Saturday, April 6, 2013

Democrats vs. the 21st Century Nero

Hoo, boy. Look at those buffoon Republicans over there. They don't have a chance at the White House in 2016.

Yuck, yuck, yuck. Did you hear the one about the Republican Senate candidate who went down in flames over some stupid rape comments? Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle. Which one?

Oh, that Reince Priebus. He, batshit insane NRA chief LaPierre and that whacky neurosurgeon who got laughed off the front pages are in real trouble. That gets a guffaw.

Now, one might suspect that "Nero" in this modern tale would be the Democrats -- fiddling away as the political Rome burned to the ground at their feet. It's not.

The real Nero, in this The Year of Our Lord 2013, is the combined forces of the Conservative establishment, the Republican Party and their billionaire patron saints. Democrats, as our city is consumed, stand in the wings pointing and mocking the bumbling ineptitude of our rivals.

A stark parallel arises from this tale from Ancient Rome. Indisputably, Nero was a ruthlessly brutal and cruel emperor who is said to have "engaged in every sort of obscenity." He took office with a plan -- a sprawling palatial complex, a Domus Aurea -- but had no room for it in the crowded city. Until a massive fire of dubious origin ravaged the sprawling metropolis, conveniently making room not only for the palace but for an urban center the young ruler had been building in his mind over the years.

For our purposes, I'll admit that no one really knows how that fire got started. What we do know is who got final say in what happened after it. Nero got both his palace and his model city. In our modern analogy, he shuttered or limited access to most abortion clinics, spread "Stand Your Ground" laws like a contagion, re-drew districts to his advantage and wrested control of state legislatures. And, having laughed mightily at Nero's miserable fire response, Democrats now stand by scratching their heads wondering how it is that most Americans support background checks but they can't seem to get those danged laws passed ... even with a powerful tailwind pushing them #Forward.



The big joke on the Left in the last national election (believe me, I laughed a lot at this, too) was the crop of losers the GOP fielded. "They are not worthy," declared Politico's Roger Simon. They weren't. But you know who else was unworthy? Democrats at the local and state levels. They sucked. In fact, while "Rome" burned and "Nero" fiddled in 4/4 time, Democrats in the field got caught fiddling at a dizzying 1/4 pace.

The ground game at the national level by the 2008 Obama campaign was stunning; meanwhile, state Democratic parties and their national allies (except for the unions) sat on their hindquarters at headquarters. Sure, they rallied a minuscule force to make phone calls for donations but failed to do much beyond that. Every call from the DNC or progressive cause seeking money, I responded to by offering manpower instead of dollars I simply didn't have. Not one took me up on it ... except for OFA and then only in 2008.

In 2012, Republicans didn't need to marshal an army for big votes: They'd already set the stage by setting limits on the vote and rigging the playing field. All they needed to do was put some puppet in place and Forward, March. Democrats at the lower end of the political spectrum failed to get people into the field to enlist new voters, call to activate inactive voters or challenge the GOP candidate with a sea of boots on the ground. Instead, they took a page out of the Republican's failed national campaign strategy and sought to use money, rather than grassroots shoe leather, as the great panacea.

So, in our earlier analogy, who are the Democrats? Why, they're the historians who, well after the city's flameout, continue to this day to argue whether Nero could possibly have been "fiddling" since that instrument wasn't recorded until 1500 years later. Ponder this: fiddle, cithara, kithara .. who really gives a damn? The plan's been enacted and the city as you knew it is gone.

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