You wouldn’t believe how heartily I celebrated Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday yesterday. As is well known, Pete’s songs of outraged protest against the fascist, racist United States of America and his comradely sympathy for the late, lamented, egalitarian, utopian Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are some of my fondest childhood memories. For a time there, in the aftermath of the now blessedly forgotten Reagan Revolution — it took not one but two Bushes to leave the Republican party the leaderless, rudderless, intellectually and ideologically incoherent wreck it now is; thanks, guys! — Pete’s pioneering work was praised largely in musicological terms (folk revival, American authenticity, voice of the people, blah blah blah), but now that my man, Barack Hussein Obama II, is in the White House, we can drop that fan-boy pretense and use Pete’s music as the soundtrack of our ongoing Glorious Revolution. Vsya vlast sovyetam! All power to the soviets!
I don’t know about you, but when I saw the Dear Leader and Teacher, BO2, in front of his adoring chorus known as the “fiercely independent Washington press corps” the other day, I realized that at long last Pete’s vision, which was passed on through the collectivist mother’s milk to my father, the sainted “Che” Kahane, and thence, via my mother, what’s-her-name, to me, has finally been realized. Turn, turn, turn: Yes, my friends, the yeoman’s work performed by the glorious Fifth Column that stretches from Major Andre and Benedict Arnold to the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss is now proudly out of the closet.
Which may be why The One is smiling so broadly these days, not only from ear to ear but from sea to shining sea. Whether giggling about the parlous state of the economy on 60 Minutes, bowing happily to the Saudi king, slipping Hugo Chávez some skin, or merrily listening to Comandante Ortega denounce Amerikkka for an hour, the former Barry Soetero is having a hell of a good time. Nevermind that the Social Security trust fund just went negative, unemployment is soaring, the market is flatlining, Air Force One buzzed lower Manhattan just because it could, and Chrysler went belly-up at the point of a gun; as they say in computer lingo: Those aren’t bugs, they’re features!
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I’m currently working on yet another sequel to The Manchurian Candidate and I’ve come up with this crazy notion that, seven years after 9/11, the American people elected a man they had not even heard of a few years before, a man whose campaign was handled by a red-diaper baby, a man who was part Arab-African, the son of a Muslim, the circumstances of whose nativity are still unclear, whose college applications and transcripts have never been seen, who appears to have no friends from his days at Punahou, Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard. Heck, Hussein even went to Georgetown and made them cover up Jesus. And yet the enchanted Washington press corps finds Michelle’s bare arms and the Obamas’ new puppy — oddly enough, named BO — of far more journalistic interest. Talk about the dogs that don’t bark in the nighttime, the daytime, or any time!
Or, to put it another way, if BHO II actually were the nutbag Right’s worst nightmare, a crypto-Muslim Marxist bent on the destruction of the Principal Enemy, as our friends the Soviets used to call us, how would he act any different?
One of the things we progressives have long relied on is conservatives’ sheer stupidity. In your effort to reach across the aisle and find bipartisan compromise, you literally cannot credit the evidence of your own senses — which is that, basically, we hate you and everything your country used to stand for, and we intend to effect “fundamental change,” just as Obama promised during the campaign. The president has realized that as long as he and his teleprompter make soothing centrist noises, there is literally nothing he can’t get away with, even when it directly contradicts the words coming out of his mouth. He’s got the hammer and by Gaia is he ever using it. Just ask Rick Wagoner and Bob Nardelli and all those bankers who took the TARP poisoned gift and can’t give it back. Obama is not only POTUS, he’s also the Entertainer-in-Chief, the standing cover boy for what’s left of Time magazine, the eternal object of MSNBC and CNN’s fantasies. And you have to ask why this man is smiling? Not only shall we overcome — we have!
Sure, some of you think you’ll be able to stage a counterrevolution and restoration, like the Brits did after that Cromwell fellow back in the day. That somehow, somewhere, you’ll manage to come up with credible congressional candidates in 2010 who don’t remind the voting public of undertakers, bankers, used-car salesmen, child molesters, or Newt Gingrich. And then, in 2012, you’ll field a charismatic figure who can hold the public spellbound, articulate a clear vision of conservative capitalism, charm the pants off the independents and the undecideds, defeat a usurping tyrant, and sweep to victory in November. Someone like#…#John McCain or Jeb Bush or Newt Gingrich. Yeah, right.
So where have all your flowers gone? For you winguts, gone to graveyards, every one. Yes, I’m referring to Pete’s great anti-war song, which oddly enough was inspired by a Ukrainian folk song mentioned in the Soviet-era classic And Quiet Flows the Don. Meanwhile, everything in Washington is in bloom, including Michelle’s muscles and Barack’s Bobby Bonilla smile. We’re coming for you, for your lawyers and torturers and your corporate execs and your cars and your coal. Who knows? With no one to stop us, George Bush may end up like King Charles, and you remember what happened to him.
When will you ever learn? Luckily for us, probably never.
– With a song in his heart, David Kahane — born on May Day 1977 — is bringing the beer to tonight’s poker game with Barton Fink, Joe White, and Joe Gillis, if they can ever get Gillis out of Norma Desmond’s swimming pool. You can wish him a happy birthday at [email protected] or become his friend on Facebook.