A base Jonesing for a lesson
I tend to watch Westerns only under duress. Fortunately, though, I saw Along Came Jones. As I recall, heroine Cherry thought that hero Melody had shot her fella, Monte, with intent to kill. However, Melody's intent had been to inflict only a superficial wound, which Melody had done. (Spoiler alert: Cherry ends up “sweet on” Melody.) The life lesson that I learned from Along Came Jones: No matter how it may seem to onlookers, people with skills often hit pretty much what they aimed at.
This life lesson is especially useful if I remember it when people try to fool me, as I believe Democratic politicians in D.C. tried to do for a time. They appeared to miss their targets repeatedly, even when they held the greatest majority they were likely to have for a very long time. Republican politicians in D.C. seem more powerful, even when in the minority. At the very least, they seem able to stop whatever they want to stop.
Since Hoover, if not before, Republican politicians have openly opposed tax increases and "government handouts," while being "strong" on big business, "law and order," and (snort) "defense." Much of that description fits Democratic politicians in D.C., too. The Democratic base, however, continued seeing Democratic politicians in D.C. as strong on unions, the "working stiff," social safety nets, consumer-oriented government regulation, as well as equal rights for women and minorities. Republican politicians in D.C. avoided angering their base irreparably by performing pretty much as their base expected. Democratic politicians in D.C. avoided angering their base irreparably because the Democratic base imagined that Republicans were thwarting and outsmarting Democratic politicians. (Br’er Fox, please don't fling me in that briar patch.)
Either way, rich and powerful private citizens get what they want; and, in turn, take care of both Democratic and Republican politicians, and maybe also their relatives. Even after politicians who played the game leave office, they get all kinds of well-paying positions, if they wish: Wall Street, lobbying, executive positions with organizations that could use a good influence peddler, advocacy, think tanks that depend upon donations, speaking engagements, whatever. In or out of office, they get taken care of. However, those who are not rich and/or powerful and their loved ones keep.getting.screwed.--and often while claiming that Democratic politicians are clueless and/or spineless. Maybe. Or maybe D.C. politicians are getting pretty much what they aimed to get.
Whether by design or accident, time worked in favor of New Democrats. Over time, New Democrats so terrorized us about the “demon” right that some Democratic voters have been running to the polls for the privilege of holding their noses very tightly to vote for the allegedly lesser evil. After passage of time, Americans know that any good-paying job that possibly can be offshored will be offshored and offshored jobs will not return to the U.S.--ever. Meanwhile immigrants are invited to fill those job positions that Americans supposedly do not awant or supposedly are not qualified for. (Of course, the immigrants will be offered lower wages.) Over time, Democrats came to expect little more of Democratic politicians than the appearance of greater sanity and egalitarianism than Republican politicians. Time also thinned the ranks of those damn hippy Boomers who expect more, while allowing Democrats to pick up enough "sane" indies and Republicans to win elections.
IMO, D.C.'s New Democrats thought that they could be more straightforward right around 2016. So now, we have Democrats in Congress proudly stating that they stand for "American values" (whatever that means) without feeling a need to add a single other word. (Values are the province of politicians? HA!) But, surprise! Today's largest demographic, Millennials, seem a lot like Boomers. Which is to say, Millennials seem a lot like human beings who want stuff like jobs and drinking water that does not brain damage their kids and who know that government can do much better for the 100% than it does. But, I digress (maybe).
Point is, I don't think we are where we are because Rhodes scholar Bill Clinton or Harvard Law grad Barack Obama and all other D.C. Democrats are clueless. I think that, like Melody Jones, they hit what they actually aimed at, while we onlookers imagined they were aiming elsewhere. And, like Melody, they end up with what they actually want (which usually means we don't).