Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bitter Little Blue Pills

Are you still feeling positively giddy and drunk on your Blue Wave cocktails on this Midterminal Morning After? Or are you already hung over and in dire need of a jolt of reality-based caffeine?

To borrow some of the cool media parlance currently in vogue, let's unpack the hidden meaning of the outcomes by taking a deep dive in a search of multiple takeaways of all the myriad things you need to know this morning.

On second thought, let's not. I am too hung over from reading the multiple media accounts of The Results to think as clearly as I would like.

Just a few muddled preliminary thoughts then:

--Many of the Democrats who lost their Senate seats were de facto Republicans who might have been punished by voters for pandering too much to Trump and for not being progressive enough. Here's looking at you, Claire McCaskill and Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly. I have absolutely no facts to back up this supposition, but it's pleasant to think about anyway.

--On that note, although Florida's Democratic gubernatorial contender, Andrew Gillum, narrowly lost, Floridians still voted to re-enfranchise more than a million of the state's convicted felons, most of whom are black or brown people once brutally imprisoned on minor drug charges or other nonviolent crimes. If that isn't progressive, I don't know what is.

--Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-Kochtopia) is finally gone. That is a mammoth blue wave in and of itself.

-- As far as the Dems controlling the lower house of Congress is concerned, I've already covered it in some previous posts. The new committee chairs will engage in a frenzy of subpoena-issuing to Trump's corrupt cabinet. Executive privilege will be invoked. Referrals will be made to the Trump-led Justice Department. Lather, rinse, repeat. The neoliberal Octogenarian Troika of Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn will make deals with the nasty Republicans in the interests of National Unity. The smattering of newly-elected "diverse" progressives will make fiery speeches on the House floor in an effort to get the cynical electorate herded back into compliance for Campaign 2020. Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump will seesaw from cooperation to bickering and back again to keep everybody off-balance and guessing and tuned in to the never-ending reality show that substitutes for representative democracy.

--We ordinary slobs have still got our work cut out for us, despite what the New York Times is breathlessly over-hyping as the End of One-Party Rule, equating the blue wave panacea for electoral dysfunction with that other over-hyped little blue pill for erectile dysfunction. Who are they trying to kid? 

It'll be the same as it ever was. And just in case you don't understand that fighting and resisting Trump is not the same thing as making people's lives better, the Times gnaws off the bottle cap of bitter blue pills for you to swallow:  
But after eight years in the minority, Democrats hoping to reclaim the White House in 2020 will also have to prove they are interested in governing — and temper the liberal ambitions of the party’s most ardent left-wingers....
Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader who now hopes to be its next speaker, pledged to “work for solutions that bring us together, because we have all had enough of division.”
Get the picture? When the Democratic leaders say they're willing to work with Trump, they mean that they will enthusiastically join his mendacious fight against Single Payer health care. This is despite the fact that more than two-thirds of the electorate are in favor of it. The Democrats' worst enemy was never really Trump. It's always been the Left. So now that you have done your civic duty and voted and provided them with the fig leaf they've so desperately craved to legitimize their power, you are hereby expected to shut up and let the ruling class racketeers just all get along with one another as they always have done. Sew up your mouths and stop sowing such divisions (with much help from social media security state censors) while they sew up their deals.

 The one solution that has always brought them together is the appropriation of untold trillions of dollars to the profitable and privatized and unified and unaccountable corporate war and surveillance and incarceration apparatus. But since the viewers at home must still be kept entertained and engaged, there will also be plenty of anti-Trump theater on offer between the stealthy appropriations and backroom deals. The price of admission is high, and the tickets will not be refundable unless enough people make enough of a noise about how badly they've been cheated.


Jay–Ottawa said...

Times opinionator David Leonhardt's headline this morning: "A Smashing National Win."


The Blue Wave he's applauding turns out to be little more than a few more trickles of identity politics. Break out the rainbow flags. Yeah, thank God for the women: the youngest woman ever in the House, then the first native Americans, then the first Muslim women, and still more LGBTs in the House. WOW. Everything but the powers that used to be. The House belongs (barely) to the Democrats once again (hooray), but under the same old DNC management (sigh). The bankers, CEOs and generals can sleep easy tonight. Our glorious newbies will conform or they and their progressive ideas will be buried in subcommittees that never meet.

Real power remains pretty much, if not more so, in the same old Republican heavy and Republican light (aka Democrats) hands everywhere in Washington and nationally, that is, in the hands of Big Money.

A knockdown in the House, true. But no knockout. Now check the tally for governors and senators and despair. A mixed bag when it comes to state referendums. Trump should be smiling through his tweets this morning. If I were scoring yesterday's fight, I'd give it to the Republicans on points.

Republicans increased their "advise and consent" margin in the Senate. They might have an opportunity before 2020 to bless the appointment of another Trump Justice.

The House is no more than Republican light. It won't tackle the real issues; members' new headline grabber will be the subpeona game and hearings out to "Get Donny." When the House and Senate block, stalemate or neuter each other, the imperial White House will carry on with executive orders, and the bureaucracy will continue to do––or undo––as Trump's commissars decree.

O the brave talk heard at so many Democratic election parties last night. The blue balloon is half full; the blue balloon is half empty. Remember Karen's prophetic headline of 10 October about the Great Blue Wave: "Get Ready For the Great Blue Ripple."

Erik Roth said...

Karen and Jay express my sense and sentiments exactly.
For what it's worth, here's what Frank Rich has to say:

"Trump Won’t Change Course — He Thinks He Won"

Like most Democrats and those supporting the duopolist status quo, Rich recognizes that Congress won’t do its duty, and so puts his hope in Robert Mueller saving the day.
I hate to say it, but the fairest Mueller has taken the day off.

Karl Kolchak said...

I grew up on the Illinois-Wisconsin border in the 1970s and 80s, and the very idea that someone like Walker could ever win in a state that was always much more progressive than Illinois would have been thought preposterous. I gather the voters there just finally got tired of his act, but I doubt it means the Dems can take the state for granted again in 2020 like they stupidly did in 2016.

Pelosi back as Speaker is great for Trump. She is almost as unpopular as he is, and since he governs mostly via Executive Order the HofR is largely irrelevant anyway since they will no doubt give him every penny of Pentagon war spending that he wants and even more as they have been doing. No doubt what Trump really wanted he got--control of the Senate remains in his tiny hands, and even expanded slightly with three new hard core loyalists who owe political allegiance directly to him. That means he is not only impeachment proof, he can get just about any nominee, including replacements for Ginsberg and Beyer if it comes to that, approved easily.

@Erik--I don't think Trump's "celebration" of the election results was posturing. He won where it really matters, and he did far better than Obama did in 2010 & 2014 when the Democrats got clobbered. Pelosi and her merry band of ancient neoliberals are nothing more to him than a minor annoyance.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Yesterday Ginsberg fell in her office, cracked three ribs and ended up in the hospital. In the days ahead, every breath she takes will be painful. She's 85, twenty years overdue for retirement. Talk about heroism. I doubt she can (or should) hang on until 2020 in the increasingly unlikelihood the Democrats oust Trump from the White House. Make way for Kavanaugh II.

Karen Garcia said...


With her age and cracked ribs, Ginsberg is now at high risk for a fatal pneumonia. Of course, she also beat pancreatic cancer, so hopefully she will recover from this too. A busted hip might have been even worse. I wonder if Brett Kavanaugh's foot was in the vicinity when she tripped and fell.