Normally I don't pay much attention to the talking heads that propagate the cable news shows. The last time I heard something come out of their mouths that made sense I didn't have a gray hair on my head. For the record, I started going gray in my early 30s, 25 years ago.
But sometimes I hear something so completely asinine that I just can't let it slide. So who was the lucky dimwit who set me off? None other than Van Jones, a CNN correspondent who most days manages to stay under the radar. But of late, Jones has said a couple of things that make me wonder if he might have suffered a brain aneurism.
The first came after Adolph Trump's joint address to Congress, in which der Fuhrer managed to go a whole hour without making a fool of himself. According to Jones, Trump "became president of the United States" that night. You'd think that would be enough humiliation for one man, but Jones really outdid himself this week.
In an interview on "Watch What Happens," Jones said this:
“For real. Listen, I’m telling you. I love a lot of the Democrats. I love Kamala Harris, who’s coming up in California. I love Cory Booker, who I’ve known for 20 years. This new Joe Kennedy, the third coming-up, redheaded Kennedy kid. He’s awesome. But it takes a superstar to beat a superstar. I think if Oprah Winfrey ran, she’d win all 50 states. It’d be a wrap.”WTF?!
Are you shitting me, Van? Are you out of your fucking mind? Hillary got her ass kicked in the Midwest and your remedy is to run a billionaire, talk-show host for president? Sure, why not? While we're at it, why don't we tap Arnold Schwarzenegger for VP? Oh, wait, we can't. He wasn't born here. Shucks, I'm disappointed. I was so looking forward to him turning to Oprah on stage and saying, "You're so beautiful, you're so fantastic"
Sometimes I think I must be trapped in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Democrats have an approval rating just slightly north of a used-car salesman and shit-for-brains thinks that a talk-show celebrity is going to restore the Party to glory. Jesus, some people just can't smell the caffeine.
Okay, people, gather round and listen up. You too, Van. If you want to win back the White House, here's how you do it. Go to Wisconsin, go to Michigan, go to Iowa, go to Ohio and go to western Pennsylvania. Talk to the people who voted for Trump and find out what makes them tick. And listen to what they have to say, the way Bernie Sanders did in his town hall in West Virginia last week that was broadcast on MSNBC. What you don't do is dismiss them like Hillary and the majority of the Democratic Party did.
These people don't need your condescension or your pity. They aren't looking for a TV celebrity. They're looking for someone who actually gives a shit about what they're going thru; someone who can relate to their everyday struggles. And it ain't Oprah. Nor is it Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. It's high time Democrats accept the fact that while San Francisco and New York are beautiful and culturally diverse cities, neither is held in high regard in the heartland. And that goes double for Hollywood. Even I, as a progressive, have just about had it with movie stars mouthing off. Robert De Niro might be the greatest actor of all time - Raging Bull is among my favorite movies - but when he said that he would consider leaving the country if Trump won, he was no different than Rush Limbaugh saying he would leave if Obama got reelected. Stupid is as stupid does.
And speaking of great artists, I love Bruce Springsteen and consider him to be among the greatest rock stars of the past four decades, but John Mellencamp is from Indiana. Would it kill Dems to make a call to his agent the next time they hold a rally? If you're trying to appeal to a particular geographic region of the country, wouldn't it make sense to include people from that region at your events? You may think Katy Perry is a great pop star - and maybe she is - but personally I would've chosen someone like Miranda Lambert to perform at the Democratic Convention. I may not be much of a country music fan - I kinda stopped listening to it in the mid-80s - but to the millions of people who call the middle of the country their home, it is the only music worth listening to.
Last month the Democratic Party tore itself to shreds over who was going to be the next DNC Chair. Tom Perez finally got the job and progressives blew a gasket. Meanwhile, this past November, in a vote that actually meant something, House Democrats decided to keep Pelosi as Minority leader over challenger Tim Ryan of Ohio. Who's Tim Ryan? He represents Ohio's 13 district which includes Youngstown and Akron, and which barely went for Clinton last November. The district is 84 percent white and is loaded with blue-collar workers; the same ones who voted heavily for Trump.
This is what Ryan said after his defeat:
"It is clear as we learn more about the outcome of our elections that we're ignoring crucial voices that deserve to be heard. The people I represent in Northeast Ohio and the tens of millions of workers across our country are proud to be called blue collar. Democrats must adopt a progressive economic message that focuses on large, direct infrastructure investments, affordable health care, portable pensions, and public-private investments that promote advanced manufacturing."
Now here's a guy who gets it. He's actually paying attention, unlike his party. You sometimes get the feeling that if Democrats had been in command of the Titanic on the evening of April 14, they'd have been more concerned with the breakfast menu than the ice warnings. Even foolish people occasionally have an epiphany. Not these morons. Here's my strong recommendation: whoever wins the Democratic nomination in 2020 should seriously consider this guy as their running mate.
The paradox in this tragedy is that while Democrats may be unpopular across the country, progressive initiatives continue to poll very well. That only underscores what I've been saying for quite some time: it's not the message, it's the messenger. If Democrats ever manage to find the right messengers to deliver their message, they would find a most receptive audience.
One thing is certain: this insistence on dancing with the stars isn't going to defeat Donald Trump. If anything, it'll all but guarantee him a second term in office.