DeMint, Armey and the rump Movement et al. largely already won their initial objectives. Just by saying ‘boo!’ since August 2009.
From a shadow fallen so low none could foresee its rise again in 2008, the Movement now is a confidently self-organizing dominant voice in our rootless, meme-soaked apolitical consciousness. It’s a remarkable achievement. True, willfully inept enablers in the Obama Administration and on Capitol Hill played their vital part, flinching on cue, passively reacting. The rump Movement (still fragmented and at partial strength) governs this country increasingly by negative implication.
You, Dear Reader, know the Movement is apart and separate from Republicans. We’ve discussed this in depth for 5 or 6 years. Some like Chuck Todd are reporting on this today, September 15th, as breaking news and insight. At least he knows what the soup of the day is in the White House before the rest of us.
If Republicans take the House or more remotely, the Senate, ‘Republicans’ regain perks like Chairmanships, larger staff and subpoenas. The Movement’s notion of winning, however, is not so pedestrian. Like all Movements from the Continent before, today’s American subset is bent on acting out its narrative of grievances. That narrative (as always before) is too expansive for mere institutional titles and rules.
We’ve written at length here for years why ‘renewal’, ‘restoring’, ‘dignity’, ‘honor’ are all code words from the history of anti-liberal democratic Movements since 1789. And before that, the Counter Reformation. Each Movement repeats the same cant, often thinking themselves unique or different. This clarion call to a romanticized past is a sign of decadence, of course. But it’s a dead end because it shows the exhaustion of the central idea at the Movement’s core – it can not create something new and purposeful but clutches at past myth (betrayed and under siege) as a substitute.
This explains why once any Movement seizes power — and it is a seizure and celebrated as such rather than a mere electoral win — the narrative code in practice can only find expression by abolition, repeal, erasure and destroying. True whether the robes were purple and the language Latin, or the shirts Red or Brown. It can’t be otherwise. For one Narrative to win, all others must be extinguished. The Ur Script across time at the core is nihilism.
Armey, DeMint et al. see this larger truth. Movement puppeteers can better exploit their growth vector playing the aggrieved, victimized outsider mythos. This is what DeMint means when he’d rather be in the minority than compromise. People outside the Movement don’t get what these words mean. He is NOT talking about pluralistic politics. DeMint is saying they are militant about maintaining the internal coherence of their self-organizing, self-identifying Narrative. They can’t compromise. If they do, it all falls apart.
Talking Heads and the Chattering Class continue to equate the Movement as just a militant portion of political pluralism like on the ‘Left’ [sic]. They don’t get its historical antecedents from the Continent. If one understands the Movement and its psyche, then one knows for them to compromise their Narrative is an existential act. That’s why the cable channel unconstrained by objective fact is central to it all.
The Movement and its tv channel understand profoundly well they can govern without responsibility, as a splinter minority without any formal institutional control. They set the parameters, the tone and often the subject of political discourse by sheer daunting (and Democratic flinching). The majority of this disintegrating, formless society of tweets, burps, and people named “The Situation” haplessly drift along. To maintain this government by negative implication, the tv channel and Movement must recharge their minority’s energy periodically creating public theater ala on the Mall recently.
Would locking the Movement into institutional forms sap their frisson? Perhaps make them part of a House majority? What could blunt the ardor of their currently unfettered Narrative better than boring rules, votes and procedures? Didn’t Clinton show it’s possible to let a circus implode upon itself?
It’s an experiment tried before in Europe. Often by people confident that they could ‘manage’ the Movement by bringing them into government. They routinely failed. In some cases these miscalculations unleashed a Narrative bringing suffering and death. Don’t forget. For a Movement, compromise is an existential act.
Clinton may be the exception that proves the rule. The current White House and so-called professional politicians in the Democratic Party are feeble. Obama can’t punch. One must hope the levees hold. For *something* (undefined) better to come along.
What happens when “We suck less” is a difference with no meaning? A Democratic congressional majority and White House let a small minority and one cable tv station effectively govern the country by negative implication. 8 years of Bush didn’t wake them up. They’ve learned nothing from the 2009-2010 car wreck. What will Democrats need to understand they’re playing badminton in the NFL?