FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Loss Leaders

There is a vintage Odd Couple episode in which uber-neatnik Felix Unger, desperately trying to woo back his beloved ex-wife, concocts a scheme to prove his newfound flexibility by emulating Oscar Madison, his slob supreme of a roommate. Felix attempts to generate just the slightest bit of sloppiness. He finds himself utterly incapable of even the most minute gesture in that direction, unable to toss a napkin on the floor, to disturb the pristine order of his apartment—anything, really. He lacks the template to change this aspect of his behavior.

And so it is with the Democratic Party. They simply do not possess the template to operate as a bona fide opposition party.

Conspiracy theories are part and parcel of the American fabric. Were I to cultivate my own pet conspiracy theory, it would be this: That the Democratic Party is in cahoots with the Republican Party, that their opposition—true opposition—is a sham.

The big issue with conspiracy theories—besides the fact that conspiracy theories are the domain of wingnuts, many of them armed—is that political transgressions here in the USA are of the non-secretive, in-your-face variety. The Democratic Party’s endless acquiescence to the Republicans is in no way a conspiracy: It is on display for all to see. But if it is not a conspiracy, there is also something far from arbitrary about the party’s behavior.

Trump is mentally incompetent. This is glaringly obvious. It doesn’t require much in the way of conjecture. His speeches are incoherent, full of lunatic claims. Some of his assertions are of the bizarro sexual variety, such as his oft-repeated assertion that migrant women are duct-taped. He often compares his crowd size to that of Elton John concerts. He knows next to nothing and seems to be functionally illiterate.

Yet Trump–somehow–bests the Democrats again and again. No powerful, entrenched political entity like the Democratic Party is that inept or passive. The Democrats are quite capable of overseeing massive incarceration, gutting social welfare programs, wreaking havoc in Libya. They are unafraid to castigate “welfare mothers” for their (supposedly) parasitic behavior. Barack Obama instituted a domestic surveillance system that would have done Richard Nixon proud. He deported millions.

The Democrats are not credulous Charlie Browns, doomed by their own naïve faith in the goodness of humanity to be forever hoodwinked by unscrupulous Lucys.

What then, is the Democratic response to the unhinged dolt that is Donald Trump? Conventional party wisdom is that he will be, because of our robust economy, a formidable opponent. It’s hard to think of a nicer accolade. There is probably nothing Trump would like to see more than the perception of his formidability, as opposed to what he really is: A corpulent, pampered rich boy with funny hair who’s prone to hissy fits. The economy, though, is not robust. It is the opposite of robust. This is a desperately poor country. That assertion requires no research, no consultation of position papers. All one has to do is, quite simply, look around. Houses are dilapidated. Pawn shops are to be found all over the place. So are check-cashing outlets. Homeless people can be easily seen in the cities. This country’s poverty is visible. This too is not conjecture.

When the Democratic Party isn’t busy praising George H.W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney (or voting to fund the wall and extend the Patriot Act), they are attacking Trump. The nature of this attack, though, equals anything hatched up by the nutty John Birch Society: Trump is a stooge—a traitor, even—in what is a vast, nefarious Russian plot.

And then there is the ostensible reason for the quixotic, doomed impeachment trial: A Ukrainian arms deal. It is hard to believe that there is an honest expectation on the part of the Democrats that these, of all things, will resonate with the voting public. Democratic Party tactics are akin to planned obsolescence.

The party is absolutely complicit in this endless Republican rampage. No amount of fulminating against Ralph Nader, Jill Stein, or “Bernie bros” will mitigate this.

Felix Unger is, of course, a fictional character. And The Odd Couple is a comedy. What the Democrats are doing is all too real. It is not a comedy, but a tragedy. And a crime.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail