The Democrats’ Worst Bet Ever
Have you ever known a foolish gambler who despite himself, won a bunch of money, but then handled it so poorly, made so many bad bets, that before too long, he was in worse debt than ever before? Well, even if you haven’t, you are familiar with the narrative. And now you do know someone–or someones–and the foolish gambler is called the Democratic Party....
And as Bush continued to wreck everything good about this country, it even became strongly likely that the Democrats would take back the White House. The generic polls–any Democrat vs. any Republican–had the Democrats 15 or so percentage points ahead. No one liked anything that Bush was doing; and people were desperate for any kind of change. In this zero-sum game that is our two-party system, that boded very well for the Democratic Party.
But then, like that pathetically foolish gambler, the Democrats couldn’t wait to squander their winnings. Confident that they could regain the White House with any candidate, they callously pushed aside Hillary Clinton, who had the pedigree, the proven competence, and the solid Progressive credentials to insure not only a Fall victory, but a successful administration. They did this for a variety of reasons, including jealousy of Hillary and Bill; a fear on the part of certain Congressional Democrats that Hillary would run a very effective Executive branch, thus minimizing the role of Congress; and an eagerness on the part of some big players to exact a kind of vicarious revenge for Bush’s Iraq War, by destroying the chances of a candidate who had voted for the war resolution. They needed another candidate to defeat Hillary, though; and they found it in Barack Obama, a two-year Senator, with only eight years of public service altogether; whose prime qualifications were that he was of mixed racial ancestry, and that he could read a speech off a teleprompter well. They didn’t want Hillary, so they latched onto Obama, and made sure that he would get the nomination, which they essentially stole from Clinton through a series of moves that I and others have already recounted. They are still so desperate to make sure that Obama not only is nominated, but that Hillary’s political power is destroyed, they are going to extreme lengths to stop her from being nominated at the convention, and her votes counted. Rules of democratic fairness are of no account to them, flushed with their current winnings, and eager for the high times ahead.
And it is very possible, perhaps even likely, that they can win this particular poker game. They hold all the high cards, after all....
But the point of this essay is my belief that the Democrats have already played this so badly, and have chosen such an unqualified and unreliable potential President in Obama; that even in winning, they will ensure their losses for the long term. Obama is is easily describable by the right-wing media as the epitome of what they hate about the Democrats. We all know that Limbaugh, Hannity et al, have developed a successful caricature of the “Democrat” Party as the Party of weak-willed pseudo-intellectuals, who love to paternalistically mandate the lifestyles of everyone else. A Party which doesn’t really love America, doesn’t really respect its roots. People who identify more with foreign countries, particularly those of the Third World, which they are always idealizing as more noble than we are. People who mock the average, hard-working Americans, particularly White ones. People who in their heart of hearts see them as dumb, uneducated hicks who are always angry about something and ready to turn it against Black people, liberals, the intellectual elite.
These stereotypes have been relentlessly effective for the Republicans for most of the last 40 years. Bill Clinton did a lot to eradicate them. But the Democrats were happy to push Clinton to the curb, allowing Obama’s campaign to slander him as a racist, as outmoded, angry and jealous. And so here they are, about to nominate someone who just begs to be seen as the embodiment of all that so many Americans have learned to hate about the Democratic Party.
Obama even manages to make it easy for the Right, by not being able to help himself in his obvious arrogance, elitism and inability to connect with White working-class voters. He calls them “bitter people who cling to guns and religion.” He talks about “typical White people.” He–or his surrogates–are eager to label anyone who opposes him as racists, either of the explicit or closet kind. Obama has a whole history of strange and murky acquaintances and benefactors with foreign ties. He has friends who are terrorists, money launderers, people with anti-Israel agendas, big money internationalists. In short, Obama is exactly what the Democrats are always feared by much of the nation as being.
But even so, he might be able to win this election, because it’s a zero-sum game, and the Republican brand is at low ebb. And that’s all he and the Democratic Party care about
: winning this one pot, never mind about the future. Get Obama elected, somehow, anyhow, and it’s celebration time. That Obama is further sowing the seeds for the ultimate Democratic bankruptcy by letting his surrogates attempt to destroy McCain, portraying him as senile (the word “confused” has been used at least twice by them); and even questioning the value of his military service, is simply being ignored. Obama lacks the grace and foresight to consider the consequences of these actions. He figures that once he wins, he can go about remaking his image. He is oblivious to the millions of Americans who now positively hate him; who will not have his back when the first crisis occurs; who will wait with eagerness for the day in which his popularity falls and his administration fails....