Voodoo economics

The first “real” snow of this not-quite-winter.

We got what I’d call our first real snow yesterday, probably because I had to drive Herself to the airport (the Universe is always on the lookout for ways to snatch a knot in my ass).

As real snows go it was fairly unreal, and the New Mexican sun was already dealing with it as I dropped her off and headed for home.

Elsewhere, Charles P. Pierce was occupied bringing light, heat and a metric shit-ton of knot-snatching to the legacy of George H.W. Bush.

I’d been trying to decide whether I had anything worthwhile to say about Poppy’s passing. There was no shortage of hagiography from the usual suspects, who seemed relieved to yap about something other than Il Douche shitting the national bed.

But all I could think of was “voodoo economics,” the one-two punch Bush v1.0 laid on Dutch Reagan’s fiscal acumen, such as it was.

When he transitioned smoothly from delivering that pop in the chops to joining the Gipper’s team as veep, I thought, “Fuck this guy.” And it seems ol’ Chazbo was thinking along similar lines. He summed up Bush v1.0’s political career as an extended exercise in “cheap theatrics … the pragmatic insincerity, the subcontracting of the hatchet job to a hired hand, the willingness to play a role, no matter how clumsily, in order to keep and maintain power.”

Quoth Charlie:

You will recall that, in 1980, he’d said the last sensible thing any Republican has said about the snake-oil that is supply-side economics. He called them “voodoo economics,” and he was dead-right. But he signed on as Reagan’s vice president anyway and, by 1988, he was getting up at the Republican National Convention and butching himself up by borrowing an idiotic line from an Arnold Schwarzenegger film. Read my lips. No new taxes!

As an authentic American patriot who did his bit during The Big One, Bush v1.0 didn’t need to descend to this sort of back-alley play-acting. Furthermore, as an authentic American patriot who did his bit during The Big One, he had a duty to call his party out on its descent into theocracy, willful ignorance, and fascism, but he never even cleared his throat, much less spoke up. Perhaps staff was unable to dredge up a suitable bon mot from the popular cinema, or he was all worn out from signing pardons for anyone who could rack him up like a second-hand suit over the Iran-contra scandal.

If you think that’s unkind, you should revisit Hunter S. Thompson’s thoughts on Bush v1.0, as I’ve been doing the past couple of days. In “The Scum of the Earth,” from his book “Generation of Swine,” HST wrote:

He has the instincts of a dung beetle. No living politician can match his talent for soiling himself in public. Bush will seek out filth wherever it lives — going without sleep for days at a time, if necessary — and when he finds a new heap he will fall down and wallow crazily in it, making snorting sounds out of his nose and rolling over on his back and kicking his legs up in the air like a wild hog come to water.

That the current occupant of the Oval Office makes Poppy look like a combination of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Pliny the Elder is no excuse for the ongoing failure of national memory. Props to Charlie Pierce for continuing to serve the Republic as that voice crying in the wilderness.

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14 Responses to “Voodoo economics”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    I can respect a conservative, but stuff like the Willie Horton ad, the “I was in the bathroom during Iran-Contra”, etc, were my low point memories of #41. But yep, compared to the present bunch of assholes, he is a cross between Dwight Eisenhower and Mother Theresa.

  2. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    My thoughts as well. But nobody wants to bring this kind of stuff up now so the guy’s reputation gets buffed up in death to something he never was in life. Same thing’s happening for Paul Sherwen, a cycling commentator who’d been “phoning it in” for so long I began to wonder if he (and the other one, which was was Heckel and which was Jeckel anyway?) had simply been computer synthesized?
    This was a guy who defended cycling fraud (and partner in African gold mines?) BigTex to the end but now he’s the 2nd greatest cycling broadcaster who ever lived?

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Kissing big oil’s ass then, and we still are.

    Like it or not, Paul, Phil, and that other guy, brought cycling into America’s living rooms. They got me really interested in cycling along with my boss who was a cycling nut. Shit, I got a Postal jersey for a gift during my retirement party.

