“Abandon ship! Every man (or woman) for himself (or herself)!”
I think you’d agree, the most strikingly real aspect of the nineties’ “Best Picture” Oscar-winning classic movie Titanic was the scene near the end where several of the movie’s familiar characters needed to decide whether to take a seat on the rapidly filling and departing lifeboats -- and therefore leave loved ones and friends behind -- or hold out longer in (probably doomed) hope of everyone making it back to land together.
A similar ethical and moral conundrum confronts many congressional Democrats as they contemplate whether to announce a reelection campaign in the shrinking chance they’ll get to stay longer in the majority and perhaps enjoy a few more years’ worth of fun and frolic passing legislation that federalizes elections for all-time, or codifies “climate change” into the federal statute books, or guarantees sufficient socialistic grift for every party constituency from womb to tomb.
Hence, a legacy established. A liberal politician’s dream!
But some situations seem pretty hopeless. In Titanic, the main female lead, Rose, was all-but on her way to safety when she suddenly leaped off the lifeboat to try and find her shipboard love interest, Jack Dawson, who gratefully greeted the heroine by saying, “You’re so stupid Rose! Why did you do that? You’re so stupid Rose!” Talk about gratitude! The syrupy conclusion to the action isn’t relevant here.
One can’t help but think the retiring Democrats (heading for the lifeboats?) are the smart ones and those opting to stay aboard the foundering caucus are the “stupid” ones. Life on Capitol Hill ain’t much fun these days, and we’re not just talking about the terror these liberal nincompoops claim they suffered running to save their rear ends last January 6.
One way or another, the future is on its way for these poor Democrats. The dinghies are leaving and there’s not much to look forward to either way they decide. In a piece titled, “Majority blues: House Dems not done limping for the exit,” Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle and Ally Mutnick wrote at Politico last week:
“[L]ooking ahead to the next few weeks, Democrats sound like Scrooge as they stare down grim battles over government funding, a debt crisis and the fate of their sprawling safety net bill. Not to mention a 2022 that many in both parties expect will end with Democrats toiling in the House minority, devoid of political power.
“’Most people don't get elected to be the goalie’ in the minority, said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), recalling his previous time in that wilderness. ‘Most people want to get out there and do something, and that's why they run for Congress. And that's the biggest challenge.’ ...
“...Several Democrats say they have private lists of senior members who they believe could head for the exits between now and next spring. Some, like other committee chairs, would further rattle the caucus and could affect both candidate recruitment and fundraising at a critical time for the party.”
Wouldn’t you love to get a gander at those lists? At or near the top must be none other than Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi herself, the 81-year old San Francisco treat who must feel the ground sinking beneath her feet at every moment. San Fran Nan’s done her level dictatorial best to keep her caucus semi-unified through the turbulence of the past several years. But she can only do so much with that phony smile and condescending tone; her growing discontented leftist faction is losing its fear of her faster than a COVID vaccine declines in effectiveness.
There’s no way Pelosi will jump ship before the 2022 election, however, though she has admitted that the current term will be her last at the top.
Below Pelosi there’s Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. There’s zero chance that the mouth-foaming, rabid young “progressives” would allow the milquetoast octogenarian Hoyer to lead them in the next Congress. Hoyer is a year older than Pelosi, so the prospect of hanging around and serving as a powerless backbencher can’t be an attractive prospect for the always-passed-over Marylander.
Likewise, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn is probably lifting his leg over the ship rail to reach the lifeboat as well. Clyburn is the youngest of the trio -- but only by a few months (Pelosi is about four months older). The South Carolinian likely reached his political peak last year when he rescued the presidential candidacy of senile Joe Biden in the Palmetto State Democrat primary, but he wouldn’t be considered for the top leadership post in his party at this point.
With several prominent Democrats already having indicated they’re retiring (the latest being longtime Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, who’s been in the House for 34 years), the party is staring massive change right in the pockmarked face. Not only will there be a lot fewer liberal party diehards than this Congress, the ones that stay will be younger and less inclined to bow to the establishment, too.
Up until now, the six-member “Squad” has just been a curious group of fringe nuts who say and do outlandish things to draw media attention and act as thorns in Pelosi’s side. But they haven’t had a lot of power to sway the legislation moving through the House, largely because Pelosi hasn’t yielded an inch of her authority and somehow managed to persuade most Democrats to toe-the-line.
Without Pelosi in the totalitarian role, the “Squad” becomes that much more influential. None of them voted for the so-called “bipartisan” infrastructure bill because San Fran Nan had “yes” commitments from a baker’s dozen Republican RINOs. The socialists couldn’t win by holding out. They’ll be more insistent the next time around, and with the party’s ideological balance shifting decidedly to the left, maybe they’ll even vie for leadership? Crazier things have happened. These are Democrats we’re talking about.
The future is murky, indeed. What’s motivating the mass exodus now? I haven’t talked with any of the Democrats in Washington, but their purposes are fairly obvious nonetheless.
First, they’re bored. Several of the Democrats quoted in the Politico writers’ report admitted that they’re annoyed with the slow pace of “change” and angry with the 50-50 tied Senate. Much of what House Democrats managed to shove through in the past three years has stalled or died in the upper chamber, where party senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema held firm against killing the filibuster tradition for regular legislation.
House Dems can hold all the committee hearings they want and Pelosi can table or advance the kook bills in good time, but if the chances of the papers ever reaching senile Joe’s desk are nil or next to none, what’s the use? There’s nothing more aggravating to a liberal than being told they scream and yell and kvetch and moan for nothing. This country is so awful -- we need “reform” now! Now!
Democrats remind me a little of primates in a zoo. What do the human-related animals do when they get bored? They sometimes throw their own poop! It’s true! Why? Probably because they’ve stared at the massed crowds long enough and there’s nothing left to do but put on a little unsanitary and nauseating show for the gawkers.
Second, some Democrats don’t want to be tied to the legacy of the Biden administration. Long gone are the days of Bill Clinton and Obama where “progressive” ideas slowly inched their way into the national consciousness, the latter politician having convinced low-information voters that he was a “uniter” who would bring “Hope and Change.”
Joe Biden has none of the political talent of the Clintons and Obamas. Instead, he’s a broken-down compromiser without core beliefs who would sell them individually or collectively down the road if he figured it would benefit himself politically. Senile Joe may not know much of anything anymore, but he still understands the swamp. He couldn’t care less about congressional Democrats’ future electoral prospects… and it shows.
Lastly, House Democrats realize that the next intra-party leadership fight will be nasty and potentially destructive. Just like at the national presidential level, the congressional Democrat “bench” of up-and-comers is bare and empty. The party has put all of its proverbial eggs in the way-over-the-hill gang, be it the current House leaders or the presidential field whose top two contenders (Biden and Bernie Sanders) were both years past their prime.
The freshest face in the party, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, is in the executive branch. Vice President Kamala Harris was seen as a senator with promise, but now she’s a political liability standing next to Biden. No relief in sight from that front. The cobwebs in Democrat Congress can’t be swept away.
Years down the line Democrats will see our current period of time as a lost opportunity, simply because they didn’t put much effort into nurturing the next generation. Liberals have always rejected term limits, but in their case, purging some of the old dinosaurs would’ve helped them right now. Retirements keep happening; a changeover is taking place.
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