December 17, 2018

Opinion: The audacity of WTF

We’re getting used to what’s been going on during this campaign.  That’s dangerous.  We should be reminding ourselves just how strange it is.

Start with this:  Billionaires are buying civic mindshare.

That’s right.  A web of plutocrats, guided by a cadre of Karl Roves, is backing their ideal front man, Mitt Romney.  Thanks to Frank Luntz, their class is known as the jobs creators, rather than, say, the Robber Barons, and pointing this out is known as class warfare. 

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s punting on disclosure, these billionaires are able to hack our elections secretly.  Surely there are other Joe Rickettses out there, test-driving messaging at least as reptilian as his Son of Willie Horton strategy; we just don’t know their names. It took a fluke – ” target=”_hplink”>hardwired to default to emotion.

The news media want our attention, too, and a surefire way for them to get it is to amplify the paid narratives in ads.  Fact checking doesn’t diminish the irrational power they wield.  If Mitt Romney says “character assassination” often enough, then holding him accountable for his Bain record, let alone for his dismal performance as Massachusetts governor, subliminally starts seeming unfair.  Like it or not, just as birthers are impervious to evidence, repetition trumps critical thinking.

It’s not hard to imagine Mitt Romney winning.  The filibuster, plus what has become semi-annual debt-ceiling highchair banging, will ensure that a recovery won’t be jumpstarted by Washington, and the global impact of Europe’s crisis is beyond our control, so the impact of the economy on the election will be a crapshoot. It’s likely that the press and the polls will declare the debates a draw.  Until the last week of the campaign, 90 percent of the country will remain evenly divided between people who loathe each other’s red or blue guts.  Enough of the unpredictable 10 percent living in the battleground states and bombarded by super PAC disinformation could easily swing a few thousand votes in Romney’s direction and clinch the Electoral College.  ” target=”_hplink”>Larry Lessig and groups like ” target=”_hplink”>FreePress hasn’t given up on media reform.  ” target=”_hplink”>Frontline haven’t let up on Wall Street bandits.  Austerity hasn’t stopped incensing ” target=”_hplink”>filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Supreme Court to reconsider the Citizens United decision.  The case – ” target=”_hplink”>Norman Lear professor of entertainment, media and society at the