Like some sort of hack zombie, former Wyoming senator Alan Simpson has stumbled back onto the political stage, basking again in the media limelight and sounding off after putting his name on President Obama's debt commission’s liberal dream prescription – increasing both taxes and
the size of government.
This raises an important question: Who the hell cares what Alan Simpson thinks? The answer is that the mainstream media cares, for now, because his dreary conventional wisdom is useful to them - for the moment.
Simpson’s return to prominence in the wake of the conservative – not
GOP – victory in the recent mid-terms is a harbinger of what we will see much of in the next couple years as MSM-approved “reasonable” and “mature” Republicans are dug-up and held-up as role models while Republicans who actually pursue conservative goals are painted as raving lunatics one step away from climbing up the bell tower with a Remington.
The 79-year old maverick (“Maverick”: A Republican who enjoys the hosannas of the press that come from attacking fellow Republicans. Related Definition: “Sell Out”: A Democrat who worries about his party’s slide to the far left.) makes no bones about where his allegiance lies – with the kind of old-school, chummy, go-along, get-along Republicanism that got us into this mess in the first place.
Fortunately for us half-wits, he’s brave enough to face down our selfish, short-sighted attempts to interfere with his ability to implement his insights – and the media is only too happy to give this relic a soap box. That is, until the label “useful idiot” becomes only half true.
Jeremy Pelzer of the indispensible Casper Star-Tribune
, positions Simpson in the maverick’s favorite posture, that of fearless truth teller willing to endure the nattering of the know-nothing nabobs in order to Do The Right Thing which, shockingly, always seems to be the liberal thing:
But as the co-chair of President Obama's debt commission, the Wyoming Republican said he's been taking an unprecedented amount of flak for the commission's draft proposals to help erase the nation's $13.8 trillion debt.
"I've never had any nastier mail or [been in a] more difficult position in my life," said the 79-year-old Simpson. "Just vicious. People I've known, relatives [saying], "'You son of a bitch. How could you do this?'"
Imagine those uppity voters, daring to express their displeasure with their Washington insider betters. Of course, Simpson is ready to pass judgment on those who presume to disagree with him and the other unelected and unaccountable twerps to whom the Administration sub-contracted the deficit crisis:
"We had the greatest generation -- I think this is the greediest generation," he said.
Ah, there’s nothing like MSM-supplied moral lectures about how the deficit problem is the result of our selfishness given by one of the very folks who voted for all the extra-Constitutional spending that created the problem. It’s like a guy gobbling a couple grapes in the produce section of a Safeway getting confronted by a morally outraged Bernie Madoff.
Thank goodness we have powerful truth-tellers like Simpson to show us the way:
However, Simpson said he's loved taking on the challenge of cutting the debt and -- as he said often during an interview Tuesday -- through the b.s.
Of course, the thing that gets the MSM more excited than Lindsay Lohan on a two-week vacation in Medellin is Simpson’s lament about those awful, awful people who forcefully articulate their political views outside of mainstream channels:
All this hubbub isn't a surprise to Simpson, given how politically polarized the country is these days.
"You don't want to listen to the right and the left -- the extremes," he said. "You don't want to listen to Keith Olbermann and Rush Babe [Limbaugh] and Rachel Minnow [sic] or whatever that is, and Glenn Beck. They're entertainers. They couldn't govern their way out of a paper sack -- from the right or the left. But they get paid a lot of money from you and advertisers -- thirty, fifty million a year -- to work you over and get you juiced up with emotion, fear, guilt, and racism. Emotion, fear, guilt, and racism.
Is there some genetic reason that none of these people can construct a coherent sentence? “Rush Babe?” At least fellow out-to-pasture GOP establishment type Bob Dole’s bizarre tendency to speak about himself in the third person was amusing in a kind of post-modern way.
No, Simpson doesn’t want you to “listen to the right and the left -- the extremes.” He wants you to listen to him and his pals in the mushy middle, and he wants you nobodies to stop presuming you know better than he and his cronies.
Note the reference to “governing,” the word that gives away the game. Simpson, and those like him, are establishment advocates of the status quo terrified by the notion that there are now power centers outside of the Senate meeting rooms where guys like him used to be able to make their deals without the burden and bother of accountability. Simpson’s problem with “Rush Babe” isn’t that Rush is too extreme; his problem is that Rush is someone who is neither him nor one of his establishment pals who has the ability to exercise power and influence. Conventional “conservative” politicians hate competition more than liberalism.
The fact that Sarah Palin even exists probably blows his mind, and there’s no doubt fellow maverick John McCain would never have picked her if it had ever occurred to him that she would so utterly overshadow him by holding firmly to a coherent conservative ideology.
Conservative ideology, of course, is the enemy of the mavericks – and the MSM as well, which is why they so frequently ally themselves. Conservative ideology is inflexible. It actually has, and acts upon, principles. This gets in the way of “governing,” the process of incremental compromise with and surrender to the liberals that inevitably, over time, pulls the country to the left.
In the meantime, Simpson just gives and gives:
Simpson said he's spent about $25,000 of his own money on travel and hotel expenses on behalf of the debt commission -- an expense he said he doesn't mind paying.
And, although we Americans have failed to live up to his exacting standards, Simpson still knows that with his guidance and the wisdom of his fellow establishment types, the people will one day see the light:
Simpson might appear cynical about politics these days. But he said he hasn't lost heart.
"I really believe that there are more patriots in America than selfish, selfish people," he said.
The sad fact is that Simpson will get a few minutes in the MSM spotlight, enough time to trash the relevant GOP figures of today, and when he outlives his usefulness in about 14 minutes from now, the MSM is going to drop him back in the memory hole with Chuck Hegel, Lincoln Chaffee and the pre-nominee John McCain.
Then the MSM will find another putative Republican uneasy with the fact that power and attention are accumulating somewhere else. He (or she – Lisa Murkowski is already hopping down the maverick trail) will find that a few words of hostility about allies means lots and lots of favorable coverage. And Alan Simpson’s phone will stop ringing. Again.