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AdLib On January - 15 - 2013

Boehner Fonzie3

It is the longest running series in this country but some are wondering now if it might be ripe for cancellation.

American democracy debuted in 1776 and was an unqualified hit (though it did have some tough critics in England). The original cast included such memorable figures as George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and who can forget John Hancock’s signature at the end of the credits?

For 237 years, despite frequent changes of cast and crew, American democracy has remained dominant, entertaining and surprisingly fresh. That is until the last several seasons which by most accounts, portray a show that is steadily going downhill.

Gone are the fresh plots and surprising twists, each day’s new edition of American democracy now seems hackneyed and derivative of previous episodes. The President is proposing something to help the majority of Americans, I wonder what the Republicans will do? The President is nominating someone to his cabinet, how will the Republicans respond? I mean, come on, a chimp could write these scenarios that have become so predictable and formulaic.

Debt Ceiling extortion? Been there. Attempts to wreck Planned Parenthood? Saw the same show last season. Tax the 99% to enrich the top 1%, so 2003. Whip up paranoia over a public safety issue like gun control? Rerun city.

The term, “Jump the Shark” originated with the series Happy Days when, in order to stave off slipping ratings, an episode was written where Fonzie jumped a shark on his motorcycle, sacrificing everything the series was supposed to be about for a desperate exploitative grab for ratings. This obvious move actually telegraphed that the series had run dry and was ready for the cancellation heap.

Has American politics jumped the shark? Should it be cancelled and replaced with another reality show? Perhaps a spinoff about the Republican-controlled House that is committed to doing nothing to help Americans, maybe titled, “American Idle”?

For generations, we’ve grown up watching American politics in this country and it would be sad to see that tradition go but when we see John Boehner trying to jump the sharks in his own party in The House of Representatives, maybe it’s finally time to cancel American politics and fill its time slot with a better replacement show.

As long as it doesn’t star Charlie Sheen.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

25 Responses so far.

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  1. Bravo Adlib another inspired piece. Indeed what we think of government and politics is completely broken because on parties’ whole belief centers around government being broken. So when in power Republicans are incompetent running the country and out of power they do everything they can to prevent good government.

  2. agrippa says:

    We have been through worse; it is the banality that is grating. That banality is what what I mean by “Seinfelded”. We have seen this movie before. This country has seen it before, as this ‘tea party’ faction is not a new faction. It has a new name.
    I expect that it will play out into fatuity -- crude farce -- as this current version of this old faction is arguing about nothing.

    The next big thing ( reminds me of ‘everyone will be famous for 15 minutes’) is a good insight. People are getting bored with this and something will come up, Something fatuous and banal.

  3. SueInCa says:

    Wow Adlib I never thought of ending the show. But I would argue that unlike fickle television, we have to continue to try to get it right. Democracy is still popular it is just that some have forgotten the meaning. The First Amendment is still popular, some have just either have forgotten the meaning or never truly understood it. The 2nd Amendment (and I must admit even I did not know this) was in part, to protect slavery(I assume for hunting down runaways). But has been twisted all around over the years.

    Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    Lord Acton

    Yet we have been told since birth that power is the ultimate goal.

    On the other hand we have a lot of history that we have never apologized for or made right. The indigenous peoples we drove into reservations because they wanted to keep their own customs and language. The robber barons who were allowed to run their sweatshops risking the lives of the workers with no regard for their safety. Sending troops to Vietnam because we did not like the dictator that was running the country and to secure the rubber needed for US products, losing over 58 thousand young men in the process. Invading Iraq so that some neo-cons could test the ability of the US to fight a two front war. Taking out dictators all over the world because we do not like them. There are many other examples and I could not remember them all if I tried but perhaps these same deeds are responsible for the loss of integrity and togetherness of our people. Perhaps through these actions we went to far and do not have the gumption to come back? I don’t know the answer to the problem but I do know that at some point we have to give up the hate and try to live peacefully alongside each other or our nation will surely fail.

  4. kesmarn says:

    AdLib, a friend of mine pointed out a silver-lining to this Republican shark-jumping phenomenon-- this repetitious behavior that makes them so predictable.

    She said that the famed American short attention span could — for once — work in our favor.

    After I mentioned that it seemed to me that some sectors of the electorate were starting to wake up and reject some of the more extremist positions of the RW, she said: “I’m afraid I have a much more cynical view of things than that. I don’t think they’ve been enlightened. I think they’re bored. They’re bored with the Tea party. They’re bored with Rush Limbaugh. They’re looking for the next big thing.”

    But the good part of all that is that when Americans get bored with anything, they do it the same way they do everything else. They go big.

    Case in point: just try to sell a beanie baby now. Or a ticket to an MC Hammer concert.

    I guess the thing we have to hope for is that the NBT (Next Big Thing) will be rational thought? Compassion? Something “sexy” like that.

