UR normally only appears on Thursday mornings. But this one is just too fun.
Earlier in the blog, I offered a five-caste definition of the American social spectrum. But I’ve decided that five is two too many. As St. Exupery said, the machine is complete only when there is nothing left to take away.
Basically, there are three kinds of wonderful people on the wonderful northern continent of our wonderful Western hemisphere. They are called Eloi, Morlocks, and Proles. This list is roughly in order of political power, from absolute dominance to abject submission.
In case it isn’t absolutely glaring, Barack Obama is a third-generation Elo on his mother’s side. Michelle is a first-generation Ela from a Prole background. Burning Man is an all-Eloi event. I don’t feel this is a difficult picture to grasp.
And Sarah! Sarah! Sarah is the Prole to end all Proles. She is practically an Arch-Prole. Look at that hair, girl! Does it say bridge in the front and tunnel in the back, or is it the other way around? I also love the fact that the only scandal they can dig up on her is one involving the fact that her ex-brother-in-law threatened to “put a bullet in” her father. If Governor Palin turns out to be in some way related to Tonya Harding, I shan’t be in the least surprised. Dear!
A progressive (and very dear) friend of Mrs. Moldbug’s, for example, reacts instantly to this potent allergic stimulus. Her first reaction was: “Eye-ran?” To her this just said it all. As indeed it does. If Sarah Palin is not a prole, there is no such thing as a prole.
If nothing else, the fact that Gov. Palin studied “communications” at something called “Idaho State College” would certainly seal the deal. Status in one of our three castes is not exactly inherited, exactly, as if it were a baronetcy or something. But unless you did start out as a baronet, it is pretty much set by “where you went.”
I mean, let’s see: George W. Bush is one of the ten most hated men in history. And why? Because he’s a traitor. He was raised in the minor Connecticut nobility, but (a) can do a Prole accent and (b) much worse, depends on it for his act. GWB could have said, actually, I would rather be an Elo, thank you very much, basically at any time before he became governor of Texas. Possibly even after. You know he is capable of talking like anyone else who went to Yale. And the White House would have been out of reach. On the other hand, you might see him at Sundance.
But he refuses this. Or has. And that, alone, makes him a dangerous man. So which is scarier? The traitor, Bush? Or the would-be usurper, Palin?
You see, the so-called “Democrats” (whom, here at UR, we call the Inner Party) and their purported opposition, the supposed “Republicans” (or Outer Party) have completely different beliefs about the nature, purpose, and function of the office known as the “Presidency,” for which they appear to contend. As usual, the IP is right and the OP is wrong.
To the IP (obviously, also the Eloi-Morlock Party), the so-called “President,” i.e., the player whom callers help select in USG’s quadrennial reality show, is hardly a temporal position at all. It is really more of a spiritual office. The Roman pontifex maximus is a fine analogy. I also admire the phrase “bully pulpit,” which I feel could be used a good bit more.
For the IP, for example, the ideal “President” would be Nelson Mandela. But there are obstacles—St. Mandela, for instance, is not an American citizen. At least not in the strict technical sense of the law. Fortunately, our evolving standards of justice may at some point in the future, when we are more spiritually advanced, enable us to overcome this barbarous discrimination. When Archbishop Obama says that “the walls between the countries with the most and the countries with the least cannot stand,” perhaps he actually means it. Who knows, with such a great man? Certainly a good first step would be for a Federal court to realize that Mexicans are actually, in fact, Americans. (It’s not like they were born in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia or Antarctica.)
But obviously the most sacrilegious possible desecration is one in which an actual, practicing Prole is appointed, by some awful cosmic mistake, to the hallowed post of “President.” It’s basically like having a porn star elected Pope. Even as candidate vice-Pope, it’s way too far. The purpose of the White House is to teach the Proles that it’s wrong to be a Prole, and they need to stop. Now. I mean, duh. Ideally, the LORD would let America know at once of her mistake, and send Hurricane Gustav straight up the Mississippi to demolish the polyester-Americans and their so-called “convention.” (Which, frankly, could be mistaken for a multi-level marketing conference. At least if all you look at is the hair.)
Meanwhile, the OP (or Prole Party) has a completely different view of the “White House.” To the PP, the “President” is the CEO of America.
This illusion can only be sustained by people who either (a) have no idea what Washington is or how it works, or (b) do, but conceal it for their own political benefit. Collectively these individuals are known as “conservatives,” and they make up the right side of your radio dial.
(The radio cannot be adjusted beyond this built-in band. But it can be turned off. Please do not vote for, contribute to, or otherwise support the Outer Party. Outer Party politics is not effective against the Inner Party. Please forward this message to all your Avon subscribers.)
