Bad as Things May Sometimes Look for the Dems, it Could be Worse – They Could be the GOP

rand-paul-chin-afp-475x356New York Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd writes this morning about “Dems in Distress” that Democrats are afraid of Scott Brown and have good reason to be. More, that Democrats should fear the Republicans in general. This seems to be about less what the Republicans have done lately than about what the Democrats have not done – or not been able to do.

She has a point about a stagnant Obama administration. The Republican House has put a stranglehold on progress, making simple governance next to impossible let alone implementing new policies. As she points out, and as we all know, Obama is reduced to running the country through executive order. Dowd explains that this is not a sign of strength, but a sign of weakness.

I suppose it could be interpreted this way, though it is, after all, more the fault of the Constitution than of the Democrats in general or Obama in particular. Nobody expected, when they framed our governing document, that one political party would go to such extreme lengths to invalidate a presidential election. Nobody foresaw a black president, or the lengths conservatives would go to in order to destroy that president, even to the extent of suing him for having won.

I would say this is less about democratic weakness than a conservative lack of scruple and an inherent tendency toward totalitarian forms of government. This is not about the weakness of the executive branch so much as about the tyranny of the legislative. And it exposes the weaknesses inherent in a 200 year-old document. The Founding Fathers dealt with Aaron Burr but he was a piker compared to the Cuban anarchist, Ted Cruz. And yes, there were some vocal conservative Christians back in the day but nobody in Philadelphia in 1787 could have foreseen the collection of lunatics we call the Religious Right.

We’re dealing with some difficult sh*t here, as a country. Scott Brown is not the threat, nor is Sen. Rand Paul with his second straight straw poll victory (this one in New Hampshire) because he can’t get within a half-continent of Hilary Clinton in popularity, even after Benghazi. Nor, when it comes down to it, was the Democratic defeat in Florida (bad as that was). The threat is conservative extremism, well-funded by almost unlimited corporate money. The danger is more, as the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote the other day, why millennials have abandoned Obama, and even that danger can be overstated (and has been).

If there is any hope at all for a future free from conservative tyranny it is millennials and the question of how much they are willing to put up with. Isn’t it at least as significant that millennials won’t go near the GOP? They have had scant patience with Religious Right claptrap about the dangers of homosexuality, or about the need to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior and persecuting everyone who does not. Millennials, if they have become lukewarm to Obama’s message, have been positively cold toward the GOP’s. Ross Douthat wondered yesterday if millennials will return to the community but in a very real sense, millennials never left the community. They are the community of tomorrow, which paints a very unpleasant picture for conservatives who don’t like communities to change (or much else).

The future may not look bright as we would like it to be, though it looks brighter than it did in 2008. The country has gone through a severe rough spell since Bush’s last year in office, when his administration left it an economic shambles. We had a couple of good years but 2010 heralded a new era of mulish opposition to everything Obama and brought progress to a standstill. While accusing Obama of tyranny, Republicans took their own authority to the limit, and then past it, with a shocking indifference to the consequences. That is a measure of their hatred of our first black president, even more, to the idea of having a black president.

You can be sure they will react just as powerfully to the idea of a female president. It just isn’t done, old boy. Imagine, if you will, a Jewish president, and think about Jerry Boykin’s publicly expressed sentiment that “the Jews are the problem.” Even Condoleezza Rice said Saturday she wants Republicans to be more inclusive. I suspect they will run out of Lindsey Graham’s angry old white guys before that day comes to pass.

It is true that the midterms are a dangerous time for Democrats but they are always a dangerous time for the party in the White House. It is not, however, as though Republicans have no fears themselves, if you look at a few polls (the lead Jason Carter holds over Nathan Deal in Georgia, say, or Allison Grimes over Mitch McConnell in Kentucky). Waving around a musket he doesn’t own isn’t going to win McConnell any votes and it isn’t the Democrats who have restructured their primary system to silence the whackos in their midst. No, that would be the Republicans.

