Razing Cain


American public life is an embarrassment. This is not a relative judgment. The fact that it’s better than Nigeria’s should not be a comfort. Russia? Well, we’re not killing journalists yet, but that may begin with their not doing any work that would merit it by powers threatened by them. Why bother? Far from a threat to established power bases, American news media are their handmaidens, part of the American media political complex.

Too many political journalists enjoy the game. They can’t see outside the box because they are the box. On the stage, the drama is viewed, from outside, through the fourth, absent wall. The audience can see in, but the players can’t see out. Wherever they look, they’re staring at a wall.

First case in point: was Rick Perry drunk? The answer is not the problem. The question is. He was pretty loosey goosey up there in New Hampshire. The judgment seems to be that a president in hypothesis cannot be loosey goosey. I don’t know. Even Abraham Lincoln, some now argue, could let it all hang out. From these Adlerian precincts, Perry was never more likeable. Of course, that is a relative judgment, and the relative distance is pretty far. The point is, rather than on the basis of superficial image hawking, of “looking presidential,” Perry should have been scored on the merits. After two and a quarter centuries of American democracy, a posturing theocrat who toyed with secession was embraced and touted by professional political journalists as an acceptable, immediate “frontrunner” to lead the nation and not a signal of American decline were he to do so.

Case in point number two: clearly know nothing about either domestic or foreign policy – less than any serious upper division undergrad majoring in political science – establish yourself incapable of maintaining a coherent, logical argument in support of any position you take, declare the poor and unemployed of your own nation to be victims only of their own inadequacy and sloth, and generally comport yourself like the huckster you truly are, and you will still be accorded the respect sensible only for serious people actually qualified to lead the most powerful and influential nation in the world. Let there be leaks, on the other hand, enabling rote moralizing over political incorrection and the whole house of Cain will, with sudden zest and serious purpose, be cordoned off for demolition.

Let Perry’s or Cain’s campaigns come to scandalous nothing on the basis of these affairs, and not on careful and cutting examination of their utter unsuitability for the job they seek and their role on the American scene, and little will have been gained. Their like will only return, and the American media political complex will continue to tear up the landscape like a strip mine over the earth.


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