>“This much I will also say: I have never, ever seen actual gangsters in power before. Bob Tyrrell was right about the Clintons. They were ineffectual, in the end. Shakespearian, perhaps, in their MacBethian ways, but too cowardly to be real gangsters. This Obama guy is showing true observers of the game what the difference is between the way things were done in the backwater gangster spa town of Hot Springs and a big muscular professional crime capital like Chicago. For this gang, crime is politics and politics is crime. But even there, the self-enrichment theme is something that can be tolerated, though barely. It’s the interlaced matrix of socialist revolution that ups the stakes, the obvious rush toward kleptocracy and worse.”
The Ozark Long March was a long con with pretensions to worse things. It was a strictly hick little operation that they had going down in Arkansas. This isn’t to discount how rotten it was, as someone like Jerry Parks might finally attest if he were here, now, all these years later. The thing is that politics and crime were merely mutual opportunities to them. I refer to them as The Former First Grapple because they really were at cross purposes in many ways. Rodham was the political brains of the outfit, the one on a real ideological mission who had latched onto a decent piece of live horseflesh. The Lying Bastard himself was in it for the thrills. Camille Paglia fingered him when she wrote, “He wants all the cheeseburgers in the world.”
The basic contradiction is that for it all to have been anything but a con, it must have been Rodham in the Oval Office. Only she would have made it all real.
It’s McPhillips’ “interlaced matrix” that has me wondering. Of course, it’s a naturally notable fact that Long March veterans like Emanuel have glommed their angles in this deal, and it’s interesting to point out that Emanuel was a Rodham-camper in the old days. He’s one of the ideologues, contrast to Maximum Bill’s crime family types back in the day: Lindsay, McLarty, Watkins, Thomasson, et. al. The fact that he’s of the Chicago mob, uh… komsomol, is what makes all this more important than a convergence of old-timey hood-hooks and big-time opportunity.
See, there are ideas at work here. Not like when the light bulb blinks on over one’s head in a cartoon and he suddenly knows how to thread a nut & bolt together. No, it’s about how to run the world — cognition brought actively to politics with a plan and a will: this is ideology.
And what I still wonder is how deeply Obama understands his work. I believe that many of those around him do, but I am not yet sure that he knows how far he will have to go in order to put the ideology to work in America. His indulgence of the grinning (leering?) moron Cass Sunstein (an almost Speerian character to Obama’s dreams of social architecture) makes me question whether he really thinks he can just slide his rot down the American gullet without much of a gag. (Of course: to ask that is also to wonder at the American capacity to swallow, another very good question in recent decades.)
Obama is in the driver’s seat as was never a circumstance for the ideology during The Ozark Long March. The power and ideology are united as they weren’t in 1992 or 1996. What’s at question to me is the will.
My sense of it is that there is real steel under the paternal urbanity. Right now, it’s mostly manifest in the drive to action, but it’s just coming to grips with the action of power; how far, wide and fast these levers of power reach and what can be done with them. This necessarily includes political calculations (I did not believe for one second White House disclaimers of interest in the Tea Parties), although any rational calculation, by a collectivist, of ethical and political conditions in America now can only encourage the most aggressive action on every front.
The questions here are necessarily mirrored: how many Americans are prepared for what the program will call for? How well do they understand what’s going to happen?
They’re real questions, of course, but practically impertinent at the moment. They would only really matter if they had practical bearing on the socialist course, but they don’t right now.