Thursday, January 16, 2014

1/24th in the Books

People who handicap future elections say our NC senator, Kay Hagan, is in for a go this time around. Could well be. It's hard to know until after the Republicans get done with their primary. There's a couple of serious players, guys who worked mightily in the Legislature this past year to mess up NC taxes and make it harder for anyone but white men to go vote. Depending on when people do their taxes, these guys could have some issues in their primary. My guess is, one of 'em will win, and Mrs. Hagan will talk a lot about their record as summer rolls along. But meanwhile she has some doozies coming at her from the peanut gallery.

Last week I mentioned the heavy hitter who resigned his current political post in the language of Klingon in order to run against Mrs. Hagan. This week another of her opponents has stated that the entire U.S. Agriculture Department should be abolished, along with Food Stamps and anything else the Ag Department does in the real world. His genius metaphor is the old cliche about giving a man a fish, versus a fishing pole (or a stick of dynamite). I thought it was a particularly notable metaphor given doings on the waterways of West Virginia. Not much fishing happening in Charleston right now I don't 'spect.


The Christie scandal will inch along, and the question is going to be when and if any of the inner circle decide to break ranks. Rachel Maddow is doing really outstanding reporting. She's already discovered photographs which absolutely prove Christie was lying when he said he hadn't seen Mr. Wildstein in months. The press generally is proving to be its usual befuddled self, when some of its components aren't actively dissembling or tossing chafe into the wind. Mark Halperin told Mr. Rose with a straight face that his rule is to believe what a politician says. They didn't get into how you do that, exactly, when the poltician talks for an hour and a half and says any number of contradictory things.

For all that Richard Nixon made his permanent mark as the nadir of Presidential office holders, the tapes present one feature of his tenure which is worth considering for its deeper meaning. For reasons that much have resided deep in Nixon's cinder of a heart, down below all the in-fighting and victimhood to somewhere near the Quaker roots he possessed, Nixon wanted there to be some touchstone of truth, at the end. He taped it all.

Of course he didn't expect for the tapes to be revealed when Sam Ervin was running the show. But he wanted something bedrock, for some future moment. In establishing the taping system, Nixon moved beyond the gleaming surface of things, at least in theory. He set up a verifiable level of truth deeper than "deniability." The question for us today is whether the practice of deniability can manage to trump reality. The Bush people thought so. "We make our own history," one of them said early on, before things on the ground started to go in directions they hadn't forseen. A lot of people think history will tend towards justice, tapes or not. It could be, in the case of Mr. Christie, that a little blonde with four kids won't manage to carry the whole load up the whole mountain.

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