How to Lose the House
Just for fun, I’m going to go off on the Democrats today.
Nate Silver over at Five Thirty Eight now estimates that there is a two in three chance that the House will go into Republican hands in the next session, and while my own (rather less statistically robust) estimation is that the odds are less favorable to the Republicans than that, neither is it particularly favorable to the Democrats. I think the House could go either way, and if the Dems do retain the House, it will be by a very thin majority, indeed.
I don’t particularly wish for the Republicans to take over the House, although if they do it’s not bad for me: John Boehner, presumptive House Majority Leader and the orangest man in American politics, happens to represent my district, and given the voter demographics here will do so until there’s nothing left of him but a small, russet melanoma. And I’m a well-to-do Caucasian man in any event, the demographic which the GOP is prepared to prop up indefinitely at the expense of all of the rest of you. Sorry about that. But if the GOP do take the House, it won’t be because Americans actually prefer the current Republican platform, which can be summed up as “let’s forget 2008 ever happened,” but because the Democrats have been so woefully incompetent on so many levels.
Not in passing the legislation they have, which they were in fact elected to do — and if you plan to say in the comments “but Americans didn’t want that legislation,” please jam it back into your insipidly partisan brain hole. Obama was pretty damn clear what his intentions were when he took office, and the American people were on board enough to give his party large majorities in the House and Senate. Where the Democrats have shown complete incompetence is in how they went about their legislative agenda (i.e., like unheardable brain-damaged stoats), and how they’ve allowed the GOP — and its crazy nephew from the attic, the Tea Party, as well as its bullhorn Fox News — to frame everything they’ve done as one step short of eviscerating live kittens and feeding noisily on their carcasses on live TV.
Really, this just completely appalls me: That a political party handed one of the largest legislative majorities in decades can do what it was sent to do by voters in such a manner that it seems both defensive and apologetic for doing so, and has allowed the party which was swept from power for being to political intelligence what late-era Hapsburgs were to genetic robustness to potentially crawl back into power, not on the strength of its political ideas but on its ability to exploit the Democrats’ weaknesses in organization and communication.
And some Democratic partisans will say, but, you don’t understand. The GOP and all its various offshoots and media abbetors, they’re just so mean. To which I say: Really? This is somehow a surprise? Of course they’re mean — they’ve got nothing else. The GOP has no actual and verifiable legislative plan, nor is it currently smart enough to come up with one. What you’re left with when you’ve got no brain is shaking your fist and yelling at the clouds for being socialist. The GOP can’t help themselves doing this any more than they can help themselves thinking that the best way to cure diphtheria is to give a fund manager a tax cut. For god’s sake, this has been the GOP strategy since at least 1994, when that bilious creature known as Newt Gingrich erupted out of the back benches with his strategy to turn the word “liberal” into the moral equivalent of “pederast.”
Given the paucity of intellect in the GOP, you can’t really blame it for running back to this strategy over and over, especially when it works. What you can do is blame the Democrats for continuing to fall for this shit, over and over and over again. The reason it works is because the Democrats can’t or won’t call stupid stupid; they keep trying the “let’s be reasonable” thing against people working hard so that the sentence “OBAMA IS A NIGERIAN ISLAMO-SOCIALIST WHO’S GOING TO MAKE YOU GAY MARRY AN ANCHOR BABY” doesn’t strike 20% of Americans as evidence that something in the utterer’s brain has just exploded. You can also blame the Democrats for doing a piss-poor job of reminding voters that what they’re passing in Congress is what they were sent there to do. And you can also blame them for not doing the one thing the GOP actually does remarkably well, which is keep its caucus in line and on message and voting the same way on the things that actually matter.
And as it happens, I do blame the Democrats for this. In a sane world — in a world where the Democrats had enough political acumen that they couldn’t only get Congressional majorities when the GOP had screwed things up so badly that even the dimmest of voters could no longer ignore the damage — we wouldn’t be talking about the very real likelihood that the GOP, this GOP, arguably the least intellectually and legislatively impressive GOP in the history of that august party, might take back the House. That we are talking about is really is all down to the Democrats. If they lose the House, it won’t be because the GOP deserve to have won it. It’ll be because the Democrats simply weren’t smart enough to keep it.
That would make them, in fact, stupider than the modern GOP. The mind reels.