Category Archives: Party Politics
Yesterday, it seemed like the end for the struggle to preserve benefits, protections and entitlements for millions of people across the country was imminent. The GOP looked unified enough to pull it off and take it all, desperate for some sort of victory no matter how Pyrrhic it would be once regular people felt the bite. They were ready to commit massive legislative arson just so they could please their wealthy donors in this cussed Citizens United era.
There was a snag last night when deficit hawks had reservations, but we’re all still on the hook at the moment. We might be losing the light yet.
But fuck all that. I know it’s important, but hang on.
Robert Mueller pulled another string.
As they say in chess: Check.
And it looks like an ugly check, a nasty, sickening game-fucking fork that will cost King Dipshit his protective pieces, and when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before white chases him around the board where no space is safe.
I knew something was up yesterday. Trump is erratic at best on normal days, so it’s hard to read anything into his behavior. But he went berserk this week. It started with “honoring” Native American veterans in front of a portrait of the asshole who signed the Indian Removal Act, and like the 6 year old imp that he is, he proceeded to take a bizarre shot at Elizabeth Warren (as if to say “While I’m on the subject of Indians…“), a shot that no doubt confused the honorees and eventually pissed off much of the Native American community. He accused Joe Scarborough of murder, mused as to whether the pussy grabbing recording was real, told people in private that he still isn’t sure about Barack Obama’s birthplace, dribbled something about a fake news contest, dragged NFL players, CNN, The New York Times, I mean he whipped out all the greatest hits and made up some new ones. And then yesterday, he’s out there retweeting British anti-Islamic/white supremacist material, material that was without basis in reality. Now since Trump has been in office, he has NEVER taken responsibility or apologized for anything he has said or done and that did not change here. Sarah Sanders dutifully put on her ever increasing volume of warpaint (perhaps to unnerve the press corps) and basically said Trump is right, even when his proof is wrong. Oy vey.
All of it made my spidey senses tingle. I’ve never been fond of the notion that this twat of a president has any clue what he is doing. So many pixels have been wasted positing that Trump is a master of distraction. But the sum total of his miscues and outbursts this week suggested to me that his nerves were frayed about something. There may or may not be a little bird who has seen Mueller’s flop cards whispering in Humperdoo’s ear. This may be causing a bit of mania and rightfully, paranoia. Again, the things he does, says and types unintentionally muddies the water. Put simply, the dude is spazzing out. And the level of spaz might be a hint that trouble is coming…coming for him.
We may yet lose this country, what’s left of it for us normal folks anyway. But Justice, a severe and merciless bitch of a goddess, will not be denied her sacrifice. Maybe we will come out the other side of this caring more about each other after having been lied to and treated so badly by our putative leaders. My hopes are chastened, though. It only took five short years after Nixon left town in disgrace to bring us to Ronald Reagan’s senile reign of error.
We don’t learn from our mistakes here in America. We repeat them, with pride. But for now, let’s celebrate that our modern Caligula, this mad hatter of a misbegotten president is going down soon, hopefully taking his conspirators with him.
So, what, if anything, do last night’s election results mean?
It seems that the American people are out for incumbent heads once again. Non-presidential elections always seem to be bloodbaths for the majority party. And while I am glad the pendulum is swinging leftwards-politics being what it is here, nothing will get done that helps anyone because of the incredibly steep hill we as a Democratic Party must climb to triumph, and when we don’t make it to the summit, then the pendulum will swing right again (sorry about the mixed metaphors). If there’s anything you can count on in this world, it’s the shitty memory of the average US citizen. It doesn’t help that they are being lied to by half the radio dial, hundreds of crap dailies, and a major “news” channel either about what’s good for them. We’re a perpetually unsatisfied bunch, on the whole, and that is probably by design.
That’s my cynical take. I could be wrong, last night’s blue wave might be a harbinger of things to come. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, because we’ve gotten to the summit before(2008 until we lost Ted Kennedy and got Scott Brown). Really, the big important takeaway is that Donald Trump is really only good at one thing, and that’s alienating people. If there is any meaning at all to yesterday, it’s that Trump is not magic like he’d have you believe. In his mind and his stunted supporters’ minds, it was his charisma and vision that propelled him to victory in 2016. His statistically improbable win gave rise to a variant of The Trump Effect, which posited that his upset victory made him and Republican candidates who hewed to him invincible, all the way to 2020 when he would be elected again.
