On her show Thursday night, Rachel Madow interviewed Mother Jones correspondent David Corn (two of my favorite people). The tag line describing the clip above, “Lack of an honest opposition lamentable”, while accurately describing the content, doesn’t come close to capturing the depth of the problem they address.
Lamentable means “bad, unfortunate.” As I read the numerous socio-political-economic crises facing the country (and the world at large),we are way beyond bad and unfortunate. The ship of state, already taking on water from hitting one iceberg, is heading for another and it’s going to take all hands on deck to keep it from sinking for good. Used to be that the party out of power could be counted on to do their part. Instead, the Rethugs are prying the metal patches loose from the hull, cutting the steering cables, shorting out the electrical system, sabotaging the engines, and punching holes in the life rafts.
They have tried from Day One have to undermine President Obama’s presidency. Knowing they have nothing whatsoever to offer the American public in terms of actual policy, they’ve tried to deflect attention from their own monumental failings by creating a narrative ranging from tacit support for the birthers’ claims of Obama’s non-citizenship, to fear mongering claims of deaths panels, to a secret plot to overthrow the US constitution and replace it with a some kind of fevered commie/fascist/socialist dictatorship.
Lastly (and firstly), there are the relentless attacks on his supposed inability to protect the country. The Rethugs have done everything but hold public prayer vigils for another successful terrorist attack inside the country. Spearhead by the despicable Darth Cheney, Americans are forced to witness, for the first time in their history, a former vice-president viciously attack a sitting Commander in Chief, all the while undermining the morale of the very troops that Cheney himself so heedlessly put into mortal danger.
In a two party political system like ours, the term “loyal opposition” underscores an essential dynamic of the creative process. The clash of opposites produces either harmony or destruction, resolution or chaos. The Urantia Book, written before systems theory had developed into a paradigm for understanding complex relationships, made this general observation:
In aggregations parts are added; in systems parts are arranged. Systems are significant because of organization—positional values. In a good system all factors are in cosmic position. In a bad system something is either missing or displaced—deranged.
I can’t think of a better word for describing our current system of government than deranged, inevitable if one or more of its crucial components is itself deranged (what progressives’ like to call–Teh Crazy). The single minded pursuit of personal wealth and political power that defines the Rethugs’ world has so warped their minds that can no longer distinguish between spin and outright lies.
For instance, Rachel runs a clip of Rudy Giuliani, the man who has leveraged his time as mayor of New York during the attacks of 9/11 into the creation a high profile security consulting company. In it, he claims that Obama’s response to the Underwear Bomber proves how inferior he is in handling terrorist attacks on the homeland compared to how the Bush Administration would have responded, dismissing the identical situation involving the Shoe Bomber because it occurred pre-9/11 (after which, as the whole universe knows, everything, including our constitutional guarantees, changed). In fact, Richard Reid’s failed attempt to ignite the PETN in his shoes occurred weeks after 9/11, thus proving (along with numerous other incidents cited by Rachel and David) that the fundamental propaganda narrative of the Bush and Cheney years—that they kept the country safe—is a propaganda house built on a foundation of lies.
Rudi proved the very next day in an interview on Good Morning America that his was no mere moment of cognitive flatulence (i.e. brain fart), proclaiming that the US had never experienced a terrorist attack under George W. Bush. As if the tragic events of 9/11, which he routinely exploits and upon which he makes his living, never happened! Either the clients of “the hero of 9/11” know and accept the fact that he is a blatant liar and a craven opportunist, or they’d be well-advised to spend their money consulting elsewhere. (Rudi has also vociferously criticized the Obama Administration’s decision to try Captain Underpants in a civilian court despite praising the Bush Administration for doing the very same thing with the Shoe Bomber.)
Cheney’s former media spokeswoman, the botoxified, face paralyzed, Mary Matalin provided the preamble to that little piece of revisionist history a couple of weeks ago on CNN when she reframed the 9/11 attacks that happened on the Rethugs’ watch as “inherited” from the Clinton Administration, proving once again that truth need be no barrier to sustaining a crucial propaganda narrative, especially when our all too compliant corporatist media provides a continuing and uncritical platform for these congenital liars.
(Matalin would be in big trouble if, as part of an enhanced airport screening technology upgrade, the TSA installs scanners capable of detecting biotoxins– she’d never make it through. At the very least, when she dies, she should be cremated lest terrorists dig up her corpse and drain her face for the raw materials for a bio-bomb. Jack Bauer beware!)
All of which brings us to Rachel’s self admitted “despair” that she articulates about ¾ of the way through the clip, and why I feel her pain. A Rhodes Scholar and Oxford grad with a PhD in poli sci, she is all too willing to engage in real, substantive, partisan debate. But all that training and attention to current detail is pointless when there is no one on the other side with the courage to stray from the accepted wingnut terrorism narrative and engage in spirited debate on the crucial issues that confront us today.
I can only leave her with these thoughts from The Urantia Book:
Political science must effect the reconstruction of economics and industry by the techniques it learns from the social sciences and by the insights and motives supplied by religious living. In all social reconstruction religion provides a stabilizing loyalty to a transcendent object, a steadying goal beyond and above the immediate and temporal objective. In the midst of the confusions of a rapidly changing environment mortal man needs the sustenance of a far-flung cosmic perspective.