Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 2 Share on Twitter 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

Does Bad Behavior = Power & Glory?

By       Message Robert S. Becker       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; , Add Tags  (less...)
Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Funny 1  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H4 12/5/11

Author 50212
Become a Fan
  (35 fans)

(Image by PublicAffairs, book publisher)   Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -
!-- IMAGE FOR tag 'img61' FOR SID 50212 --> 

My squishy optimism sagged, having just finished Richard Condon's scathing, witty, mesmerizing masterpiece, "The Manchurian Candidate."   If you liked the acclaimed '62 movie, and delight in devilish wit, grab the novel: the satire and drama are darker, amusingly bereft of character redemption and/or confidence in human advancement.  


Replace waterboarding for 1950's brainwashing as the underlying metaphor -- then cast Palin, Perry, or Bachmann as the Joe-McCarthy-style demagogue, and the book is current.   However well-made, no establishment "60's film dare replicate the brash, authorial boldness, as Louis Menand captures it: Condon was a "a cynic of an upbeat type, not unlike Tom Wolfe: his belief that everything is basically sh*t did not get in the way of his pleasure in making fun of it."    

- Advertisement -


And then last week, another blow to assumptions ours is a semi-rational universe -- the jaw-dropping ascension of Newt Gingrich, that doyen of dishonor, as Joan Walsh quipped, "his baggage has baggage."   Fringe voters must truly loathe the plastic, shape-shifting Mittster to raise this clown prince, Pompous Newt, as party messiah.   What are they thinking? Oh, not thinking -- tantrum-tossing zealots grasping for straws.   Did the revoltingly righteous forget Newt already fell off a cliff this very campaign season, pummeled by staff mutinies?   Or misinterpret Paul Krugman's bulls-eye jibe: Gingrich is "a stupid man's idea of what a smart person sounds like"?


- Advertisement -

Six Deadly Sins on Display


What mixed results: naming Gingrich springboards a vulnerable incumbent, jeopardizes the likely GOP takeover of the Senate, and confirms the GOP talent abyss.   His years of contradictions, inanities, and flip-flops aside, Newt is a virtual parade of the Seven Deadly Sins: his vainglory spawning gluttony, wrath, envy, sloth, and lust.  Only celebrated megalomania blunts despair.   Bad historian, wife-abuser, third-rate novelist, wealthy, hypocritical lobbyist, and twice-censured, overweening House Speaker-Beltway insider, Gingrich makes Romney seem bright-eyed and bushy tailed.


Reeling, I then stumble on two mild-mannered political scientists whose new book shreds any residual feel-good liberalthink, revealingly titled: "The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics."   Say it ain't so, but NYU authors Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith urge, as neutral bystanders, that Obama's re-election demands acting "a bit more like the tyrants he's so proud of toppling."

What, even more?

- Advertisement -


The logic of politics -- in both democracies and dictatorships -- is not nearly as complex as many think. Forget the intricacies of individual states, grand strategy, and the national interest. And for now, let's forget about right and wrong. Indeed, the real, universal lessons of political life can be gleaned from how leaders survive and thrive when in power.


Next Page  1  |  2  |  3


- Advertisement -

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Funny 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

Robert S. Becker Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Summer in the GOP Asylum: "Who are these guys?"

Deadline Looms To Fund Critical Ocean Plastic-Trash Film

Trickle-down Gulf Wreck-onomics

"Apocalypse Now' Vogue Engulfs Chicken Littles

Moses Kaput -- Rightwing Ten Commandments To Serve Looming Theocracy

"God Particle' Refudiates the Religious Right