Redifining “pragmatism”

Ole Robert Gibbs sure let the cat out of the bag, didn’t he? Take that hippies, and by hippies i mean everyone to the left of and including Richard Milhous Nixon. Not sure that perpetual war for no discernible reason is a good way to spend our children’s tax burden? You must want to raze the Pentagon…or maybe levitate it with good vibes. Not sure that the administration did everything in its power to get every American access to quality, affordable health care? You must be a Socialist, no, worse…you wish you were Canadian. The Kucinich line was a throwaway, we all know who’s holding the leash. What all you radical, pinko, dope smoking lefties don’t understand is this: pragmatism.

You probably think that pragmatism means looking for ways to remedy situations within realistic constraints.

For example, it’s hard to take on the DoD. Even Ike wasn’t willing to do it directly. Instead, he pointed out that such a large nation needed an interstate highway system on which to move men and material in the event of war; highways became a matter of national security, and money destined for the maw of the pentagon ended up creating jobs and connecting a nation.*

So you might think that a pragmatic president today, facing a lot of tut-tutting about a deficit that stems mostly from spending 60% of discretionary income on “defense”…that’s seen its defense budget double in less than a decade and is currently losing two wars…might look to Ike for inspiration. He might argue that dependence on foreign oil and the pollution from burning all that oil is a great, national security concern. (why, the pentagon has even said that itself) He then might shift money from “defense” to renewable energy research, efficiency upgrades, etc.

Well you’re wrong. The pragmatic president tosses a few nickels and dimes** at the real national security concern, ramps up one of the wars and goes all covert cowboy on countries for reasons flimsier than the two wars.

I told you that you don’t understand what “pragmatism” means. It now means the same thing as “careerist” and “opportunist”. A good apparatchik knows that success comes from pleasing the nomenklatura and not making waves.

Now that we understand the real meaning of pragmatism it all makes a great deal more sense, doesn’t it?

I’m sure Mr. Gibbs disagrees with me. I just don’t understand what it’s like to govern. Which is true, but at least i’m not dumb enough to buy into the GOP propaganda meme that the US is a center-right nation. It only looks that way because anything to the left of the Right doesn’t have representation. Mr. Gibbs made it clear that his boss isn’t going to be changing that.

We’ll just have to accept that we’re carrying on with the imperial project, national security socialism and neoliberal economics. Even if they aren’t practical. Even if they’re detrimental…perhaps terminally. None of that matters, because pragmatism is no longer the art of the possible. It’s now the art of trying to rhetorically shape reality to fit ideology.

*Sure, Ike should have laid rail lines instead of highways, but that’s not the point.
**I realize it’s the “most money ever”, but that doesn’t mean that it’s nearly enough, does it?

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~ by Lex on August 16, 2010.

2 Responses to “Redifining “pragmatism””

  1. Jimmy Carter tried all that thirty-plus years ago. It didn’t pan out too well. I suspect that it would be a difficult thing to do even now, politically. In every other sense, it would be far easier, and more sensible, to do than the path we’ve taken.

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