I remember many New Hampshire primaries, and this one is of a different order entirely.
You see, in any previous year, the results would have been big news. This year, an overactive if under-reporting and over-blathering media has successfully welded infotainment news with reality TV to create the hit series “Who Wants to be President®” now in its second season!
Naturally, the seasoned Reality Show star took the lead and kept it, to the consternation of those sad remaining dinosaurs who believed that substance (even the granfalloon whoop-de-do alternate Universe Dark Matter substance of modern GOP politics) still matters in politics. New Hampshire vindicated the polls, and no one was really surprised. Bernie Sanders “crushed” Hillary Clinton and it was a ho-hum.
It has devolved into a cross between daytime talk shows, soap operas, infotainment news and poll numbers. Donald Trump rightly noticed last week that all Faux Nooz cares about it those advertising numbers, ultimately, and proved that he could halve their audience, and no one is particularly surprised that Roger Ailes and The Donald have now kissy-kissied up.
And yet, Trump is the first candidate to ever take on a network on NETWORK dollars and cents ad revenue terms explicitly. He half-Nelsoned their Nielsons and they cried Uncle! (Rupert, not Sam).
Morning Joke™ proved this AM that MSNBC is, once again, safely back to the Phil Donahue cancellin’ Iraq Invasion flogging Faux Nooz Lite® that the George W. Bush bundler that manages NBC always envisioned. No editorial interference, of course, but Keith Olbermann, a voice of centrist liberal reason and yes, moral courage, would have had no place at that table, sad to say.
But it’s a completely non-surprising New Hampshire primary in a presidential contest that increasingly bores hell out of me.
On the Right, a significant portion of the base is so pissed off that they would cut off the party’s political nose to spite its political fa(r)ce.
On the Left, the “hopey-changey” continue to believe that a single vote for a single magic bullet will somehow produce significant change. Eight years of failing to back President Obama should have taught them that, setting the NEW American Record for collective obtuseness most recently held by the George W. Bush Selectorate™ for having forgotten the Mythic Lessons Of Vietnam®.
In both cases, the party bases BELIEVE that a magical solution out of our woes is possible. Neither side shows any pragmatism in their plurality, but at this juncture, any prudent view to the future would INSIST on pragmatism and FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIENCE.
The world is tipping into war as our electorate is tipping into narcolepsy. We so fervently believe in an alternate reality presented us on television, online, on water cooler that our very consensus of shared reality is riven in twain.
But the core consensus in both parties is only rivaled by the sheer self-castration of the so-called “independent” voters. They blow with the wind, but believe that their splendid moral isolation confers on themselves an ethical superiority to so-called “partisan” politics.
I would imagine that the equally intellectually gifted sheaves of wheat think the same thing before the harvest, as the wind makes patterns in the perfect rows of evenly tilled, perfectly-spaced exact-same-height fields. Of course, every field has a few “outlier” rows with stunted and not quite right rows, but that seems to be the metaphor for where we pick up our sophistication and ideas about how the world works and how the political process works.
Otherwise competent people on both sides believe that reality is so amenable to human bumbling that vast and successful conspiracies proliferate at every drop of an Illuminatus®. Conspiracies DO exist. Any reasonable survey of history will show that. By the same token, one will ALSO notice that they tend to backfire. A LOT. The CIA paid Sandoz Pharmaceuticals a lot to get a supply of a possible mind-control drug that Sandoz had never had any real use for. The CIA spent a lot more to get that mind-control drug into human clinical trials at some of the best private universities in the land, using the finest young minds in the nation as guinea pigs.
That conspiracy is real. It is documented. At Harvard, the mind control drug went to, among others, Drs Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert. The latter is known as Baba Ram Dass, or just Ram Dass.
At Stanford, the experimental Mind Control drug was given to Ken Kesey (among others).
To quote Rick Perry … Oops.
It was called LSD-25 (the 25 meant 2/5 as in Feb. 5, the date Dr. Albert Hoffman discovered it).
THAT is what happens to most conspiracies, but the somewhat masturbatory thrill of having a “them” out there who might even be after YOU is too deeply ingrained into the American psyche to NOT influence the election. Trump demonizes (Hispanic) border jumpers, even though 50% of actual border jumpers aren’t Hispanic at all, and are ofttimes lily white Europeans who speaks Ze Englitch Real Good, Ja.
