Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gingrich Decries "Nasty, Vicious,...Dishonest" Politics
In Other News: Trump to Denounce Greed and Bad Taste

Astonishing. (via Drum)

This is like finding Mussolini standing outside the smoking ruins of Guernica, speechifying about the tragedy of senseless war.

I never know what to make of Gingrich and his ilk. Are they really so imprisoned in their own fantasies that they do not realize that they are the primary drivers of our nasty, vicious and dishonest politics? Or are they so utterly dishonest that they are capable of simply ignoring their own culpability without batting an eye?

Funny, isn't it, that Newt has suddenly discovered political civility? Just as he becomes the most salient target of negative ads... What a coincidence.

And while we're at it:
The problem is not "negative" ads. Negative ads are just fine--so long as they are honest and straight-forward. Saying that your opponent is a liar and a cheat is perfectly permissible--in fact, perhaps, obligatory--if he is, in fact, a liar and a cheat. If he's in the pocket of Big Soy or whatever, then you ought to let people know about it. At least some research indicates that people do learn things from negative ads. Our political problem is not negativity, and the solution is not positivity. The relevant problems are, as Newt correctly notes, viciousness and dishonesty. In particular, currently, the viciousness and dishonesty emanating primarily from conservatives, who have left the rest of us in their dust in this respect. Obama is not merely misguided, he is fact he is not merely evil, he may very well be the Antichrist. And so on, ad nauseam.

But, of course, Newt himself is one of the modern pioneers of this brand of politics. Our current awful politics is largely a creation of Gingrich himself, and unless Newt is deluded to the point of near insanity, he realizes this and is, in effect, telling what is a kind of practical lie. If he is not deluded, then he knows he helped bring it about, and he knows that his denunciation of it is the height of hypocrisy.

You did it, Newt. You turned your energies toward harming the country in a deep and tragic way. You made our national deliberations less rational, less objective, less honest, and less humane. You hit our democracy where it was most vulnerable. You made us, as a nation, stupider and less reasonable. You helped to guarantee not merely that we would make a few sub-optimal decisions; rather, you helped weaken our very ability to make good decisions at all. You, Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter et. al. helped exacerbate some of our worst characteristics---our tribalism, our irrationalism, our misologism, our paranoia. But those others came were a real pioneer in this respect. You were there early on. Not before, say, Nixon or McCarthy, of course...but you were the standard-bearer of the new wave of political divisiveness. The OBLs of the world might shoot us in the leg; you clubbed us in the head. You Phineas Gaged us. You made our politics more dishonest and vicious...and you did so in order to achieve narrow political ends. And how you've got the audacity to denounce that which you yourself largely wrought.

If there's a special hell for evil politicians in the afterlife, I hope you rot in it.

Well, Newt's hypocrisy is of minor concern, of course, compared to his wrongs against America and her politics; but it does give us an opportunity to reflect on the bigger issues, the political derangement that he helped to create. So, anyway, here I am, reflecting on it and whatnot...


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