This is how completely insane things are.
The NYT runs an update on Ted Stevens about how his trial is taking place concurrently with his senate campaign and the national election. The image above leads the story, titled “Alaska Star May Add Luster To Tarnished Senator.”
So, what are we investing our good time and energy on here?
We’re looking at three people applauding a propaganda exercise for a fabricated “war on terror” held last August by a failed and largely disavowed President at an Alaska Air Force base — military audiences being the only kind that continue to kowtow to him.
Simultaneously, the sleazy Senator from Alaska — seemingly backed by the U.S. military, and outfitted like a pseudo-officer and patriotic billboard — with a flag patch on his shoulder, and an American eagle patch and what looks like a stitched flag or simply a flag pin over his heart — is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the unelected but somehow official First Dude of the state, a sort of poor man’s Schwarzenegger of the tundra.
Foremost, however — as indicated by the title of the article — we have the Senator (who dutifully brings home the pork in exchange for “political derivatives”) supposedly borrowing retrospective luster from someone who, by virtue of a cynical and manipulative political maneuver, has become a manufactured overnight mega-star in the GOP’s veepstakes version of American Idol.
With Iraq a barely pacified Frankenstein, Afghanistan and Pakistan teetering, the Middle East a tinderbox, and the public about to be stuck holding the bag for an economy ripped off and now ripped to shreds courtesy of a long-running collusion between the political establishment and a finance industry on steroids, this picture does nothing but convey the now fundamental element of American politics — which is varnish.
And that clapping? It’s the height of mockery.
(image: Gerald Herbert/Associated Press. caption: Gov. Sarah Palin, her husband, Todd, between them, joined Senator Ted Stevens in August at an appearance by President Bush)