Monday, December 20, 2010

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, And The TV Machine

The Good — This week the Senate got off its collective dysfunctional obstructionist ass to pass historic legislation: The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. For anyone who’s been living in a cave for the last 15 years, DADT was the military doctrine enacted in another time in another craven “compromise” by President Obama’s “transactional” hero — not FDR, not Lincoln — Bill Clinton, in lieu of ending military discrimination against gays in the military. Clinton could have spared thousands of ruined military careers and the Mephistophelean choice of silence about themselves left to the gay men and women who chose a military career in times of war and peace so that we may be safe.

Bill Clinton could have ended discrimination against gays in the military with the stroke of a pen. He could have followed Harry Truman’s example, the Democratic Party’s profile in courage, when Truman signed an executive order ending institutional racism in the U.S. military, integrating the armed forces. In sealing their new alliance with a Clinton White House show of support for the latest broken campaign pledge by a Democratic president, the ironies abound for President Obama.

Certainly not Clinton nor, it would seem, President Obama are made of the stuff of Truman. Balls, backbone, and courage are not in their presidential vernacular. In fact, the “new normal” for this White House is “triangulation,” worshipfully uttered by Andrea Mitchell, a term championed by Fox “News” resident creep (consider his company) Dick Morris, Bill Clinton’s toe-sucking triangulation Svengali in all matters political and otherwise. Speaking of Andrea, the next time she calls on Rachel to decode the exotic breed known as “liberal” Rachel should say, “Sure Andrea, if you can explain to me your husband's rationale for contributing to the economic catastrophe that got us into this mess. Blame it on Ayn?”

And yet, although tepid in its support (as is their MO) for repeal of DADT, the White House and the President stand ready to reap credit for it on the basis that 90 percent of life is showing up, i.e. it happened on the President’s “watch.” Ironic, yes, considering the President walked a Clintonian tightrope on this issue (as is his MO), that he favors civil unions and opposes gay marriage. [Parenthetically, Mr. President, the wingnuts still think you’re a Muslim, and the rest of those GOP scoundrels who vowed to destroy you politically will continue to stoke the culture fear wars.]

President Obama — “I get along just fine with ‘Mitch’ and ‘John’”— has made all the right noises re: repeal of DADT to the right audiences, then left it up to Robert Gibbs to sort it out with the intrepid WH Press Corps. “Look” says Gibby, as if lecturing nine-year-olds, the President is 1,000 percent behind repeal  but there’s a “process” that must be followed.

Whatever that means.

It could mean Gramps McCain venting his homophobic spleen while giving fellow GOP homophobes political cover. It’s not as if the President is willing to take names as Truman and LBJ did. Needless to say, the Beltway Idiot Punditocracy is hailing this as a great victory for the President. Given the 24-hour news cycle attention span of its audience, whether they’re right “over the long haul” or keep that “North Star” in sight is not the important thing. They’re all good craftspeople, good nuts-and-bolts types, who know how to spin and establish the credible 24- to 48-hour “narrative.” Hey, it’s a two-percentile living. Long live the narcissistic personality. Not to mention the Beltway zombies.

Tonight, Rachel Maddow will host a special on the repeal of DADT. Watch it. If ever there was an unsung hero (among many, I know, but she deserves special mention) in this struggle for basic human rights, Rachel is it. Being who she is, a “great American” rightly said one of her guests, Rachel’s focus on this issue day after day, how she kept it on the front burner with her show as the catalyst to change an unjust policy, had a decisive impact on educating the public and prodding, cajoling, compelling the people’s representatives finally to do the right thing.

Rachel, we tease you because we love you.

New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, visibly upset after the
GOP defeated the 9-11 healthcare bill; for those who think all senators are like Republicans.

Another small miracle is about to take place in the Senate when it reverses itself and votes before this Christmas session ends to provide life-saving healthcare to the 9-11 first responders. Jon Stewart dedicated an entire show to shaming the Republicans into passing the law. And it seems to have worked. Those of us who watched Jon Stewart’s evasions and dissembling on Rachel’s show — some bullshit about being a “sidelines” jock … recalling Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi — perhaps Rachel succeeded in shaming Stewart into action as well.

Bad Stewart: Narcissistic Washington rally leads to forming of  “No Labels” movement led by well-heeled conservative Republicans and Democrats; should anyone named “Kiki” McLean be taken seriously? Or Rachel’s delusional friend, Mark McKinnon? Then again, they may have a powerful ally in President Obama.

Good Stewart (as long as his vacation doesn't get in the way): Taking a page from Rachel’s constructive activism and standing up for healthcare for the 9-11 heroes. Regarding the great ‘unmentionable’ for obvious Pandora’s Box reasons in Rachel’s interview of Stewart, sidekick Stephen Colbert — he can take his selfish nihilistic libertarianism and put it where the sun don’t shine.

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