In the words of General Douglas MacArthur, an over-hyped blowhard only slightly less abominable than me, "I have returned." I won't waste your time telling you why it's been nearly a year since my last post. Suffice to say I was distracted by other concerns. Naturally, this is simply codeword play in a feeble attempt to avoid coming right out and admitting that I didn't give a shit. But now, it's time to re-ignite the Fire.
I take a minor hiatus, return to this worthless blog-type thing, and what do I find? A country even more polarized than it was when I dropped off the face of the Earth. Why? Because Senators and Congresscreatures from the Democratic Party are either deaf, indifferent or willfully negligent, depending on your point of view.
In this hectic week, the persistent health care reform debate, and subsequent passage into law by several swipes of Mr. Obama’s three hundred ceremonial pens (what’s with all the pens, anyway?) has made us unwilling onlookers yet again to what seemed an endless national train wreck as Democrat Representatives struggled to balance their professional survival with their, well, their professional survival. Huh? It sounds bizarre, but that is what we see.
Politicians are nothing if not self-serving, self-promoting, self-centered, self-conscious self-addicts. In short, they really do embrace the first rule of political life: Win and hold power. No one is surprised by this, and it's hardly a revelation, but its injunction points to an astonishing display of murder/suicide behavior that is equal parts aggravating and worrisome.
From one end of the Democrat side of Congress to the other, representatives found themselves in between the proverbial mortar and pestle. On the one hand, a significant majority of their constituents made it clear they’d had enough. They're outraged, and they're motivated to express that anger in voting booths next November. Two-thirds of Americans simply did not want this approach to health care reform, yet Dems in the House and Senate have given our people the collective finger. Those same people aren’t laughing, and they’re not in the mood for Congressional sleight of hand.
Their message was clear: 'stop shoving us closer and closer to the edge of an abyss no one wants to explore, or your job isn't worth a plug nickel.'
As this majority of the electorate holds in its hands the political careers of so many Representatives and Senators, simply because they outnumber the partisan liberal morons who will vote for Democrats without regard for consequence, that message holds weight. But there’s trouble in Beltway Paradise.
The Democrat leadership (so-called) in both Houses is adept and ruthless in the art of back office arm-twisting, and their agenda is markedly different. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D), California, and her bumbling counterpart in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), Nevada, have no interest in the almost certain fate of their troops. Their expectations were stark and stone cold: 'vote in support of Obama-care or else – if you vote against us, your days as a Democrat politician are over, end of story.'
Not a comfortable spot to be in, but one they've occupied ever since the new Administration took office more than a year ago. In short, we've seen this before, but despite the GOP’s most fervent efforts to blunt Obama-care, passage was achieved after a stunning display of blatant, out-in-the-open corruption that would make the most callous Tammany Hall architect wince. Under siege from the voters back home (the precise reason the Tea Party movement sprung from the grass), yet threatened with excommunication from the liberal church, should they shrink from the task at hand, Democrat Reps were forced to choose between one brand of Hara Kiri over another. Either way, this would end badly for them, and it was clear they knew it.
At the eleventh hour, with a razor-thin vote hanging in the balance, a sub-set of the celebrated “Blue Dog Democrats” emerged as the last hurdle for Obama to gain passage, or the last hope of defeating the reform bill for Republicans in the House, depending on who you talk to. Led by Michigan Congressman, Bart Stupak, a small but pivotal group of pro-life Democrats momentarily held up the show over moral concerns that Federal money (our money, to be precise) would be used to pay for abortions.
Stupak’s crew balked at signing off on the bill, signaling the possibility of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat to hopeful, but still skeptical GOP Reps. In the end, the thin ruse was both transient and transparent. In the end, Stupak caved. So much for moral convictions. If you ever wondered about giving Blue Dogs a break, hoping they were reasonable, marginally honest people disguised as Democrats, wonder no more. They’re whores, no better than the radicals they pretend to be separate from.
As then-Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain returned from a 1938 Munich summit with Adolf Hitler, he did so armed with a piece of paper proclaiming that Great Britain and Germany would never go to war with one another. “Peace in our time,” he said. When Nazi panzer divisions roared across the Polish frontier almost exactly one year later, signaling the beginning of the worst conflagration in human history, Neville figured out what everyone else already knew – pieces of paper, carrying the guarantees of liars and insane men, guarantee nothing.
Mr. Stupak was obviously out sick the day they taught WWII back in school.
As we looked on in the most perfect, staggering level of amazement, Brain-Dead Bart announced that he had obtained an extra-special Executive Order from the very huge and powerful President himself, guaranteeing Fed money (remember, that means our money) won’t be used to fund abortions. How noble. We can envision the exchange, fictional though it may be.
“I promise, Bart – I’ll never use Federal money to pay for the termination of those pesky little fetal lives the superstitious fucking Republicans are always screaming and crying about,” the President might’ve said.
