Monday, December 3, 2012

Quote Of The Day

"Lying is a skill like any other. And if you want to maintain a level of excellence, you have to practice constantly." - Garak

That classic line, uttered by "retired" spy Garak in an episode of Deep Space Nine, came to mind today as I was reading today's column by Glenn Greenwald. In that bit of dialogue, Worf, with whom Garak has been talking, doesn't believe a word he says, even though he sounds convincing. Why would anyone do otherwise, you'd wonder? In that context, Greenwald asks a very good question today, regarding the promise of some members of the so-called "progressive" press to start being harder on President Obama, now that he's not eligible for re-election any longer:

Over the past four years, they have justified their supine, obsequious posture toward the nation's most powerful political official by appealing to the imperatives of electoral politics: namely, it's vital to support rather than undermine Obama so as to not help Republicans win elections. Why won't that same mindset operate now to suppress criticisms of the Democratic leader?

Progressive media claims they'll be 'tougher' on Obama now

Why indeed? As Greenwald goes on to point out, these people still have plenty of motivation to continue ignoring these issues, and few to tackle them. If they really feel strongly about any of Obama's rather numerous failures to restrain the security state, help the nation recover from the 2008 crash and punish those guilty of causing it, renouncing torture and imprisonment without trial (in deed as well as words), or ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan any sooner than had already been negotiated, why in the world wouldn't they have said something before now?

Plus, quite frankly, the time to influence Barack Obama about anything is over. He has absolutely no motivation now to do anything beyond what will allow him to cash in on his influence after he's left, much as Bill Clinton has done. That means he's going to do what the rich want, not us. This is so obvious a point that, were I not addressing a progressive audience, it would almost seem superfluous.

But, I am addressing progressives, or at least I would if any were interested in reading about what idiots they've been the last few years. That means that I have to point out the obvious, which is that lying is both a skill and a habit, and these folks have been lying to us for years, so we don't go all stupid and do the wrong thing. Why in the world would we trust them now?

I don't know what's sadder - that people who are supposed to be informing us about what's going on in politics are so clueless that they think this change matters, and that they are capable of accomplishing it, or that so many progressives are clearly foolish enough to think that being treated this way makes sense.

UPDATE/Afterword: I forgot to add this bit of wisdom from that Greenwald article:

Once you vow unconditional, permanent loyalty to a politician and a party - once you demonstrate that you will support them no matter what they do - why would you possibly expect that they will do anything but ignore you? A rational politician, by definition, pays attention to those whose support is conditional and uncertain, not to those who loudly proclaim that it is a solemn duty to support that politician and his party under all circumstances. That's just the basic rules governing how power works, of negotiations and politics: those who eagerly renounce all their leverage make themselves inconsequential and impotent.

Progressive media claims they'll be 'tougher' on Obama now
I have written this countless times, and explained at length, and often, why it's true. Yet I have had arguments with progressives where they'd claim exactly the opposite - that only unfailing loyalty is rewarded. The phenomenon Greenwald refers to is as ubiquitous and self-evident as the relationship between mass and gravity, yet these people argue that it is not true. This is why I laugh and cry simultaneously when progressives talk about how stupid conservatives are. The sad truth is that, when it comes to politics at least, the average progressive makes the average sack of hammers look like an extra-large shipment of artificial intelligence.

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