Wednesday, July 11, 2018

It's Time for Democrats To Stop Being Victims


Now that Sir Laughalot has revealed his choice to fill the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court, the battle lines have been drawn. Progressives and conservatives are prepared to go to the mat over this nomination. Make no mistake about it, the stakes couldn't be higher, especially for the former who are now faced with the very real prospect that the last 60 years of jurisprudence from Brown v. Board of Education to what's left of the Voting Rights Act to Roe v. Wade to Obergefell v. Hodges to National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius is in jeopardy of being overturned.

And as if that wasn't enough incentive for Democrats, it turns out the prized nominee wrote a law review paper back in 2009 about how sitting presidents couldn't be indicted and that it was up to Congress to protect them. I know shit-for-brains can't read, so I imagine his lawyers must've read it to him. Talk about your get out of jail free card.

Chuck Schumer has to do everything in his power to make sure Brett Kavanaugh doesn't get confirmed. There's just one problem: Schumer doesn't have much power to do anything apart from galvanizing support and delivering a few impassioned speeches on the floor of the Senate. Face it, Mitch McConnell has the 50 votes he needs within his caucus without a single Democrat crossing party lines. You can forget about the so-called moderates, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. They voted for Gorsuch last year; don't think for a moment that when push comes to shove they won't do the same for Kavanaugh.

And for those of you who are clinging to the notion that somehow, once confirmed, Kavanaugh will "evolve" into his own man, like Earl Warren did after being nominated by Dwight Eisenhower, you can stop holding your breath. The Federalist Society personally vetted every one of the judges Donnie boy had on his list. The closest any of these characters has ever come to the word swing was when they played a Benny Goodman record. The Right is through being surprised by the likes of an Anthony Kennedy or John Roberts.

It's time to admit a painful truth. When it comes to working the system and turning out their base, conservatives are just better at it than liberals. Shit, we can't even agree on how we got into this mess. Just recently, I got into a back and forth about how the Merrick Garland nomination was a strategic blunder for Barack Obama. Obama was hoping Republicans would allow Garland, an otherwise reasonable and respectable judge, to at least get an up or down vote. Instead, McConnell stalled for eight months until after the election, when Trump was allowed to pick his own nominee.

I argued that Obama should've known, based on past performances, that his pick wouldn't get confirmed, so he should've nominated a more progressive judge to rile up his base. Maybe if he had, a few more progressives might've voted and we wouldn't be face to face with a Constitutional crisis in the making.

Well you would've thought I shot someone. Granted it was only two people, but the response was hardly reassuring. It seems any criticism directed at Obama is the product of "Monday morning quarterbacking." The man can do no wrong, I guess, even though the facts say otherwise.

Look, I respect Obama and believe he did an outstanding job while in office. No president in modern times has had to deal with both a collapsing economy and an entire political party out to get him. And he handled both with a grace and a dignity this president couldn't begin to appreciate, much less emulate. But walk on water he didn't.

For all his talents, Obama had two glaring shortcomings. First, he was an incurable optimist. His pursuit of other people's better angels was laudable, but hardly conducive to a successful career in politics. It's one thing to want to be the adult in the classroom; it's quite another to let the kids throw spit balls at you all day. The second had to do with his negotiating style. In short it sucked. You don't start in the middle then hope for your opponents to come around. It doesn't work like that. You start at your end and then work your way towards the middle. Countless times Obama would seek consensus on policy before getting all his ducks lined up. This allowed McConnell and the GOP to define the ground rules and move the goalposts further and further to the right.

It was the combination of his lack of negotiating prowess and his inability to accurately see his opponents for who and what they were that led to the stimulus being too small, the healthcare law being a mishmash of conservative ideals that they would later reject, and I'm quite certain his decision to go with Garland when another Democrat would've chosen a more progressive judge.

And, yes, I understand it wasn't all Obama's fault. Some of the blame has to go to Hillary Clinton, who could've released her own list of Supreme Court nominees that might've motivated progressives to show up at the polls. Who knows, maybe she could've said to McConnell, you might as well confirm Obama's pick, because when I get elected, I'm gonna choose someone like Ginsburg. Maybe if she had, McConnell might've caved.

The point is she didn't, and neither did Obama. They went small and McConnell and the Republicans went big. And for the last eighteen months all we've heard from Democrats and progressives is how the big, bad GOP stole Merrick Garland's seat on the bench, like it had his fucking name on it or something. It's one thing to say, "When they go low, we go high." It's quite another to bend over and say, "Thank you, sir, may I have another."

