By lambert strether
For those who just have to have a shot of horse race politics, here’s RNN’s Paul Jay interviewing Lawrence Wilkerson about the recently concluded RNCon (and I use that abbreviation for a reason… ).
I picked out a few of the more remarkable statements from the transcript, statements that seem remarkable to me, given that the interviewer and interviewee are quite well-connected. One can only guess what people higher up on the food chain are really thinking.
* * *
JAY: “It’s really the weaknesses of the Obama administration that opened this up. There’s such confusion amongst people now about how to get out of the crisis.” …
WILKERSON: There is. … Those things [like FISA] are—they’re a usurpation of your constitutional rights. And they’re going to go on and on and on. And the Justice Department for President Obama seems to be reveling in pursuing these things.
[Remarkable in that both men seem to describe, without naming it, a crisis of legitimacy, a change in the constitutional order. Remarkable also in that Obama is cast as both “weak” (by Jay) and yet “reveling” (Wilkerson) in usurping rights, and therefore strong. And remarkable that neither picks up on the contradiction. –lambert]
* * *
WILKERSON: It is a mystery, unless we’re looking at polls being influenced by the fact that advertisement, TV, media, everybody else wants to continue to make money off both these campaigns, and so they have to constantly pitch them as being roughly equal, which I do think plays a factor. We could be looking at 60/40 and we wouldn’t know it because it’d be reported as 51/49.
JAY: …[T]here’s such a profound economic interest on the part of the television networks … to make sure this is a horse race—the more a horse race it is, the more money they make.
[We’ve got a legitimacy crisis not just for elections, but for polling (and, no doubt, the gathering of any sort of statistic, whether corporate or official). Though, again, Wilkerson and Jay don’t crystallize the idea in that form. –lambert]
* * *
I’m sure, readers, that there are other remarkable contradictions that you can find in this transcript. Clearly, we live in a very interesting historical moment! And if you like, consider this an open thread on our legacy parties and their discontents. Have at it!
NOTE * Lawrence Wilkerson [genuflects] was Colin Powell’s chief of staff, which is still a reason for some to give him deference. That said, Wilkerson is by no means the worst of ’em in official Washington.