Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Documenting the Atrocities
Jeebus, the Hysteria.
The stark raving madness surrounding the now-admitted-by-everyone to be a pretty much ideal Republican Health Care Insurance Reform measure so infected the public square and the blogosphere that I just stayed away. The Crazy is catching, and I simply did not want to play.
When you have an amiable drunk like Dick Armey stirring up the masses to Rise and Revolt, and he's the only one doing it, then you know the situation is well out of hand -- and well out of your hands. When Men of Principle like the perpetually peevish Dennis Kucinich can be -- ahem -- persuaded to go along with what is arguably The Best Republican Health Insurance Reform measure evah, then you know the fix is not only in, it has been in for months if not years.
And the hysteria over it just won't quit.
This is politics in America today, and when things get this wild, even though all the Stakeholders are pretty well satisfied, then you know it's all for Show, a Show that is meant to keep the People entertained while their betters abscond with more of their loot.
That nearly the entire blogosphere fell into it and two sites that I frequent -- or used to -- FDL and dKos -- went balls-to-the-wall with rivalry and hysteria, mutual anathema and fury, simply confirmed to me that "Health Care" was being used as a business leader by both of them, with the primary desire and function to increase revenues for their proprietors.
Much as Dick Armey has very successfully done with his "Freedom Works" TeaBagger outfit.
TeaBagging is now the model. First they made it OK to bring up the R-Word, "Revolution". Now they make it OK to be bat-shit insane, and mostly to value myth and falsity over fact to make their point.
The shape and outline of the "Health Care" was set very early on last year, by April or May, and was all but complete by June and July. After that, everything was theatrics piled upon theatrics, and jockeying for attention by all and sundry. It really troubled me that it was being done this way. I still don't know whose bright idea it was to let things devolve into such a continuous goon show, but there you are. "Day of the Locusts" -- and it wouldn't end. It just kept going and going and going...
Couple of things happened, though, that made it almost seem smart (well, that remains to be seen...): 1) the factions pretty much exhausted themselves in virtual combat with one another and with The Powers That Be; 2) the bill that has been (is still in fact being) cobbled together comes across as "Moderate" compared to the foam-flecked fury it has unleashed among the commentariat and the proles. Moderate and wise, considered and responsible, a celebration of the Public Interest, the "Health Care" seems (almost) Just Right. Or something like that.
There is very little energy left to fight the Power, or to fight this fait accompli... or to do much of anything.
Jane posted her Manifesto over the Betrayal, yadda yadda, and something jumped out at me from it: She writes about how exciting and rewarding it was to cover what was going on. As a Journalist. New Media and all that. And then she refers to how difficult it was and frustrating it was to take what she learned as a Journalist and turn it into political action -- ie: to be a Player.
And how the next step has to be this or that to turn political knowledge gained as a Journalist into successful political action as a Player Without Portfolio. Basically to be as influential as any high priced lobbyist on K Street. Or as influential as any other noisy media outfit.
What is the point of Documenting the Atrocities if you can't use them for... good? Well, for what you want.
And this is the core difficulty among political bloggers. They want -- in some cases desperately -- to be Players on the political field, and they want to Win. (cf: Markos, Arianna, Aravosis) They believe that being Journalists is the way to Glory and Winning on the Field. Documenting the Atrocities (in the form of constant Media Criticism) is one of the core functions of the Blogosphere in general, and it is a sure way to -- eventually -- gain Notice. And Notice, somehow, is supposed to translate into Power.
Only it doesn't, not really, when it comes to Blogging. So called Progressives got nothing out of the "Health Care," not even a wink and a nod. At best they got a kick in the nads and a slap in the face, and a demand for their lunch money to boot. And like always, they pay up. It's their role and their function. Surprisingly, Jane has not yet gone into Kali-mode demanding the Heads of all who thwarted her again. Especially the Head of Obama Himself. But one shouldn't be surprised to see her turn when the situation is ripe.
Interestingly, some Republicans are complaining that they got "Nothing." Interesting especially because the measure is for all intents and purposes a Republican measure, barely recognizable as anything but a pay-off to vested interests at the crippling expense of the Public -- the way it is supposed to be in Republican Land.
It's arguably better in that regard than the Republicans on their own could possibly have made it. So what are they crabbing about?
Oh, I see.
They couldn't and didn't do it.
Someone else had to be brought in, Young Mister Obama.
That's the deal.
That's what they're crabbing about. And they will never forgive him for it.
Note: somebody at the Signing just said, "Thank you. 36 years trying to do this..."
Well, there you are.