This is in response to Frank Rich’s column, “Who Is to Blame in the Next Attack?” in the Sunday New York Times.
For my money Frank Rich is the best commentator in America, but today he didn’t go deep enough. He describes the ailment, but doesn’t diagnose it or prescribe any treatment.
So I, naturally, do. 🙂 See what you think.
The question Mr. Rich’s column raises (and doesn’t sufficiently answer, in my view) is why current members of Congress and the media are still intimidated by Darth Vader, the most repudiated American politician since Tricky Dick and even more despised; Nixon had an accomplishment or two, but Cheney, nothing.
It all has to do with the non-stop news cycle, or as I like to call it, Ted Turner’s Death Machine.
Television is all about filling up the time between commercials. That’s why non-events and phony ones get replayed endlessly; cable TV can’t think of anything else to say. And our scummy politicians have their eyeballs glued to it even in their sleep.
So the Death Machine takes on a life of its own, while newspapers, which actually take a whole day (and lots of shouting matches) to put together, are now seen as quaint antiques.
How many times do CNN and FOX have to be wrong before people stop paying attention? A thousand times, a hundred thousand, a million times? They passed that threshhold long ago. Remember Columbine and the “trenchcoat mafia”? It took the author Dave Cullen ten years to understand that horror and put it in perspective; ten years, not ten minutes.
But the audience’s eyes are as glued to TV as the politicians’ are, so tragic follies keep compounding. We can’t just blame Ted Turner anymore; try Pogo, “the enemy is us.”
The same ideology that’s ruined the entire world economy – American greed and its willing partner, consumptive materialism – is ruining our political system; and the fallout from that may be far worse than the Great Recession. If liberal democracy goes down, chaos is poised to follow.
There’s no other way to explain why Democratic senators refuse to shut down Gitmo; they’re terrified of criticism. If some whackjob on FOX says something, head for the hills! Never mind what the truth of the matter is; “the Limbaugh is coming! The Limbaugh is coming!” Senators are intimidated by him, instead of standing up to the British like we did in ’76.
Paper tigers, all of them. Limbaugh’s alleged power comes from being on low-tech AM radio, which skews elderly. Talk radio is the last dying gasp of an inferior, staticky technology, and it’s conservative because its core audience is too set in its ways to upgrade to FM. Granny grew up with WOWO or WLW and it’s the only thing she knows. If AM didn’t have Limbaugh and his imitators, the entire band would have long ago gone bankrupt. Station owners don’t care how lunatic he gets, as long as he makes profits.
The only leader I see resisting this madness is President Obama, and he caves in to the Death Machine more than he needs to.
Where, oh where, is Toto when we need him to yank back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz? Dick Cheney’s nothing but an old man with a microphone and a smoke machine. Show him for what he is and he shuffles offstage.
But emphasize his mic like cable news does, and he’s frightening indeed, at least in Washington, D.C. Nowhere else, but that’s the place where mics count.
Cheney had to give his speech at the American Greed Institute because no one else would have him. Let him come to conservative, rural Indiana and hell, no one would even show up.
None of my neighbors, most of whom voted for him twice, will ever trust that man again with their sons and daughters. The old draft-dodger doesn’t think twice about sending them off to their doom.
It takes a lot for Hoosiers to vote for a Black man; but we did it anyway, because we understood Obama’s the only one standing between us and total geopolitical meltdown. He ain’t no messiah but he’s the only hope we’ve got.
The Democrats in Congress are as worthless as the Republicans; but in the midst of it all Barack took Michelle to dinner and Broadway. Thank goodness someone’s still attuned to normal life.
Darth Cheney? Come and gone.++