Bart maybe thought about that for a while, and said, “Promise? Cross your heart and hope to die? ‘Cause they’re going to kick me in the nuts when I get back to my district if I vote for this shit.”
The President could’ve nodded solemnly and said, “Yes, Bart – I really really really promise – just get on board already.”
Just then, the bright red Bat Phone from Nancy’s office lit up, and Bart answered, “Yes, Madam Speaker?”
“Hi, Bart. Some of my people told me you’re talking to the President, and I just wanted to let you know how it will feel to have both of my stiletto heels removed from your ass if you even think about voting ‘no.’ Do we understand each other, Bart?”
Bart swallowed and blinked a bit, glancing nervously at Brother Barack, who simply smiled and nodded with raised eyebrows, as if to say, “Don’t even think about it, mo-fo.” Bart knew his best option was to smile back and get on with it.
“Well, okay, I guess,” said Bart, thrilled with the sudden currency he’d gained in the form of a power-packed, vitamin-enhanced Executive Order (from the historic president, no less). Now he’d be able to show all his constituents an iron-clad reason why he ignored them and sold their futures down the river, yippee!
Of course, Congressman Stupak’s “Chamberlain Moment” was lost on no one. He rolled over for a hollow promise unworthy of the scrap of paper upon which it was printed, perhaps merely for the convenient excuse it would afford him for doing the Administration’s bidding in direct contradiction to his district’s wishes. He also turned a blind eye to his so-called principles and a lot of the people in his district who believed he represented their interests, and he did so with a straight face. Bluntly speaking, Mr. Stupak is Mr. Stu-pid. He was bought off with bullshit and a measured application of fear, nothing more.
But what of the others? What about the members of Congress who (to their slight credit) never wavered on their intent? Those representatives who faced the fury of voters last summer when the truth behind the bill was first revealed? If they didn’t know then, they must surely know now. Barring an outright miracle between here and November, a crushing defeat in a landslide is what awaits a sizeable majority of Congress when the voters finally get their hands around some greasy politician throats.
Why did they do it? Why did they agree to jump from a cliff and prematurely end their careers? For health care reform? Really? The debate was never about health, and not about care – it was (and is) about control and power. Did they say ‘YES!” to this bizarre suicide pact out of allegiance to their Speaker, or their hallowed, historic president? Not likely. No one loves themselves more than politicians, especially over the fortune and folly of other politicians. Are they all radical nut-jobs, bent on the nation’s destruction? I don’t buy that either. So what is it? What would induce lemming-like behavior from a group of narcissists who’ve made a study of self-preservation?
And that is the point of this post.
Conspiracy theorists might argue there may be skeletons within closets these Congressmen and women don't want us to see. They could suggest sins of the past have mounted and collected, such that Her Royal Serene Majesty, the bug-eyed, leering Stepford Speaker is armed with photos of a compromising nature that she wields over their heads (one-legged prostitutes, dildos, goats, you name it), threatening exposure as punishment for failing the Party. I say rubbish -- we're looking at literally hundreds of Representatives, and I find it difficult to believe Nancy Pelosi’s brownshirts and covert operatives could find enough on that many people to give the threat legitimacy. No, it's not skeletons she has, and that leads us nicely into the supposition portion of the program.
Maybe the Democrat majority has simply gone too far, and can’t get back. What if this is nothing more than a sad little group of egotists who've dedicated themselves to a philosophical, ideological absolute, only to find things aren't anywhere near that settled when reality shows up?
Imagine yourself at the highest echelons of liberal, progressive, Democrat strategy. Whether from the Speaker, the Majority Leader, or the shock troops within the newly rebuilt White House itself, there was a common goal, and it had been building for years. The time had finally arrived, and the moment must've been intoxicating to them. We now had an obvious radical in the White House (we shall overcome, we shall overcome…) a Senate and House of Representatives more liberal than any who’ve stood before, all buckled up in their leather seats, all at the same moment. Talk about history!
And let us not forget the power of a squarely left Federal bench. A perfect storm of progressive, radical authority, finally in charge of everything. This is the stuff of a committed socialist/communist/progressive's wet dreams!
So off they went, spending our money and our children’s money, utterly oblivious to a slow-burning rancor from half the voters, the half that never bought into the personality cult and the myth of ‘historic.’ TARP, Stimulus, Health Care “Reform,” et al. Damn the conservatives; full speed ahead! But here’s where the Left took its most fatal wrong turn. They fell prey to the temptation of believing their own bullshit.
With all their blustering and arrogant posture of authority, Democrat politicians, like any politician, are still people -- men and women with just as much capacity for weakness and low character as any pimp or drug dealer on the filthy streets of an urban nightmare. Instead of accepting their newly acquired power with grace and humility, ready to fulfill candidate Obama's promise of a new beginning in Washington, the frailties of ego and arrogance guided the Democrats in ways a few of them must now regret with all their hearts as they stare down both barrels of what might end up being an impending November debacle.
