Ball-less Dana Milbank came out with another bad article recently. It was refreshing that he wasn’t attacking the President again, given that about 75% of his columns do, but in the end it didn’t turn out any better: just another brain dead media member yearning for “moderates” and “the middle,” as if such things exist between the Republican and Democratic Parties.
Specifically, he was bemoaning the likely ousting of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and how some liberals were excited about the prospect. Milbank claims that these dangerous, scary, radicals want to create a “Tea Party of the Left,” and warns that “Democrats are becoming more willing to purge those who aren’t ideologically pure.”
I sure hope so. Because if one looks objectively at the midterm elections, what we see is that it wasn’t liberalism that lost. No in fact, in the election that Republicans just won, people also voted for increases in the minimum wage, to demand that Congress pass a Constitutional Amendment declaring that corporations are not people and money is not speech, and in some cases, to legalize marijuana.
What happened in November of 2014 is that a bunch of conservative Democrats lost, because as Harry Truman once said, “if a voter has a choice between a Republican, and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, he’ll vote for the Republican every time.” Following the election, Howard Dean said basically the same thing on Meet the Press: “The Republican message was, ‘We’re not Obama.’ No substance whatsoever. ‘We’re not Obama.’ What was the Democrats’ message? ‘Oh, well, we’re really not either.’ You cannot win if you are afraid.” Liberalism didn’t lose: cowardice did.
And here’s the thing that the dimwitted press and Dana ought to have figured out by now: there is no middle in modern America. There aren’t a bunch of moderate, middle of the road independents out there who want something between what Democrats and Republicans are offering. There is sane, and there is insane, and just like in math when you multiply by negative numbers, even a person who’s half sane is still insane. In other words, voters aren’t choosing a between rational liberal policies and a rational conservative policies, however flawed. They’re choosing between Democrats, offering policies that however flawed, are at least reasonable and address some of the problems this nation faces, and Republicans, offering nothing in the way of policy other than reactionary, emotionally driven diatribes based on lies, misdirection, and craven loyalty to big party donors—a philosophy that can best be described as a combination of Christian nihilism and money worship.
Remember, these are people that HATE the government, but for some reason, want to run it. They hate Barrack Obama, even though during his Presidency, the stock market’s soared, the unemployment rate’s plummeted, the Federal deficit has been cut in half, and Osama bin Laden is dead. But they LOVE George W. Bush, even though he failed to stop 9/11, lied us into a war that cost thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars, and bailed out Wall Street and the banksters after leaving our economy in shambles. So basically, these are people that absolutely LOVE a President that was a miserable failure—and a HUGE spender, by the way—but they HATE a President that’s kept us safe during an economic expansion, at least as far as corporate profits and unemployment are concerned. Insane.
Look, I get it, a lot of this is social backlash, that Obama is the “foodstamp President”, the fact that he’s for gay marriage, a woman’s right to choose, cares about the environment, and has lenient views on immigration, but even that stuff is reactionary and ultimately, insane.
To begin with, welfare spending is mostly done as a subsidy to Walmart and other massive corporations that don’t pay their employees enough to live on or provide health insurance—yet, Republicans refuse to raise the minimum wage or address income inequality. In other words, Republicans don’t want businesses to pay their employees enough to live on, but they also don’t want the U.S. taxpayer to subsidize those businesses either. By default, that means Republicans want a lot of people who work full time to be homeless and dying of starvation or preventable disease. Insane.
As for gay marriage or a woman’s right to choose, the Republican world view is equally insane. They say this is a Christian nation and want to codify Christian values into law, even though that belief is found nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, and it’s explicitly stated in the First Amendment that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” In other words, the Constitution is holy and perfect when it comes to the Second Amendment or serves their purpose, but if Republicans had their way they’d ignore the very first statement in the Bill of Rights and force their religious beliefs down everyone else’s throat. Insane.
And then there’s the Republican position on the environment. They actually WANT MORE POLLUTION. Just last week Mitch McConnell and other Republicans freaked out because Obama got China to agree to voluntarily curb their carbon emissions. More problematic is the fact that most Republicans don’t recognize climate change, and the few that do don’t want to do anything about it. Report after report from a myriad of different respectable scientific institutions continue to come out stating in no uncertain terms that climate change is happening, and that if we don’t take drastic steps now, we’re heading for an absolute environmental disaster with an apocalyptic ending. And yet, Republicans persist in their science denial, even though economists have shown that using a carbon tax and moving toward green technology and away from fossil fuels would actually be GOOD for the economy. Insane.
And while there is certainly a case to be made that illegal immigration is just that—illegal—Republicans don’t have a plan for what they want to do about it other than build a massive fence on our Southern border. Indeed, just the other day, Kansas Republican Representative Tim Huelskamp couldn’t explain what he wanted to do with the 8 million illegal immigrants that currently reside in the U.S. All he could do was complain about Obama and obfuscate. Insane.
And that’s the real insanity. Republicans don’t have a plan to address any of our problems. Even if I were to stipulate that Obamacare isn’t perfect and that we could do better, Republicans don’t have a plan to replace it. They don’t have a plan for immigration, or one to address wage and wealth inequality; they don’t have a plan to mitigate climate change—they don’t even thing climate change is real; they don’t have a plan deal with student loans, the high cost of college, or a plan to improve our education system; they don’t have a plan to rebuild our infrastructure or reform the tax code or create jobs. In actuality, Republicans don’t have a plan to do anything that’s going to help ordinary Americans. NOTHING.
Indeed, the only plans Republicans have are sweetheart deals for their campaign donors like the Keystone XL pipeline, doing away with regulations that deal with air and/or water quality, and making sure Wall Street gets to do whatever it wants, even if it’s a huge risk to the economy.
So basically, unless one believes that the face of government ought to be an angry Christian who complains nonstop about a job he refuses to do unless it’s in the interests of the rich and powerful, supporting the Republican Party, or even treating them with any measure of seriousness, is insane.
There is no middle ground. The moderates, if they’re sane, will vote for Democrats—even liberal Democrats. If not, then they’re neither moderate, nor sane.
We’re not polarized on some grand partisan divide in which both sides have the best interests of the nation at heart, but with different ways of getting there. No, we’re polarized into two camps: people who are sane, and people who are insane.
And frankly, the clearer that distinction becomes, the better it is for the country. Because as I was telling some friends today, as long as Republicans hold the majority in either house of Congress or the Presidency, we’re screwed. They don’t have any solutions to the problems we face, and they’re so insane that they won’t compromise with Democrats that do.
So what we need are fewer idiots in the press like Dana Milbank providing cover for half-sane Democrats that lend credence to the insanity of the Republican Party. On the contrary, we need more Americans, especially those in the media, to call a spade a spade. We aren’t divided by politics—we’re divided by sanity.