Archive for October 2, 2010
The Daily Beast has a fascinating new article about the Death of the Sex Scandal. (Read it at The Atlantic.) The writers suggest Americans have become more cosmopolitan, or jaded, or just plain bored with sex scandals, which are no longer the death knell they once were to political careers, especially on the right. Of course no discussion of sex scandals is complete without reference to Bill Clinton, that wily polictical survivor, who may be partly responsible for this astonishing evolution in American polictics:
The 42nd president of the United States was arguably the first harbinger that the sex scandal had lost its power to end political careers. Even feminists seemed unaffected by his antics. The deeper Ken Starr delved into Clinton’s sexcapades, the more his approval ratings seemed to rise. Today, despite that woman, and everything else, Clinton is a man redeemed. His rehabilitation has been so triumphant that one writer on this site recently wondered if Clinton had set a new bar for the successful post-Presidency.
Meanwhile, the new touchword seems to be “patriotism”, rather than probity and purity. Among Republicans it doesn’t matter anymore how much you love your wife…nowadays, it’s all about how much you love your country. My pet Freepers are deeply into this new politics…and so are Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, with all their dog-whistle talk about “real Americans” and people in Congress who are “anti-American”.
The Freepers have been watching the “One Nation” rally on the Mall, and many of their comments are predictable…“Bunch of commie pinkos”, or “No wonder the crowd is slow getting up to speed, none of these people are ever out of bed before noon”, or “They won’t come unless there’s free food” and so forth. But their remarks about the flag are especially telling…and deeply, brutally offensive. “Why is OUR flag at their rally?” and “Of course they have the flag there. They’re planning to burn it later”.
The most zealous segment of the Republican base honestly believes it is the only part of America that truly loves America. They consider themselves the only true Patriots. They simply cannot imagine (let alone acknowledge) that anyone on the left could possibly also be a patriot. And in party that not so long ago impeached a president for a brief sexual dalliance between consenting adults…nowadays, a Republican can be a player, a pervert, a prostitute or provocateur… as long as he/she is a Patriot.
In 1935, Sinclair Lewis memorably predicted that “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”.
Perhaps it’s time to give some thought to that prophecy.
I was intrigued by a comment Nate made in his latest (Oct 1) House forecast :
[Democrats] have only about a 10 percent chance of holding onto 230 or more seatsin the new Congress, according to the model, which might allow them to retain a reasonably functional working majority.
I have posted this question on the NYT Comments thread, but we all know how that song goes. So let’s discuss it here.
Does the same math apply to the Republicans? That is, can they govern with 218 members of the House, or do they need 230 (plus or minus) as well? If you think that they can govern with 218, why? If you think they need 230 like the Democrats, why?
What disturbs me is that (if the election were held today, and if Nate’s model is reasonably accurate) that there’s about a 2 in 3 chance that the number of House seats will fall in the “dead zone” between 230D/205R and 205D/230R. That means two years of gridlock in the House. I don’t claim perfect knowledge of what the American people want this election cycle, but I’m almost certain that very few Americans want gridlock in the 112th Congress.