So while Obama may be portrayed as an anchor chain by Dowd and others, the Republicans have an abundance of anchors, and this will become more apparent as we approach the elections and Republicans try to outdo each other in making crazy statements. Their craziness lost them the 2012 elections, as you may remember, when it got so bad that even the mainstream media took notice. Barack Obama may not be the vote getter he once was, but by and large (if you discount things like drone attacks) he is at least on the right (that is left) side of history, and following the same general trajectory of both millennials and country, while Republicans are charging off across a thorn-covered field overlooking a cliff, shouting “follow us!”

Definitely, Democrats have reason to worry, and should. We should take nothing for granted. But we don’t begin to operate under the constraints of a party that has Rand Paul as their shining star.

Cheer up, Democrats. At least you’re not the Republicans.

18 Replies to “Bad as Things May Sometimes Look for the Dems, it Could be Worse – They Could be the GOP”

  1. I may be crazy, but I don’t think the GOP is offering anything more than fear and hatred, and that will not win them any votes from anyone other than the brainwashed Fox Fraud viewers, and Glenn Beck’s militia members. Seriously. Did you know this fringe is planning a march on DC on May 16, and they plan on 10 million people swarming DC and sitting around until they can convince the President, VP, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi, and several more to just abdicate their offices and allow these morons to insert Sessions, Cruz, and others into their jobs? Seriously? The insanity is out there, and it isn’t on the left. We need to keep being the grownups, and keep encouraging people to vote. The vote is our weapon, and it is far more powerful than their muskets or AK-whatevers. I suspect their ‘swarm’ will be like the white guys’ march this weekend, and attract tens of hundreds of old angry white guys.

  2. I am old I am angry and I am white. I am also a Democrat and I am angry that the repubs have essentially hijacked the constitution that I served this country to protect. I am angry that the repubs are attempting to deny people the right to vote to win elections. I am that they are attempting to shove morals and values down my throat that they dont even live by.
    Having said that I live in a college town and as such I interact with alot of young people and yes theg really are pissed. I cant blame them. The one thing the repubs dont realize is that generation is well informed in real time. They use alot of alternative news sources like The Young Turks which I like watching too I have to admit. Lastly they are opinionated and want change. They may provide a big surprise for repubs in 2014 and beyond.

  3. This morning they were talking on TV for a possible replacement to Christie for the repub nominee for president. The said it would be Jeb Bush, really!!!!

    We have not really recovered from Bush’s wars, or the
    destroyed economy that Bush left us with, or the Bush torture and Guantanimo -there is so much against another Bush I think it would be3 crazy.

    To go back further the Bush grandpa was a nazi supporter in WW2, what a legacy!

  4. As long as the politicians are owned by the biggest bidders, which party they are associated with is secondary.

  5. Democrats should be far less worried about Republicans and far more worried that their party’s Goldman Sachs-inspired – save the banker, save the world – economic policies have produced a jobless recovery that George the Elder would recognize immediately.

    Only 57.7% of working age (18-64) civilians worked last year, even for an hour at any wage. Less than 50% in many cities and towns. 33% in many urban, non-white neighborhoods.

    What difference does a minimum wage increase mean to the 42% of America that isn’t working? This party saved the rich and the guilty and left everyone in economic danger to drown in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression.

    That’s what Democrats should be worried about: joblessness and the destruction of living wage work. You can’t solve that with trickle-down economic solutions.

    Find your inner FDR, before your inner Clinton dooms us all. Get a WPA-style jobs program going, or your political base will just stay home.

  6. Remember the NYT Op-Ed pages trumpeted the War With Iraq. The NYT op-ed pages kept bleating on that we must do something about Iran, as well as pearl clutching over Russia when we were the ones who attacked a country who had never attacked us, that presented no real threat to us and turned into a 3 trillion dollar black hole that continues to suck our resources.
    So I have to respectfully tell Maureen O’Dowd to please STFU.
    She is no oracle.
    Most 18-24 years olds dislike and distrust their current president. It’s because they are facing the hardest part of their lives as they try to make their way in the world.
    But they have no love affair with the Republicans. It was once by a French Pro-monarchist that to have republican sentiments when young is to demonstrate a heart! to have them when old is to demonstrate no common sense.
    That doesn’t apply in reality. To be Republican when young and still living in Mom’s basement is cute. To be Republican & old is suicidal.

