Friday, January 29, 2021

Surely, Comrades, You Do Not Want Trump Back?

So, where to begin?  I haven't had any ill effects from the COVID-19 vaccine shot I received last Friday.  I meant to post sooner, if only because going silent so soon after getting the vaccine felt a bit irresponsible, but I couldn't bring myself to sit down and focus on our depressing politics.  The next post I write will clarify that, if it isn't obvious.

Anyway, I just watched this clip:

I think Ball and Enjeti made some good points here.  I side more with Ball on the quality of the Times' cavilling about Biden.  Enjeti is right that the complaint was entirely predictable: the elite media always urge Presidents to move to the "center," meaning the right, so who in their right mind would pay attention to them?  That question answers itself: nobody, but the op-ed writers of the Times, the Post, the Wall Street Journal, and those who read them aren't in their right minds.  Ball is right that Biden is the kind of politician who would take them seriously and feel stung by them.

Ball argued that it's absurd to set the Trump administration as the bar the Biden administration must clear.  That's true, but absurdity is the name of centrist politics.  Establishment Democrats have been creeping rightward ever since the death of FDR, and they've only gotten worse since Ronald Reagan was elected.  Trump is a godsend to them, and they've been celebrating his usefulness since Biden won the election.  There was an outpouring of delight when Biden began announcing his cabinet picks, for example: Finally! Dems exulted. Finally we have intelligent, competent people in government again!  This was pure fantasy, since these people had no idea who Biden's nominees were, or anything about their backgrounds.  That was even clearer with regard to people like Pete Buttigieg, whom we do know enough about to know that he's terrible.  Any reservations about him were met with the insistence that he was smart and competent, and anyway, he's better than Trump's appointees.  After four years of the Donald Trump regime, the world doesn't need politicians who are merely "better" than Trump's people.  It needs people who really are competent.  And from what I can tell, based on reporting by people who don't just jerk their knees, some of Biden's nominees are competent and intelligent.  But party loyalists neither know nor care.

"Better than Trump" is going to be Democrats' main line of defense for the next four years.  It's almost ironic, since one of their refrains during the primary period was that literally anyone would be better than Trump: their two-year-old grandchild, their dog, their pet turtle, a dead bat, that sort of thing. They didn't really mean it, of course. Bernie Sanders, especially, wasn't literally anyone: he made their skin crawl, he had bad body language, he was loud and obnoxious, nobody liked him, nobody wanted to work with him.  

Biden's ignorant armies are already in action online.  Biden could shoot someone in Brooklyn, and they would cry, "At least he didn't shoot them on Fifth Avenue!"  Naomi Klein answered such people four years in advance -- not really, since the pattern was already obvious.

The danger of Trump is, everybody looks good by comparison, everybody can stand up and look like a hero, I mean, I live in Canada, right? So I know.  So I think the logic needs to be, we're not gonna give you a pass because you're better than Trump. We're gonna demand so much more of you, because of Trump...