Nobody told them about this part, when they were greedily accepting cool-cool Barack’s campaign support. It never occurred to them that Nancy and Harry and Mr. Personality would come calling later on, like a pack of Cosa Nostra muscle men extracting ‘protection’ money from innocent shop-keepers.
With no one walking along beside them, offering cautionary red flags of warning when the normal, human process of thoughtful introspection is ignored, the Democrats have run, head-long, toward a phalanx of growing dissent among their constituents. Drunk with power, and void of the ability to self-correct, Pelosi and Reid, egged on by a combination of their own sense of self-importance and the ever-present validation of a liberal press, misinterpreted Obama’s election (and their own majority) as a mandate from the people. They incorrectly regarded their majority status as currency to be spent at will, and without concern for the near 50% minority’s opinion. More to the point, the liberal machine mistook the pomposity of campaign success for a signal to begin a transformation of our country into the Utopian ideal they’ve always wanted since they protested Vietnam and Nixon as starry-eyed foamers in college.
As though chained to their seats inside a heavy train, pulled by a locomotive with no engineer at the controls, Democrat Senators and members of Congress are powerless to slow the machine, and the end of the tracks is the side of a granite mountain. It all seemed so cool! It was great fun to stand on the steps of the Capitol, grinning like so many adolescent chimpanzees in the glow of victory. But here they are a year and a half later, getting shot at by pissed-off voters (literally), suffering the numbness and despair that accompanies the surety of knowing they’re about to get canned. What happened?
And there’s the question.
What happened, indeed? We’d love to see that answer revealed because it eludes us still. We’d like to know what compels an ego-maniac to set aside his or her own personal gain, when that product of their efforts once stood above all others, and become willing accomplices to the most shameful abrogation of responsibility in our nation’s history. What was promised in exchange for their cooperation? What was threatened if it was withheld? What would induce you to enrage most of the people you are sworn to represent, ignoring their wishes, and knowing you will almost certainly lose your livelihood as a result?
Logic, for the most part, would naturally seem to us useless when mentioned in conjunction with modern-day politicians, even under the best of circumstances. But as much as we distrust and loathe people who seek public office, there is a consistency to their behavior (or was, I should say) we could always count upon. Modern politics is a wasteland of liars, confidence men, bullshit artists and neurotics who honestly believe in their superiority over the rest of us slobs. To aspire in that direction invites suspicion, sadly. Not all, but arguably most political professionals have a couple screws loose to actually want that kind of life for themselves. We play along because we’re uncomfortable doing the things successful politicians have to do, so better them than us.
Still, the most important ‘quality’ (and I use the term very, very loosely) inherent in the psyche of most Senators, Congressmen/women, presidents, advisors, cabinet members, what have you, is a single-minded dedication to one silver, shining, pristine concept:
Do whatever you have to do in order to win your next election.
That seems so simple to those of us who watch the carnival procession that is politics, yet it was blown away the moment President Obama signed his cherished health care reform bill, officially signaling the beginning (even if temporarily) of transformation.
“This is what change looks like,” he said, with a smugness few can match.
What a costly thing this is likely to be. Not just for the country for all the reasons we already know, but also for the Democrats who voted for this lunacy. In eight months, barring a total loss of memory by American voters, many of the sacrificial Congressmen and women, plus a sizeable number of their brothers and sisters in the Senate, will be given a date by which they must vacate their offices in Washington. Their replacements will want to move their stuff in, you see.
Two years after that, the Historic President will likely become history himself, and having regained control, Republicans (provided they’re slightly more intelligent and savvy than their Democrat colleagues, of course) will begin and continue the long and arduous process of repealing Obama-care, regardless of what the Supreme Court may or may not say on the matter this summer. What kind of reception in this next administration (a conservative administration) will Democrats who sided with progressive socialism against the will of the majority of Americans enjoy?
No Obama Army to catch them when they fall. No Reid, No Pelosi, who will both be relegated to back-bench status at best, and out of Washington at worst, to arrange cushy Government jobs for newly deposed Blue Dogs. No Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod. No none of ‘em. Doesn’t seem like a trip worth taking, does it?
So why did they? Seriously – why have these career politicians become lemmings in expensive suits, diving into the very crevasse they’ve spent their entire professional lives avoiding? Why now? What really went on in those backroom arm-twisting sessions? What was so lucrative to them? Or, what made them so fearful? Watergate brought down Republicans in their hundreds forty-odd years ago. Will this be the real ‘history’ lesson for Democrats? The question isn’t rhetorical. I want to know what was so powerful it could get narcissist politicians to hang themselves with a smile.
Oh, they’ll all gather at the river and argue about Constitutionality and the Commerce Clause until doomsday, while commentators wring their hands and analyze and make their own heads explode. Maybe the Republicans can repeal, maybe they can’t. No one really knows how this will shake out over the next five years, but I cannot free myself from the puzzle’s biggest question. Why, really, did they do it? A pity the Washington Post has no more Bernsteins or Woodwards on staff. What a story this would make, if any remaining journalists were around to investigate it…