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My political blogging inspiration and idol Charlie Pierce has never been especially idealistic about the workings of government, but this post today is a particular extreme of unvarnished realism, even for him. And what’s worse, he seems to be right. Read on, and find yourself becoming depressed…or validated.

Watching the administration’s momentum fade on this issue is to see a president presented with the final, practical refutation of the speech that made him famous. It turns out there is a red America and a blue America. It turns out that there is a conservative America and a liberal America. It turns out that the things that divide us are stronger than the things that unite us. Or, at least, that the things that divide us are more politically salient than the things that unite us. The failure on guns is the last, final refutation of what Barack Obama said he believed about the people of this county.

It always depended on the notion that we were all together in the creative process of self-government. The fact is, most of us aren’t. Most of us have checked out. At the encouragement of two generations of ambitious politicians, we have accepted the notion that “government” is something alien, and therefore that it is something we cannot influence. You tell me that 91 percent of Americans support background checks. Wonderful. Put them on the ballot. They’ll pass, but only 40 percent of the eligible voters will bother to go to the polls, so where’s the danger to anyone in acting contrary to the expressed public will? Who does Mitch McConnell really fear in this particular controversy? He knows that there is a solid, active core of support behind the work he’s doing frustrating the expressed public will.

Read it here.

His inaugural address aside, the president is not “more liberal” than he was on January 19. He’s still a cautious centrist with a jones for a purely functional view of government. But the one thing he is very good at is forcing the country to look honestly at the politics through which the country has chosen to govern itself. He has forced the issues. He has made the country confront the ignorance, and the lassitude, and the tolerance for the stupid — and, hell, the  tolerance for the intolerant — that it has allowed to have pride of place in our political debate simply because it too often served to win elections. This is what the Obama presidency has become. It’s the detox ward of politics. It’s the world’s most elaborate intervention. 

– Charlie Pierce, writing for Esquire’s Politics Blog, in reference to the virtue of Obama’s current unexpected popularity.

A typically excellent post today on The Politics Blog with Charlie Pierce at Esquire.com, describing the current dissolutive state of the Republican (anti-)party, and why Speaker Boehner has been put in the impossible situation he is in (after last night’s spectacular failure, which was doomed from the start).

There is no possible definition by which the Republicans can be considered an actual political party any more. They can be defined as a loose universe of inchoate hatreds, or a sprawling confederation of collected resentments, or an unwieldy conglomeration of self-negating orthodoxies, or an atonal choir of rabid complaint, or a cargo cult of quasi-religious politics and quasi-political religion, or simply the deafening abandoned YAWP of our bitter national Id. But they are not a political party because they have  rendered themselves incapable of politics.

Need a minute? I do. Even if you don’t, can we just pause for a minute and bask in the warm, delicious glow of that most excellent and profound exercise of metaphor? As after eating a good steak, I am full, sated, and satisfied.

Last night, [Boehner] couldn’t get the votes to pass a truly horrid plutocrat’s wet dream. He couldn’t get the votes to gut Obamacare or Wall Street reform. He couldn’t get the votes to throw children off food stamps and he couldn’t get the votes to throw the elderly off meals-on-wheels. He couldn’t get the votes for a simple, vicious stunt.  He couldn’t  get the votes because he couldn’t budge enough Republicans to support a tax increase in the upper .01 percent of taxpayers. He couldn’t do it because he had nothing with which to threaten people who look on governing the country as though they are running an evening-drive talk-radio program in Bugtussle. He couldn’t do it because he is a Republican pretending to be a fanatic who went hat in hand to a bunch of fanatics pretending to be Republicans.

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Charlie Pierce makes a very salient point – as he so often does – on his blog today, The Politics Blog, at Esquire.com.

You want to eliminate the guns? Take the profit out of them. Take the fight to the people who make the weapons, not to the people who sell them or the people who buy the politicians so that selling them will be easier. Take the fight to the huge media conglomerates that profit from what you perceive to be dehumanizing media spectaculars. Make guns — or bullets, as Chris Rock once argued — so expensive that people simply stop buying them. Haul the CEOs of the gun companies in front of Congress and the odd grand jury. Make the game not worth quite so much of the candle.

With the grief and terror still very fresh, and the realization that we’ve once again been reminded how fragile life is – particularly young life – and how dark the deep recesses of some minds and some hearts in this country still remain settling over the land like a dense fog, and with the perpetrator sufficiently dead, it is understandably common for people to cast about for someone to blame. At a time like this, it is unwise to paint a target on yourself by throwing up comments like this:

Shooters attack an elementary school in CT – another “gun-free zone.” Makes children sitting ducks.

A tweet from Bryan Fischer, “the extreme right-wing “Christian” radio jock who hates, you know, everyone.” Charlie Pierce agrees, naming Fischer “bloodthirsty schmuck of the year,” and adding, “I dearly wish I believed more strongly in a hell.”

Unwise, you raging lunatic asshole. Very unwise. You seem like the type who might like to lead a lynch mob, but if you see one forming up, I wouldn’t be so quick to run towards them…

(Just discovered that his ill-advised tweet wasn’t nearly enough for Lord Hatemonger. He went much farther. Click at your own risk.)

UPDATE:

Mike Huckabee has jumped on the opportunist-asshole bandwagon with an assertion that, to my mind, is just as bad as Fischer’s, arguably worse. Nothing like a school shooting to get everybody pushing their pet issues. If I were a much lesser person – an un-thinking, simpleminded jackass – I would engage with Huckabee in order to make the opposite assertion. But I can’t help but think I’m superior to this line of thinking, as is anyone else who rejects it.

If you’re interested in reading a fleshy and long article about the detrimental affect Politico – or, as political commentary guru Charles Pierce calls it, Tiger Beat On The Potomac – has had on journalism and the entire political pundit class, not to mention the corrosive brand of journalism it practices, it doesn’t get much better than this. I have trouble imagining that Politico has as much influence and clout as this article suggests – on my list of reliable go-to news sources, it wouldn’t make the top ten – but the mediocre opinion I had of it dropped considerably lower.

There are no ‘decent’ Republicans. There are only empowered crackpots and their cowardly enablers.

-Charlie Pierce of The Politics Blog w/ Charlie Pierce at Esquire.com, in reference to Senate Republicans blocking ratification of a UN treaty yesterday, which was intended to allow rights to the disabled.

Pierce’s reaction can be read here. To read about the issue, TPM has a concise and informative article here.

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