Dream on! by Gary Markstein
Judging by close calls in 2010, the best guarantor for Democratic victories against the fringe is . . . more fringe Tea Party crazies. More belfry-dwellers so bonkers (Angle, O'Donnell) even deep reactionary pockets can't "buy them love." And with blasts afloat from Sarah Palin, America's newest colonial historian, and Michele Bachmann, perpetual spawn of McCarthy, who knows how many independent voters these sirens can offend?
Beside the Trumpster (not electable, no politician) or the Gingrich (walking, talking zombie), extremism for the sake of extremism emerges, with disturbing frequency, from resentment-laden, lipstick-wearing pitbulls. Reminds me of Gigi, "Zank heaven for rightwing girls -- wiz-out zem, what would little Dems do?" Count 'em: Ann Coulter, FOX pretties, Laura Ingraham, the reborn Ayn Rand, Peggy Noonan, S.E. Cupp and lesser hot shots.
Needed, more research on this surfeit of fringe femme fatales? At least I trust they'll be "fatale." Palin's self-advertisement, The Undefeated, panders to this theme, per GOP speechwriter Matt Latimer's review, "The movie really is geared to women. There are repeated references to Palin's gender, how she's been discriminated against because of her dress and looks, and there is even an image of a campaign button that reads 'You Go, Girl.'" Does this not combine crude gender with resentment politics, or what? For many, Palin's good looks put her on the map.
Who's the Opposition Party?
Even more frustrating is that, despite countless, undigested outpourings from the right, today's entire Democratic messaging remains deficient, even a dereliction of duy. What higher principles, beyond survival decoying as pragmatism, does this president or party truly stand for -- other than "we're not that crazy"? Except both parties share endless war-making, oil, mining and bankster subsidies, defense spending, and lawless anti-terrorism? Did one Democratic idea bring about the recent upset win (NY 26, Congress) -- or did the right implode, again?
Meanwhile, the outgeneraled, jobs-frozen president, trapped by conservative frames on deficits, taxation, and government foibles, pins his audacity of hope on the GOP sending forth an even weaker, unelectable pair than McCain-Palin. Hope is no longer about us but Obama repeating good fortune against weak foes. Really, the only thing more absurd than Palin as V.P. is Palin for president, considering she's now hallucinating Paul Revere "warned the British" -- right, by yelling "the British are coming"? When is too much, too much?
As a progressive, I conclude: "Bring on more rightwing Tea Party dips and doodles." Let's bank on the right reifying political ideology into strident, "God-insists-I-run" theology. That's the OMG ticket, the Lord as campaign manager. I bet Paul Ryan and defenders are still puzzled why their sanctified voucher attack on the still-solvent Medicare backfired, re-aiming now at schools and unions and gays.
Bring On the Blarney
Bring on more Gingrich guff, flip-flops, and sneering contradictions. Anything else from the Trumpster is Democratic gravy, for this guy makes rich people look dumb and dumber. Bring on Palin's bizarre distortions that impugn red-blooded, American heroes -- if Revere was alerting local British, wouldn't that imply treason to the cause? Next up for Palin, our Declaration wasn't about independence but to warn King George (the first) not to mess with bickering colonists. And our Revolution -- forget the high principles -- it was only about tea or helping the French.
We may not know what the Democratic Party stands for -- if anything -- nor its viable moves this year. But reality never spoils rightwing blundering even about sacred founding events. Perhaps to show up blurry, wayward Democrats, the right offers rigid dogma and ritual, rigidly in love with its own deluded propaganda -- damn the history, evidence, or 200 years of scholarship. Whatever experts assert must be suspect.
Of course, there's always risk for us -- pushing the wingiest of wingnuts could facilitate a Senator Angle. But desperate times undermine the "conventional wisdom" of Obama's "pragmatism," failing not only in real-world terms -- few jobs, no withdrawal or peace talks, no stimulus proposals, no planning on energy -- but politically, by offending the center and left. And were Bachmann or Palin to ascend, that clinches it for armchair liberals, "See, Obama's better than that demon from hell?" Oh, how has the urgency of now given way?
The Only Thing to Fear . . .
Having survived W., must we forever be ruled by fear of the unknown, something even worse, rather than defending positive agendas and frames? What saves us from despair and intimidation is how routinely unpredictable and unintended, even reversed, consequences occur. Why, I recall liberals bristling with cold sweat after Palin's showy first Convention speech, terrified McCain had stumbled on his golden pageant queen. Palin turned out golden for Democrats, not for McCain, the gift still giving into 2012, reinforced by loudmouth Bachmann and others at play.
Finally, even after 2010 GOP wins, and even were long-shots Bachmann or Palin elevated, what's the real-world difference between potential dinosaurs and current dinosaurs named DeMint, Kyl, Cornyn, or twin Okie yokels: Tom Coburn and James Inhofe? Let's face it: we progressives have lost whatever clout we thought we won in '08. Sure, we boast status in this White House we never had under Bush-Cheney -- serving as party punching bag, showing Obama is no threat to moderates or conservatives in competitive states. Is this progress?
So, absent help from dismal Democrats, fuming progressives must consider all potential allies -- even rascals on the right. Time to consider when enemies of our betrayers (entrenched White House elitists) could serve our interests. There's gold to be mined when GOP obstructionism over non-issues without political upside (like the calamity of not raising debt limits) will re-elect Democrats, even spawn progressives. When you're cornered, you play the cards you have, not ones once dreamed of. As Joe Biden himself pleaded, "don't compare me to the almighty but to the alternative."
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