« What To Do With the Briefing Room? | Main | SecDef in JPEG »

February 17, 2006

The Democrats must not allow a biography gap

By Lance Mannion.

Accidents will happen, but as any Freudian will tell you, there are accidents, and then there are self-destructive moments when you unconsciously conspire with Fate, circumstance, a few beers, and a shot gun to reveal the whole of your twisted inner psyche to the world as if seized by a heavenly desire to stand on the Salem scaffold, confess it all, and show the assembled congregation the great big scarlet A on your chest.

A for Asshole.

Dick Cheney appears to have had one of those accidents.  Over the last week everything rotten, seamy, dangerous, and threatening in his character seems to have summed itself up in one perfect, symbolic story.   The fable of his life has been written and you'd think that from here on out, wherever he goes, he will be held in the universal contempt he's so determinedly earned.  But probably not.  I think he may get away with it.

The story is just too good a story.

,As I said, everything rotten about Cheney has been on display all week.  His arrogance, his hypocrisy, his innate dishonesty, his sense of entitlement, his swaggering certainty that the laws as written do not apply to him, he can obey them to whatever degree he feels like, and the police as his personal flunkeys will bow and scrape and follow his orders.  His carelessness about others, his placing of his self-regard and reputation above another man's life.  The circumstances that set up the accident show up the material corruption of the man.  Canned hunts are the most childish, wasteful, and brutal way for a spoiled rich man to indulge himself.  My god, if you can't think of a better method for throwing away your money, then just keep it in the vault and go down and count it in the dark every night, at least that's a form of avarice that pays homage to the virtue of thrift.

It's all perfect, in the way perfect stories are perfect.  Chekhov couldn't have written one more revealing, although he came spookily close.

But that's the trouble.  People love good stories and they react to the true ones with the same excitement and sympathy with which we react to the made up ones.   We love stories for the way they entertain us, but we also love them for the lessons we learn from them, and the best stories all teach the same thing, that human beings are flawed and weak and deserve understanding and pity.  They encourage tolerance and foregiveness.

The story of the shooting shows up Dick Cheney as a rotten human being.  But it shows him as a human being.  He's easier to hate as an abstraction.

We can despise someone and sympathize with him.

I don't know what will come of all this.  I think that those of us to whom Cheney is a clear-cut villain might very well wind up as frustrated as the Clinton haters who were sure that Monica would be the end of Bill.  The Lewinsky Scandal was another great story---I'm still surprised there's been no good novel written about it yet.---and Monica and Bill turned out to be sympathetic characters.  Ken Starr made a convincing villain.

I don't know if Cheney will be saved by the story that should damn him, but this has me thinking about one of the problems Democrats have.  Republicans these days seem to make better stories.

I don't mean that they are better at telling stories, which they are, as many a blogger and pundit has pointed out.

I mean that their lives make for better stories.

Not because they're better people.  Just the opposite.  But flawed, weak, sinful, and vice-ridden people are more interesting characters.

I'll have to expand on this idea later.

For now, to put it simply, look at the comparative biographies of George Bush and John Kerry.

George Bush's biography makes a great story---with a terrible moral.  It's still a fascinating story, full of chills, thrills, and suspense---How much more harm can the man do?

But after his days leading the Vietnam Vets against the War, when he settled down to his career as a lawyer and politician, John Kerry's biography makes...

A great resume.

Cross-posted at my place.

 

February 17, 2006 in Democrats, Republicans | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c572d53ef00d83474ad2a53ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Democrats must not allow a biography gap:

Comments

The Democrats must not allow guest posts on the Ezra blog to go without a byline. Name yourself, blogger!

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Feb 17, 2006 7:42:59 AM

Who cares who the blogger is? As is usual, he's just parroting someone else and that someone else is just writing a journal entry of emotion....pissed that this, like all of the other 'scandals', didn't bloom into a real issue so he tries to jawbone it into one. There is no doubt he hates Dick Cheney. So what's new? It's a page from a high school slam book.

Poor, poor blogging.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Feb 17, 2006 9:16:50 AM

First of all, I wouldn't want to encourage people not to take their own lives and futures seriously on the off possibility that they could use their failures as a "good story" when they run for office. Save it for the fiction memoir section of the bookstore. Meanwhile we're voting for our most important employee. I think I'd take the better resume, and in 2004 that's exactly what I did.

Secondly, it's WAAAAAY too soon to know if what Cheney did was really an accident. I'm not swallowing it. I'm cynical enough to presume a nefarious subtext until proven otherwise....

Posted by: diddy | Feb 17, 2006 10:02:40 AM

I'm cynical enough to presume a nefarious subtext until proven otherwise....

No, you're stupid enough to discard the evidence before you...... from the eyewitnesses to the shooting, to the victim's statement to the sheriff's investigation. I think hate and disappointment are driving your pathology. Good luck to your and your internal world.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Feb 17, 2006 10:15:56 AM

The "eyewitness" never saw the shooting. She thought Shooter was having another heart attack.

