“A suffering face, strong as a door.”

An exerpt from Salter’s “Via Negativa”, found while perusing The Paris Review’s astounding archives:

There is a kind of minor writer who is found in a room of the library signing his novel. His index finger is the color of tea, his smile filled with bad teeth. He knows literature, however. His sad bones are made of it. He knows what was written and where writers died. His opinions are cold but accurate. They are pure, at least there is that.

He’s unknown, though not without a few admirers. They are really like marriage, uninteresting, but what else is there? His life is his journals. In them somewhere is a line from the astrologer: your natural companions are women. Occasionally, perhaps. No more than that. His hair is thin. His clothes are a little out of style. He is aware, however, that there is a great, a final glory which falls on certain figures barely noticed in their time, touches them in obscurity and recreates their lives. His heroes are Musil and, of course, Gerard Manley Hopkins. Bunin.

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The Party of Dispassionate Conservatism, or why the Republican Party Doesn’t Care About New Jersey

From a New York Times piece on the Republican response to Chris Christie’s Sandy-related performance:

In New Jersey, Mr. Christie’s politics-be-damned approach to the storm seemed to represent a moment of high-minded crisis management for a governor frequently defined by his public diatribes and tantrums. Mr. Christie locked arms with Mr. Obama, flew with him on Marine One, talked with him daily and went out of his way to praise him publicly as “outstanding,” “incredibly supportive” and worthy of “great credit.”

But in the days after the storm, Mr. Christie and his advisers were startled to hear from out-of-state donors to Mr. Romney, who had little interest in the hurricane and viewed him solely as a campaign surrogate, demanding to know why he had stood so close to the president on a tarmac. One of them questioned why he had boarded Mr. Obama’s helicopter, according to people briefed on the conversations. (italics mine)

Fuck you very much, Republican elites. In case you didn’t realize it, the Republican Party is undoubtedly the party of dirtbag cynicism. Bobby Jindal rejects Big Government on one hand but loves FEMA money post-oil spill. Now, these assholes are mad at our Governor for doing his job after the worst disaster to ever hit our state and they are pissed at him because he ceased being appropriately partisan. Fuck these guys (because they are, invariably, guys). The quicker these scumbag, rent-seeking, neo-white supremacist leeches are condemned to the trash bin of historical nothingness the better.

May New Jersey stay Blue forever and may Republican elites die a slow money grubbing, cancerous death surrounded by all the opulent splendor their soulless pursuit of wealth, power, lower tax rates and a gutted welfare state.

Mitt Romney was the truest articulation in recent memory of what the Republican Party is all about; extracting wealth, not creating it. Ted  Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and Marco Rubio might represent a “new face” but at its heart the party is owned by America’s millionaires and billionaires and doing their bidding. The cultural issues are tactical cover for the economic war waged against the legacy of the New Deal as a desire to return America to the Gilded Age of trusts, monopolies and oligarchy.

I’m not letting Christie off the hook for his throaty participation in this war, but I am crediting him for putting his ideological loyalties aside during and after Sandy, and the fact that conservative overlords were displeased with him shows how much they really don’t give a shit about anything other than enriching themselves and their cohort by owning government.

2012 Presidential Election Post-Mortem

Erick Erickson of RedState still thinks Republicans lose elections because they are insufficiently conservative:

Compromise? Like hell. We’re going to keep fighting. And we will find someone who actually doesn’t speak conservatism like he learned it from Rosetta Stone last week. For those of you on the left licking your chops thinking this spells doom — the nation just spent $6 billion for the status quo. I’ll take my chances.

The nation did not drift left. It was just unpersuaded Mitt Romney would actually take us right and sure as hell did not know what it would get even if it went with Romney. The next two years will set the vision of a more populist oriented conservatism of which I am excited to play a part. And I think, when the Democrats finally realize the new Democratic coalition is only a Barack Obama coalition, conservatives and the GOP will be ready. (bold mine)

The President after getting four more years.

As one of the most important bellwethers for what activist Republicans are thinking, Erickson is basically saying that his side are going to double down on strictly ideological conservatism. The only problem is that there aren’t that many smart, electable super conservatives out there. Also, the country isn’t nearly as conservative as they seem to think it is. Of course this is the same bozo who had been predicting a Republican landslide for weeks, so, you know, don’t pay too much attention to him.

Jon Cohn at the New Republic argues that Obama does in a fact have a mandate, and one that will only grow over time:

The election also sent a big, powerful message about what it means to be an American. The election of an African-American to the nation’s highest office is old news by now, but it remains remarkable, particularly given the feverish, relentless efforts by conservatives to paint Obama as un-American. And the same goes for Obama’s political coalition. Lazy pundits have fallen into the habit of dismissing Obama’s constituency because it cedes white voters, particularly white men, to Republicans. But Obama’s disproportionately female, disproportionately minority coalition happens to be majority. And it’s getting better. They are no longer the “other.” They are the authentic face of America. (Bold Mine)

 

It’s worth noting that last night the only issue that conservative pundits would concede is that the Republican Party needs to address its problem getting Latino and Hispanic votes, which is certainly correct, but any party that welcomes Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his ilk into the fold will have trouble expanding that tent. To keep the racist old white folks, you can’t bring in the young brown folks.

