Parodies Lost is the name of my personal blog, a name chosen because the fine art of parody is impossible in the modern world. When Republicans start blaming the current economic crisis on a man who's been in the Oval Office for fewer than 60 days, when the country goes berserk over admittedly gnarly bonuses for AIG that represent a fraction of a percent of what it's costing to fix the economy, when half of Americans refuse to believe in evolution… what chance does a poor parodist have?
You couldn't make this shit up.
Even the Washington Post has joined the "Through the Looking Glass" AIG Outrage Brigade in a front page story yesterday, "Anger Over Firm Depletes Obama's Political Capital." Joined by cable news outlets from the left and right, pundits have turned a problem into a national disaster with Obama being the chief victim. His political base is crumbling. His ability to effect change is crushed. His good name besmirched. His birth certificate has been withdrawn. His only recourse resignation, however one chooses to define it.
Should he have? Would he have? Could he have?
Give it a rest. Consider the cards Ol' Jug Ears has been dealt. You try winning every hand with nothing higher than a seven. Only a fool expects to succeed all the time in a crisis. Having spent a career in crisis management advising a wide range of clients, if I've learned nothing else, I've learned that that success is measured more in minimizing the idiocy than acing every billiard ball that comes over the net.
The always brilliant Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her must-read examination of Franklin and Elanor Roosevelt's lives during World War II, No Ordinary Time, cites I.F. Stone, one of the great political commentators of any age, who writes of Roosevelt's performance in 1941.
The president has much with which to be pleased. The task of mobilizing a…democracy for war is like trying to drive a team of twenty mules, each stubbornly intent on having its own way. Only by continual compromise with the ornery critters is it possible to move forward at all. Examined closely, by the myopic eye of the perfectionist, Mr. Roosevelt's performance in every sphere has been faulty. Regarded in the perspective of his limited freedom of choice and the temper of the country,…the year's achievements have been extraordinary. [Emphasis added]
If that doesn't perfectly describe BHO's first 50 days in office, I'll eat my back copies of I.F. Stone's Weeklies… or whatever they were called.
Naive man of the world that I am, I never anticipated the parody-annihilating behavior of the Republicans who not only purchased tickets for the Titanic but set depth charges under the nearby glacier to create even larger icebergs.
I did expect that the Democrats would give Obama fits in his attempt to create bipartisanship, and they haven't disappointed.
One reason politicians are reacting with intensified idiocy is an unintended consequence of cable news, the internet, and blogging. Every action taken by any political figure can be instantly elevated into national debate on which hangs the fate of humanity. These well-intentioned but mostly untrained and unschooled voices feed on each other like a swarm of piranhas, turning the water a deep red which obliterates the issue about which they were hyperventilating the first place. (Hmmm. Mixed metaphor. Oh well, live with it.)
God created the world, such as it is, in six days. It took Moses forty years to lead the Jews out of the desert. Somewhere between the two is a reasonable amount of time for our president to fix the economy, establish a new regulatory system, create a workable health care system, reverse global climate change, reform senior entitlements, end two wars, crush the terrorists, reestablish America's reputation in the world, educate his daughters, go out to dinner with his wife, and play basketball.