Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Keep The Change

It would appear that the Global Warming industry has rebranded itself as the Climate Change industry. Sad really. At least that now battered phrase Global Warming asserted a hint or two of menace. Climate Change has a rather pathetic wimpy neutrality to it. In terms of political reifying is it supposed to mean that perhaps all climate change is bad? Urk. How desperately feckless is such silly re-eponomy. Has Global Warming become like last year's handbag? Has it become gauche by over repetition not to mention overreach? Must remain au courant with the chattering classes yew know.

Is this scheduled to be a yearly thing? Are sufficient new Planet Saving mantras already in hand out through, say, the 2030s at least? We can only hope. 'spose this is one of those "framing" things we keep hearing about? Prominent Dem. strategists have in recent years emphasized the need to "frame" sundry progressive issues by using more voter friendly language. Either way, reframing or rebranding, it has a whiff of desperation about it. Global Warming must have been losing punch with red state rubes without whom, at least without a generous helping of their ballots, the Dems. dreams of presidential glory are highly problematic. Good luck with that. Even the most crimson rube out there will easily twig that Climate Change is crashingly unsubtle code for Global Warming.

Who decides these things? George Soros? Nina Totenburg? Stephen Colbert? A cabal of the heads of the biggest green think tanks in some smoke filled (incense natch) room? Regardless it grates upon the ear and it rather fails to convey the quivering alarmist high dudgeon that big bad ol' Global Warming did. Did big Al sign off on this memo? Some things we'll never know I guess and about some other things, like rebranded alarmism, a few of us will likely not give a rodential rectum.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Sen. O. appears to have contracted an advancing case of foot-in-mouth disease. I have zero doubt that his now infamous "bitter" remarks are a true reflection of his real feeling but they must have been clearly off-the-cuff since it is hard to imagine any campaign operative signing off on phraseology that will easily be worth several million bucks in campaign funds to Senators Clinton and McCain. Of such gaffes are careers, political and otherwise, laid waste. From the ever more tiresome "truth to power" perspective his remarks might have a whiff of truth in them but to say so out loud shows a serious lack of rhetorical discipline.

Presumably Obama is attempting not only to win the Dem. nomination but also to win the national election. His "bitter" remarks may thrill the core Dem. base by reinforcing his anti-gun anti-religion bona fides but he seems to not realize that he can't specifically target his remarks to the people directly in front of him without the rest of the political world hearing his every word. Maybe you could get away with that before the age of ubiquitous mass media but not for the past 50 years at least. So regardless of how targeted or closeted a remark might be it will be used as fodder by opponents. All now bend under the weight of this arrangement so it can hardly be said that the punditocracy is picking on him exclusively.

His staff apparently needs to "Mirandize" him before each public venue. "What you say can and will be held against you by your political opponents." I am reminded of much commentary after the 2004 general election to the effect that Democrats really really need to figure out how to "package" their messages as effectively as the Republicans seem to be able to manage. The assumption being that the "message" is perfectly acceptable it just needs to be articulated in more palatable and effective ways. Problem is that the messages, of both parties, are what they are and no amount of Madison Avenue style repackaging and "rebranding" is going to substantively change that in the minds of most of the electorate.

The Dems seem to think, in their heart of hearts, that their messages are so obviously and inherently correct that even the gun-totin' god-fearin' red-state rubes will see the radiant light of muti-culti progressivism if it can be couched in terms that will resonate powerfully enough to get them to pull the Dem. lever in the booth. That approach doesn't seem to be working out too well so far. Democratic inroads into the red state vote have been possible this time around only because of dissatisfaction with the current administration and have little to do with defections from the center-right bulk of the electorate to "progressivism".

The recent attempts at the rebranding of post 1960s leftist Democrats into "progressives" have been mostly a flop so far in terms of increased voter acceptance on philosophical grounds. They may well win the November election but they should be extremely wary of translating that win into mandates for a massive expansion of the welfare state. "Bitter" may indeed describe the electoral fruit of dissatisfaction with Republican governance when assorted trillion dollar progressive legislative thrusts crash in flames.

Obama appears to have not been made aware of rebranding efforts and can be heard on occasion to, you should excuse the expression, call a spade a spade. Fine, fine, maybe even admirable and rare these days, honest. He can only hope that this putatively honest product he is selling won't be marked down and on the remaindered shelf by November.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Ox-Gore Incident

A good and true friend the other day mentioned that he had read my post labeled "The Fat Of The Land". His reaction, quite unexpected, was, to more or less quote, "What I thought was 'Oh just shut the fuck up! He's just talking to hear himself out loud.'

Certainly nowhere near the reaction I was expecting. After a moment of wit gathering I asked, "Well okay so do you disagree with the idea that not all social problems need a government solution?" To which he answered, "No but doesn't it all depend on whose ox is being gored?"

This might well be the ultimate in pragmatic reductionist viewpoints. It is the assumption, cynical but not entirely unwarranted, that the act of wanting to impose one's own ideas of proper behavior on society is an ideologically neutral enterprise--i.e. everyone does it. Everyone of every ideological stripe, left, center, right, ad nauseum, supposedly wants the government to enforce their own personal herd of political and social hobbyhorses--one's own "gored oxes". It might even be said to be true of the pure anarchist whose personal choice is no government at all.

This isn't so much reductionist as de-constructionist for is even the ideological thrust of the radical centrist, which favors as little government intervention as possible, merely another species of goreable ox? Is there a way out of this hall of mirrors? Perhaps not. After all any ideogical enterprise breaks down at the margins of human interaction. Humans don't handle "purity" very well. Well to extend the old saying a bit, better is the enemy of good enough and perfect is the foresworn arch foe of both. My "good enough" is to intellectually, if of course imperfectly, resist the progressive tendency to view every conceivable "problem" as amenable to legislative remedy.

I,for instance, despise much of hip-hop "music" which I find irretrievably crude, thuggish, and mysogynistic but do I want it legislatively bannned? Absolutely not. I think gay marriage ultimately pointless and maybe even slightly injurious to the social order. Do I want any government, local, state, or federal, to prohibit it? Nope. As a recently "reformed" smoker do I want laws that prohibit smoking in every conceivable public space? Nuh-unh. And so on. Many of my own personally gored oxes will just have to recover from their injuries by themselves.

It is at least arguable that any actions of any person bears, even if minutely, on the actions or welfare of some other person. However the hard leftist and to a lesser degree the progressive tendency to want to ferret out and ban all human behavior that might, even in the tiniest degree, deleteriously affect other humans may be laudable to many but I submit is stiffling and liberty threatening to many more.

So very much of the heavy lifting of humans attaining a high degree of freedom from want and oppression has been done that much of what we see now is pernsickety fiddling about the margins. At these margins lies much silliness and opportunity for mischief. One of my jobs is perforce to hold up such opportunities to the light of reasoned analysis, and of course smart-alecky ridicule.