COUNTDOWN....We're two weeks and two days from one of two things: We're about to observe the biggest electoral upset since 1948 ("DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN") or we're about to commit economic suicide. Take your pick.
Ya wanna believe. Ya gotta believe!
All year long I've been telling anyone who was willing to listen to my tirades that the so-called Tea Party was going to explode in the face of the Republican party like a hand grenade lobbed into your dining room by your friendly, next-door neighbor. Surely, I thought, the moderate voters will take one good look at the reactionary mess that is the present-day GOP and they'll flock to vote for the Democrats out of sheer terror. In only one region of the country, however, does this phenomenon appear to be playing out. The bat shit extremism of Carl Paladino in New York and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware have rendered their candidacies dead in the water. There's a damned good reason why I live in the northeast, folks.
But in the rest of the country, the "real" America, the Tea Party candidates seem to have their respective elections locked up. I haven't given up hope. As the great and deceptively wise Yogi Berra once philosophized, "It ain't over till it's over." Sage wisdom indeed. We still have sixteen days and - as the old adage tells us - that's a lifetime in politics, baby! We also have a fact on our side that by now is a part of the natural order of things:
The sun will rise in the east
The moon will set in the west
The right wing will behave like jerks
It really is as simple as that. The cockeyed optimist inside of me assures me that between now and then they will have gone so far over the top, the voters will flee like frightened children to the left - just like they did when they sent Franklin D. Roosevelt to the White House in 1932. But there is that nasty side of my personality that sees things as they really are - not as I would like them to be. My inner realist is telling me,
"What the hell is the matter with you, Degan??? Are you so naive that you would even entertain the silly notion that a country which twice - HAPPILY! - elected a moronic yahoo like George W. Bush is going to fare any better during this election cycle? Get a freakin' grip, Buster!"
Alas, this is probably the reality of the situation - a reality so unsettling that I am having a difficult time coming to grips with it. Only a mass, intellectual earthquake between now and Election Day will cause the American people to wake up to the harsh truth. Much of the blame for what is about to happen to this once-great nation may be properly laid at the front door of the Democratic party. As Theodore Roosevelt once declared in a slightly different context, they have "all the backbone of a chocolate eclair!" Indeed. This is no longer the party of TR's distant cousin Franklin. It's not even close. The fact that Harry Reid is neck and neck with a half-witted buffoon like Sharon Angle is instructive on so many levels - all of them too depressing to even contemplate.
It's Mourning in America
I guess this is as good a time as any to do the old Get Out The Vote pitch, huh? As I stated a couple of weeks ago ("The Base's Hissy Fit", 29 September) staying home and sulking on the second of November is not the smart thing to do. Yes, I know! The Obama administration has not necessarily been a progressive's dream boat. They have been timid and tepid in too many areas where bold and decisive action was required. Since the day after he was inaugurated I've been saying that his biggest mistake was in thinking he could work with the extremist clowns who have hijacked the Republican party. He can't. By this stage in the game this fact must be abundantly clear to him. He should stop the facade of trying to make nice with these people and steamroll the hideous bastards if he has to - while he still has a majority. As someone once said, "Politics ain't bean bag" - whatever the hell that means.
It's a given that the nastiest midterm campaign in living memory is only going to get nastier in the two weeks left to it. The grim choice before us is the choice between two political parties - one thoroughly corrupted; the other the picture of incompetence and timidity. I realize that our options aren't many. I would only ask you to think of it as choosing between brain cancer and athlete's foot. While the latter may be annoying at best - and curable - the former is a literal death sentence. How's that for an analogy?
And you tell me over and over again
You don't believe we're on the eve of destruction
So sit back and try to enjoy the ride as America spirals into the abyss. What other choice do we have than make the best of a tragic situation? The United States of America is screwed. It's best days are behind it. And the American people are too stupid to even vaguely comprehend the gravity of their situation. Whaddaya say we take these lemons and make us some lemonade?