Charles P. Pierce on where we stand, and where we go.
I was going to let Dahlia Lithwick’s Slate of the end of Al Franken’s senatorial career speak for me, since Lithwick said everything I felt about this tawdry episode, and probably better than I could. Especially this part:in
Is this the principled solution? By every metric I can think of, it’s correct. But it’s also wrong. It’s wrong because we no longer inhabit a closed ethical system, in which morality and norm preservation are their own rewards. We live in a broken and corroded system in which unilateral disarmament is going to destroy the very things we want to preserve.
It seemed fitting that Franken invoked the name of his mentor, the late Senator Paul Wellstone, in his valedictory address on Thursday, because it was his account of the indecent political hijacking of Wellstone’s memorial service by the flying monkeys of the right that first made me think that Franken was more than simply a gifted satirist. Very important people in American politics, and in the elite American political media, most of whom still have their jobs today, lied about what went on at that service. They did so deliberately, and for cheap political advantage.
The problem is where do the Democrats go now, although I’m fairly sure Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be heading to Iowa. Is it time (again) to tug their forelocks over Bill Clinton? Maybe they could dig up Teddy Kennedy and hold their own Cadaver Synod, expelling him from the Senate posthumously? LBJ would be next, then Jack, then finally Thomas Jefferson. Ah, but now, we are told, they have The Moral High Ground, as though you needed to throw one of your own overboard in order to have the moral standing to oppose seating an alleged child molester in the Senate, or to remind people that the president* copped to sexual assault on tape.
Lithwick is dead right. There is no commonly accepted Moral High Ground left to occupy anymore, and to pretend one exists is to live in a masturbatory fantasyland. It’s like lining yourself up behind Miss Manners in a political debate against Machiavelli. Until the Democrats are willing to think asymmetrically about the very real political danger posed by the president* and his party, the danger will grow until it becomes uncontrollable, and that point is coming very soon, I fear. By the time the Democrats admit to themselves that their political opposition has moved so far beyond shame that it can’t even see Richard Nixon any more, the damage wrought to our political institutions may be beyond repair.
The way to fight back is to make it clear to the electorate and everybody else that it isn’t just the individuals such as Moore and Trump and Gingrich and the rest that are the problem; it’s the entire Republican party. They’re the ones who have embraced these gropers and adulterers and still tried to preach the Family Values bullshit. It’s the entire gang, and while you might feel it’s unfair to lump all Republicans, including the ones you know personally and may even like, in with the garbage, remember that they will turn on you just as quickly and elect someone even worse than what we’ve got now.
The whole gang has to go.