Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Which Side Are You On?

            What a craven political party! Relax, oh ye Republicans, I’m not addressing you this time. In fact, congratulations on your recent election victories, you had one big message and you stuck to it like white on rice – blame the guy in the White House for everything including the sorry state of the Mets, Jets and Giants!

            The fact that you didn’t come up with an iota of a plan for running the country hardly matters except in the grand scheme of things – but who cares about that!

            No I’m talking about the Democratic Party and its lack of principles. All those nice shiny suits – and dresses – in Congress jumped ship as soon as President Obama’s ratings dipped below 50% - despite voting with him to restore the economy and extricate us from two foreign wars of choice.

            Now far be it from me to say that this first African-American president hasn’t made mistakes – I’m looking over my shoulder even as I type in case one of his NSA spooks is monitoring these treasonous words.

But get a grip! The man became president as the economy was flushing down the tubes. He didn’t freak out – unlike many across the political spectrum – no, he kept a cool head and has brought the unemployment rate down from a dismal 10% to the current 5.8%.

            Many people lost their jobs, savings and dreams during the Great Recession but that’s hardly the president’s fault. Could he have battled recalcitrant Republicans more strenuously and increased the stimulus – definitely. Could he have whipped them into raising the federal minimum wage – perhaps; but, at the worst, he’s got us back to a place where we can even argue about such things.

            Another little detail that goes without much notice – he saved the American car industry when the free market consensus was to let it go and re-invent itself. That would have been a catastrophe. The Mid-West would still be reeling and god knows what ripples would be coursing through the rest of the country.
            I followed the elections closely and I never heard a Democratic candidate mention any of this.     No, they fled from any meaningful dialogue for fear they might end up whipping boys and girls on the Fox Network and who wants to be on the bad side of Rupert Murdoch if you’re running in a tight race.

            But such cowardice has consequences. The Democratic Party ran on one unifying platform – stay the hell away from the President! And it showed. I could barely muster up the energy to go to the polls myself - and I even vote for dogcatcher.

            You think African-Americans didn’t notice the shunning. Look at the returns from Georgia where Michelle Nunn took a royal shellacking because of low African-American turnout. Try explaining to an African-American that racism plays no part in the South being so overwhelmingly anti-Obama.
             Sometimes you have to forget polls and stick to facts and principles. Ask Mrs. Clinton – she’d be president now if she hadn’t voted for the invasion of Iraq back in 2003.

            And while we’re talking foreign affairs how about Syria? Did President Obama vacillate about helping the so-called “secular” resistance? Sure he did and for good reason - that is one god-forsaken country to keep far away from. You can’t win there, just as you couldn’t win in Iraq despite the bales of 100-dollar bills thrown at the region and the countless lives lost.

            And what about Ukraine? Shouldn’t the president have gone bare-chested mano a mano with Putin over another civil war halfway around the world? No way - just stay cool; eventually Putin’s petro-dollars will run out.

            The two Democratic success stories were John Hickenlooper in Colorado and Andrew Cuomo in New York who ran against the gun lobby and retained their governorships - albeit with reduced majorities.

            But in the end the only thing that saved the Democrats from a total thrashing was that the Republican Party is even more disliked by the electorate. 

So as you go forward towards 2016, oh ye lords of the Democratic Party, forget about polls and take some time to find out what you actually stand for. You’ll be amazed how many people care.

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