Tuesday, February 28, 2017

While Rome Burns, Dems Fiddle


Watching Democrats fight over who got elected as the new DNC Chair is like watching two passengers argue over which lifeboat they're going to choose on the Titanic. The Bernie Sanders wing wanted their man, Keith Ellison, to win, but when former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez prevailed, they threw a hissy fit.

Seriously, Donald Trump is slowly installing the Fourth Reich and these idiots are getting into a pissing contest over who has the privilege of steering the Party back to the Promise Land. Promise Land? More like Land of the Lost.

Tell me we're not going to do this. Please tell we're not going to relitigate the 2016 election all over again. Because quite frankly I'm getting fed up with this shit. This is no time for a civil war. The stakes are way too high. Whatever else you may think about Perez, he's more than qualified for the post. True, he's not as liberal as Ellison, but he's hardly a Reaganite. In fact, the only knock on him, as far as I can tell, is that he's part of the Democratic establishment. So naturally, in the eyes of the Left, that makes him the wrong choice.

Look, I get it; well almost, that is. Hillary lost and Bernie supporters are crowing. In politics that's what happens. Actually, it pretty much happens everywhere else too. In sports, whenever a team loses a World Series or a Super Bowl, there are always going to be fans of another team who will boast that their team would've won. The problem however is that there's no way to prove that hypothesis. It makes for good conjecture but that's as far as it goes.

We will never know if Sanders would've beaten Trump. There are compelling arguments both for and against. What we do know is that as a party, the Democrats find themselves in a very precarious position. Not only did they get their butts kicked last November, they are badly outnumbered in both state houses and state legislatures. In just six years the GOP has gone from a party on the run to a party that has a stranglehold on the country. And if you think all of that is Hillary Clinton's fault, you're some kind of stupid.

If the Democratic Party ever intends to regain power in Washington, not to mention at the state level, it needs to put 2016 behind it. Trump won, and the Republicans kept control of both Houses of Congress. All the Monday-morning quarterbacking in the world isn't going to change that fact. What the Democrats need now is a vision for the future; not a reenactment of the past. That doesn't mean they can't learn from history. But this constant infighting not only doesn't help their cause, it gives Trump and the GOP the cover they need to solidify their power.

While Democrats were busy bickering about their leadership, the real battles were taking place in town halls all across the country. Thousands of people showed up and let their representatives - most of them Republicans - have it. The fight over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act has now become a major pain in the ass for the GOP. This is a good thing; something for Democrats to rally around.

Another thing for them to rally around is the Russian ties with the Trump Administration. Each day it seems we get another story on this president's connection with Russian oligarchs. Did you happen to catch Rachel Maddow's show Monday night? If you didn't, I encourage you to visit her webpage and watch it for yourself. In fact, I encourage every Democrat, progressive or plain old American who gives a shit about our Democracy to watch it.

While you're at it, I would also read this excellent piece by sociologist Todd Gitlin about the danger Trump represents to the country. The parallels to Nixon are unmistakable and undeniable, save for one exception.  Gitlin explains:
Trump is a verbal knife-fighter more exhibitionist than Nixon. Where Nixon kept his snarls private, Trump rails against leakers. He sees enemies lurking everywhere and wants everyone to know it. He fears not only sticks and stones but any loss of control over the image — the brand — that is his proudest achievement. The con man has conned himself. The would-be strongman quivers lest he be unmasked as a ‘pitiful, helpless giant.” The ultra-sensitivity of such men is the flip side of their ultra-narcissistic needs for endless applause.
And I would also add that Nixon, once he was in office, was for the most part a mainstream Republican who established relations with China, took the U.S. off the gold standard and created the EPA. Trump has been anything but mainstream since he was sworn in. He is the embodiment of the anti establishment. His propaganda minister Steve Bannon bragged that one of Trump's goals was the "deconstruction of the administrative state." If you're looking for an historical reference, see Germany in the early '30s. That's pretty much what the Nazis did. And yes, for the umpteenth time, I'm going there. Because we need to go there. Not all dictators come with funny mustaches and arm bands.

You see why I'm pissed? We've got Genghis Khan incarnate in the White House and the Dems are splitting hairs over who's further to the left. Frankly, I could give a shit. It doesn't matter. It's time to get real; time to get down to the business at hand and take this menace seriously while there's still time to do so.

Because these aren't just precarious times for the Democratic Party; these are precarious times for the entire Republic.

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