Thursday, February 11, 2010

SPIN CITY. It's not my way, you know, to just link something and go "read the whole thing." But I'll make an exception for John Cole on how a speculative, decent bill may become anathema, first on the fringe, then in the what-liberal media, and then for opportunistic purposes by wet Democratic legislators:
Somewhere around this time, Randy Scheuenemann and Meg Stapleton would post a bunch of nonsense on Palin’s facebook page, maybe declaring that Americorps is just like Hitler Youth Corps. This would get picked up by the Weekly Standard’s resident Palin fluffer, Matt Continetti, repeated by the increasingly loathesome Michael Goldfarb, and mainstreamed into CNN by Stephen Hayes in one of his typical fact-free appearances. Bill Kristol would pick up the ball and run with it, and before you know it, Fred Hiatt’s fishwrap would have 20 editorials railing against Americorps.

At this time, we would have tea partiers packing guns to town hall events, terrified of a socialist takeover of, well, something, carrying racist signs and chanting “Keep Government out of Americorps!,” and the rest of the MSM can start their coverage. Sensing an opportunity, shitheels like Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu sense the bill is in trouble, and would start to pack the goodies into it for their home state...
This would have piqued my interest even if David Broder hadn't gone on about what a great populist Sarah Palin is at precisely the moment when a new WashPo-ABC poll showed that Palin has never been less popular. I still think Palin can adapt and improve her way to the Republican Presidential nomination, and that her trifling with fools -- which may currently disappoint ordinary Americans who, after all, are not that fond of complainers -- may pay off in the long run; that's partly because she knows the nervous "mainstream" types who don't wish to be exposed to big winds whichever way they blow will carry her water in the meantime, no matter what.

It's an unavoidable problem, I fear, of democracy in an age of mass communications and dwindling dollars. To the honorable old question, why oh why can't we have a better press corps? I can only answer: No money in it. The Kremlinology of the press, citizen and otherwise, can be extremely subtle, but the basic state of play is that those with little power are desperate and those with much power are scared.

In the positivist view, this constant tension is supposed to create a better state of affairs, with the bustling marketplace of ideas yielding a better product. Maybe the positive thinkers think that better product is a higher degree of truth. But from what I've seen, it's more like the progress of junk food: from an agreeable, consistent, and convenient substitute for the real thing, to something everyone eats and nobody remembers is junk.

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