Monday, February 10, 2020

Requiem for the Democratic Party

If your experience of left wing thinking is limited to Congressional Democrats and leftist talk television you have probably concluded that the American political left is an echo chamber of party line talking points, punctuated with expressions of mindless hatred for Donald Trump. After all, a political party that embraces Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib defines itself by stupidity, hatred and bigotry. Of that there can be no doubt. 

And yet, as I have often noted, the American left does contain a myriad of honest and honorable intellectuals, many of whom wrote some of the most salient and cogent analyses of the Trump Russian hoax and the impeachment farce. One does one’s mind no favor if one ignores the writings of Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Stephen Cohen, Aaron Mate, Mark Penn and Alan Dershowitz. Most of them have appeared on Fox News. Nearly all of them have been banished from leftist talk television.

Last week saw the Democratic Party collapse. Whether in the Congressional impeachment nonsense or the Iowa caucuses, any Democrat with an ounce of integrity noted the complete and utter destitution of a once proud American political party. When James Carville calls you out for having lost your mind, you have clearly lost your mind. Then again, a party that has embraced the Squad-- rather than expelling its members-- is headed for a well-deserved political oblivion. 

Today, for those of you who missed it, I bring you the extensive, well-written analysis of the Democatic Waterloo offered by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone. By the terms of the header, Taibbi believed that the Iowa Democratic Party had produced a “fiasco” and a “face plant.” The emotion is more poignant from someone who laments his political party’s demise. If this had been written by a Republican the Schadenfreude would have been so thick you would have seen little else.

Taibbi offers an epitaph for what happened in the Iowa caucuses:

After a vote in Iowa that reeked of third-world treachery — from monolithic TV propaganda against the challenger to rumors of foreign intrusion to, finally, a “botched” vote count that felt as legitimate as a Supreme Soviet election — the Democrats have become the reactionaries they once replaced.

The most painful part was the odor of rank incompetence that filled the air. You would have thought that Democrats had doused themselves with a new fragrance: eau de ineptitude:

Coinciding with the flatulent end of the party’s impeachment gambit, and the related news that Donald Trump is enjoying climbing approval ratings, the Blue Party was exposed as an incompetent lobby for doomed elites, dumb crooks with nothing left to offer but their exit.

Not exactly the party of the best and the brightest.

As for the candidates, Taibbi begins with the hapless, hopeless Joe Biden. He wrote these words before Biden denounced a prospective voter as a “lying dog-faced pony soldier” … not a line designed to elicit political support.

Biden in this race has, on multiple occasions, looked close to grabbing prospective voters by the ears and speed-eating their faces off to thwart questions. A few days before the exchange with Redd, he grabbed a former state representative named Ed Fallon by the jacket lapel and asked, “You believe Bernie can do something, and by 2030?” Only relaxing when Rollins gasped he was for Tom Steyer. Often he looks around like he expects a thumbs-up for giving in to his rage-response.

I assume that speed-eating their faces is the next perverted step after sniffing their hair. But, Taibbi is not finished with Biden:

In Cedar Rapids on February 1st, Jaimee Warbasse, a mother, hairstylist, and onetime caucaser for Hillary Clinton, was feeling anxious. Just days were left before the vote, and unusually, she was undecided. Her husband Matt called her with good news: Joe Biden was going to appear at the Roosevelt Middle School, just down the street.
“I was glad,” Warbasse recalls. “When he was Vice President, I thought he’d make a good president… I was hoping to meet him, so I could feel more comfortable voting for him.”

Iowans take presidential politics seriously. Perhaps only New Hampshire residents could comprehend. When deciding whom to stand for, Iowans expect to physically meet their candidate. This is seen as a two-way obligation: Voters should make an effort to meet the hopefuls, but candidates also have to make themselves available.

Warbasse was slightly put out that she had not met Biden. “There were more opportunities to see the other candidates,” she said. She went to his speech, then got in a greeting line, shouting, “Undecided voter over here, Joe!”

She invited him to make his case. “I haven’t seen much of you,” she said. Why should she vote for him?

Biden moved inches from her face, gripped her hand (throughout: “we’re talking minutes,” she said) and gave a political clip-art answer, about how he’s a guy who says what he means and means what he says, etc.

