Monday, November 05, 2012

Thank goodness THAT election is over! (What? For real? Are you SURE?)


"[A]t the age of thirty-seven, [Connaughton] joined Arnold & Porter and launched a new career: as a lobbyist.

"Connaughton's timing in politics hadn't been great, but in lobbying it was nearly perfect. In 1997, organizations were spending more than a billion dolars a year exercising their First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Within a decade, the figure was nearly three billion. . . ."

-- from George Packer's New Yorker profile of "Washington
Man" Jeff Connaughton in the Oct. 29 & Nov. 5 issue

by Ken

Phew! Thank goodness that election is over!

Really? It's not? You're sure about that? I must have entered the date wrong on my calendar. Oh fudge!

We'll get back to that, but first let me explain the quote above from George Packer's piece on Alabamian Jeff Connaughton, who worked his way up the lower ranks of the Washington bureaucracy dreaming of one day being "Joe Biden's man," which he sort of did, only the senator didn't quite seem to know about it, and finally drifted into the lobbying business, and finally drifted out of it and back into government and actually tried to do some financial reforming, but failed and eventually wound up writing the book The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins.

I haven't finished the piece yet. (Unfortunately only an abstract is available free online.) I've only just gotten to this part where Jeff does the drift into lobbying and suddenly, after scrounging at low-paying government jobs, finds himself raking in the moolah. And I stumbled across this passage, which stuck in my head for its connection to this horrible election that's just finally ended. Or, you know, almost.


I know Howie is exhausted, probably more mentally than physically, from all his election-season activities. And while it's still possible that all the Blue America candidates will emerge triumphant tomorrow, and it will be a happy day indeed, it's also possible that not all of them will. And when we were chatting about this the other day, my mind immediately went to what it must be like for those fine folks, enduring the rigors of this horrible ordeal, in general for no better reason than that it's the right thing to do, because somebody has to do something to dislodge those horrible people they've been running against.

Going into Election Day -- as certain people are claiming we're only just about to do -- I instinctively flash ahead to the stupefying number of utterly abysmal people who are going to be doing victory dances at the end of the day. Oh sure, there are going to be some good people winning too. That's just a matter of numbers; there are bound to be some. But the system is totally weighted toward the election of those abysmal people. It's abysmal people who make the system, er, work.

That and money, in case I didn't mention it. Acres and acres and still more acres of money -- and that's just the daily haul.

But I know it's not just money. The people inside that system depend on a high level of maintenance of its existing abysmal people as well as a steady supply of new talent to replace those who have moved on to the lucrative echelons of the consulting and lobbying worlds, which are of course all part of the same system.

I know how frustrating it is to Howie that no one else seems interested in the ongoing story of how outfits like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) exists basically to fill that role: to protect its abysmal incumbents and cultivate the abysmal incumbents of the future. And not just to protect its own abysmal incumbents, but also those of that other party they have there in DC. So that not only does the DCCC take most unkindly to the thought of upgrading its own roster; it shudders at the idea of challenging the influential abysmals who sit on the other side of the aisle. Apparently that other party's Campaign Committee isn't thought to be entirely adequate to the job of precting its abysmals.


For some reason, possibly storm-related, I've lately been watching more commercial TV with the commercials, rather than my usual practice of watching them via DVR with zapping capability. So I'm noticing the profusion of no doubt high-price spots bankrolled by right-wing high rollers fairly effectively crucifying the Obama administration, at least in the eyes of viewers who don't get that all those problems President Obama is being crucified for not solving are problems he inherited from the last president of that other party.

(Not to mention that that president and his staff did a lot of fibbing about the state of those problems the whole time they were packing up their secret decoder rings hoping to slip out of DC before anyone noticed the true scope of the catastrophe they were leaving behind, the rascals! But then, fibbing comes naturally to right-wingers. It's kind of like breathing for them.)

The adorable thing about those spots is that since they aren't actually campaign ads -- legally can't be campaign ads, I assume -- they not only don't but can't pursue the itty-bitty question of what the alternative to that wicked, ineffectual President Obama might be. As long as we viewers grasp the urgency of sending the Obama team packing, their legal requirements are satisfied -- and miraculously their job is done!

(On a more positive note, in that these spots actually tell us why we should vote for someone, there are the strange spots on behalf of NJ Gov. Chris "Fatboy" Christie, who was delivered unto earth inorder to save the earth, or anyways New Jersey, whichever came first. What's peculiar is that now we're duly primed to vote for Fatboy, it turns out that he isn't running for anything! Unless maybe it's President-in-Waiting Willard's new job next time around in the event that Willard doesn't get it this time around. And speaking of Fatboy, did you see those pix of him standing in profile alongside President Obama striking terror in the heart of his state's storm damage? My goodness, he's now absolutely round!)


Of course you know all of this about the money and stuff -- the stuff mostly all coming back to the money. That reminds me of that comical Supreme Court decision in which our favorite justice, "Slow Anthony" Kennedy, announced that we didn't have to worry about any danger from allowing unlimited corporate contributions to campaigns, on account of how the money hasn't been show to have any noticeable corrupting effect on our elections! Can Slow Anthony kid, or what?

After tomorrow I'm imagining Slow Anthony writing a letter like this:
Cheef Justiss John Jacob Jinglehymer Roberts
Supreem Kort of the US of A
Washington DC

Deer Cheef,

So hows by you?

I regret to inform you Ive decided I hafta rezine on account of how Im too stoopid for the job.

See ya! And dont take no woodin nickles!

Yor frend,

"Slow Anthony" K


. . . isn't so slow after all, but just thinks this whole monstrous political system we've developed really isn't corrupt. It's just bizniz as yewzhal heer in the US of A.

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At 8:31 PM, Anonymous me said...

how frustrating it is to Howie that no one else seems interested in the ongoing story of how outfits like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Well, *I* am interested, for whatever that is worth.

It's good to know that someone else - someone with a mouthpiece - sees them for the whores they are. (No offense intended to sex workers.) Thank you for calling people's attention to it.

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Karthik said...

I know it's your right to free speech and it's your turf, but for what it's worth, you're an a$$hole, for making fun of Christie for his obesity.
Do you think of yourself as a liberal when you rail against conservative positions on gay marriage, abortion, etc? Liberalism takes a backseat when it comes to obese political opponents eh?

At 8:45 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

You're wrong, K, I'm not making fun of Fatboy. I don't think there's anything remotely humorous about this grotesquely obese tub of toxic sludge.

I'm sorry, Fatboy is the hideous blob he is BY HIS OWN CHOICE. He is a walking warning to all functional human beings, and if you're too benighted to see that, K, then we know who the asshole is.


At 10:13 PM, Anonymous me said...

Keep talking about Christie like that and Rush Limbaugh is going to feel left out.

At 10:39 PM, Anonymous me said...

And on a related topic, have you noticed how much Karl Rove is beginning to resemble Limbaugh?

In appearance too, I mean.


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