It’s also hard to see how the Republican Party picks up more Hispanic voters (outside of reliably conservative Cubans) if they plan on running against the Affordable Healthcare Act, since most Hispanics like Obamacare! 

 

Salon’s Steve Kornacki, one of the most astute political prognosticators and analysts writing today, has a great rundown of Romney’s political career, how he had to disavow his crowning achievement as Governor of Massachusetts for a chance to be elected president and how his success at passing a comprehensive healthcare law in Massachusetts might be his most enduring legacy:

“RomneyCare didn’t end up propelling him to the nomination in ’08, but it also wasn’t the reason Romney fell short. The speedy and convenient nature of his conversion on cultural issues was the main culprit, engendering profound suspicion on the Christian right. It wasn’t until well after the ’08 race that Romney’s Massachusetts law became toxic within the Republican Party. The reason for this was simple: because Obama embraced it as the model for his own program. From the minute he was elected, resistance to and resentment of Obama became the main motivating force among conservatives. His governing instincts were (and are) pragmatic and incrementalist, but to the right virtually everything he proposed was an assault on freedom and a step toward socialism. And nothing brought out the venom quite like the ACA.” (Bold Mine)

Shorts:

  1. If you wanna hear what the formerly confident conservative soothsayers are saying the morning after, check out Salon’s rundown.
  2. Fire Dog Lake is interested in how a handful of new progressives in the Senate will affect the ideological breakdown of the Congressional Democratic caucus.|
  3. Transit nerds like myself will enjoy this piece on the Northeast Corridor, though I think the author is overstating the decline of the Northeast since it remains the wealthiest and most prosperous part of the country.
  4. Here in Jersey City, Mayor Jerramiah Healy took another hit as his preferred candidate Michelle Massey lost in her bid to hold onto the council seat she was appointed to 10 months ago.

Obama, Not an Android, Imperfect, and also the clearly better candidate.

Gawker’s Mobutu Sese Seko explains why you should vote for Obama despite how mediocre his job performance has been, and why Mitt Romney may not be the worst person ever, but he certainly is not someone who you want in charge of the launch codes or anything else that matters:

Mitt Romney, a cipher who calls to mind the venial, sniping entitlement of Frank Burns from M*A*S*H and a Hawkeye quip from early in that series: “Someone ought to tear him down and put up a human being.” Romney’s campaign was an egregious concatenation of lies, and his advisors admitted as much on more than one occasion. He attempted to cravenly bullshit his way to the most powerful job in the world, and he did so with such disdain for voters that he straight-up said, My strategy is to lie to your dumb ass.

Read the whole thing. Its giggletastic and, of course, on point. I’ll be happy when this election is over and done with and I will happily revel in the hand wringing and excuse making of jackasses like Erick Erickson who for months now have been claiming that America wants and needs a true conservative in the White House (when is the last time that happened). Once the “America is a Center-Right” country doggerel is buried 12 feet underground and the idiotic pronunciations of unqualified asshats like Erick Erickson and his ilk are retired the country will be a better place.

Alex Pareene in the Baffler: “Come On, Feel the Buzz”

Alex Pareene, master of the takedown, shifts his gaze to the inanities of Politico and BuzzFeed:

“This, in a nutshell, is what you get when Politico, if not Matt Drudge, rules your world. The future of Internet-enabled political journalism now seems to be little more than a Hobson’s choice between wide-eyed elation at Newt Gingrich’s excellent submarine ride or a sober appraisal of the essential honesty of Mitt Romney’s campaign manager. And so there is one undeniable truth to be gleaned from the many meaningless legacies that Politico shall undoubtedly bequeath to the generation of political scribes it is now schooling: the major forces of Washington’s political establishment have little to fear from the mighty democratic specter of an Internet-empowered citizenry. Their many ornate depravities are in less danger than ever of getting revealed to the public at large—unless, that is, they let slip a remark that can be tortured into a seventh-grade- level double entendre.”

Neil Barofsky on the Need to Tackle Banking Reform | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

NEIL BAROFSKY: SIGTARP. Was to have two focuses. One was the oversight function and doing reports and audits and keeping an eye on Treasury and making recommendations. But what I was more focused on in the beginning and what I thought my job would be is we also created a brand-new law enforcement agency, completely from scratch, whose job was to police the TARP program.

And with $700 billion going out the door, the idea was that, inevitably, there were going to be criminal flies drawn to that honey. And our job was to catch them, do the investigations, and then get the Department of Justice to prosecute them. So I really looked at this job going in as a law enforcement job. And I was thrilled with the opportunity to build one from scratch.”

Neil Barofsky on the Need to Tackle Banking Reform | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com.