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      Really? To me CBS Sports Sunday brought cycling to America’s living rooms. Sure, they used Shill Phiggett for some of the commentary but for me it was John Tesch and John Dockery doing the real creative content along with some very clever directors and video editors. Their coverage of Paris-Roubaix was fantastic.
      Heckel and Jeckel were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to cash in on LeMond’s and BigTex’ success with the later American broadcasts.
      #1 and #2 in the “Deans of English Language Cycling Commentators” category is the definition of big fish in a small pond. In recent years they both had been just “phoning it in”. Perhaps now Phiggett will retire and give someone else a chance? The sport needs it.

  4. matlinp Says:

    As with Khal Spencer, it was Willie Horton for me, as well as “card carrying member of the ACLU.” Right, because an organization whose sole purpose is to protect the freedoms and civil liberties as outlined in the Constitution must be, by definition, a subversive agency of some foreign power. I will give 41 credit for one thing, though – ever since that 1988 campaign, I’ve been a card carrying member of the ACLU.

    • khal spencer Says:

      I think I got my first ACLU card during the Ronald Ray-Guns Administration. Had it ever since.

      To his credit, #41 signed an amendment to the Clean Air Act that seriously reduced acid rain (I hail from the Northeast) and he signed the Americans With Disabilities Act. Its easy to put on our tribal hats and shit on someone but usually there is nuance. At least a little nuance, the present administration notwithstanding. GHWB’s letter of resignation from the NRA following their “jack booted thugs” fundraising tactic was a classic.

      • matlinp Says:

        Agreed, and in re-reading my comment, I realize that it probably came off as a bit harsh. Overall, I believe that if GHWB lived next door and he invited me over, I wouldn’t hesitate, because I think, at heart, he wanted to be a decent person. And why is it that politicians can’t bring that into their political lives? I see Michael Steel (former MD Lt. Gov., and RNC chair) on MSNBC quite a bit and, darn it, he’s wonderful – intelligent, funny, insightful. Why couldn’t he have displayed just a bit of that humanity when he was running for office in MD? I still might not have voted for him, but I would have had a lot more respect for him at the time.

        • khal spencer Says:

          Kinda goes to a comment in a long article in the NY Times right after Poppy sailed off. He said he went far right in order to win an election and regretted it ever since. Of course that didn’t keep him from letting his subordinates make that Willie Horton ad. Seems that people store their morality when they are running for office. That’s just wrong.

          • Steve O Says:

            At the end of the day, you can play the “he’s actually a schmuck” game with all 45 of them. Because to run for President, you have to have a fucking ego, and egos get in the way of integrity.

            And yes, the guy at the top is responsible for everything that happpens on their watch. But these campaigns are monsters. Your consultant hires a consultant who farms out the project to a sub-sub-sub contractor.

            Here’s what I’ll say about HW: he was the last president I saw eating an MRE on the hood of a HMMWV. I’ve seen 41 thru 44 in combat zones or DMZs, and he was the only one I can remember ripping one open and digging into the chicken tetrazzini with accessory packet B. So I’ll give him that.

          • khal spencer Says:

            Word, Steve. Word…

  5. Geoffrey Knobl Says:

    Crap. I don’t mean for 41 though I was not ever a fan (except he had a good sense of humor at times) but for a death that’s made me feel a little sad. I’m sure you will comment at some point, but Paul Sherwin’s unexpected passing leaves more of a hole for me than Bush.

  6. Steve O Says:

    My takeaway from the whole thing is that only a buffoon like trump could make us miss HW like this. We’re grading on a serious curve these days. It’s like P O’G’s joke a month or so ago about drug side effects. We’re longing for the days of good old bipolar depression.

  7. DownhillBill Says:

    Lets not forget GHWB gave us Mr. Justice Long Dong Silver. That was as consummate an act of cynicism as I’ve ever seen.

    • khal spencer Says:

      GHWB also gave us David Souter, who sadly, retired rather than stay on.

      I think Steve O’s comment that one could make any President into a schmuck, depending on one’s point of view, is close to the truth. I think the critical issue is that if a President is only 2 standard deviations worth of schmuck on the POTUSSCHMUCK scale, it can be forgiven. Trump is a six sigma schmuck.

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