My name is Robert, and I am some sort of Republican Shill. It's uncanny and unsettling: nigh over 20 years, for every gorgeous phrase I lovingly fashion to advance the left, the right grows stronger and nastier, its candidates better funded and more unhinged. Screw good intentions when the fringe detonates and faltering Democrats seem more bereft than ever.
I despair Democratic leadership will get what it's up against, let alone John H. Moore's wisecrack, "The real test in golf and in life is not in keeping out of the rough, but in getting out after we are in." Stuck in its own tracks, the Obama flash increasingly looks like a two-year marvel, a cosmetic layering over a permanent, impregnable reactionary power core.
Whatever progressives are doing isn't working and, like howling beasts in tar pits, the more we struggle, the deeper the snare. To escape, we need to figure why we got trapped -- and why well-meaning, hard-working liberals are about to get head-slammed (the metaphor of the season). Without a comeback, the vaunted "Age of Obama" dims.
Judging by the revelatory Jon Stewart interview (details below), this president remains in negative learning mode -- missing his own "timidity," which incurs more PR blunders. Contradicting his own initial models, the president's defensive list of achievements, however admirable, looks backward, not forward, and without stirring vision. He struck me like a B student genuinely puzzled why he didn't deserve an A. Fudged by Obama was Stewart's quiet grievance, questioning the unemphatic push for genuine systemic change. I was left wondering, "If you want your ship to come in, you must build a dock."
Advice Withdrawn, Mr. President
Had the left a clue how the president would distort two years of steady reminders -- urging compelling messages that reinforced powerful frames -- we may not have bothered. Had we realized how defensive would be this White House expressions of disappointment, we might have rephrased things. Probably not, for neither good nor bad advice stopped this administration from repeatedly shooting itself in the foot.
Certainly, I want to annul anything said that propelled the likes of Christine O'Donnell or Sharron Angle toward the Senate, nor pushed even one voter to indulge their dreams, "life is a jamboree, with never-ending campaign fundraising you can live off." Angle may actually win, and now it's too late: O'Donnell will run interminably, even for dog catcher, unless replacing Michael Steele as RNC head. We're dealing with addiction to fame and money (politics as show business, not actual power). Ditto Sarah Palin, finding gold in them thar campaign hills rife with backwoods suckers. Let us all regret anything we've done that made unbearably self-righteous, know-nothing Christian martyrdom so damned profitable.
Someone has to be responsible. "When in the course of human events," the intelligent adults left standing must acknowledge when state is no longer separate from church, nor the line between major party campaigning and lunacy blurs. We need a Rally for Sanity once a week, along with crash courses in logic and evidence, plus American history, culture, and values. Like Afghanistan, domestic insurgents don't have to rise up and commit violence, just wait a generation, then march into Washington, like the Visigoths did Rome.