I’m not sure anyone has made this analogy before, but in any case, it’s spot on:
I think Republicans see themselves the way Wall Streeters see themselves — as people to whom nothing really bad could possibly happen, no matter how dire America’s problems are. If they get in, push more tax cuts that increase debt, and make spending cuts that worsen unemployment and leave more infrastructure to crumble, they’ll just find some scapegoat, sexting or illegal immigrants or Dodd-Frank, to blame everything bad in America on. If that doesn’t work, they’ll start a war, and make it just controversial enough that Democrats will hesitate to support it, then treason-bait those Democrats for their hesitancy.
I think this is true for America in any state of decay short of civil war. And perhaps even that qualification doesn’t apply.
This approach will work for years. It worked for George W. Bush for six years, didn’t it? (I think that’s what Cheney meant when he said his crew had proved that deficits don’t matter — if you can gull the voters with distractions like Saddam, you can get away with anything.)
That’s the central political reality of our time: the establishment will never, ever be held accountable for anything. Sometimes they deliberately fuck things up in order to advance their own interests or those of their patrons (“starve the beast”, “drown it in the bath-tub”). Sometimes they fuck things up because they’re stupid and careless. It doesn’t matter, either way they’re rewarded with corporate board positions, think tank sinecures, tv “news” gigs for their family.
I usually leave the pretentious art stuff to others, but I can’t get this passage from Great Gatsby out of my mind:
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…