Saturday, September 18, 2010

How far beneath contempt can you go?

Is it possible to get viler than Newt Gingrich and Dinesh d'Souza?

As you probably know, d'Souza has a piece in the recent edition of Forbes Magazine which claims that Obama's mindset is that of a Kenyan anti-colonialist, and that this mindset was inherited from his father via some sort of generic hate-the-West gene. That d'Souza has no apparent qualification to make any such statement (perhaps any statement about anything) is dwarfed by the total incoherence of his article; read it here. It starts with the preposterous assertion that there is some mystery as to why Obama and the "business community" are a loggerheads. This must be news to General Motors or the various banks that his adminstration bailed out. Of course there are plenty of companies that don't want to be regulated -- oil and coal come to mind -- and that in itself explains a lot. This is a cheap rhetorical technique: take a situation that is reasonably transparent and simply distort the facts to create a new situation that doesn't exist, then proceed to analyze it. We've seen this in milder form: "Why are you healthcare reformers creating death panels to kill our grandparents?" (Or "When did you stop beating your wife?")

Outside Forbes, extreme right-wingnuts and the Club for Growth, d'Souza is, frankly, considered an idiot. There is no way any of his rants could be published in any sort of refereed journal or otherwise serious journal.

OK, enough for d'Souza. Newt Gingrich, former House speaker and one of the real lowlifes on the current scene, has picked up on d'Souza's article and is pushing it on that most willing of anti-Obama recepticles: the Party for The Rich (PTR, formally the GOP). Newt's political and personal life are cut from the same cloth: deception and infidelity, cloaked in high-falutin language and the mask of seriousness. He was so wrong about things, including strategy, that his own party dumped him. He cheated on at least two wives while talking about family values and "Contracts for America", and while working to impeach Bill Clinton. If there's anything worse than an immoral and self-centered person it's one who's hypocritical to boot; I can't say this any better than Times reporter Maureen Dowd, who's recent piece on Gingrich pretty much sums up this travesty of a human being.

Look, I'm disappointed in Obama for not being the populist President I had hoped he'd be. I'm also aware that his party contains some Democrats in name only -- many of which are allied with anti-people interests. Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman come to mind, but there are lots of others in both houses. Yet, basically, the Democratic party is the party that supports, at least, attempts to make government work for most people. Sure there are crooks within, just as there are in the PTR. But: the Republicans are still, basically, the party of the rich: monopoly capitalists and fatcat bankiers. This has been true for a hundred years. FDR knew it and made his contempt for them and their cronies public. Would that Obama do the same.

BTW: I hope to be back to regular blogging now. This past summer was a difficult time: my mother-in-law Lillian Levine Simon, a talented artist, bridge player and wonderfully prickly personality, passed away at age 94. She entered college at age 16, when few women could or were willing to take that route. Her paintings and pointillist needlepoint scenes were legendary, and she continued her artwork, card-playing -- and e-mailing -- almost to the end. She will be missed.

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