The statistics that still come to me once a week from some cyber-place I signed up for years ago tell an ugly tale. The number of people still checking this site every day for something -- anything -- new from me has whittled down to a hardy average of 23 soul survivors. In this site's hay-day -- somewhere between Gov. Doyle's trouncing of Mark Green and the racist Gableman campaign against the far-superior Louis Butler -- I had as many as 250 people checking in every day. My posts were discussed on Charlie Sykes' wing-nut radio program. I was a featured blogger on Wisopinion. Gov. Doyle saw at my nametag at a fundraiser once, looked up and said "Hey, I like your blog!"
How times have changed. My output has gone kaput for months now, slowing to a trickle before I found myself looking up at a situation -- now -- where, after managing something every couple of weeks or so, I haven't posted anything for a month-and-a-half. I find those friends and family who used to ask me once in a while when my next post was coming just pass me in the halls of the Courthouse and other places in my life with a silent shrug, quietly mourning what they assume is the end of my attempts to comment on local and national politics and media in an amusing, informative way.
Well, I have to admit, the political demise of the dangerously hapless Junior Bush entourage and the arrival of Barack Obama in the White House did do a lot to take the edge off of the outrage that spurred much of the writing here. In the months after the election and the first several months of the Obama era, the members of the right-wing echo chamber were completely flummoxed by the new president's thumping of McCain and (hah) Palin and his popularity. The highly-scripted wing-nuts on radio and Fox Noise reverted to their tiresome anti-Clinton mode, trying to impose the death of a thousand cuts on a popular president they could not defeat in a fair election. Absurd allegations recycled from the campaign, like the supposed Messiah complex, socialism...please.
All of this would have fallen on deaf ears outside of talk-radio's targeted demographic (Stupid People, 34 -51) if not for the Great Recession created by unchecked capitalist greed and the indifference and deregulation of the reckless regime fronted by Junior Bush. With the powerful banks soaking up and spitting out TARP funds and refusing to extend credit, it could have been predicted that the stimulus would fail to accomplish anything that anyone would recognize over the 24/7 screeching of the lunatic right. "It Would Have Been Worse" hardly works as a political bragging-point, even if true. The Republicans in both house of Congress threw up an amazingly united front, voting unanimously against anything -- anything -- that would have given Obama and the Democrats credit for governing.
Then came the phony Tea Baggers. Driven by a collection of well-paid right-wing functionaries, promoted non-stop by Fox Noise and the vast network of wingnut mainstream radio stations and always featuring manufactured celebrities like Not-Joe the Not-Plumber and the putrid Michelle Malkin, the gathering of several hundred fearful and infirm Stupid People with racist and otherwise insane signs and sentiments has been held out as proof of the "outrage" of average Americans. Seems to me there have been people gathering in the streets for years -- most recently, in opposition to Bush's Stupid War in Iraq -- in much greater numbers without being given credit for speaking for anyone but themselves. Let people like that get out there, and the right-wing portrays them as a bunch of unemployed, loser troublemakers. On the other hand, they make wild claims about a vast consensus of America based on whatever restless crackers respond to weeks of talk-radio promotion and manage to get off their Lazy Boys for a chance to listen to clowns like Vicki McKenna live in person.
Which brings us to Glen Beck.
Beck is the most nakedly insincere demagogue in the history of demagoguery. His contempt for his audience of stupid rednecks is barely concealed under his dripping smirk, as he twists history and logic in knots on a distracting chalkboard of lies and distortion. His guests, when he has them, are universally admiring fellow-travellers, there only to prop him up as an intellectual healer of the nation's wounds and sins. Can't you see what he can see? What's the matter with you?
But Beck and his handlers made a big mistake by inviting a liberal Democrat, Eric Massa, onto the show after he resigned from Congress on Tuesday, a classic hour of political comedy that has to be seen to be believed. Fox Noise booked him because they wanted him on to tell tales about "corruption" and such in the Democratic leadership. But Massa, who has been making all kinds or conflicting irresponsible statements since he announced he was going to resign last week, did not follow the Beck script. Beck response was to sit in stunned silence for most of the hour, ultimately apologizing to his audience of slack-jawed simpletons who are used to having their pablum served in more predictable fashion. "I think I've wasted your time," said the greatest time-waster on the planet. "I think this is the first time I have wasted an hour of your time." Cue the howls of laughter on that one.
...But I digress. I'll try to post more, OK?