When Warbasse didn’t respond with enthusiasm, his mood turned. “If I haven’t swayed you today, then I can’t sway you,” he snapped.

Warbasse was shocked. “It was like he was waiting for people to tell him what a wonderful person he was,” she says. “It was super bizarre.”

These scenes have been laughed off as irrelevant dementia, but Biden’s outbursts are in keeping with a long pattern of establishment Democrats being outraged at having to explain their shit records.

Spoken by an arrogant asshole, by a man who has written himself out of the race. 

As has John Kerry. Taibbi’s take on the former Secretary of State:

Kerry later said he was enumerating the reasons he wouldn’t run, though those notably did not include humility about his own reputation as a comical national electoral failure, or because there’s already a candidate in the race (Biden) he’d been crisscrossing Iowa urging people to vote for, but instead because he’d have to step down from the board of Bank of America and give up paid speeches. French aristocrats who shouted “Vive le Roi!” on the way to the razor did a better job advertising themselves.

But, there’s always Lizzie. Or, perhaps there isn’t:

Who, then? Elizabeth Warren was cratering in polls and seemed to be shifting strategy on a daily basis. In Iowa, she attacked “billionaires” in one stop, emphasized “unity” in the next, and stressed identity at other times (she came onstage variously that weekend to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” or to chants of “It’s time for a woman in the White House”). Was she an outsider or an insider? A screwer, or a screwee? Whose side was she on?

Or perhaps the frumpy Midwestern Hausfrau, Amy Klobuchar:

Klobuchar is a pure distillation of “electability,” i.e. a Washington reporter’s idea of what a Midwesterner finds charming. She isn’t funny, but her tireless marketing of her funniness matches the reportorial concept of what a “sense of humor” is in politics.

Her ability to speak at length without revealing deep ideological belief is also prized by our kind. This is what Washington for decades told people they wanted, instead of health care, peace, job security, etc.

In any case, the Iowa Democratic Party showed itself incapable of counting votes. After railing for three years about how the Trump presidency was undermining their sacred democracy, this political party produced an election tally that apparently had precious little to do with the actual votes cast by actual citizens:

When historians pore over the Great Iowa Catastrophe of 2020, much of the blame will be focused on Acronym and Shadow, the two firms associated with the balky app that was supposed to count caucus results. For the conspiratorial-minded, the various political connections will be key: Acronym co-founder Tara McGowan is married to Buttigieg strategist Michael Halle, while former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe sits on Acronym’s board. Shadow had also been a client of both the Buttigieg and Biden campaigns in 2019.

But garden variety disorganization and stupidity were the major storylines underneath the terrible optics. From the first moment the caucus proceedings were delayed Monday night due to what the Iowa Democratic Party called “inconsistencies in the reporting,” Sanders supporters in particular felt in déjà vu territory. Orlando native Patty Duffy, an out-of-stater who captained for Sanders in the small town of Milo, had flashbacks to the run-up to the Hillary-Bernie convention.

“It was like we were back in 2016,” Duffy said. “Except this was worse.”

If election night was bad, the ensuing days were worse:

What happened over the five days after the caucus was a mind-boggling display of fecklessness and ineptitude. Delay after inexplicable delay halted the process, to the point where it began to feel like the caucus had not really taken place. Results were released in chunks, turning what should have been a single news story into many, often with Buttigieg “in the lead.”

The delays and errors cut in many directions, not just against Sanders. Buttigieg, objectively, performed above poll expectations, and might have gotten more momentum even with a close, clear loss, but because of the fiasco he ended up hashtagged as #MayorCheat and lumped in headlines tied to what the Daily Beast called a “Clusterfuck.”

Watching your political party implode produces chagrin:

But the storylines of caucus week sure looked terrible for the people who ran the vote. The results released early favored Buttigieg, while Sanders-heavy districts came out later. There were massive, obvious errors. Over 2,000 votes that should have gone to Sanders and Warren went to Deval Patrick and Tom Steyer in one case the Iowa Democrats termed a “minor error.” In multiple other districts (Des Moines 14 for example), the “delegate equivalents” appeared to be calculated incorrectly, in ways that punished all the candidates, not just Sanders. By the end of the week, even the New York Times was saying the caucus was plagued with “inconsistencies and errors.”

In other words, the situation was so bad that even the New York Times could not find a saving grace.

