moment but I really was impressed by Obama’s writing skills on election night. What stuck me was the way he took his campaign catch phrase and turned it on its head. Instead of a call-and-response affirmation, he made it sound like a quiet prayer. It was nice bit of theater, but it showed a writer’s sure hand too: yes we can.

The larger hope, for me, is that we will finally leave behind the era of the frat-boy President. (I hope too the failure of Caribou Barbie is another good sign.) So much attention has been paid to his race or age or lack of experience that his intellectualism, anathema to so many Americans, slipped right under the radar. This might prove as important as anything.

Capital, It Fails Us Now

Thomas Frank has written a great book (The Wrecking Crew) that should help drive more nails into the coffin of the conservative movement. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that he doesn’t quite put the stake through the heart, which is really what we have to do with this monster.

The problem is that Tom still accepts too much conservative rhetoric at face value. Conservatives do not dislike government or want small government. They just dislike government policies that are designed to help the bulk of the population. They want the government to redistribute income upward and they are happy to have a government that is as big as necessary to accomplish this task. The stuff about small government and leaving things to the market is just pretty rhetoric they use to fool the kids (i.e. us).

It sounds much better to say, “I want to get the government off people’s backs” than “I want the government to make the rich even richer.” But the latter is the real story of conservatism.

Dean Baker, October 6, 2008, TPM Café Book Club (Talking Points Memo)

I have a more or less good memory of the night Reagan won the first time, in November 1980. The networks called the election early, after the East and Central Time Zone polls had closed, and we went to a club (in Austin, Texas) called Club Foot, to see the Gang of Four. “Sorry to hear about your president,” Jon King, the lead singer, said. It was a fantastic show.

We hated Reagan and the Republican Party. What I did not understand at all, then, was that the Reagan Administration and their Conservative followers would undermine just about everything we were counting on for the future we wanted. In the short run, they gutted the Social Security benefits my sister should have gotten after my Dad died in 1982. Their policies made college more expensive and grants more rare and guns more common. The long run was worse.

They made national health care impossible, set up Cod War struggles in South and Central America and Afghanistan; the latter would lead to the attacks on New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington in 2001. They established the ideology of deregulation that has twice now led to economy-threatening bank collapses, made the airline industry so dysfunctional, and is still disabling government at every level, particularly the public schools.

Baker suggests that the current political and economic mood is ripe for a decisive defeat for the conservative philosophies that have set back our country so far for so long. The Gang of Four has long ago broken up, produced a come back record or two, and then broken up again. It’s been nearly three decades. I hope this time we do really tramp this dirt down, decisively, if not once and for all.