Crikey



Welcome to Schadenfreude Files Volume II

President Obama did not lose, he won … Mitt Romney’s assumed base did not fully emerge … The last rallies of his campaign neither signaled nor reflected a Republican resurgence … While GOP voters … with lawn signs … Democrats … organising, data mining and turning out the vote … Obama was perhaps not joyless but dogged, determined …

Apart from that everything I wrote in my blog post of November 5 [‘I think Mitt Romney will win, I think he is sneaking in … like a thief in the night with good tools’] still stands.”  —  Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, post-election

You’ve got to give it to Noonan, a former Reagan speechwriter who has now taken on an empyrean persona that makes Katharine Hepburn look like Gina Rinehart pumicing her corns in a heatwave. Noonan had loftily disregarded the dull machinations of Nate Silver for her superior knowledge of the American mood, and while she was willing to admit the occasional inconvenient fact — such as the result — that changed nothing.

America was an unchanging eternal being, a centre-right nation, and so the only task of conservatives was to find the accidental features of this result, and reveal the essence beneath. It’s a measure of how crazy the Right is, that Noonan was one of the saner voices in the mix. Karl Rove, recovering from the wave of loathing directed at him from the Right, told Fox News that Obama had won by “voter suppression”, by which he meant the ads that had convinced working-class Right-leaning voters to stay home because Romney hated them.

Charles Krauthammer urged change on immigration policy — and nothing else. People would return to Republican ideals, he said, because “European social democracy is imploding before our eyes” — presumably referring to the riots and grievous poverty we hear about in Sweden and Germany every day. George Will, having urged the GOP to admit defeat during the primaries, and then forecasting an easy Romney win, now tried to cheer the faithful up about modernising the party by quoting a 1936 song: ”I pick myself up/Dust myself off/Start all over again”.

On it went, and any doubts I had of compiling volume two of the Schadenfreude Files was swept away — leaving only the concern that I alone would be so obsessive to see it as worthwhile. (Volumes three, four and beyond — and oh yes, there will be more — will most likely be consigned to blog row, by the eds).

Fortunately, the Right came to my rescue in, well, everywhere. In Australia, Tony Abbott put out the call for an “authentic” aborigine, while George Pell and other Catholic grandees once more played the victim card with regard to child s-xual abuse, and the “war against religion”. This was — tragically, heartbreakingly — added to when a young pregnant woman died of septicemia in Ireland, after the hospital staff stuck to the most rigid interpretation of Ireland’s anti-abortion law.

In the UK, the Tory Party, reeling from a 15%, seat-taking swing to Labour in the Corby by-election — after the sudden departure of alleged ex-nightclub drug dabbler and chick-lit novelist Louise Mensch — hired Lynton Crosby. He’d been responsible for the 2005 Tory campaign widely seen as the nastiest, and utterly unsuccessful, campaign in recent history, with its “are you thinking what we’re thinking?” anti-immigration ads. And coming back to the US, there was of course Mormon Mitt, telling a phone hook post-mortem for his campaign managers that Obama had won by giving “gifts” to people, simply reiterating his earlier disdain for half the population. (He also suggested that the group stay in touch, with regular catch-ups and perhaps a newsletter and then said hello, hello, is this thing on?). Continent by continent, the Right was curling into itself, doing the Mobius strip thing, where “having a rethink” really means redoubling your efforts to project a neat political fantasy onto real-life.

Page 1 of 3 | Next page

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Europe, Federal, United States

21 Responses

Comments page: 1 |
  1. So many good lines, with the insights to back them up.
    You’re right on song today Guy.

    by paddy on Nov 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm

  2. Modern journalism” - where opinion has shanked objectivity?

    by klewso on Nov 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm

  3. Linking George Pell with a woman in Ireland is a pretty long bow but overall another great GR insight.

    by mikeb on Nov 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

  4. Yes, I guess the statute of limitations on dissecting elections past (or at least audience attention span) is rapidly expiring. Pity, because there are just so many deserving loudmouth losers out there. One who has so far evaded (as far as I can tell) the embarrassment he so richly deserves is Niall Ferguson. In his piece on his blog of 12 Nov. he tried to have it both ways:

    To break the losing habit, Republicans must resist the temptation to make excuses. We should dismiss the following thoughts from our minds: it was Hurricane Sandy’s fault; it was Chris Christie’s fault; the mainstream media gave Obama a pass on Benghazi; a Mormon can never be president; a private-equity guy can never be president; the Tea Party went too far; the Dems’ ground game was better in Ohio.

