Our Man Godfrey and the Fiscal Cliff!

Liberals (played here by Carole Lumbard) find handsome community activist (played here by William Powell).

It’s a wacky story.

A bunch of dizzy liberals, unattached, were out for a stroll. They came across this handsome guy helping organize the less fortunate, the so-called “forgotten men.” Intrigued the dizzy liberals, glitzy socialites one and all, asked the handsome stranger to come beat Hillary Clinton. So he did. And the liberals hired him to be their candidate.

Funny thing. The dizzy liberals didn’t want a candidate, they wanted a boyfriend. Perhaps they didn’t know it at the beginning but we could see it because they just acted dizzy in his presence.

Liberals: “Please, please, please, just a little public option?” Godfrey: “No. Baucus and Lieberman said so.”

And no matter what our man Godfrey did to put off the advances, it just made the dizzy liberals more infatuated. He had his chief of staff call them “retarded.” He had his press secretary repeatedly brush them aside, and even once dismissed them as the “professional left.”

His identity was almost accidentally revealed at a dinner party where one of his former friends, a neoliberal, was invited. Fortunately the friend went along pretending that Godfrey was formerly his valet. At Harvard.

It wouldn’t have mattered, however. The dizzy liberals were so in love with Godfrey that he could do anything: assassinate American citizens, increase domestic surveillance, prosecute whistle-blowers,  watch organized labor go down for the count without lifting a finger, support centrists against liberals in primaries, water down financial regulations, appoint a neo-lib economic team, ignore torturers, keep Gitmo, protect from prosecution financial criminals, extend the Bush tax cuts, have kill list meetings, and engage in drone warfare in numerous countries without reporting to Congress under the War Powers Act, because drone warfare doesn’t constitute “hostilities.”

But none of these things were really important to dizzy liberals. Besides, during the re-election campaign, he said all those sweet things again, the ones that endeared him to dizzy liberals in the first place.

But there was a real problem brewing: the fiscal cliff!

The Fiscal Cliff (here played by Eugene Pallette) threatens to break up the relationship by sending dizzy liberals away, perhaps to Socialist Europe!

This is too dramatic to paraphrase. So let’s quote exactly from Politico:

Cut through the fog, and here’s what to expect: Taxes will go up just shy of $1.2 trillion — the middle ground of what President Barack Obama wants and what Republicans say they could stomach. Entitlement programs, mainly Medicare, will be cut by no less than $400 billion — and perhaps a lot more, to get Republicans to swallow those tax hikes. There will be at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and “war savings.” And any final deal will come not by a group effort but in a private deal between two men: Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The two men had a 30-minute phone conversation Wednesday night  — but the private lines of communications remain very much open.

Oh no! Not Medicare! That’s one of the centerpieces of the Great Society, one of the keystones of the last liberal administration and a program that was enacted more than 50 years ago. One that is immensely popular even among Republicans. Surely, dizzy liberals won’t go for that!

But it turns out in this screwball comedy, the dizzy liberals weren’t really looking for a community organizer, they were looking for someone rich and conservative just like them. And, it turns out (we knew from the beginning), Godfrey was a rich conservative all along!

Godfrey (here played by Barack Obama) shows he’s a real friend of heartless plutocracy (here played by John Boehner) and not old sick people. But dizzy liberals understand and love him anyway.

And so there’s a happy ending!

But wait. What about those “forgotten men” we saw at the beginning of the movie? Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter. They were just props anyway.




    • Piracetam
    • November 30th, 2012

    They’re just words, and words mean whatever people want them to mean—often, several different contradictory things. Of the two, liberal actually has a history of being used with some cognitive content, to wit, the classical liberalism of Locke and Jefferson. By the 20th century, though, at least in the U.S. it had come to mean the expansion of the government—the monopoly of force—into the daily life of the people at home and everlasting war and imperialism abroad. It became the American version of Bismarck’s politics; that is, the meaning of the word was smeared out rightward. By the 1950s, it meant a continuous drive for world domination with the necessary repression and compulsion at home to sustain empire. At the same time, those describing themselves as liberals were still claiming the mantle of the old liberalism, which made people dizzy and nauseous. Is invading Afghanistan to play at “nation-building” (colonization) there liberal or not? You can’t tell.

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