Was this a canned hunt? Cheney made a point of telling Brit Hume that these were "wild quail... not pen-raised."

Posted by: Hoyt Pollard | Feb 17, 2006 10:19:03 AM

Was this a canned hunt? Cheney made a point of telling Brit Hume that these were "wild quail... not pen-raised."

It's a canned hunting operation. Very expensive too. Used to be alot of information about that place online until recently. Shocking, I know.

Posted by: sprocket | Feb 17, 2006 10:27:46 AM

lance-
you realize,naturally, that as you get more and more
popular, the trolls will invade your comments section.
what a perverse compliment. and so, there goes the neighborhood.

Posted by: daveminnj | Feb 17, 2006 11:26:27 AM

diddy,

I voted for the resume too. But then I knew the man behind it. A great resume is a record of hard work and real achievement and it is (somewhat) predictive of continued competence and success, but it doesn't reveal much about character---there are hardworking and high achieving bastards as well as saints, and what may look on paper like a record of service and self-sacrifice may actually be a record of opportunism and cynical careerism. At any rate, voters can't sympathize with a resume. They need to know the candidate's story. I think the story of bad man is more compelling to people than the resume of a good one. But, you're right, a candidate's having led an "interesting" life is not a reason to vote for him.

Posted by: Lance Mannion | Feb 17, 2006 11:38:20 AM

This level of attention paid to a hunting accident perplexes me. I just don't get it. Up here in the North East, I've come to realize accidents happen when hunting. Yes, 100% of the time is the fault of the shooter and could have been avoided. But unless the victim dies or the there is overwhelming evidence of eggriousness, most of the time a slap on the wrist will do. Noone likes shooting their friends, and I happen to believe that there is probably a semblance of a conscience somewhere in there. The damage done to Cheney's reputation, whatever that may be, here is good enough for me. Accidents happen.

I've heard people, even Republican analysts (albeit local ones,) think that this should be the last straw to make him resign? But in the grand scheme of things that Cheney has done, this doesn't even scratch the surface. The White House tag team has much larger stains than this on their resume, and if those don't force them out of office, I don't see how this could, or should, either.

Posted by: Adrock | Feb 17, 2006 12:31:33 PM

Adrock: "But in the grand scheme of things that Cheney has done, this doesn't even scratch the surface."

This is an easy story for the masses to understand as how it relates to and illuminates the bigger picture. The arrogance, the attitude of being above the law, the length of time that it took for Cheney to talk to the *President* about it. (Who's really running the show here?)

The right knows that easy stories carry an enormous amount of weight with people who don't pay such close attention or simply cannot figure out the more complex issues.

My feeling is that Democrats should not want to be proving how much they want to talk about *more important things* right now.

Even the WSJ asked whether Cheney was more of a liability now than a benefit.

Posted by: blue girl | Feb 17, 2006 12:42:22 PM

Did you see the press conference by Cheney's "shooting victim" just now? This story is over. You can't even tell anything is wrong with him, a lttle redness on the neck, that is it.

I think this is great, every day that liberals and the press attack Cheney, the Democrats lose a few more votes from mainstream Americans.

I went to the 'Blue Collar Comedy Tour' last night, my wife is a bigger fan than me, but it was a good time, anyway Larry the Cable Guy mentioned the shooting. He made a good point, he said he'd still rather go hunting with Cheney than get a ride home with Kennedy.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Feb 17, 2006 1:12:36 PM

you realize,naturally, that as you get more and more
popular,...

That's really good to know since I have never heard of that moron previously. In curiosity I did visit his blog and found less traffic than one would imagine, given his new found noteriety. why, there could have been a whole handful of comments there!

Posted by: Fred Jones | Feb 17, 2006 1:19:43 PM

like i said, there goes the neighborhood.

Posted by: daveminnj | Feb 17, 2006 1:58:47 PM

Not to, you know, be Republican about this or anything, but I really don't get the point of this - Cheney is a mean, flawed man so... that makes him... interesting? So what? It mostly means he's mean and flawed, not things I look for in a President.

(No, really, I voted for Clinton - and that's the point of this, isn't it, not Kerry - despite his flaws, not because of them.)

(And PS no ingenoue-ish "but I had no idea" type arguments. You knew. Come on, you knew about the women thing and you knew it was gonna be trouble, but ya said... hey, everyone's got issues... or something, right?) (And - just to be a snob for a moment - I said, "class tells".)

I think the one GOP take on Dems that's true - and then perverted beyond recognition - is that we are "tolerant" (or "amoral" in conservative speak) when it comes to personal foibles. We get that people have affairs, that people get divorced, that "accidents will happen" (although, really, it's not a selling point for the pro-hunting crowd that people get shot while hunting with friends. It's just not). And then we move on. Kerry's personal story - the serial dating of cool girls and starlets, the remarriage to a feisty, mouthy foreign woman - are, in fact, quite exciting. But not to us. That's kind of, you know, par for the course.