Now I was dead wrong about 2016. I fully expected an establishment election, with Bush losing to Clinton. But because of the weaknesses in the Republican field there was room in the national conversation for a blustering, self-promoting demagogue to turn the right wing in this country into a cult of personality seething with hatred and resentment towards its neighbors and anything else that wasn’t ‘Murican, which is to say white, male, straight and Christian. But I don’t think I’m going to be monumentally wrong again in that manner, and if I am, I should just turn in my pundit pin and go think in a dark room for a few months. Donald Trump is a fraud, a phony, a Pied Piper for idiots, and most of us have already figured that out. There will always be that perpetually blind 25% or so of people who really are Nazis, alt-righters, supremacists and racists, to whom Donald Trump seems like a godsend. But no one who wants to keep their job in Washington really wants to get any closer than arms length to Trump, and Republicans may forgo the huckleberry vote in a bid to hold the center, which is the sweet spot every perennially successful movement wants to be in.
That sweet spot is currently held by Democrats, if we can impose a little discipline on ourselves( looking at you, Donna Brazile, Bernie-hangers on, etc.). My best self is socialist, but I will wait patiently while we discover ways to make its principles palatable to a country obsessed with outmoded caricatures of “individuality”, which may have made for good novels while we were still
stealing land expanding as a nation but is wholly incompatible with the modern interdependent society where we don’t have to leave our neediest behind, work our lives away and grossly enrich ourselves as others struggle simply because they weren’t born fortunate. Now, I’m white, male and straight, and taken care of by the Veteran’s Administration and so I realize that my ability to “wait” is privileged to the point of being odiously gauche. But there it is; calls for revolution will not sit well at the center. We must nudge and not shove. It’s either that or a second civil war, one that crushes all the oppressive forces of patriarchy and racism and sexism and superstition and lack of understanding. I mean, I know what side I’ll be on if it goes down, but do we have to get to that point before we tolerate each other? Who of us will be counted when we do? Most of us have work in the morning.
Let’s hope politics is the answer. Indeed, it may be our last.
I’ve spent a good deal of time maintaining that the things that Donald Trump and Co. do on a daily basis are NOT the products of any particular rational, intellectual or logical machinations. It was fact to me that they simply didn’t know what the fuck they were doing because the president is a miserable, pathetic, deranged mental midget. People cried “distraction” from this or that ad infinitum. Like Martin Sheen said to Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now”, I didn’t see any method at all.
But around about Thursday, my spidey senses tingled as I watched Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy inexplicably open investigations into Hillary Clinton, on spurious charges that a Google search could have debunked. Duh Fuhrer eagerly seized on the news, making the outrageous claim that she was the target of the Russia investigation and that it was already “common knowledge” that he was innocent.
I said to myself, “Now THAT’S some damn distracting”.
Ham handed as it was like anything involving Trump, it all smacked of desperation that had a different vibe to it. There were so many people muddying the waters in the last few days to conceal headlines that put the lie to the new allegations against Clinton-like the one that found that a conservative newspaper asked for what became the Steele dossier. Fox News began a concerted misinformation campaign (even more hysterical and obsessive than the usual bullshit they peddle)to hastily report all the truffles that the Trump cabal dug up.
Something was up. All hands were on deck to try to get people to focus on hackneyed headlines about Hillary Clinton, hoping that enough people were blissfully unaware of the fact that she wasn’t the president.
Now we know what the sound and fury was all about.
Mark yesterday on your calendar so you can tell people where you were and what you were doing when the worst scandal in the history of this country broke wide open.
The next two days are going to be full of follies trying to pretend that some Trumpist is not gonna be wearing cuffs soon. When the charges were publicized, Hannity barely blinked and asked when Hillary would be indicted. Ben Stein tried to downplay the scandal by downplaying Watergate. So pop your popcorn, because this weekend and beyond is gonna be hilarious if your gallows humor is still intact.
My wife had MSNBC on this morning when I woke up. That’s the default station for background noise in the house.
It has not been fun to listen to (to the degree that any news is) because every day they broadcast stuff about Donald Trump. Sometimes they play him speaking.
I know several people who cannot stand to listen to the president’s voice. And these are no snowflakes, either. I think Trump’s chief of staff is one of them.
