Public Comment

Camelot Redux (Or the Democrats’ Built-In Death Wish)

By David Esler
Friday May 24, 2013 - 06:15:00 PM

Rant Warning! The following commentary has been assigned an AR Rating (for “Angry Rant”) by Daily Planet editors. It is the work of a disenchanted old geezer and former supporter of the Obama Administration. Children and idealists should be accompanied by an adult if reading this. The editors sincerely wish the author a speedy recovery and return to a semblance of harmony. The Daily Planet assumes no responsibility for disillusionment expressed in this commentary. 

Okay, Barack, it’s over. You might as well resign now, take Biden and his hair implants with you, and turn the Oval Office over to Boehner for the next three and a half years.  

Your agenda to establish background checks for gun nuts, neutralize the NRA, re-regulate the banks, tax the rich, assemble a fair and effective immigration policy, fully implement the Affordable Care Act, enact meaningful policy to address global warming, and once and for all get America out of unnecessary foreign wars is like so much ashes a’blowin’ in the wind, Dude. Have a smoke, pack up your basketballs, kiss the world’s largest private jet goodbye, and go cut brush in Illinois. Or otherwise descend into obscurity.  

Who was the harebrained imbecile (yes, that’s redundant, but I can’t think of enough adjectives to describe the level of stupidity at work here) in either the Democratic Party or West Wing who decided to sic the IRS on the Republican Tea Party faction during the reelection campaign? In this day and age of Internet porosity, when it is virtually impossible to keep anything secret, how in the Deity’s name did you think you could get away with this nonsensical tactic? Were your people also looking at leftwing quasi-political groups seeing tax exemptions? At least that would have added a semblance of fairness to the IRS’s honey-dip.*  

Why did you think you had to stoop to such Watergate-era nefariousness to ensure victory at the polls when the other side has embarked on a trip into magical realism, putting forth candidates so unabashedly extreme they defy logic and good sense? When Mitt all but assured your victory with his mean-spirited “forty-seven percent” speech, itself leaked to the world by a clever video operator?  

When the ‘Merican electorate – or at least mainstream plurality – has finally come to its senses and realized the Republican Party has been co-opted by a cabal of rightwing lunatics? (Meanwhile, minorities already knew that the Republicans have nothing for them but derision and further marginalization.) As it turned out, you didn’t really have to do anything: just run and make those signature speeches of yours imbued in hope and wholesomeness. 

And how about us working class schmucks who actually pay our taxes? Are you going to data-mine our accounts, too? What about the leftwing political organizations? You see, it works both ways. Has your staff been channeling Nixon? Did they make up an enemy’s list for you? 

Now, add this insult to your Justice Department’s little foray into harassment of the Fourth Estate, specifically the subpoenaing of the Associated Press’s phone records, ostensibly to investigate a potential terrorist plot against U.S. air transportation. Uh, this is supposed to be a Democratic administration, right? Staffed by members of the, uh, “liberal” party, right? The one that allegedly supports unbridled freedom of the press? Who did you send to do it – Nixon’s “plumbers”? As a working journalist, I find this latest move especially egregious. Terrifying, actually, because members of the press can’t do their jobs, can’t speak truth to power, without assuring anonymity to their sources. And, Mr. Harvard Law Review editor, do I have to remind you that a true democracy cannot survive without a free and unencumbered press? Oh, that’s right, we’re an oligarchy now. Silly me. 

Once more the inbred death wish of the Democratic Party has prevailed, yet again snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And of course, the Republicans are having a field day with this. Boehner and McConnell are nearly choking on their smugness and certitude. What a gift you and your people have given them, all tied up with a big satin bow. They’re talkin’ jail terms and impugning “…once more the secrecy of this White House, blah, blah, blah…” and bandying the “I” word. I can hear it now – déjà vu all over again – “Mr. President, what did you know, and when did you know it?” (And a bubblegum cigar to anyone under the age of 50 who knows where that came from and who Howard Baker is.) 

Egads, it’s Clinton all over again, and just like Ol’ Philanderin’ Bill, whose opponents were looking for anything they could use to either eject him from office or otherwise nullify his agenda, you or your people or the damn Democratic Party have given the Republicans – who virulently hate you and would bring the country down just to destroy you – all the ammunition necessary to, at worse, impeach you, or at the least, heap so many distractions upon your administration that you will accomplish nada for the rest of your term except making lawyers rich(er).  

And oy vey, wait for the midterms now: the Tea Party nuts will go bullshit, and we will assuredly wind up with Hypocrite Party majorities in both houses, followed by twisted sister Bachmann or Ayn Rand disciples Ryan and Cantor running for POTUS in 2016. Forget Hillary – they’re gonna’ hang Benghazi around her neck like an albatross, and she’ll sink like a stone. 

Thanks, Buddy, it was a nice dream…but in reality, that’s all it was. Why did we glom onto you in the first place, anyway? Ah, yes, now I remember: you were the anti-Bush. Hell, after the nightmare of the preceding eight years, we would have embraced Satan himself if he’d thrown his horns into the ring. And boy did we lap up your propaganda; we thought we were embarked on a new era of progressivism. And what did we get? Drones and a kill list and center-right government. Oh yeah, and a “national healthcare plan” that in reality is a gift to insurance companies and which will be repealed anyway with a super majority vote next year when the Hypocrites reclaim their majority in the Senate. 

Of course, we deserve better. But as a friend of mine is fond of saying, this is the era of reduced expectations, where a college degree that renders graduates indebted for the rest of their lives no longer ensures even employment let alone a good career, where home ownership is a lost dream (and in the long run costs more than renting), and where retirement at even a meager level of comfort is a thing of the past. Another friend who, in disgust, abandoned a career in finance asserts the system is rigged in favor of the rich and powerful. So I suppose we need to suck it up, as the Rand devotees would say, and just accept the new normal. But I just wish I could expunge the bitter taste of betrayal from my mouth. 

* The IRS was apparently fishing for Tea Party PACs masquerading as 501(c)(4) tax-exempt “social welfare” organizations. Obviously, any group attempting to cheat the tax system should be identified and investigated, but it is essential to fairness and trust in the system for such sweeps to be conducted across the board without prejudice. Given the cynicism and winner-take-all nature of today’s politics, it is probably safe to assume that there are as many cheaters on the left as the right, but to single out groups of one persuasion over another smacks of using the tax code as a political weapon. 

On the other hand, a friend more familiar with the tax code than I pointed out the implicit hypocrisy of Tea Party groups, for whom any form of social welfare is anathema, declaring themselves social welfare organizations in order to avoid paying taxes. – DE