If Republican exploits get more drama, it's because of the repressive forces that make every foible that much more of a mistake. Hiding your failed marriage, your bastard kids, your penchant for fondling members of the same sex... has everything to do with knowing that if anyone finds out, ever, your career is over. Raise the stakes, and I guarantee, the misbehavior aspect goes up exponentially as well. Everyone loves the lure of the forbidden.

Unless, of course, you stop making it seem so forbidden, and you say people have affairs, people get divorced, etc.... That's why we're right... yet again.

Lord, I hate the times in which I live.

Posted by: weboy | Feb 17, 2006 6:13:01 PM

I have never heard of that moron previously

Not everyone can be as popular as you, Fred.

Posted by: Shakespeare's Sister | Feb 17, 2006 7:00:26 PM

Meanwhile we're voting for our most important employee . ..

People forget that part.

Fred, looking forward to seeing your blog wherein you reveal truth in all its glory, folly in its finest forum.

Coming by to spout against hate while spouting hate is um somewhat transparent.

And as you say:

Good luck to your and your internal world. . . whatever that means. Continue on with your bold interior monologue. May your shining virtue light our world. Kindly remove your head from the current tight place in which it is now enclosed that we might further know your wisdom.

An next time you post, please try to wipe your mouth. The foam is frightening the more sensitive sort.

Posted by: The Heretik | Feb 17, 2006 9:08:18 PM

Forgot to mention there are so many reasons to love Dick in a political kind of way.

Posted by: The Heretik | Feb 17, 2006 9:11:36 PM

Heretik: I was going to suggest that Mr. Jones start his own blog also so that we can all be enlightened by his deep concepts, his beautiful prose and be in awe of his exceptionally high comment count. But then I figured he's one of those mean, evil trolls I've heard so much about! And they are better off ignored.

But I appreciated the way you did not ignore him. And I agree. May his ever loving shining virtue light our world!

Posted by: blue girl | Feb 17, 2006 10:54:50 PM

I figured he's one of those mean, evil trolls I've heard so much about!

bluegirl, I'm sure it appears that way to you. However, I am consistant in my views. You just don't like them. I think what pisses you off so much is that my views are those of the majority. I always like it when you liberals use the word "enlightened". It carries with it an implicit elitism.......

Posted by: Fred Jones | Feb 18, 2006 12:03:17 PM

No, Fred -- sorry -- you've got it wrong. I love a good debate. I seek it out most times.

You were not encouraging a lively debate. You were just being mean.

Example: Calling Mannion a "moron" -- sorry, but that's not a majority opinion.

Better luck next time.

Posted by: blue girl | Feb 18, 2006 2:49:33 PM

bluegirl

Funny....you don't *LOOK* bluish!

Posted by: Fred Jones | Feb 18, 2006 4:13:11 PM

Okay, fine. Sorry, Fred. Did not realize I was in contact with the godhead, or the voice of the majority, or something.

Blessings upon you and your wise consistency. No hobgoblins for you.

The angels await your words, your wit they would gobble if only you would entertain the thought of making this world a more merry and less morose place. Your punditry is without par, your parlez vous without parallel.

Fred, you who should never be confused with Dylan's Mister Jones, Fred, I am but your minion, and you a most merciful master.

Looking forward to your blog, presuming of course the servers don't crash from handling all the traffic, Fred. Blessings upon you, avatar and almighty.

Posted by: The Heretik | Feb 18, 2006 7:06:54 PM

Pretty funny coming from a guy named "Ivory".

Posted by: Fred Jones | Feb 20, 2006 5:49:30 PM

仓储笼
仓储笼
折叠式仓储笼
仓库笼
南京仓储笼
上海仓储笼
北京仓储笼
广州仓储笼
杭州仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
蝴蝶笼

折叠式仓储笼
仓库笼
仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
南京仓储笼
上海仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
南京仓储笼
上海仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
南京仓储笼
上海仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
折叠仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
折叠仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
折叠仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
折叠仓储笼
塑料托盘

仓储笼
仓储笼
仓库笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
折叠式仓储笼
折叠仓储笼
折叠仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
折叠仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
折叠仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
折叠仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
蝴蝶笼
储物笼
南京仓储笼
上海仓储笼
北京仓储笼
广州仓储笼
仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
蝴蝶笼
储物笼
南京仓储笼
上海仓储笼
北京仓储笼
广州仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
储物笼
上海仓储笼
南京仓储笼
北京仓储笼
广州仓储笼
仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
蝴蝶笼
储物笼
南京仓储笼
上海仓储笼
北京仓储笼
广州仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
蝴蝶笼
储物笼
南京仓储笼
上海仓储笼
北京仓储笼
广州仓储笼
仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼
蝴蝶笼
南京仓储笼
上海仓储笼
北京仓储笼
广州仓储笼

仓储笼
仓库笼
折叠式仓储笼

Posted by: judy | Oct 1, 2007 4:51:55 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.