By Taibbi’s lights, the Democratic Party has turned away from its constituents and is merely functioning for its donor base:

Democrats went on to systematically rat-fuck every group in their tent: labor, the poor, minorities, soldiers, criminal defendants, students, homeowners, media consumers, environmentalists, civil libertarians, pensioners — everyone but donors.

They didn’t just fail to defend groups, but built monuments to their betrayal. They broke labor’s back with NAFTA, embraced mass incarceration with the 1994 Crime Bill, and ushered in the Clear Channel era with the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Welfare Reform in 1996 was a sellout of the Great Society (but hey, at least Clinton kept the White House that year!). The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act gave us Too Big to Fail. Shock Therapy was the Peace Corps in reverse. They sold out on Iraq, expanded Dick Cheney’s secret regime of surveillance and assassination, gave Wall Street a walk after 2008, then lost an unlosable election, which they blamed on a conspiracy of leftist intellectuals and Russians.

Still, if you were black, female, gay, an immigrant, a union member, college-educated, had been to Europe, owned a Paul Klee print or knew Miller’s Crossing was a good movie, you owed Democrats your vote. Why? Because they “got things done.”

Now they’re not getting much done, except a lost reputation. That feat at least, they earned. To paraphrase the Joker: What do you get when you cross a political party that’s sold out for decades, with an electorate that’s been abandoned and treated like trash?

Answer: What you fucking deserve!

One will add one salient point. Taibbi overlooked the point, so I am happy to include it as a coda.

Today’s Democratic Party might well be a band of incompetent, inept, corrupt politicians, but any seasoned observer will have noticed that it has long since replaced its ability to represent the interests of constituents with a higher calling... diversity. 


Milton Keynes said...

"Eau de ineptitude": smells like vagina.

Mz Paltrow, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

UbuMaccabee said...

Milton Keynes, now that’s funny. I’ll listen to anything Milton Keynes says.

Maybe if the DNC had followed Milton Keynes’s economic plan in 2008, they wouldn’t be in this mess.

John Silber’s legacy is...Milton Keynes.

Sam L. said...

"Today’s Democratic Party might well be a band on incompetent, inept,..."
I'm thinking your meant to use the word "of", and not "on".

When I was in the service, the phrase "jogging in your jockstrap" (i.e., running on one's "man parts") meant one was doing bad, Bad, and sometimes BADDDDDDDDDDD things to one's career. Shortgevity, very, very, shortgevity was in your future. Your immediate future.

Deana said...

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the obvious angst of James Carville this past week. He understands that the democrats have, as he puts it, “lost their damn minds.”

What he does not seem to understand is that he participated in laying the groundwork for the mess the Democrats find themselves in presently. The leaders of the progressive left fed and gave oxygen to ethnic groups, feminists and now all the gender groups. They did the same with the far left fringe groups, arrogantly assuming that they would be able to control all these people whenever and in whatever way they wanted. It seemed to never occur to these leaders that these groups would eventually gain power and threaten their leadership positions.

I can’t help it. Last week was an utter delight. No - none of this is good for America but if we are this hell bent in jumping off the cliff I am going to find enjoyment where I can along the way.

Anonymous said...

Deana's comment is brilliant. It never occurred to them that there were people in those groups who didn't feel like kowtowing to the Democratic party. The identity group activists don't consider the usual Democrat politicans their superiors as was assumed would be the case.

My leftist family could read the article by Matt Taibbi and be unmoved by anything in it. It would have no effect at all on the brainwashing that's already occurred.

Sam L. said...

He wrote these words before Biden denounced a prospective voter as a “lying dog-faced pony soldier” … Joe has a way with words. A bad way. A REALLY BAD way. I'd expect a politician to be aware of what he's saying, but Joe, well, his mouth just says whatever IT wants to say, being on the "crazed, insane mode" pretty much all of the time.

I think Joe's in urgent need of a good, no, an outstanding shrink.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever read Taibbi's piece on Michelle Bachmann? It's one of the most vicious and vile, ugly and slandering piece on a candidate I've ever read. Maybe check it out. Although he's slamming the dims now, he has been late-night-TV show ugly in the past.

He may quote about workers, etc in this piece, but as far as ordinary Americans goes (esp Christians), his disdain equals Maher's.