That voice makes them uneasy, sad, and angry because it belongs to a fucking grandstanding pathetic lying irritating moronic id-driven maniacal imbecile who loves the smell of his own farts that is utterly unfit to serve a free and democratic people. I am also one of these folks. I would have never guessed that the weird day would come when the mere sound of someone could do what Trump’s voice does to me. I avoid listening whenever possible.
Yesterday, this goddamned changeling of a “leader” was out throwing chum to some of his dumbshit followers (who should all be tagged and chipped for our safety) in Alabama at one of his “rallies” (which are nothing but an extended version of the Two Minutes Hate), after a long week of embarrassing America in front of the whole world by blathering on about how great we have gotten over the last 9 months, fearmongering about the perils of the world, threatening to drop a big one on North Korea’s ‘Rocket Man’ (I can hardly type this without freaking myself out about how mindfuckingly infantile the clownshoe with the football is), criticizing the Iran nuclear deal out of the blue, making jokes about socialism that are only funny in the fever swamp of conservative American patter, and a bunch of other boilerplate that he didn’t look over until it was time to talk.
During this gathering of the Duh-ggalos, he called for the benching or outright firing of sports figures who take a knee during the national anthem in protest of the way America treats its minorities, particularly its black ones. They were, in the president’s words, “sons of bitches” who disrespect the flag.
This is highly alarming rhetoric. I have always had a problem with some people’s need to defend a piece of cloth. Implicit in our national compact is the freedom to call the American government out when it is wrong. Hating America’s policies is not the same as hating America, but some folks cannot tell the difference. But anyway, symbol worship, and to a larger degree, nation worship are slippery rungs on a slide to real, actual fascism.
The question we are still trying to answer is this: is Donald Trump reading from the fascist playbook, or can he read at all?
It has not always been easy to decide what the true character of recent Republican presidents are. Was Ronald Reagan a senile fool, or a brilliant tactician who threatened to weaponize space if the Russians refused to negotiate? Surely most of you remember when we couldn’t decide whether George W. Bush was the dipstick hayseed scion of a powerful political family or an evil piece of shit who set America on its present course of endless war.
And so it is with Trump. Even after 9 whole months of pure uncut ineptitude people are still undecided as to whether or not he has any idea what the fuck he is doing. Yet every fucking day I run into the latest thinkpiece about Trump’s brilliant use of legerdemain. There is little more tiresome to read than this type of analytical twaddle.
I implore you: be done with this. I am not saying don’t be afraid of Trump; his reign is indeed fearsome because the country is in the hands of a dolt. But the last thing I am gonna do is give him credit for anything resembling clever.
Truthfully, Donald Trump knows only one thing rather well; how to get people to pay attention to him. I still think that even though he is behaving like a deranged, militaristic, fascist power-grabbing authoritarian, it’s not something he actually thinks about consciously. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it’s highly plausible that this is just who he is, and not the product of any intelligent calculation based on study of creating a political movement. He’s a moron, simply in tune with morons like himself. Morons need to be led, and they will believe anything you tell them if you pack enough of them together or get enough of them to watch the same TV channel.
Folks, the emperor has no clothes, save for a red power tie and a stupid baseball hat. He will never be a tenth of the president that he succeeded, and that is truly what drives him-envy, not brains. We should consider ourselves fortunate that Donald Trump isn’t anywhere near as smart as he thinks he is. Moreover, we should also breathe a little easier knowing he isn’t as smart as we think he is either.
OK, Liz Warren, you win.
I think I’ve finally been ground down.
It’s not really the special election losses. We came damn close here in Georgia with Jon Ossoff, even though I knew he wouldn’t win. The only reason that Ossoff had any juice (well, besides the allegations that the election was a referendum on Trump and it became a national campaign as a result) is that he almost cracked 50% and nearly won in the first election against a fractured Republican field.
It’s not the daily thinkpieces about Democratic dithering when it comes to picking hills to put troops on.
It certainly isn’t Greens or Bernie hangers-on that are starting to make sense to me.
There was so much intrigue that caused Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016. Voter suppression, hacking of machines, Russian skulduggery, the Comey Bomb and good old fashioned American sexism were proximate causes. So hold your horses with the corruption nonsense and the DNC plots etc., ad infinitum.
