I've long since given up being amazed at the way the traditional media has been sleepwalking through the world, channeling the 'wisdom' of the village while ignoring what's happening right in front of them. Maybe one reason we don't see more concern from the press about the unemployment levels in this country is because those who know the most about it firsthand - are no longer working themselves. The remaining few who still have jobs are too busy getting their knickers in a twist over Colbert, what outrage Snooki is up to, and other matters of national import like birth certificates and vacations.
But something must be happening to disturb their complacency. Could it be that seeing Republicans ousted by Republicans is leaving them dazed and confused? Could it be the Tea Party causing casualties among the guest lists at those Georgetown soirees? Could it be they are worried that this is something that might touch them personally?
How else to explain Maureen Dowd today?
I've lately developed the habit of keeping Dowd at a distance, much like observing blood and body fluid precautions in a medical lab. You don't want to get any on you. Still, I do occasionally peer through the safety glass to see what's on the other side. Today I had to check several times to see if I was actually reading something by Dowd. Slouching Towards Washington reads almost like something that could have been posted at Daily Kos! WTF ?!?!! Here's a few clips to illustrate:
Holy Roddy McDowall.
Christine O’Donnell doesn’t understand why monkeys can’t turn into people right before her eyes.
Sarah Palin will believe global warming is a hoax until she’s doing aerial hunting of wolves underwater. And in a 2009 clip, Sharron Angle, the Republican Senate candidate from Nevada, suggested that autism — a word she uttered with air quotes — is a phony rubric. She suggested that people are taking advantage of such maladies to get extra health benefits, adding that she doesn’t see why she should have to subsidize maternity benefits for other people either, especially since, as she said, she’s not having any more babies.
We seem beset with spellbinding hybrids with the looks of Fox News anchors, the brains of mice and the power of changing the direction of the country.
Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, John Boehner, Jim DeMint and some Tea Party types don’t merely yearn for the country they idealize from the 1950s. They want to go back to the 1750s.
Of course Dowd, being a charter member of the Villagers, has to blame Obama by reflex.
President Obama was supposed to be a giant leap forward in modernity, the brainy, rational first black president leading us out of the scientific darkness of the W. years. But by letting nutters get a foothold, he may usher us into the past.
It's not really sanity breaking out after all.
I'd guess it's more like Dowd being shocked! Shocked I tell you! to see the forces of irrationality cranked up by the Right Wing turning on her own kind, instead of merely beating up on Democrats. That's a standard response about Obama being the problem, because after all he's not really a legitimate President and he's stirred up so much trouble because he goes against the natural order of things. Still, you know it's bad when even mean girl snark masters like Dowd start to worry about the direction the country is going in.
Even Tom Friedman is starting to get exercised. He's noticed that some countries are not tied up in political knots for partisan advantage, and are actually taking steps to nail down the future.
China is doing moon shots. Yes, that’s plural. When I say “moon shots” I mean big, multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing investments. China has at least four going now: one is building a network of ultramodern airports; another is building a web of high-speed trains connecting major cities; a third is in bioscience, where the Beijing Genomics Institute this year ordered 128 DNA sequencers — from America — giving China the largest number in the world in one institute to launch its own stem cell/genetic engineering industry; and, finally, Beijing just announced that it was providing $15 billion in seed money for the country’s leading auto and battery companies to create an electric car industry, starting in 20 pilot cities. In essence, China Inc. just named its dream team of 16-state-owned enterprises to move China off oil and into the next industrial growth engine: electric cars.
Not to worry. America today also has its own multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing moon shot: fixing Afghanistan.
Friedman is actually calling for increased government spending to drive the infrastructure changes we need for the 21st century, along with tax increases to pay for them. He fails to note however that entire Republican Party is solidly opposed to anything that might accomplish the changes needed when the big money boys behind them will be perfectly happy to cut deals with China instead. (And he fails to appreciate how deep Chinese strategy runs. The electric cars he gushes about rely heavily on rare earth elements for their technology - a market the Chinese have effectively cornered.)
Finally, the New York Times joins a growing chorus taking a hard look at the "Pledge to America" and concludes "there's no 'there' there."
Americans are right to be worried and even angry about the bad economy. And they are right to demand that Washington do a lot more to revive employment now and start to reduce the deficit soon. But these are hard problems built up over eight years of mainly Republican leadership. The pledge takes the country backward — a place no one should want to go.
You know, when even generally clueless people like Dowd start to connect with what's actually happening in the real world, it's a sign of the end times. The common wisdom is that Democrats are going to be thoroughly whipped at the polls in November. What's starting to happen is a growing realization that such an event would be a real disaster for the country. Given that, those Democrats running scared out there should turn and instead get out in front of that wave and ride it for all it's worth. Thirty years of compromising, temporizing, and rationalizing are long enough. The country NEEDS what the Democrats could offer - if they dare. Is it time for sanity again?
UPDATE: Well, it was fun making the rec list for a few hours. For the record, I don't take this isolated event as a sign that sanity is returning just yet; I'm wondering how quickly Dowd will attempt to atone for her column with something in her more usual style. (I can only imagine what kind of tweets she must be getting right now.) Friedman is still clueless, distracted by shiny things. As long as he's going to go gaga for the Chinese, he might consider saying flat out that the Republican Party is determined to make sure nothing like that will ever happen in this country.
But all that aside, it IS progress that the conversation outside of Kos is beginning to reflect Reality the least little bit. Who knows? It might eventually take root and spread...