by Jeffery Rendall
How bad (or good) will it get?
Speaking of the 2020 Democrat presidential campaign which is already shaping up to be a barnburner of a good time for political observers who enjoy a first-rate game of backbiting, shouting, gesticulating, creeping and finger-pointing. These days Democrats are undergoing an identity crisis of epic proportions, torn between their old “let’s just rain goodies down on the people and see what happens” approach and a newer, much more militant brand of politicking emphasizing ripping up the tracks after the pontificating and demagoguery train leaves the station.
One particular old guard Democrat noticed the dark storm clouds on the horizon and hit the road to tell folks how worried he is about it.
Daniel Chaitin reported at The Washington Examiner, “Former President Barack Obama said … he is concerned about the left wing of the Democratic Party creating a ‘circular firing squad’ hurting more moderate members.
“’The way we structure democracy requires you to take into account people who don’t agree with you,’ Obama said at an Obama Foundation event in Berlin, Germany. ‘And that by definition means you’re not going to get 100 percent of what you want.’
“’One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States — maybe it’s true here as well — is a certain kind of rigidity, where we say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. This is how it’s going to be,’’ Obama said, adding that Democrats have in some cases created ‘what’s called a ‘circular firing squad,’ where you start shooting at your allies because one of them is straying from purity on the issues.’”
Sorry, Obama, a “circular firing squad” is more like everyone shooting each other, making sure no one gets out alive.
And it’s more than a little ironic Obama felt compelled to explain the “circular firing squad” concept to a European audience, especially considering the old continent’s been at war with itself since… well, the beginning of recorded history. Smart folks observe that people who live in close proximity to each other and disagree over important things — like border disputes — often surmise that killing their enemies is superior to sitting down across a negotiating table or reconciliation gathering to smoke a peace pipe.
Study European history and you’ll find it’s dotted by conflict after conflict, usually initiated and led by ambitious dictators hoping to launch empires or dynasties lasting forever but usually end up being much, much shorter in duration, with LOTS of dead people because of it. If anything, Europeans invented the concept of “circular firing squad.” How else could anyone explain World War I?
Of course, different ethnicities and religious groups tend to have short memories and instead of history being a guide for these misguided rubes, the past is treated more like an inspiration to fight the next war by most impetuous and power-seeking leaders. As amply proven by hot-headed and jealous Europeans, “diversity” only leads to suspicions, turmoil and animosity, pitting one group against another. That’s precisely what’s going on in the Democrat Party today, which is chock full of factions and interest groups still battling over the memories of yesteryear — or at least those from 2008 and 2016.
Obama ran against frontrunner Hillary Clinton in 2008, and he was no “moderate” back then. Having arrived on the national scene by delivering the keynote address to the 2004 Democrat convention, Obama was elected to the senate and quickly established himself as one of the farthest (if not the most extreme) left Democrats in the upper chamber. That’s who he was, having cut his ideological teeth palling around with the likes of radicals like Bill Ayres and listening intently to the “God Damn America” anti-capitalist preaching of Jeremiah Wright.
Obama was well versed in the “Rules for Radicals” community organizing tactics of Saul Alinsky and he didn’t exactly lecture on kumbaya and everyone getting along in the run-up to his election. My, how people forget.
But now, oddly enough, Obama’s right. Democrats are setting themselves up for one heck of a contentious presidential primary, not necessarily because there’s a lack of toleration of moderates in their ranks — it’s because they all agree with each other. Democrats are like clones. For a Democrat party that not-so-long-ago welcomed and championed the deliberate triangulation of Bill Clinton and offered a relatively influential contingent of “Blue Dogs” in Congress, today it features only dedicated leftists who kneel at the altar of socialism.
If you’re a Democrat and don’t love universal single payer healthcare, free college tuition, confiscatory taxes (70 percent?), abortion on demand until and sometimes after birth, militant environmentalism (Green New Deal), “Climate Change” as the greatest national security threat, open borders (and abolish ICE) and, last but not least, the extreme LGBTQ agenda, you simply won’t get far in the party.
Heck, Joe Biden’s been in the news a lot lately — not necessarily just for defending, apologizing and explaining his creepy behavior — but for having acquired a reputation as someone who occasionally voted for Republican ideas (like authorizing the Iraq War). Biden’s now busted for not being liberal enough… and for frequently boasting about how he “likes” Republicans and has many friends on both sides of the aisle.
The new breed of Democrats would never admit such apostacies. Neither would Obama. The former president famously teed it up with Republican Speaker (at the time) John Boehner on occasion but that’s where the relationship ended — Obama didn’t like the GOP any more than Republicans liked him. The antipathy was mutual, as it appears to be today.
It’s also curious how the media fans the flames of discord in Democrat ranks by highlighting every possible tidbit of friction that surfaces between competing candidates. Not that there are many, but prominent Democrats have been working overtime lately not to say much about who they like in the upcoming party cage match over their presidential nomination. Sooner or later the “circular firing squad” will actually start shooting — and then it’ll get interesting.
It shouldn’t be forgotten how the media made hay over the internal struggle in GOP ranks four and eight years ago as well. It’s what out-of-power parties do when there isn’t an incumbent president with a 90 percent approval rating among the faithful (like Donald Trump enjoys) running for reelection. Frankly, if Democrats were in greater accord over one particular candidate right now it’d be like 2016 all over again… and we know what that got them.
The lack of an establishment favorite (or a weakened one, like Biden) might end up a good thing for Democrats, though they appear to be going in the other direction. It’s almost like Democrats compete with each other to see who will emerge as the least electable.
Wesley Pruden observed at The Washington Times, “Good economic news is closing in on those who have only dreary disdain. Nancy Pelosi looks at the Trump tax and deregulation reform and calls it ‘the worst disaster in history,’ with its full employment (applications for unemployment benefits dropped this week to the lowest number in 49 years), rising wages in an expanding workforce and a stable economy.
“The likes of Beto, Pocahontas, the boy mayor of South Bend, Kamala Harris and an army of nobodies the size of 6-inch-tall Lilliputians are not likely to make that slam-dunk the Democrats dream of. The only constant in politics is change, but from here the smart money is on the Donald by a TKO. And maybe more.”
The acutely astute Pruden compares today’s Democrat presidential namby-pambies to 1972’s George McGovern, the out-of-touch idealist who endured a 49-state shellacking versus Richard Nixon, the second largest landslide of our times (Ronald Reagan’s was slightly larger in 1984). Time and demographic changes virtually guarantee Democrats will be competitive next year in the Electoral College, but Pruden has a point: instead of elevating someone with stature and gravitas to run opposite Trump, Democrats battle to see who qualifies as most “out there”.
It’s a ticket for political disaster and good news to Americans who actually base voting decisions on facts and common sense rather than raw emotion and hysteria about Russia, etc.
Primary campaigns are always contentious, especially in times of flux. Democrats aren’t going through anything now that Republicans didn’t experience just a few years ago. If Obama – or anyone else – thinks next year should turn into an intra-party love fest… he’s in for a rude awakening.