A Country in Shambles, Under GOP Rule
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
Published on Saturday, October 4, 2008 by Salon.com
There are few things that make political coverage more unbearable -- and more distorting -- than The David Brooks Syndrome: the extremely patronizing and ill-informed pretense, shared by media and right-wing elites alike, that they can study the Little Common Person like a zoo animal, and then translate and give voice to their simple-minded, good-hearted, salt-of-the-earth perspectives. Rarely has this mentality been so transparent as in the wake of the Biden-Palin debate, as pundits and right-wing polemicists like Brooks, Peggy Noonan and Rich "Starbursts" Lowry rushed forward to proclaim giddily that Regular Americans would love Sarah Palin and this love could even help McCain win, despite -- or, really, because of -- her vapid, content-free telegenic presence.
Actual empirical evidence -- called "polling data" -- has almost uniformly demonstrated how false these condescending pats on the head are, as every single poll conducted thus far (at least that I'm aware of) found that Americans believed that Biden won and is the far more serious candidate for office, and huge numbers continue to have profound doubts about Palin's fitness for office. And the first tracking poll to report a full post-debate day of polling -- the Research 2000 poll for Daily Kos -- finds Obama with a 13-point lead, his largest ever. This joint right-wing/pundit claim that Americans would swoon in the face of Palin's empty chatter, self-conscious folksiness and chronic, seizure-like winking says much more about those making the claim than it does about their Regular People subjects.
As polling data conclusively demonstrates, the mindset of the voting public is infinitely more rational and substance-based than the pundits and the Right fantasize when they lyrically praise the Regular American -- at least it is in this time of perceived (and actual crisis). What's happening in this country, and in this election, is rather simple and easy to see: (1) the country is in total shambles -- possibly far worse than what people even realize; (2) we have lived for the last eight years under virtually absolute GOP rule; (3) the public knows this; (4) the Republican President and his party are therefore intensely -- historically -- unpopular; and (5) the voting public doesn't want to continue living under the rule of the same faction and same political party that has driven the country into the ground. Having Sarah Palin drop her gerund endings and desperately trotting out the standard, tired GOP attack ads to depict Obama as a radical, fist-pumping, America-hating, unhinged socialist -- when everyone can see with their own eyes that he isn't -- won't change any of that.
That the Right believes in the fundamental stupidity of the American voter while simultaneously pretending to revere and speak for them them is reflected in their belief that they can successfully blame the financial crisis and the country's woes generally on Democrats, who -- while hardly covering themselves with glory -- haven't had any meaningful power in this country for as long as one can remember. Ponder how stupid you must think Americans are to believe that you can blame the financial crisis on the 2004 statements of House Democrats about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when that was a time when the GOP controlled all branches of the Government and nothing could have been more inconsequential than what Barney Frank or Maxine Waters, languishing in the minority in Tom DeLay's tyrannical House, said or did about anything.
In sum, Americans hate the way the country has been ruled, the economic crisis is making them hate that more by the minute, and the country has been dominated by Republican rule for the last eight years -- at least. It's just this simple:
And the reality is even more imbalanced than that graph illustrates: between (1) the tiny margins the Democrats have had when controlling the Senate, (2) the true functional majority of "GOP + Blue Dogs" in the House, and (3) Democratic complicity and fear, it is GOP policy which ends up prevailing in virtually every instance of alleged "bipartisanship" even during those tiny slivers of ostensible Democratic control.
The overarching reality of the country is that we've lived under unchallenged Republican rule and the country has virtually collapsed on every level. No matter how dumb Rich Lowry and David Brooks fantasize The Regular People to be, those facts are far too glaring to suppress.
Copyright 2008 Salon Media Group, Inc.
AlterNet is making this material available in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107: This article is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
Glenn Greenwald is a Constitutional law attorney and chief blogger at Unclaimed Territory . His forthcoming book, How Would a Patriot Act: Defending American Values from a President Run Amok will be released by Working Assets Publishing next month.