    Then, his final point in a list of his diagnosis of why Romney lost, he gave an almost identical whinge as Romney (in fact I guess this pre-dated Mitt, perhaps even inspired Mitt?)

    Finally, and most important, the Democrats have figured out what European Social Democrats long ago understood: the more entitlements you create, the more voters you can depend on. Let me put it very simply: given the choice between higher taxes on the 1 percent and cuts in entitlement for the 47 percent, voters went for the former. Surprise!

    by michael r james on Nov 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm

  5. It’s great how yet another Abbott misstep is portrayed in the unrelenting character assassination of Tony Abbott. According to the SMH last Wednesday Abbott actually said, “It would be terrific to have an authentic indigenous representative of central Australia in Canberra”. What he clearly meant is to get someone like his preferred candidate Alison Anderson, who lives in central Australia, into federal parliament, which incidently, would make the coalition’s aboriginal representation 2-0 compared to the ALP.

    Somehow in Crikey we now have the much more loaded and racist slur that Abbott is seeking an “authentic aborigine” which nicely continues the character assassination campaign of the ALP. Keep up the good work, Guy. At this rate you’ll help get Australia another three years of the ALP.

    by David Hand on Nov 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm

  6. It’s great how yet another Abbott misstep is portrayed in the unrelenting character assass ination of Tony Abbott. According to the SMH last Wednesday Abbott actuall y said, “It would be terrific to have an authentic indigenous representative of central Austral ia in Canberra”. What he clearl y meant is to get someone like his preferred candidate Al ison Anderson, who lives in central Australia, into federal parl iament, which incidently, would make the coal ition’s aboriginal representation 2-0 compared to the ALP.

    Somehow in Crikey we now have the much more loaded and ra cist slur that Abbott is seeking an “authentic aborigine” which nicely continues the character assass ination campaign of the ALP. Keep up the good work, Guy. At this rate you’ll help get Austral ia another three years of the ALP.

    by David Hand on Nov 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm

  7. @ David Hand - That is what happens when people start to quote partial sentences. However, Abbott started all that with his use of: “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead…” (J Gillard), without adding the remainder of the sentence, which is something like ….”but I believe there should be a price on carbon polution”.
    Abbott will just have to put up with what he started - pot, kettle, black anyone?

    by CML on Nov 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm

  8. @David Hand: Another 3 years of the ALP is much to be preferred to the alternative of Abbott.

    @Guy: Where’s part 1? Does it contain more delicious analogies, like “Gina pumicing her corns?” I’f I’d been drinking, you’d have owed me a new keyboard.

    by Mike Smith on Nov 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm

  9. David Hand, we can only hope that GR will help deliver us from the evil that an Abbott government would be. Of course, GR would have an enormous influence on that outcome, unlike Abbott apologists like Jones or Mitchell would have, wouldn’t he? What a glorious night of celebration it will be when the PM wins office again. And, it will happen!!

    by colin skene on Nov 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm

  10. Utterly unchastened by their many failures - to crush Clover’s election as Lord Mayor,to denigrate her MLA replacement or the Oakeshott supported candidate in the Port Macquarie council elections, Jones & Hately continue to sing from Mudorc’s songsheet re the AWU unstory.
    A shift in Oz demographics may change electoral arithmetic but compulsory voting obviates a sudden change.

    by AR on Nov 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm

  11. CML,
    Abbot started all that?
    Typical defense of the indefensible.
    At least you admit that Guy is propogating a rac ist slur

    by David Hand on Nov 19, 2012 at 11:38 pm

  12. Interesting, GR. You’ve tied together a few apparently dispatarte strings to create a narrative there (backed up with your usual stinging prose). But let’s not forget, the left’s place in politics is defined by it’s opposite (the right). If They are a delusional rump as you suggest (and I’m inclined to agree), perhaps it’s time for Us to look within. Politics will never be a one sided affair (unless democracy truly fails). Is it time to ignore what we currently think of the right and repitch the battle lines according to more modern thinking?

    by mattsui on Nov 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm

  13. Yes, mentioning battle lines and modern thinking in the same sentence was an accident..

    by mattsui on Nov 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm

  14. david h

    the problem lies not in the nouns, but in the adjective - ‘authentic’. and i explicitly didnt say that abbott was racist. If you read the article, you’ll see that i said that the ‘authentic’ idea was a hodgepodge of attitudes, some of which were ancient racist ideas, and that they were contradictory - and that that was how they retained their power. it’s not that abbott is racist, it’s that the mix of sentimentalism and neurosis that characterises modern conservatism needs racist ideas to give itself meaning.

    by Guy Rundle on Nov 20, 2012 at 2:07 am

  15. Guy,
    No you didn’t explicitly say that Abbott was racist. You’ve just added to the toxic atmosphere around him that leads others to believe him so.

