Friday, October 23, 2015

David Brooks (Really?) Helps Me Understand Hillary's Day Before the Benghazi Committee.

Yeah, I know, Hill. Whaddya gonna do?

I was originally going to call this post "A Free Day-Long Hillary Ad Courtesy of the Benghazi! Committee," but, counterintuitive though it may seem, David Brooks has handed me a template, if you will, for understanding yesterday's catastrophic Benghazi Committee hearing, in which Republicans badgered, bullied, hissed at, and ultimately pilloried Hillary Clinton.

Yes, I don't like David Brooks, but I read him sometimes, usually to remind myself why I don't like him. (Hint: he's a sophist, a rhetorician, a limp one at best.) This morning's column was meh, but meh in a not horrible way. Here's a salient excerpt from "Lady Gaga and the Life of Passion":
I suppose that people who live with passion start out with an especially intense desire to complete themselves. We are the only animals who are naturally unfinished. We have to bring ourselves to fulfillment, to integration and to coherence.
Some people are seized by this task with a fierce longing. Maybe they are propelled by wounds that need urgent healing or by a fear of loneliness or fragmentation. Maybe they are driven by some glorious fantasy to make a mark on the world. But they often have a fervent curiosity about their inner natures and an unquenchable thirst to find some activity that they can pursue wholeheartedly, without reservation.
Aside from the slightly creepy feeling that overtook me when I confronted the reality that David Brooks was writing about Lady Gaga, what his paean to the hyper-stylish singer had done for me was give me something with which to contrast the behavior of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The question then becomes: Are the members of the committee exhibiting Lives of Passion™?

Holy crap, I don't think so, I hope not. Here Martha Roby (R-AL), a lawyer by training, attempts to go after Hillary:

Is Martha Roby exhibiting a Life of Passion? Gee whiz, maybe.

Let's look again to Brooks:
Lady Gaga is her own unique creature, whom no one could copy. But she is indisputably a person who lives an amplified life, who throws her contradictions out there, who makes herself a work of art. People like that confront the rest of us with the question a friend of mine perpetually asks: Who would you be and what would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Okay. Is Martha Roby demonstrating an amplified life? Is she making herself a work of art? Most importantly for David Brooks, is she fearless?

Clearly, Lady Gaga has been hitting all these marks since she, apparently, decided to. (Her early career was tame, then, holy shit, it was not.)

If I were scoring Martha Roby's performance at the hearing, I'd give her 0 Born-This-Ways.

Let's look at another committee member, Jim Jordan (R-OH), going after Madam Secretary:

Fine. A congressman does not have to be nice, and there is something genuine about Jim Jordan, although I would limit that to his being a genuine horse's ass, unless of course you'd like to see Hillary Clinton roasted on a spit. Then he might be your notion of a winner.

But is Jim Jordan's performance here showing off his Passion for Life? I don't think so. I'd give him maybe 1/2 Born-This-Ways.

I could go on in like fashion through all the Republican members, but why bother? You do it, and you'll find them to be a positive parade of malevolent irrelevance. Their behavior insults the term hot air.

The Democrats were better, if only because they didn't have an axe to grind but rather a woman to defend -- who, in this case, deserved defending even as she didn't especially need it. If Hillary Clinton earns two or three Born-This-Ways, it's because she's put herself out there for decades and has, more often or not, ended up being the last person standing. She ran and lost to Barack Obama. She became his Secretary of State, and now is running again for the presidency. Not someone easily knocked over, and I imagine that's why the right-wing attack machine struggled mightily trying to drag her through the mud.

I don't need to reference all she went through at Bill Clinton's side, either. She was subject to all the right-wing attack machine could muster -- and some of the pains her own husband caused her -- and she's still standing. In the end, I wouldn't be surprised if she's president. She appears to have the passion for it.

The committee's chairman Trey Gowdy flying off the rails:

The majority members of the Select Committee on Benghazi, at the end of the day, have been left in the corridors of power with very little power left. They brought Hillary Clinton before them for the purpose of destroying her. Instead, she sucked the marrow out of their bones, shook everybody's hands and left the committee room in triumph. Yes, that's the term pundits used to describe her performance, triumph.

Hillary is no Lady Gaga, I'll warrant. But at yesterday's hearing, she gathered up all The Fame and took it home, leaving Trey Gowdy and the rest of his tag team of would-be prosecutors with an infamy that will live as long as next week, at which time they'll be forgotten.

Hillary has drunk their milkshakes, eaten their lunches, and cleaned their clocks. She's a bad ass, I suspect, because she was Born That Way.

Thanks, Mr. Brooks, for giving me a lens for viewing the shenanigans. If, in your words, the majority members of the committee were attempting to "complete themselves," they succeeded in making complete asses of themselves.

Bonus vid: Here's the first segment of the hearing's Q&A, in which Hillary took control of the affair and essentially never lost it.

No comments:

Post a Comment