Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Sad Ballad of Headless Howard and How Rahm Emanuel Shut Down the Government !

Let's act like grown-ups, okay?  Let's put the blame where it belongs.

Certainly the current debacle in D.C. is largely the GOP being bad guys, but that's not all of it.  Nor is it the Democrats being stubborn. That's none of it.  Let's admit that the whole story  -  the sequester, the present shut-down, and the looming default on the debt  -   all began in 2010.    

In 2010 a lot of Democrats sat home and didn't vote.  So the blame is partly on them. They not only failed to vote and thus allowed the GOP to grab the House of Representatives but also allowed the Republicans to capture one state government after another, even in so traditionally a Democratic state as Wisconsin.

The result?  Since state legislatures do redistricting, the GOP in all those state capitals used the 2010 census to redistrict a Democratic House out of existence for the next decade.  Further, it constructed the GOP districts so that any wild-eyed conservative GOP candidate can beat any more moderate Republican.  Thus it gave a lock on 80 seats to Tea Party candidates, enough to hold the House captive to the kooks and to terrify Speaker John Boehner into wet noodleness.

Therefore it isn't a "growing divisiveness in American society" that has us in today's deadlock, as some so-called experts claim.  Nor does it really have anything to do with the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United or the Koch brothers dumping money into GOP campaigns, much as Democrats love to blame these for all their woes.

The responsibility for today's mess rests somewhat on the lazy Democrats who didn't vote but mainly on the shoulders of one man:  Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago but until 2011 Obama's big guy in the White House.  When Obama picked Rahm to be his chief of staff, Rahm demanded one thing:  the head of Howard Dean on a plate.

In case you've forgotten Howard Dean (and you shouldn't have), let me joyfully remind you of what you may never have realized:  Dean was largely responsible for the Democrats' magnificent Congressional wins in 2006 and the setting of the stage for Obama's win in 2008.  As head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), he organized the hell out of the Democratic party state-by-state, a first in the long-time memory of this ancient writer.  Then he went candidate-hunting himself instead of leaving that job to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which is an inept and wasteful piece of Democratic baggage.  He also gave support to Democratic candidates in districts that had never before received national party help.

But - oh,oh!  Rahm Emanuel was chair of the DCCC.  Rahm did not like it that Howard Dean of the DNC was messing on his DCCC preserve.  Like it says in "The Cat In The Hat": he did not like it, not one little bit.  So he took Dean to lunch, dumped a salad on Dean's head, and inquired a la Chicago, "You *!#+^,  don't you know the difference between DCCC and DNC?  Wassa matter with you?  I got three times as many Cs in my group's name.  The word Congress starts with a C.  Get it, dummy!?  I control the Democratic campaigning for the House!  Not you!  Keep your hands off!"

Quietly picking lettuce out of his hair, like a good Vermonter Dean went back to doing exactly as he had been doing.  He did it well. Better than Emanuel or anyone else had ever done it. The result in 2006 was a crowning victory for Dean, replacing the lettuce on his head with a ring of glory.  But he had signed his own death warrant.  No one crosses Rahm and lives.  That's Chicago politics.  I know.  I grew up in it.  It was the family business.

Once in the White House, Rahm took his revenge on Dean. With Headless Howard gone from the DNC, a pudding of a person named Tim Kaine was named the head (no punning here) of DNC by Obama, still in thrall to Rahm. At the same time the Democratic Party in the House, i.e. Nancy Pelosi, slipped back into the slipshod, don't give-a-damn ineffective "campaigning" that resulted in the 2010 failure of the Democrats to hold the House and the loss of so many state governments.  (In fairness, I note that Obama's campaign apparatus was likewise missing in action in 2010.)

The weird part of all this is that the redistricting after the 2010 should have been a Democratic lark in the park.  The census would have shown the terrific increase in Latino voters, a wonderful possibility of increased numbers of Democratic voters and more Democratic districts.  But because no one had organized the Democrats to get registered and vote in 2010, the lark in the park became a walk in the rain.

Why, you ask, do Democratic voters need some pushy organization to make them register and vote?

Oh, honey, why is a frog a frog?  It's just how things are and always have been.  And I'll explain that one another time.  I mean the Democrats, not the frogs.  No one can explain frogs.

Meantime, don't you think Rahm Emanuel looks a lot like the Cat In The Hat?

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