October 22, 2008

Turncoat Conservatives Line Up to Kiss the O-Ring

powellhead.jpg"I want real loyalty. I want someone who will kiss my ass in Macy's window, and say it smells like roses."
-- Lyndon Johnson

The problem with the daily buzz is that it buzzes. It whines in the ear until many people cannot hear themselves think... if indeed they think at all.

Today's buzz is all about the endorsement of Colin Powell of Barack Obama. Pinhead punditry on all levels is agog in glee and rapt in wonderment. Well, what for many is a big buzz for me remains a big "ZZzzzzzzzz."

What exactly is the surprise here? Did anyone really think that when it became clear that Obama was going to have a real shot at the title, people like Powell would come out and announce themselves as a race traitor? Some might have hoped so, but for Powell and his Republican fellow travelers what decides these things is their social reality, not the integrity of their intellect or even gratitude for favors past.

What we all need to understand when contemplating the turncoat moves of people such as Colin Powell, Peggy Noonan, or Chris Buckley over the last few weeks is that they are merely triangulating their fortunes for a possible future world. It is just cynical positioning.

This positioning is done with the knowledge that there will be no consequences for them if the O-world does not come to pass, but there will be adverse consequences for them if it does. Turning the coat, if you are a conservative or a Republican at this juncture, is a win-win for all of them.

This is because, as we all know, there are no permanent consequences for conservatives or Republicans if they "go off the reservations." There are, as we all know, dire consequences for liberals or Democrats if they go off the reservation by even so much as an inch. Those consequences are loss of influence, friends, allies, dinner party invitations, and other forms of social and political death.

Conservatives can leave the tent and, if they are wrong in judging which way the chips fall or the fan is hit, they will be welcomed back after a brief mea culpa. Liberals can be down with the entire progressive/liberal schtick but if they so much as say, "I'm not so sure about this facial piercing thing," they are out. For good. Unless, perhaps, they stage a public ceremony where they smooch the bronze buttocks of Barack at high noon in Macy's window on 7th avenue in New York, with the media in attendance hosted by Kieth Olbermann. When this is done they will be required to declare, "It smells of roses." And even then it will be a close run thing.

Chris Buckley has nothing to lose and a host of social invitations and lucrative writing and book contracts to gain.

Peggy Noonan has less than nothing to lose and a continued seat at the dinner parties of the rich and Democrat to gain.

Colin Powell has even more of less than nothing to lose than Noonan. He enhances his already overblown reputation as a senior statesman as well as getting himself a chip in the Obama game should Obama win the Presidency. He maintains and even enhances his speaking fees. Obama's winning or Obama's losing is still all good for Colin Powell. He makes more money and status coming and going.

What Powell's endorsement means in terms of bringing actual votes over to Obama, however, is approximately zero. Or so close to zero that the gap lets through no light at all.

How many people do you think that were either "undecided" or edging towards voting against Obama will be swayed by the august endorsement of Colin Powell? Probably about as many who believe, in their hearts, that his endorsement was "not about race." I put that at somewhere between 3 and 5 votes. Nationwide.

It is, of course, all about race. It always has been about race. The race is nothing if it is not about race. Powell knows that, but he didn't get where he is by not being someone who can lie when it is in his interest. Being able to lie straight-faced is the first and last requirement for climbing high in the government. Being successful in the media is the first and last current requirement for not questioning bald-faced lies like Powells. And the pinhead pundits of America are not found wanting in this regard.

The meaning of the Powell lie is that endorsing Obama is good, not only for Obama, but first and boremost it is very, very good for Powell. There's no real risk or downside. He's golden.

Posted by Vanderleun at October 22, 2008 1:02 PM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

"Cynical positioning" -- yes, perfect.

Posted by: JBean at October 20, 2008 1:44 PM

Ah yes, that "strange new respect" accorded to Colin Powell. Not so long ago, Obama and his party collectively considered Powell to be little more than a war criminal. Now that he's flipped, all is forgiven:

"It's okay. You was hyp-no-tized by Devil Bush."

Colin can do what he wants, but, if Obama oozes his way into the Oval Office, we can only hope that by this time in 2009, Squallin' Colin will have realized he screwed the pooch big-time when he backed the wrong horse.

Posted by: MarkJ at October 20, 2008 3:05 PM

Not long after Powell had begun serving as SecState, I realized he had Peter Principled out at CJCS.

Mind, 95% of the rest of us would have PP'd out long before that high level, including, I am sure, myself. But the fact is that Powell's tenure as chairman was the high-water mark of his professional life either in the Army or afterward.

Posted by: Donald Sensing at October 20, 2008 3:29 PM

There once was a goal: A person "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

This goal is so old. So very yesterday. Gone, baby. Was it ever the goal?

Posted by: Fred at October 21, 2008 2:15 AM
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