    Though I accept that Abbott is somewhat unreconstructed, all he wanted was an aboriginal who authentically represented Central Australian communities. You wouldn’t know it reading Crikey.

    by David Hand on Nov 20, 2012 at 8:14 am

  16. Guy,
    No you didn’t explicitly say that Abbott was rac ist. You’ve just added to the toxic atmosphere around him that leads others to believe him so.

    Though I accept that Abbott is somewhat unreconstructed, all he wanted was an aboriginal who authentically represented Central Australian communities. You wouldn’t know it reading Crikey.

    by David Hand on Nov 20, 2012 at 8:15 am

  17. David H

    Are you really so deaf that you can’t hear the dog whistling? Even while convicted racist and Abbott booster Andrew Bolt continues his desperate revisionism to justify his lies about ‘inauthentic’ pale-skinned aborigines choosing to ‘boost’ their careers…

    Next you’ll be arguing that Tony ‘a woman’s greatest gift is her virginity’ Abbott is a misunderstood feminist!

    by Moloch on Nov 20, 2012 at 9:04 am

  18. Good copy, young Mr Rundle, but “modernising conservatives”? Really? Where does one find one?
    In almost 75 years of surviving the vicissitudes of this mortality coil I have yet to cast me rheumy old eyes on one, let alone a plurality of same.
    Still, an excellent analysis of the status quo mob.

    by Desmond Carroll on Nov 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm

  19. It almost makes one wish for Gillard’s re-election if only to enjoy the wailing and gnashing of teeth that will ensue from the rabid sections of the media and the right. I think I will buy The Australian that day, it is is still in print.

    GR, you make a clear point about the apparent contradictions of a the centre right. It has always intrigued me how one holds the two contradictory ideas of encouraging free-range economics while maintaining barn-fed social attitudes, if I may slip into farming vernacular.

    Surely this is the underlying problem for the right, how can unregulated business sit alongside highly regulated social behaviours as an ideology. It has always carried this weakness, that it is inherently unstable and hypocritical.

    The result seems to be that psychological denial is a pre-requisite to maintain the two ideas concurrently without internal conflict, and consequently they are then blind to all other internal inconsistencies, such as ‘how come dem wimmin is getting all uppitty these days’ and ‘holy smokes, now dey’s wants to control deir own bodies, WTF’.

    The women conundrum, the indigenous conundrum, are both a result of the inherent hypocrisy of the underlying philosophy.

    I can understand how such a philosophy could have surfaced in one particular country due to unusual circumstances, but how is it that this ieal is actually the template for seemingly all the movements of the right?

    It don’t add up!

    by Dogs breakfast on Nov 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm

  20. david

    you’re still missing the point about the word ‘authentic’. If the candidate was an aboriginal academic from charles darwin university up north, who had one aboriginal and one white parent, a phd in postmodernism, and regular trips to conferences abroad, but with a continuing connection to family, mob, nation - and a strong opposition to the coalition’s policies - do you think abbott would regard this candidate as ‘authentic’? Of course he wouldn’t. He wants a certain type of person - who embodies both the ‘noble savage’ myth, but also subscribes to an individualist and assimiliationist worldview, and ideally with two aboriginal parents.

    If Abbott simply wants more indigenous reps from central australia - something we can all agree on - why not just leave out the adjective? You want to include it, but not give it any meaning. You’re reproducing abbott’s process.

    by Guy Rundle on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:14 am

  21. Guy.
    I think I’m getting the point about the word “authentic”. It is the opening used by you to attack Tony Abbott’s character. In this case, you are speculating whether or not he holds the patronising view of aborigines as “noble savages”.

    Hey, maybe he does. I’ve not discussed it with him. But in this case, the only thing he has been after is to capitalise on a surge of support from remote central Australian communities for coalition representation and he wants one of their own in federal parliament as a Liberal member.

    I realise such sentiments are a bit simple for people with PHDs in postmodernism but most “sympathetic commentators” get it.

    by David Hand on Nov 21, 2012 at 9:26 am

« | »