Since we are a party in the woods, I say it’s time to get the hard left swing out of our system and find out once and for all if Democrats are truly losing elections because they fail to inspire. It’s an experiment whose time is come, since we truly have nothing to lose cause we ain’t got nothin’ at the moment. Perhaps I will be vindicated in recommending a slow hand and creeping gradualism. Or, and I hope this is the case, perhaps I will learn something new about the character of this country. But we will not know the answer unless we try.
Parties are generally heavily change-resistant. There is a hierarchy and a career path to obey, and you don’t usually get your shot by not putting in your time. Let’s think about Sanders for a second. Firstly, Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. Secondly, he has done nothing significant within the party machine. And after a brutal slugfest with Barack Obama in 2008 and dutifully serving as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton deserved that nomination more than anyone. Now I was no Clintonite that season-I thought her followers were off their rockers, and I had to write off several capable bloggers like Taylor Marsh and the folks at Corrente because I couldn’t brook the resentment and the conspiracy, not dissimilar at all to the way I reacted to the Bernie brigades.
But there’s a contemporary hole in this rule about the conservative nature of parties, or so it would seem. Donald Trump showed you could come out of nowhere, go full retard and win. Now of course, the same forces that caused Hillary’s defeat that I outlined above were in play for his victory. Yet, perhaps in his unorthodox win there’s a message to us on the left-that there’s room to move, that people are hungry for rarer species (or, this could simply mean that Republican voters are stone cold stupid-maybe both things are true). There’s certainly no better time than now, when people are having more trouble than ever making ends meet, to tell them that the government is coming to the damn rescue using all available trucks to meet the emergency. That dynamic may be a major factor in Trump’s win-the straightwhitechristianmale supremacist axis is getting out-birthed and out-educated and the people who support that system were looking for a savior, not a politician-and Donald…and it makes me grit my teeth to say this…played the part with aplomb and people bought it.
People are generally panicky in America right now, no matter who they are. A level of responsiveness, immediacy and throwing off of caution could benefit anyone willing to say the right things-and with any luck, carry enough people with them to do the right things. I’m willing to stop the fretting that I have been doing to see if the idealists are actually onto something, and should that gambit fail, I’m gonna riot.
“God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”-Galatians 6:7
Sometimes the Bible is capable of poetry. I mean, on balance it’s kind of a dry read, but there’s a reason so many people keep reading it for reasons other than scaring themselves straight. Much like its cousin, The Koran (and I imagine other books that spawned major religious movements), you can flip it open anywhere and eventually hit on something righteous and obliquely applicable to whatever shit you might be going through. It seems like magic, even though it’s as random as anything in this minutely probable universe.
I’d like to take a peek at the lesser religion called party politics. It runs a close second to actual religion in its power. Amongst the small-minded it’s as impolite to talk politics as it is to discuss religion because of how fucking personal it is.
It’s arguable that you can put politics of any stripe on a strict left-right continuum, because of chowderheads like “libertarians” who are crude individualists (an utter absurdity in any advanced society) who dip from anarcho-capitalist standoffish I-got-mine-so fuck-you politics but also don’t-mind-the-gays-as-long-as they-don’t-try-to-fuck-me. It’s the height of straight male white privilege to call yourself a libertarian because all the doors are open, and you can burn a bridge or ten without incurring much harm. It firmly belongs in the right wing box along with other forms of fundamentalism that seek to stratify and disunite.
Let’s just make it simple and say that there’s a straight line from left to right, and we can overlay the two American parties that really matter upon it without much seepage. I don’t think I need to really explain that. Obviously, if you are a left-leaner, you are highly likely to vote Democratic, and if you cop to being a right-winger you will press the button for Republicans.
We dislike each other with purple passion. They Are Always Wrong And We Are Always Right. One of us is un-American, and who you ask determines who that is.
So we come now to the topic of self-deception. How is it that we so often find no fault in our respective religions? Is there a limit to how many dissonant facts can be swatted away without reconsidering that one’s position is shaky?
I don’t know about you other lefties, but I’ll let you know when Democrats are fucking up. However, I’m willing to allow a degree of transgression in order to do two things: protect that which I have that is good and protect me from the other side who wants to take it.
It’s not an ideal situation, but nothing ever is, no matter how hard you try in this life. Some of you lefties need to fucking figure that out, and soon.
So I have to assume that the same survival instinct is present in Republican voters, and let’s face it, they know how to stick together way better than lefties do. They have their own conception of what is good (God, guns, money, suspicion of difference) and they are supra-forgiving of the occasional shortfalls of Republican leaders.