    • AdLib says:

      Kes, I think your friend is pretty sharp, that is an excellent point. Sometimes it does come down to something so simple as the public’s getting bored with something.

      The Tea Party’s small minded ideas aren’t new anymore, neither is the Repub Congress saying “no” to everything or “job creators” needing the tax money of the 99%.

      It’s like a political NASCAR race, with these few Republican agendas just circling around and around endlessly. As we know, the Repub constituency loves NASCAR but to many Americans, watching the same things go around in circles loses its fascination on the 381st lap.

      You may be right, the public may see the agendas of economic fairness, compassion, public safety and taking back power from the elite in this nation as fresh and exciting and jump on that bandwagon.

      The election in Nov along with gay marriage and marijuana laws sure doesn’t portray America as the “center-right” or conservative nation many have claimed it was for some time. It does feel like a shift is going on and part of that is no doubt due to the GOP becoming more and more extremists and adversarial to the best interests of the majority.

  5. choicelady says:

    You know I love you, AdLib, but this plays into the hands of the Bagger nihilists I fear. We’ve gone through much worse before, honestly. Any look at the output of Congress in the “Know Nothing” era, in the 1870s and 80s -- it’s worse. It’s vastly more xenophobic with very little to offset that nativism. It’s anti-labor,pro corporation, stuffy, no vision, imperialist. Oh -- and post civil war, it was highly oriented to wiping out indgenous people. And then there was the post WW II period -- slaveringly anti-commie and willing to let zealots such as HUAC and McCarthy run amok. It’s been what we see today -- and much, much worse.

    And we’ve weathered the crisis in all those times as well.

    What we progressives and liberals lack is a sense of what it takes to reverse course is time. The RW, especially the religious right, took from 1964-1980 to get their claws into things, took from then to now to screw it up this badly, and we need to take the long view about restoring our authority over our process.

    cyrano- I LOVE the coin and all the recommendations from KT et al. about the verso -- but it is precisely because our president, the adult in the room, understands how dumb it would be to capitulate to this kind of extremism that your design will not be placed in history.

    Sorry! Sort of.

    WE CAN survive this. It’s frustrating, annoying, sometimes scary, but we CAN do this. We have before, and today we must.

    Nothing else under the sun will ever be half so worthwhile as what our forefathers created. It is not a perfect system since perfection doesn’t exist, but it has indeed trumped Parliamentary styles and many others. While unlike Happy Days we can’t bring back the original writers (!) we can embrace their intellectual maturity. The system DOES work when we don’t gum it up with gadgets, tricks, superficialities, etc. Let’s advocate for a return to democracy. We will be pleasantly surprised I think how well it does work when we let it.

    • SallyT says:

      CL, it is true that times have been rough before and will again. But, none are ever as bad as the one you actually live. Those before have the history that shows the survival. As you live it, you are not that fortunate. Looking back and studying the forefathers of those times before and their reactions and methods lends to understanding and building on your own time and surviving. Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Hamilton and Madison all looked backwards to Greece, Rome, and even England to build on their time and the needs for a new nation. But, even at the time, they weren’t for certain it would last. I think they would be more surprised than not to see that it has. And, will.

    • AdLib says:

      CL -- The post is an antithesis, not to be taken literally for it’s true intent.

      The point of it was to note that there is a one-thought, fossilized mentality of Republicans today that is so simplistic and predictable, it’s never a surprise. They are nothing more than reruns now, there is no creative thought process. At this point, we could script every Repub response to any Obama statement or action, it’s the same “no” every time with the same exaggerations, insulting distortions and fear mongering.

      The only surprise left when it comes to Repubs is when it comes to how much dumber or more extreme their “no” combo is.

      • choicelady says:

        OK AdLib -- Whew. Wasn’t sure whether absolute frustration had made you give up!

        I will take this in the spirit it was given. Obviously I’m spending waaaay too much time with various forms of the Dark Side (not HP but others that have crept into my reading.) Glad you’re not giving in, up, or out!

  6. cyrano1 says:

    I haven’t been around here much lately, but wanted to post a “topical” graphic which seems to fit into your heading. If anyone has ideas to improve it (it’s pretty cluttered), feel free to advise. :)

    Boehner-in-platinum-small.jpg

  7. TakeInAPlay says:

    I don’t think even TNT would rescue this stale reality show.

    • AdLib says:

      Hey TakeInAPlay, nice to see you!

      Indeed, at this point, more people would probably watch “Watching Grass Grow -- In Real Time!”

      More unpredictable twists and turns in that than what Republicans have turned politics into today.

  8. agrippa says:

    Yup.

    Washington, AKA “The Village”, has become boring, predictable and fatuous. That makes it very little different from Seinfeld.

    Washington politics has been “Seinfelded”

    No soup for you!!


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