The truth is that the White House changes its entire nature as an organ of government when it changes between Inner and Outer Party control. An Inner Party presidency is simply a different institution from an Outer Party presidency. They are apples and oranges.
When the Inner Party is in, the Presidency is a vestigial organ. It would be a fun experiment to actually abolish the White House for four years. The results would be more or less the same. Every agency in Washington would function not only just as well without the existence of the President, but in fact much better.
For example, my mother was at DOE in the Clinton era. In the renewables area—she did a good bit of work for Joe Romm. Once I asked her what Sched Cs (political appointees) did under Clinton, and she said: “they got a nice office, and they were told to work on whatever they liked.” Indeed the main difference between Inner Party candidates is (a) whether or not they can win, and (b) the set of people among whom they will distribute the Plum Book.
A ceremonial presidency is perfectly consistent with Inner Party values, which stress that “politics” is bad and “public policy” is good, and the two should be stored separately—for more or less the same reason that sewage and wine are not shipped in the same tanker truck. As so often, the IP is exactly right about this. Except for the fact that the word “democracy” occupies the highest possible position on the mental totem pole of the Inner Party mind. If I could explain this, I might still be a believer.
(Moreover, the contradiction itself is a nice bit of misdirection. It points the marks away from inquiring into the nature, ingredients, and origins of the sausage called “policy.” But I digress.)
When an Outer Party man becomes “President,” he soon finds that all his efforts are devoted to solving the essentially unsolvable problem of preventing his name from becoming a historic byword for pure, infamous villainy. Maybe not quite like Hitler or Attila the Hun. But certainly like Mussolini, Richard II, Nixon or Ivan the Terrible.
The basic problem of the Outer Party in the White House is that, with minor exceptions such as the Pentagon, its mission is essentially one of preventing the rest of Washington from doing its job. Or at least what it thinks its job is. The military, of course, is an Outer Party shop, and can always be sent on bloody, expensive and counterproductive ticket-punching adventures. The rest of our permanent government, the civil service proper, is Inner Party to the bone. In fact, perhaps the best way to describe the Inner Party is as the party of the permanent civil service.
Which holds far more power than the White House. The While House can prevail or even contend only in the vast minority of conflicts with the permanent civil service. It is not good for the polls. When an Outer Party presidency’s approval sinks below 40% or so, it is defeated, and the agencies he supposedly “leads” ignore the “President” and all his handlers, cronies and contributors. Since polls are a function of public opinion, public opinion is fabricated by the press, schools and universities, and the latter are perma-pwned by the Inner Party, the resulting barbecue is too inevitable to be really entertaining. It’s best just to play along.
Example: for most of 2008, GWB might as well have been the prime minister of Namibia for all the influence he’s exerted over US foreign policy. Cheney probably wishes he was the prime minister of Namibia.
And how is all of this kept a secret? Easy. Two years before each election, each candidate or potential candidate for the Outer Party nomination must submit to a secret ritual conducted in the license-plate room of the Skull and Bones house. First, trained ferrets relieve them of any remaining fringes of their original manhood. Candidates then receive 250ug Delysid. When the drug begins to takes effect, the candidate is locked in a closet with a DVD player and the complete, 7-disc Yes, Minister series. The course ends with a West Point-style trivia drill on the machinations of the devious Sir Humphrey. Brief waterboarding sessions occur throughout. The full training takes a couple of days, but produces a highly tractable Republican “politician.”
You see, there are all sorts of problems with Governor Palin. She does not fit the profile. She displays no appearance of any awareness that the reality show is rigged. She might even think that the “President” actually is the CEO of America. And I’ll bet no one even told her to show up at Skull and Bones. No, she was out hunting polar bears from her snowmobile, with her Eskimo husband and her weirdly-named offspring. (Track? Trig? Bristol, even? Could these be Eskimo names? Intrepid readers, please advise.)
Depend on it, Eloi: if there is ever a Dominionist restoration in this country, Sarah Palin will be part of it. She’s basically Margaret Atwood’s Commander, with ovaries. All your worst fears are absolutely true. Of course there is no chance of her gaining any actual power—but this is only due to your assiduous pro-government activism. Keep it up, interns. Remember, they may not pay you, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t changing the world.
Personally, I am so done with “change” that I’d be happy to turn the country over to the Alaska National Guard—CEO, Commander Palin. With plenary, perpetual, supralegal powers. She’d be half Pat Robertson, half Augusto Pinochet, half Hints from Heloise. Proletarian government! The Eloi tremble. But so do the Morlocks. Perhaps Orwell was right after all.