Sanders demonizes ALL BANKS AND INVESTMENT as “Wall Street” and that’s good enough for too many of his followers.
In that sense, both parties just bought their own Magic Bullet™ solution to our national malaise and our national polarization.
And the increasing majority are unaffiliated “independents” who have no say in party politics, and, therefore, no real political power, save as bellwether as to whose packaged hogwash sells best on the TeeVee.
(I’ve flogged the dead donkey of the National Press Corpse often enough to not need to do so here. The only source of international news mostly in keeping with the European and Asian view of world news, Al Jazeera America, is going off the air in April. Alas. The world is catching fire, and our national “news” is pulling down the shade and closing Venetian blinds.
Jeepers! What’s that?
What New Hampshire tells us is that we are Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, placidly and self-contentedly unaware of the prairie-fire roiling in from Bundies and ISIL Fundies, creating moral equivalence between Black Lives Matter and Black Oscars® Matter, between fear of undocumented workers working for a dollar an hour and terrorists invading the land, both silently based on RACIAL stereotypes, now word-whipped into the controversial “profiling” kerfluffings. As the winds from the advancing conflagration create patterns in our tall grass, we attempt to analyze the patterns without understanding what they mean.
We are foolish hikers who have stopped to admire the cute bear cub that just wandered onto our path, instead of turning and running like hell in the opposite direction.
Oh. THAT’s that.
Because we no longer have real “parties” (consensus mechanisms, like, say Iowa’s caucuses create) and we no longer get real news.
So, we give money to politicians who give that money to printers (less and less) and button and balloon makers (ditto) and hoteliers (about the same) and airlines (ditto) and baseball cap and t-shirt makers (more and more) and radio (about the same or less) and television production and commercials (more and more and more and more) owned by the selfsame plutocrats we’re advertising to overthrow (on the one hand) or elect (on the other) and who, like Sheldon Adelson, have purchased, at long last, the news they want to hear.
As I said long ago, if congress accomplishes nothing, eventually the people won’t care about “democracy” and will vote for whatever “man on a horse” shows up to get the job done. The trappings can remain the same, as Caesar Augustus carefully maintained the Roman Senate and only took the title of “First Citizen” — but also, like Augustus, the rein can be an iron one and a long one, to boot.
Either way, the health of the American democracy has always been based on its education, and we sadly recall that the America of the Revolution was profoundly literate, with WOMEN in New England having over 90% literacy rates, where today’s USA is functionally illiterate in our own democracy as poll after poll has shown with depressing regularity.
Democracy? Too hard!
In any prior year, the New Hampshire primary would have been actual news even if it were often surprising and ultimately meaningless news, like Eugene McCarthy’s victory in 1968 that caused Lyndon Johnson to NOT seek reelection, but didn’t turn into anything for McCarthy, to Pat Buchanan’s victory in the nineties that didn’t do anything for anybody, except to inflate Pat’s Neo-Confederate and crypto-racist reputation as a pundit and switch his channels at the end.
What scares hell out of me, speaking of MSNBC, is that they now have on their payroll the brain trusts of both the McCain and Romney presidential campaigns AND the former chair of the Republican National Committee. With a stable like that, it’s surprising they’re not running their OWN MSNBC candidate in the Republican primary.
The days when you could accuse MSNBC of “liberal bias” are long gone. Pretty soon they won’t even have any “liberals” on the payroll.
And now, South Carolina and Nevada get ready for the circus to come to town.
Hopefully, the clown car will be slightly less full by the time they get there.
Chris Christie expected to suspend presidential campaign
The New Jersey governor had made a big push in New Hampshire, but only mustered a sixth-place finish.
By ALEX ISENSTADT and DANIEL STRAUSS
02/10/16 11:10 AM EST
Updated 02/10/16 11:18 AM EST
Chris Christie is expected to formally suspend his campaign later on Wednesday, according to a source close to the campaign, after finishing a disappointing sixth in the New Hampshire primary.
The New Jersey governor was expected to spend part of the day reaching out to donors and top supporters to discuss his decision, the source said….
Or, in the case of several candidates who OUGHT to drop out, perhaps not.
Cassius: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
~ Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
NOTE: All images are either public domain, licensed (to author) stock footage or were created by the author.