Mass culture turns on the Republicans -- but why?
What's happening is that these talk-radio pit-vipers who for a decade or so had us all wondering, "How the fuck do these guys get away with this stuff?" are now no longer getting away with it -- there's now a mechanism in place in the national media that is poised to savage these guys for the same kinds of tactics that for the last ten years were mostly left to the likes of FAIR and Eric Alterman to bitch about.
Look, there's nothing mysterious about any of this. It's pretty obvious what's going on. We saw this same kind of cultural shift in 1968, after the Tet offensive (an analogy so obvious that even Tom Friedman saw it recently), when the American political establishment soured on the Vietnam War. Despite the conservative propaganda that for decades has insisted that it was the media that lost the war for us in Vietnam, in fact the media didn't turn on the Vietnam war effort until the war was already lost. And the reason the media soured on that war had nothing to do with it being wrong; it had to do with the post-Tet realization that the war was expensive, unwinnable and politically costly. America is reaching the same conclusion now about Iraq, and so, like Dave Letterman, a whole host of people who just a few years ago thought we "had to do something" are now backing off and repositioning themselves in an antiwar stance.
Well, that's putting it pretty fucking mildly, wouldn't you say? It's not that Iraq didn't make "as much sense" as Afghanistan -- it didn't make any sense, and anyone with half a brain could have seen that. And Letterman's subsequent reasoning -- that seeing one death turn into dozens and then hundreds and thousands made him reconsider the whole thing -- all that tells you is that this is a person who makes life-and-death decisions without considering the consequences. If the Iraq war was not ever going to be worth 3,000 American lives (and countless more Iraqi lives), then why the hell did we go in in the first place? If you make a decision to fight, you had better not be scared of blood. And if you're suddenly changing your mind about things after you lose a few teenage lives, you're a hundred times more guilty than the guys like Bush who are actually sticking to their guns about this war.
Because Bush and the rest of that crew sent young men to die for something they believed in, fucked-up as their reasoning might be and have been. But these shitheads in the political middle who are flip-flopping right now sentenced teenagers to death for the cause of expediency and careerism. There are young men coming home now without arms and legs because the Wolf Blitzers of the world were too afraid to lose their jobs or piss off advertisers bucking the war hysteria of the times. Remember, CNN and the rest of the networks did great business in the run-up to the war. They had artists cooking up fancy new "America's New War" graphics and they were selling lawn fertilizer and soda and male-enhancement drugs by the metric ton right up to the time when the Saddam statue came down. But the war isn't selling anymore; the war is a bummer. And so these guys are changing their minds.
This assault on the Republicans that's taking place in the national media right now is partially a reflection of national attitudes, but mostly a matter of internal housecleaning. The members of the Bush administration have proven to be incompetent managers of the American system, and so they are being removed. It's that simple. They screwed up a war that all of these people wanted, turned public opinion against the dumbed-down militarist politics that until recently was good business for everybody. And so they have to go. Mistake any of this for ideology or principle at your peril (my em).
I have no particular point to make other than "What's good for Big Business is good for Big Business".
I wonder how they're going to make money over the impending coverage they're going to have to do of our troops getting kicked out of Baghdad and having their asses handed to them all the way to Kuwait?
I'm sure they'll find a way. Everybody'll want to watch that.