They are my guys because I am confused as well. Maybe you are too.
I’ve voted for twelve presidents in my lifetime, eight of them Republicans. I didn’t leave the party, it left me and the clincher was two terms suffering through Ronald Reagan. I am, for the moment, a Democrat but I’ve always been a split-ticket voter, trying to find my way to political sanity in the fog.
Cowboy satirist Will Rogers said it best, nearly a hundred years ago: “I’m not a member of any organized party, I’m a Democrat.”
Democrats represent people, not the party
Now that’s a statement that should be looked upon as a positive, something we expect from our elected officials, but it keeps them forever boxed in by Republicans. The GOP never gave much of a damn about their constituency, but they knew how to play the political game.
It would be far more effective to be ruthlessly committed to ‘party line,’ but you can never depend upon Democrats to coalesce. Ask Nancy Pelosi. Bringing Dems together on an issue is like herding cats.
Which is delightful in many ways, but not great politics. I hope (and hope to expect) my senator or representative to be attentive to my local needs and reflect the culture of where I live. Sometimes that happens and sometimes not, but it’s a text-book democratic process in a republic.
Look at the evidence
When Barack Obama became president in 2008, he carried both houses of Congress in with him. He should have had a mandate to govern. Would have had, if Democrats had been more like cattle and less like cats.
With America in nearly as deep shit then as it is at the moment, his holdover Republican, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, absolutely dictated Obama’s economic recovery. Paulson was an ex Goldman Sachs CEO and he knew how to throw money at Wall Street while not blinking an eye at short-sheeting Main Street.
How could that be, with Democrats controlling all three legs of the political stool? The short answer is that minority Republican cattle fell in line behind minority leader Mitch McConnell, while Senate majority Democrat cats were somewhere deep in the bushes, howling at their particular moon.
McConnell actually said in public that Republicans had one goal and one only, to limit Barack Obama to a single term. And they went at it like beavers in a rising creek.
During two Obama terms, what did Democrats get done?
Well, not all that much actually.
Healthcare, but without the ‘public option’ that would have made it historic. Obama never got us out of Guantanamo, nor was he able to pass any kind of gun control, no matter that 76% of Americans hunger for it.
He was unable to effectively separate banks and investment institutions, was rebuffed on a consumer protection agency, designed to ride herd (that term again) on criminal activity by banks and watched helplessly as the Supreme Court somehow concluded that corporations had the same rights as private citizens.
That last ruling brought us 100 million dollar Senate contests, billion dollar presidential races and an increasing number of voters who stayed home, dismayed by money in politics. You had to be a dedicated optimist to think otherwise.
The Republican return on investment
A man (or more likely woman) of character can no longer run for national office without generous financial support. They have to find it somewhere.
All this rhetoric about grass roots is just talk, the money is in the high cotton, where payoffs and paybacks are the currency of governance. And just like a bank or a Mafia loan, high cotton may grease a lot of wheels, but expects to be repaid with generous interest.
Yes, it’s hard to remain an optimist, but we still have the best government money can buy.
As an example, Boeing spent almost $14 million in 2019 lobbying Congress. That’s a lot of money, far more than you or I could throw into congressional hat. Yet Boeing expected to (and did) receive $92 billion in government contracts during 2019. That’s a 6500% ‘investment’ return for paying off the hand that feeds them.
Pretty discouraging if your employer took off for China and you’re looking for a job.
Now that Biden has won, what will Republicans allow him?
Probably as little as possible and much depends upon the January Senatorial run-off in Georgia, where two Republican candidates are at risk and if Democrats win, they control the Senate.
There was a time—within my memory, but perhaps not yours—when such a question would have seemed ludicrous. Not now. Not anymore. We are a very broken country and not just in the eyes of liberals. Conservative voters, shat upon by both parties for nearly half a century, are very angry as well.
They have reason to be. They voted for Trump to reverse—or at least begin to reverse—the bald-faced corruption and fraud in Washington. What they got in return for their trouble was 25,000 lies in a single term, a deeper swamp, his political cronies jailed, the ruin of our international reputation and a nation in shambles.
Trump voters are not Biden enemies, not by a long shot
If there are riots in the streets following Trump’s defeat, it will pit an armed minority against an unarmed majority. The 76% of Americans wanting gun control are not carrying weapons. And by the way, they don’t want to take away all those precious AR-15s. They simply want gun owners to keep them in the house, under lock and key until they drive out to the shooting range.
Oh, and maybe stop dressing like armed commandos in public.
That’s unnecessarily intimidating.
photo by Theodore Grenz