  7. Its ok, he is practicing comedy writing

    I would suggest he pay attention to the Presidents and the Democratic partys goals that involve jobs, but I know he already has a preconceived notion

  8. Dowd serves up another helping of beltway conventional wisdom, that bears little resemblance to current reality. Referencing Sink’s loss, without mentioning that it was a conservative seat, and that her loss was not by a very large margin, shows Dowd is only interested in painting a picture, not telling the truth. In her view any loss was instant verification that the ACA would be a mid-term drag for Democrats. Even if it occurred, trying to take a previously conservative seat.

  9. Sorry, Mediasavvy, but as much as the Democrats may not be perfect (and I have issues with some within the party); it’s the GOP that poses the biggest threat.

    Save your ruse for somebody else.

  10. Had the GOP not obstructed most of the Democrarts and Obama’s plans to fix the economy, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now. The GOP deliberately sabotaged our economy in order to gain a political advantage and they are continuing to do so.

  11. I interact with a lot of millenials as well.. My son, his gf (who are both still living here), his friends, the kids of my friends.

    I think the young women are very, very staunchly Democratic, but the young men are often cynical. They don’t like the Republicans much, but they have bought into a lot of the “both parties are the same”, “government is corrupt”, libertarian, Ron Paul stuff. Some of the young men that I know have (due to technical backgrounds) been able to snatch decent, high-paying jobs, and then they also become disturbed by the amount of money taken out of their checks…. fodder for Republicans, if not now, then in the future.

    To be honest, I don’t know how to reach these cynical young men. But I am concerned about them.

  12. I can’t imagine Jeb winning in 2016, but it is certainly something to consider. But we need to concentrate more on NOW.. on November 2014.

  13. Media, where in heavens are you getting your statistics? I would suggest you find a better source of information.

    First, the employment participation ratio for people 16 all the way up(includes high school kids, 85 year old grandmas, retired people, disabled people living at home, etc.) was 58.6% in 2013. That may sound horrible, but it has NEVER been higher than 64.4%, and the average over the past 30 years has been about 62%.

    It’s silly to look at all people 16 up to death and assume that they all want to work, is it not? So let’s look at people in the “prime” working age, from 25-54. Most people are done with school by that time, and most have not yet started to retire, though people home with their kids are generally in the 25-54 range. The employment part. rate for that age is 75.9%. Highest for that age group EVER was 81.5%, but over the past 30 years, the employment part. rate has averaged about 79%. Also the employment part. rate has gone up almost 1% since 2010…

  14. Mediasavvy wrote:”What difference does a minimum wage increase mean to the 42% of America that isn’t working? This party saved the rich and the guilty and left everyone in economic danger to drown in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression.”

    Huh? As I just posted in my other reply, why in the world would you think that 42% of the people want to work and aren’t working? You are buying some absurd right wing propaganda and it makes no sense at all. The righties would love to have all of those 42% in the labor force, no high school, no college, no retirement, and definitely no people who are disabled. Thank heavens that most of the 41% who are not employed not only don’t want to work but don’t HAVE to work. I do agree that the 2008 recession was the “worst economic climate since the Great Depression”, but I blame the Republicans, and, if you really had any sense of “facts” you would also.

    What party blocked every jobs bill that the Dems tried to put forward…

  15. Do you suppose that that these 18-24 years olds are aware that their dislike of the current president should necessitate them of looking for the facts?

    Maybe if they voted for their own best interests they would not be facing the hardest part of their lives as they try to make their way in the world.

    And voting for the party that has obstructed just about everything their current president has tried to do is not voting for their own best interest.

    Are they even aware of what is going on?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.