At what point are Democrats going to stop being victims and take responsibility for their own mistakes. It was a mistake to nominate a presidential candidate who had more baggage than a Southwest Airlines jet bound for San Diego. It was a mistake for them to filibuster Gorsuch last year when everyone and their mother knew McConnell would go nuclear to get him confirmed. And it is a mistake now for Democrats, especially progressives, to blame the Right for their own lack of intensity when it comes to voting. Elections have consequences and an awful lot of people are about to find out just how severe some of them will be.

Whining about what a hypocrite McConnell is when it comes to Supreme Court nominees getting a vote in an election year won't stop Kavanaugh from being confirmed. The last politician with an ounce of integrity in this country chopped down a cherry tree in the eighteenth century. If you're expecting an elected official to play by the rules, I've got some beachfront property in Fukushima, Japan I'd like to sell you. It even comes with its own glow in the dark helmet. You don't sit out two consecutive elections and then have the balls to complain about the other side's tactics. Hey, the other side showed up to vote while you sat home and jerked off. Put that in your pipe and inhale it.

The fact is I'm getting pissed off watching my side get taken to the cleaners year after year after year. It's like watching the same Mets game over and over again. I'd call us a bunch of pussies but I'm afraid Trump would start groping us. Now some progressives are actually saying they want Red-state Democrats to vote against Kavanaugh even with no chance of stopping him. Those who don't will face their wrath come November.  Right, because nothing says you're serious about winning like jumping off a cliff.

It's time to man up, or woman up if you prefer. All of us, collectively, need to take responsibility for the position we're in. And that starts by admitting that nobody did this to us; we did it to ourselves. Nine years ago, Democrats controlled virtually everything in this country from the White House down to a majority of state houses and legislatures. The Republicans were a party on the run. Take a good look, boys and girls, the tables have turned. Yes, thanks to Trump, we have the wind at our backs this midterm election. But banking on this president's incompetence won't be enough. We need people with a vision and the courage to carry it out.

One thing conservatives do that I envy is that they fight for what they believe in. I may disagree with their beliefs, but I can't question their convictions. And they are motivated like nobody's business. Every conservative voter knew what was at stake in 2016. The moment Antonin Scalia keeled over, their one overriding concern was preventing Hillary from nominating his replacement. Trump drove that point home countless times throughout the campaign. I never heard the desperation once from our side. Not once. You can't blame Mitch McConnell for that.

Another thing conservatives do better - though not always - is that they get in line and support their candidate, even the ones they're lukewarm about. Despite what the wing nuts on the AM radio dial keep saying, Republican turnout has been pretty consistent from election to election. The variable has been Democratic turnout. In short, one side bites down hard and swallows, while the other bitches and moans and listens to people like Susan Sarandon. Hey libs, I've got news for you: Sarandon and her husband, Tim Robbins, are doing just fine, thank you. No matter what this maniac in the White House does they and their Hollywood brethren will land on their feet. I doubt many who took her advice will be able to say the same.

Were you paying attention to what went on over at the NATO summit? Did you watch this disgrace of a president behave like your drunk uncle at a barbecue in front of our allies? How does it feel knowing you had a hand in this embarrassment? Every time you repeated the lie that Hillary was just as corrupt as Trump, you became complicit in the greatest con game ever perpetrated on this nation. At least the gullible saps who went to his rallies have an excuse: they were too dumb and ignorant to know any better. You? You knew perfectly well what you were doing. Well I hope you and your self-righteousness are satisfied with the results. While Rome burns before your very eyes, you fiddle away, oblivious to your crime. Remember, millions died so you could vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson.

There is a way out of this nightmare, but it starts with the acceptance that the enemy is not our opponents, but our own arrogance and indifference. If we do indeed outnumber Republicans, we need to prove it every single election. We need to stop looking for the perfect candidate; they don't exist. Doug Jones and Connor Lamb are not liberals. That's okay; they don't have to be. You can still vote for them. In fact, this November, more than one-third of Democrats running for office will not be liberals. They need your support anyway.

Getting involved means more than just shouting at someone at a restaurant or showing up at a protest march. All of us need to make our voices heard loud and clear this November at the ballot box where it will count the most. If you want to stop this president from destroying this country, don't sit back and wait for Robert Mueller to issue a report.

In her song "Stop Your Sobbing," Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders wrote the following:

There's one thing you gotta do
To make me still want you
Gotta stop sobbing now


It's not only time to stop sobbing, it's time to stop being a victim.

Now!

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