But no one left or right can really fully explain President Donald Trump. Or can they?
I remember when we on the left side declared George W. Bush “Worst President Ever”. As we know now, we realize how tiny our imaginations were back then.
I must pause for a second to say that Bush was a terrifyingly bad president, and we would do well to remember that things were really fucking bad under him. Donald Trump is bad for different reasons, and also represents the potential to be way worse, especially since his presidency is but an infant.
Trump’s win is the triumph of many “anti”s. Anti-intelligence. Anti-facts. Anti-immigrant. Anti-woman. Anti-environmental conservation. Anti-any religion besides Christianity. Anti-gay. Anti-any race except white. Anti-empathy. Anti-poor. Anti-free and independent press. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
He’s the last gasp of the people who have been running this crazy country from jump. All of the majorities, all the former majorities have their hopes and dreams pinned on a narcissistic crooked stupid heedless belligerent deranged loudmouth billionaire boor who is pretty much using all their shitty feelings towards others to increase his own power. Hate is the fuel which propels the Trump choo-choo, and it seems that the Republican Party doesn’t mind because it has been slyly trafficking in this kind of nasty resentment for a while now.
It remains to be seen just how oblivious the party and its supporters are to Trump’s potentially fatal faults, faults which could slime the whole machine. But we got a taste yesterday after James Comey said under oath that Trump is a goddamn liar, and possibly a lawbreaking one at that. Turns out the Republican frog is not aware that the heat got turned up in the pot yesterday. As with everything…um, questionable this guy has done in the past year, there seems to be a collective ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. After the hearings, no less than the Speaker Of The House, Paul Ryan said:
“The president is new at this, he is new to government, and so he probably wasn’t steeped in the long running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI, and White Houses. He is just new to this.”
This is rich coming from a party that couldn’t shut up about the inexperience of the black guy who just vacated. One of two things is happening here: Paul Ryan knows the average Republican is as dumb as a car fender and is aware of his voters’ high pain tolerance. Equally likely is that Paul Ryan is also as dumb as a car fender and doesn’t realize how much trouble the party might be in.
Trump voters are equally deluded/conned. Here’s some highlights from a focus group:
“(Tuckman) had nine Trump supporters watch the morning hearings with him at Rick’s Tavern and Grill and then return to answer questions about the former FBI Director’s testimony.
“First thing i want to ask you, it is a crime when you testify before Congress to lie, it is perjury and you can to prison for it,” Tuckman began. “Raise your hand if you believe James Comey lied. Four of you believe he lied.”
Then Tuckman inquired about the focus group participants’ view of Donald Trump.
Comey “says that Donald Trump quote told lies plain and simple,” Tuckman followed up. “Raise your hand if you believe that Donald Trump lied at all about the situation. None of you believe it.”
The CNN journalist was baffled by results and followed up with direct questions of the voters.
“Well, first of all, things can be distorted and appear like lies, and I think maybe the media might have be distorted some things and now we’re not getting both sides,” one of the Trump supporters rationalized.
“Let me ask you, a show of hands, how many of you feel better about Donald Trump, your president, after this hearing?”
All hands went up.”
And they said Ronald Reagan was the Teflon president.
As I said, it is clear for certain is that they don’t know how heavy an albatross Donald Trump truly is around their necks (although there are interesting signs of fear amongst the brethren here and there). He is still A Republican (corollary: Not A Democrat). They really think they can ride this snake to the lake and get away with all of their irresponsible legislative priorities before anyone sane can do anything about it. Somehow or other, when the Trumpian singularity finally becomes unstable and blows the fuck up all over them it will be someone else’s fault. No one on the right wing will get any smarter about being a Republican because of the criminality of its leaders. It survived Nixon and Bush, Hoover, and Harding.
You can’t kill party politics. It just comes back in a different guise, but at base it’s the same pernicious American way of self-deception and there seems to be no bottom to it. Most, if not all of us are chained to these organizations no matter how naked the lunch is. Some seem to think otherwise, but that shit is for dreamers. In the near future, we good lefties have to do what we can to change from the insides of our beast, but let’s not demand a shaman. We have to play the party game too if we are to survive as a bloc. Otherwise, we can increase the chances of another unabashed monstrosity on the other side-even though Donald Trump by any honest measure is on track to be the stuff of legends, legends that no one will believe unless they had been witness.