I cant think of a better example of the triumph of 'truthless' postmodernism a la Lynn Cheney's nemesis (in what are her several apologetic theologies for superman-amerika -- "truth, justice and the amerikan way..." yee-haw) than her creepy evil husband's neat trick of making his office of the vice-presidency a fourth branch of the federal government.
This little coup has been spieling along for sometime now in little asides to the press -- Cheney people feigning a head-slapping Goober Pyle incredulity that the Veep is the President's right hand AND the Prez of the Senate. [Josh Marshall started remarking on it months ago.]
PoMo Civics, mofo: If he's Pres of the Senate, he's Legislative; if he's second to the President, he's Executive. So he's like: Nobody tells me what to do... You aren't the boss of me...
Golly and holy mackeral, how has anybody been able to cope with such an incongruent, and de-stable collection of descriptors of the Office of Duh Veep for, say, the last two hundred and thirty years? It makes you yearn for the days of a "pitcher of warm spit."
So Dick Cheney is my new Nietzschean hero... he knows will-to-power as the ultimate paradigm of western civilization at this historical juncture when he smells it. And he knows how to grab it, just like he knows how to shoot old men in the face with birdshot.
A'course, the Democrats are the real losers in this titanic battle beyond good and evil. They have adapted well the slave morality, the silly whimpering Christian resentiment against the snarling mad dog Republican coup d'état. The Demos have always been for "the common good" and for protecting the small from the big. But now, the small is tiny and the big is gigantic, and there aint no protecting anymore. It is impossible. The gigantic is just gonna eat up all the little tinies. You and me, Ace, and our kids, we're fucked.
The paradigm has shifted, sweet caring Demos (or older cliche: you cant put the genie or the toothpaste back in the lamp/tube). Democracy in America is moving from D'tocqueville to Gringrich, or has been. I often think these days that Amerika is only now wrestling with fascism the way Europe did a half century ago. The US only responded militarily to fascism in Europe.
Now "it can't happen here" is starting to happen in a uniquely American way, as the uniquely American institutions -- corporations, churches, public education, media -- all transform themselves into what they need to be as American fascism saturates the various cultural textures of our society. Mainly, these institutions just get stupid and crude and violent. It is the everydayness of the de-humanization that is fascism. And the police will come along soon enough.
(Certainly the shift, the amazing shift that has taken place in the last generation or so, the message to our youth: "We don't need you. We don't necessarily have room for you. You aren't necessarily welcome here. No guarantees." I didn't get that growing up in the 50s. I got the message that I was wanted and needed by society. But then, I'm an old white guy. And now, oh, sweet karma, even young white guys are no longer getting the message that Blacks and women probably didnt get in the 50s. Nobody is getting it. Corporate culture means all humans are interchangeable parts, except, of course, the big Daddies at the top... Care is so passé... )
So what we got kids: We got Weimar. Right now, maybe through the 2008 election -- until the big bad booger terrorists hit us in a way for which there is no appropriate response outside of "an extra-Constitutional emergency." Read about Weimar, compare what we know happened in Germany between the wars and what is happening here and now -- culturally, politically, mythically. And yes, it will be on the test...
Ha ha ha, what chumps we are...