Friday, February 1, 2019

Pay No Attention

The Hindenburg is crashing but the GOP wants you to look at the fender-bender in the parking lot.

Sen. Kamala D. Harris is raising the possibility of eliminating private health insurance. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other prominent Democrats are floating new and far-reaching plans to tax the wealthy. In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam voiced support for state legislation that would reduce restrictions on late-term abortions.

Democrats, after two years largely spent simply opposing everything President Trump advocated, are defining themselves lately in ways Republicans are seizing on to portray them as far outside the American mainstream.

Casting Democrats as a scary and radical force is giving a fractured Republican Party a common thrust at a time when Trump’s standing even within his own party has started to dip. And it is giving Democrats a bit of the heartburn that Republicans have been grappling with for more than two years.

“There is legitimate concern among Democrats about policy and rhetoric that comes out of the very far left,” said Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “Yes, they hurt. It gives Republicans fodder to continue this train of thought that Democrats have become a socialist party. . . . They pounce on anything someone in our party says and make it seem like it represents the whole party.”

Oh for Dog’s sake, Ed.  Stop helping the Republicans.  (He’s famous for that, by the way.  It’s what gets him on cable TV as a Very Serious Commentator.  Plus they pick up his airfare.)

The reality is that after two years of Trump and generations of right-wing nutsery, the progressive movement is gaining real ground not just among Democrats but among the rest of the country as well.  (If you think either Barack Obama or Bill Clinton were card-carrying progressives, you need to recalibrate your Liberal meter.)  Ideas such as Medicare for all, higher taxes on the wealthy, and asylum for immigrants are about as radical as the 1956 Republican platform.  But then, we all knew Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon were radical liberals.

It’s also worth noting that the GOP is going after two of the women who have announced for the 2020 presidential race, and their newest fund-raising piñata is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) who has the crazy idea of raising the top marginal income tax rate to 70% (which is 21% less than what the Republicans were content with in 1956.  If anything, she’s going too easy on the rich).  But it’s those crazy womenfolk that are going to ruin this country, by gum.  Remember the last time those Dems ran a woman for president?  Look what happened!

This is first in a series of many, many “Democrats in Disarray” articles we’re going to see from the hand-wringers, egged on by the folks in the GOP who are looking for anything to distract our attention away from the disaster in their own laps, and it’s only going to get more strident as the race heats up.