When Even Symbolic Resistance Is Too Much
Quite honestly, at this point, the Democrats have nothing left to lose. Given that fact, you would think that a Party in such extremis would finally throw caution to the winds and take out the desiccated and expired metaphorical gunpowder they have been saving lo these many years in coffee cans in their backyards. They kept that powder dry in order to choose their battles, waiting Rapture like, for the day that would finally come when they would be forced by circumstances to let the Republicans have it!
The rest of us have waited breathlessly for this day as well, for the Democrats to drop their fencing props and to arm themselves with pointy sharp swords (metaphorical sharp pointy swords) and, for the sake of their credibility if nothing else, to ride into battle, even if outnumbered, because history and morality and honor and duty and the citizenry all called for them to do so.
Have we finally reached the banks of that Rubicon? No, my friends, we have not.
The souls of the spineless Democrats have not been swept away and replaced with a newly vigilant and re-invigorated opposition spirit. Instead, what we find is that even when charged with maintaining a largely symbolic opposition, when there is literally no danger of an unexpected outcome,like the right thing inadvertently happening, they are still unable to marshal a unified and coherent front against bad and for good.
To be clear, I’m talking about easily recognizable bad, not subtle, suave, evil that insinuates itself into your life like the Charming Mr. Ripley - I’m referring to Jack the Ripper bad, like 14 Dem Senators voting to confirm a guy to head the CIA, who doesn’t appear able to publicly and completely renounce torture, something most base Democrats (one would hope) would have considered the lowest conceivable bar to set. Not low enough, I guess for those 14 Senators, most of whom seem to have decided to not take the candidate at his word that he might reconsider it given the right circumstances.
Aside from that, we have other Democrats willing to confirm people who are clearly not qualified through expertise or experience to head the vital Federal Departments they are being tapped to run, or even worse, who combine the lack of experience and knowledge with an actual malevolence towards the department and its role and function as a cog of government. Look, we know that they’re going to be confirmed anyway, but why do Democrats feel any inclination to sign on to hiring evil nannies that they know in advance have designs on infanticide? Why give that coveted “bi-partisan” seal that our former President sold his and our soul for without success for an entire eight years?
The same situation holds true for the 13 Democrats who voted against the drug re-importation amendment floated by Bernie which ironically enough, had garnered a few do-gooder Republican votes which were cancelled out by the do-badder Dem votes. Some have made the case for those Dems that it was “only” a symbolic vote anyway, which to my mind makes their votes even worse, that they couldn’t even pretend to care about Americans having access to cheaper drugs. Their unnecessary and pointless self-stigmatization will be helpful in deciding whether to vote for them in the future, although as incumbents, they will no doubt be supported by both the Party and the industry they were willing to abandon all semblance of humanity on behalf of.
These acts of enabling comity aren’t “turning the other cheek” or “going high when they go low” in search of bi-partisan accomplishments. This is slicing the entire cheek off and putting it on a plate as tribute to the other side. How could a Party and its legislators be so insanely inadequate when called upon to mount an effective opposition? Think about it for five minutes and then come back, because IMO, there is an answer. I’ve buried the clue within what I’ve already written.
Okay, did you come up with an answer to explain the behavior? Here’s mine:
The clue I buried in the first part of this essay was the sentence where I said that most base Democrats would object to confirming someone who was unable to reject the concept of torture outright. I think that statement is true. But it doesn’t matter whether it true or not. It’s irrelevant what the base voters of the Democratic Party think.
The Democratic Party to this day don’t care what their base thinks. This is in spite of devastating losses at every level of government. They do not understand that they shrank their own tent by alienating votes they had in search of votes they didn’t have and would not have, and will not ever get.
They are still trying to appeal to an illusary, moderate Republican voter, who, in some of their minds, thinks a little bit of torture is unpleasant but okay if confined out of sight to people who dress differently than we do. Individually, they are willing to vote for most of the cabinet appointments, because some of them stand for things the Republican base wants, even if the Democratic base doesn’t.
We know that Dems have no plans to alter their lemming like cliff dive in search of bi-partisan centrism. We also know that they are once again basing their future electoral hopes on NOT TRUMP. But in seeking to be NOT TRUMP while simultaneously trying to attract Trump voters, the Democratic Party has assigned itself an impossible task. Both their base and the make-believe Republican moderate voters they lust for will think NOT TRUMP ENOUGH, having diametrically opposite meanings, and they will both be correct.